Our Top 10 Tips for fast, cost-effective and sensible dispute resolution
A dispute is not welcomed but for a business they are a fact of life and a law suit does not have to mean financial crisis for a successful business. When managing litigation, follow these 10 tips to help keep costs low and ensure everything goes the way you want it to.
1. Be Prepared
Ensure you review all the relevant documents and understand the testimony of all applicable witnesses. Knowing the facts of your case and the controlling legal principles can ensure you will have the confidence for court.
2. Assess The Value Of Your Case
You will find the actual litigation expenses much easier to bear if your initial budget for the case matches an accurate valuation of what is at stake. Especially with a new case, you can easily rely on hope for a large judgement or fears of losing disciplinary damages. Instead, by spending time with a professional, you can put reasonable boundaries on the expected and possible outcomes.
3. Understand The Contract & Implications
Ideally, you should have a well drafted written contract from the outset. You should consider the clauses in your contract that may strengthen or weaken your case and write a timeline of everything that has happened to identify the cause of the contract breach, how to ensure that a further breach isn’t occasioned, and the contractual implications. If the contract has a dispute resolution procedure, this should be followed.
4. Invest Early
The courts encourage all parties to a dispute to take necessary steps to settle outside of court if possible. Whilst we appreciate that commercial disputes can be contentious affairs; it is important for you to promote communication with your opponent with a view to settling the matter ahead of trial. If nothing else, it will provide you with a greater understanding of your opponent’s case within an informal setting.
If a settlement is not possible, your solicitor will be on hand to offer you advice as to how you can raise or defend your claim to achieve a successful outcome.
5. Keep Records of Everything
Without good records, proving what was done or said by the parties to a lawsuit can be difficult. Lack of records can effectively destroy a factual dispute. They can also result in a dismissal of the case or at least limit the case to issues of law, as opposed to factual issues, which often makes the case less expensive and easier to manage.
6. Don’t Bury Your Head In The Sand
When a dispute arises, act straightaway and do not delay. Whether a disagreement, mistake or accident creates a dispute, develop an action plan with your team or lawyer. Regardless of who is at fault, acting carefully and quickly may ensure the dispute is resolved early without damaging commercial relationships.
7. Costs, Costs and Costs
Litigation can be an expensive process and each case can take its own unique course meaning the overall cost can be unpredictable to say the least. Your business may be covered by an insurance policy that would cater for your litigation expenses. It may also be possible for you to consider “After the event” insurance to cover your costs and potentially your opponent’s costs. It is important to carefully consider the approach you would like to take from the outset and we are on hand to offer a detailed cost based analysis to ensure that you make the choice that is best for your business.
8. Communicate With the Other Party
Having regular reporting procedures in place can help avoid conflicts and misunderstandings as all parties are kept informed of what is going on with the situation. Listening to current circumstances and coming to an agreed potential solution with the disgruntled party can help diffuse the situation.
9. Stay Calm
Litigation can be emotionally draining to both parties. To ensure that you have the upper hand, it is important to remain calm throughout every step of the process. Parties who can consider facts in a rational manner will stand a far better chance of formulating a strong case. This will hopefully provide you with the desired outcome of defeating your opponent.
10. Talk to your Legal Representative
You don’t have to go through this alone. There are professional advisors such as business consultants, accountants, and solicitors are ready willing and able to help you. Speak with your representative as regularly as you would like in order to maintain a sense of ownership of your case. Be sure that they understand your objectives to help them achieve your desired outcome.
Article written by Shazda Ahmed, Managing Partner at Monarch Solicitors.
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