Dispute Resolution

Contractual disputes can arise before, during or after a contract has been entered into. It is therefore important to ensure contracts are drafted comprehensively. Examples of such disputes include the provision of faulty goods and services, the pursuit of unpaid debts and recovering damages arising from breaches of business contracts
Once a dispute surfaces, we always encourage our clients to resolve matters quickly without resorting to litigation to preserve the contractual and business relationships. If this is not possible, we will take effective and where necessary immediate action to protect your position.

Consumer Disputes

According to the Office of Fair Trading, unsatisfactory goods and services cost British consumers more than £8 billion a year. Under English law, traders need to comply with the legislation and regulations on the sale of goods.

The law on this area has evolved over many years and is principally set out in the Sale of Goods Act 1979, as amended by the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 and the Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002.

All buyers of goods and services are entitled to remedies under the legislation but consumers are entitled to a greater range of remedies. ‘Consumers’ are people who are buying for themselves, i.e. not for their trade, business or profession. All buyers are entitled to goods of satisfactory quality but cannot, for example, expect a legal remedy for fair wear and tear or a fault they should have discovered on reasonable inspection. Whether you are a consumer seeking redress or a trader seeking to ensure you comply with your obligations, our consumer team can offers an in-depth comprehensive service in all consumer matters and can advise and represent you to a successful resolution of any consumer disputes.
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Contractual Obligations

A contract is an agreement giving rise to obligations which are enforced or recognised by law. When contracting parties’ sign such an agreement they mutually agree to perform their part of the obligations stipulated in the agreement.

Contract law governs the relationship, content and validity of such an agreement and covers a wide range of agreements, from sale of goods/provision of services to exchanges of interests or ownership.

Contract law essentially comes into play when the agreement terms are breached or about to be breached and the aggrieved party needs to enforce the terms of the agreement. Our commercial and litigation teams combine to assist and advise you throughout the contractual process, from drafting the contract to your specific requirements, to advising and representing you if there has been a breach of contract.
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Debt Recovery

Credit issues have a big impact on individuals and small businesses. We understand how important it is to act quickly to recover debts owed. Unpaid invoices affect profits, potential profitability and cash-flow.

If you are owed a debt by an individual or a company, our litigation team will assist you in recovering your money. We maintain the same personalised level of service from the first correspondence to the debtor through to court hearings and enforcement. Our priority is always to secure your debt and position as a creditor using any appropriate means, from statutory demands to issuing a claim, quickly and efficiently to give you the best possible chance of getting your money back.

Pricing: Debt Recovery

Director and Shareholder Disputes

Companies are separate legal entities from its directors and shareholders. Companies can sue or be sued by their directors and/or shareholders. In some cases companies are the only possible claimants in relation to directors’ or shareholders’ wrongdoing. The key document which sets out the balance of power within a company is its Articles of Association. These act as a binding contract between the company and its shareholders. Subject to any overriding company law the Articles determine who within a company exercises which powers on its behalf.

Directors generally have day to day control of the company under the Articles, making decisions such as whether or not to enter into any contract; raise finance or take any other steps in relation to the management of the company.

However shareholders have the ultimate power as they can, by majority vote, dismiss a director and appoint a new director to the board.

Most shareholders’ disputes arise over decision-making issues between majority and minority shareholders. Minority shareholders can feel excluded by the majority shareholders but the law protects them and enables them to make claims for being ‘unfairly prejudiced’ by majority shareholders. Other disputes arise when there is a breach of a shareholders’ agreement by certain shareholders requiring redress of the wrong committed on behalf of the company.

Our team offers comprehensive in-depth advice to individual directors or shareholders or collectively to companies, in all matters of boardroom and shareholders’ disputes. We offer a comprehensive service from arranging negotiations to advising and representing you through court proceedings.
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Dispute Resolution and Mediation

Disputes can cause individuals and small businesses direct financial loss, unbudgeted costs, wasted management time and often irreparable damage to relationships and reputations. It is therefore crucial to resolve disputes quickly and understand the range of options available to you. We can advise you on the best strategy for achieving your objectives within your budget and preferred timescale. We focus on identifying the issues early and using the most appropriate method of dispute resolution. These range from negotiating on your behalf to appointing an independent third party or an expert to come to a solution.

Contact our litigation department to discuss which method suits you best.

E–Commerce Disputes

E-commerce transactions function on trust among sellers and buyers who are unlikely to ever see or speak to each other. Inevitably, some of these transactions are bound to turn into disputes, but it is not always effective to take the matter to court. For example, if you are buying a product from a seller in the United States and you disagree over a sale transaction worth only a few hundred pounds, it is not worthwhile spending more than the sale price on trying to obtain redress. Having reliable products, clear return/refund policies and a multi-language web site may not be enough.

Using an independent, neutral and inexpensive dispute resolution process is usually the best approach to such disputes. The purpose of mediation is not to determine which party is right or wrong, but to help both sellers and buyers reach a settlement which both can accept.
We can assist with the entire mediation process to ensure it meets all the parties’ requirements. Our team offers efficient and timely advice in e-commerce disputes to ensure an appropriate solution is obtained.
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Partnership Disputes

We regularly advise on disputes between partners and members of limited liability partnerships. Partnership disputes commonly arise after a partner retires or is expelled from the partnership or when the partnership is to be wound up. Such disputes require a high level of sensitivity, with reputations and careers usually at stake.

We provide tactical and commercial advice, from practical steps before a dispute gets out of control to robust advice on mediation and settlement. Where court proceedings become necessary, our experienced litigation team will provide comprehensive advice and guide you through the process.

Public Law and Judicial Review

Public law applies to decisions taken by public bodies including government departments, local authorities and most regulatory bodies and also to quasi public bodies exercising public functions. It can be distinguished from private law which governs relationships between individuals and private companies. This area of law therefore affects most of us in our everyday lives, from council issued parking tickets, to housing and benefits.

Public law governs public bodies which usually derive their authority to make decisions from Parliament in the form of legislation.
If a decision or an action is unauthorised by legislation, a public body will be in breach of legislation and public law principles.

If you believe a public body has acted unlawfully, we can guide you through the decision-makers own appeal mechanism and apply for judicial review of the decision, if necessary.

Our litigation team will try to resolve your matter as quickly and efficiently as possible.
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