Business relationships are like all relationships – they have their ups and downs, and disagreements/disputes are common.
In order to have a valid and binding contract, there must be:
At each of these stages, disputes can arise. Disputes are also common once the contractual relationship has been established. Types of disputes include allegations of breach of contract; disagreement over the terms or the meaning of terms within the contract; or parties to a contract simply not fulfilling their duties.
Every dispute will be different and have its own varying circumstances and underlying facts. However, there are some simple tips that can help avoid problems becoming disputes, or in the event that litigation becomes necessary, hopefully put you on a stronger footing in proving your case or limiting liability:
Litigation and the court route is only one way of resolving a dispute. Other alternative methods can offer a more flexible, quicker and cheaper approach depending on what the respective parties hope to achieve. ADR might be the best option if maintaining a business relationship is important.
There are various ADR options, including but not limited to:
These are usually classed as ‘without prejudice’ which means that whatever is discussed in the meetings cannot be relied on or referred to in Court. It offers the parties a way of discussing the issues openly and often results in settlement.
This is similar to a without prejudice meeting as the aim here is also to reach a settlement between the parties, but an independent mediator will be present to steer the conversations and act as a go-between amongst the parties.
The parties will select an impartial third party, arbitrator, whose decision will be legally binding on both sides.
Contract disputes can be costly, time-consuming and very harmful to your business and business relationships. Whatever the situation, advice should be sought as soon as possible to ensure the best possible outcome.
If you need any advice on contract disputes, please contact a member of our commercial disputes team in confidence here or on 02920 829 100 for a free initial call to see how they can help.
To speak to one of our experts today, please contact us on 02920 829 100 or by using our Contact Us form for a free initial chat to see how we can help.
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