Dispute Resolution – the First Steps

Most organisations encounter disputes from time to time.  These often relate to disputes with an external party (such as a customer, supplier or competitor), or are internal – such as disputes between business owners or a former employee.

Our specialist Dispute Resolution team deals with a wide range of disputes for a variety of organisations and is recognised by the prestigious independent legal directories Legal 500 and Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession.

In our experience it is important that organisations have an effective approach and strategy in place to deal with problems at an early stage. This includes an early identification of the problem, obtaining and securing relevant information, ensuring that the problem is dealt with at an appropriate level in the organisation and that any communication adopted with the other party is appropriate.

As part of this approach, it is often beneficial to take legal advice at an early stage. This does not mean that you are bound to embark on court proceedings with the opponent, but that you can identify the best approach to the dispute and understand the strengths and weaknesses of your position.

Key issues do not just involve the legal position, but embrace practical commercial concerns such as: What do you actually want to achieve? What is likely to be the opponent’s likely response? What is their financial position? How important are future dealings with the opponent?  Deciding on a strategy involves the realism of understanding your legal position combined with commercial considerations.

It is also important to consider the way in which the dispute can be resolved. Many problems are resolved by discussion and negotiation, some direct between the parties and some involving lawyers. In addition, forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) such as mediation are now mainstream methods of dispute resolution. ADR can offer advantages of costs saving and expediency. One of its key attributes lies in its ability to identify and put in place creative solutions that would not be available through a court. That can be particularly beneficial to continuing a positive trading relationship in the future.

Court proceedings provide a forum for, ultimately, a judge to decide on the outcome of the case. Court proceedings are often necessary and important to uphold or defend a legal right where a negotiated outcome is not possible.

Our approach to assisting clients with their disputes is to provide clear and trusted counsel to our clients, and to represent them to the best of our abilities. We are always happy to have an initial discussion on a no obligation basis and to provide advice, support and representation when needed. 

Key Contacts

Nick Parker – Partner

Iwan Doull – Partner

Simon Care – Partner