Dispute Types

Business Disputes

Our aim is to get the best commercial solution to your problem by protecting your business from claims against it; and when you have a valid claim, getting money due to you.

Defending disputes can be time and resource intensive. With our experience we can spot potential problems early, negotiate effectively and help manage risk to give you an effective solution. We will advise whether a claim is worth bringing or defending and will deal with your dispute in the most cost effective way possible, without compromising on the quality of the advice we give.

We provide sensible, practical solutions and down-to-earth advice based on a wealth of experience.

The types of disputes we deal with include:

  • Director/shareholder disputes
  • Contract Disputes
  • Partnership disputes
  • Disputes with customers/suppliers
  • Recovery of assets
  • Breach of duty claims
  • Warranty claims
  • Agency disputes

Commercial Property Disputes

Your Commercial premises are important to you and your future, whether you are a landlord or seeking a return on investment, or a tenant wanting to run a profitable business.  Commercial property disputes can have a catastrophic impact on your business, which may lead to a business without a property to trade from. There may also be issues with the condition of the property or land including disputes over a right of way.  From our experience, dilapidation disputes can drag on between landlords and departing tenants. These disputes can be extremely stressful and need to be resolved quickly.

Our role is to protect your legal interests and your finances. Escalating legal costs in resolving commercial property disputes can be avoided by seeking expert legal advice at the beginning of any dispute. We work quickly to resolve these issues for you – early negotiation can be achieved, saving you time and money.

We provide expert legal advice on:

  • Landlord & tenant disputes
  • Dilapidation disputes claims for covenants over repairs
  • Breach of contract claims
  • Claims under restrictive covenants
  • Forfeiture and release from forfeiture claims
  • Commercial rent arrears recovery
  • Recovery of property from unlawful occupies, i.e trespass claims
  • Service charge disputes
  • Disputes over alterations
  • Claims for nuisance

On reviewing your legal agreements we can advise you on the legal and financial implications of these.  We appreciate that you want to be on good terms with your landlord or your tenant, as you may be continuing your business relationship with them for many years.  In such circumstances it may be advisable and you may prefer to avoid court and as such, we offer alternative solutions to these disputes such as using mediation and negotiation to reach agreeable resolutions.

Contract Disputes

Breach of contract claims come in all shapes and sizes. They come about when one party does not fulfil his or her part of an agreement. That agreement can be oral or in writing, and it can be express or implied.

In some cases, there can even be a contract implied from the parties’ course of conduct when neither party realises that there is a “formal contract” in place. This sort of contract can be breached, just like any other.

Disputes can arise from even the most carefully drafted and detailed contracts. Some common types of contractual disputes which arise relate to:

  • Sale of Business & Share Sale Agreements;
  • Sale of Goods & Supply of Goods and Services;
  • Commercial Agency and Distribution Agreements;
  • Franchise Agreements;
  • Consultancy Agreements;
  • Intellectual Property/IT Agreements;
  • Finance and Loans;
  • Leases & sublets.

We can advise you on the best course of action to resolve your claim and where appropriate maximise the recovery you receive.

Debt Recovery

Successful debt recovery methods range from the traditional letter before action and issuing court proceedings, to immediate insolvency proceedings for high value corporate debts.

Our service would include:

  • Taking your instructions and reviewing documentation
  • Undertaking appropriate searches
  • Sending a letter before action
  • Considering any response received from the debtor
  • Receiving payment and sending onto you, or if the debt is not paid, drafting and issuing a claim if appropriate
  • Where no Acknowledgement of Service or Defence is received, applying to the court to enter Judgment in default
  • When Judgment in default is received, write to the other side to demand payment
  • If payment is not received within 14 days or a Defence to the claim is filed, providing you with advice on next steps and likely costs.

If litigation is required, we can help you pursue your case through the courts. Successful litigation produces a court judgment but this is often just the first step. The hard work starts when converting the judgment into financial return.

Although instructing bailiffs or enforcement officers may be required we can also advise on alternatives, such as:

  • Statutory demands
  • Winding up companies
  • Individual bankruptcy
  • Information orders
  • Attachment of earnings
  • Third party debt orders
  • Charging orders

Our effective action and support will assist you to translate the judgment into cash.

Disputed Wills and Probate

We can deal with disputes arising out of wills, or the lack of a will, and arguments that commence after a death in the family.

We can advise and assist clients with:

  • Challenges against an estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, when reasonable provision has not been made for a child or dependant of the deceased;
  • Claims where a client may feel they have been left out of the Will due to undue influence on the will-maker, or a lack of mental will-making capacity when the will was made or changed;
  • Claims where a will has not been properly executed;
  • Disputes between Executors and Beneficiaries, as to the interpretation of a will or as to the distribution of particular assets. This can include, where appropriate, making an application for the removal of an executor of a will.

We can advise where circumstances may have changed significantly from the original date of the Will, including blended family arrangements and cohabitee issues when couples spilt up and live with new partners.  In other cases clients can discuss their options in cases where there is no will, or the will has been lost or destroyed. We also advise on claims under the Inheritance Act 1975 for members of the family for whom sufficient financial provision should have been made but was not. We can also make applications to remove or replace an executor of the will.  We also act for clients where the former solicitor failed to follow instructions in the preparation of the will and as a result suffered financially due to large inheritance tax payments due.  We also advise and act for clients when the solicitors who drafted the Will and then distributed the proceeds incorrectly.

We also act for executors or beneficiaries wishing to uphold wills which are being disputed by others, perhaps because the others feel that they should have benefited from the will. We are able to give practical advice based on how a Judge may see a contested will dispute.

We are able to assist with aspects of will and probate disputes, even if a client does not wish to pursue a claim immediately.  Whilst there is no time limitation for challenging fraudulent wills, if you wish to contest a will under the Inheritance Act you must act within 6 months of when grant of probate is given.  A Court may overrule this time limit if there are exceptional circumstances.

We can support you to with respect to undertaking mediation and/or a similar type of alternative dispute resolution which can be particularly appropriate and helpful in family situations. This can give the parties some additional time to reach an amicable settlement. It can also help reduce the costs of resolving these types of disputes.

Insolvency

If you are an individual or business facing insolvency we can support you through the process and help conclude matters as quickly as possible. Your insolvency may be forced or voluntary, but in all cases, we offer informed, focused expertise that will minimise the effect on you and your commercial interests.

We approach all cases with an open mind to the potential solutions and often suggest options to our clients that they did not know were possible. The main thing to remember is that liquidation or bankruptcy is not necessarily the only available outcome.

We also assist Insolvency Practitioners in respect of all types of appointment which they hold, whether formal or informal, and whether for individuals or business entities.

Insurance Disputes

When you need to make a claim under an insurance policy, often in the aftermath of a traumatic event or in otherwise unfortunate circumstances, your difficulties may be compounded by your insurance company refusing to cover your losses or unnecessarily delaying in dealing with your claim. In the most serious situations, the survival of your business and your personal wellbeing may depend upon recovering your losses from your insurers.

We can act for policy holders, both individual and commercial, in claims against their insurers including but not limited to business interruption, fire, theft and other damage or loss. We have no business arrangements with any insurance companies, and therefore we are able to act for our clients against all major insurance companies.

We can also advise clients whose claims have been declined by their insurers due to alleged:

  • Non-disclosure
  • Misrepresentation
  • Lack of documentation
  • Breach of warranty or conditions
  • Fraud

We can assist our clients to challenge insurers relying on policy interpretation or exclusion clauses to avoid indemnifying their policy holders.

Insurers are required to act in accordance with the Insurance Conduct of Business Sourcebook which imposes obligations on insurers dealing with consumers. If you believe your insurer is failing to handle your claim promptly and fairly, or perhaps is delaying paying out under your policy after they have agreed to do so, we can advise you on the most cost effective and efficient means to resolve the impasse.

Before contemplating court proceedings we can support you to explore various channels via which you can pursue of a satisfactory outcome to a dispute with your insurer. We often find that our clients can achieve the results they seek without incurring the costs of issuing a claim. Whether through policy appeals, complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service or alternative dispute resolution, we can direct and assist you through the most appropriate channel to resolve your dispute. However if litigation is required we are able to effectively and efficiently support you through this process.

Professional Negligence

Many people and businesses heavily rely on professionals to assist and advise them. When you enlist the help of professionals, you expect a professional service. This is particularly the case when you entrust that professional to deal with a specialist matter. Unfortunately, the professional sometimes negligently or accidentally does not match that standard of service and you are the one that loses money.

If you paid a professional to assist you and consequently suffered a financial loss because of that professional’s negligence, you may have a claim for compensation for negligence.

The types of professional negligence claims we can take on include:

  • Claims against accountants arising from commercial acquisitions, business valuations, share and asset purchases and due diligence.
  • Mis-selling of financial products such as pensions, share portfolios, endowments and with profits policies.
  • Claims against architects, often jointly with builders.
  • Claims against surveyors and solicitors for failing to properly value or identify defects with property being purchased.  These defect usually include, issues with subsidence and foundation problems, damp, cracks in the building and water damage due to roof defects.

In all cases, we first explore ways to resolve the claim out of court. However, where matters do escalate we deliver focused support, practical guidance and effective representation.

DEFAMATION

Defamatory allegations can harm a business more easily than ever before. Recently there have been many problems with the content of blogs and postings on social media. If your business is the victim of defamation, or is defending a claim of defamation brought against it, we can help.

We deal with defamation matters with a pragmatic and commercially minded approach. We work with precision, focus and dedication and are uncompromising when it comes to protecting our clients’ position.

We can support you in cases of libel, slander, malicious falsehood and pre-publication advice in relation to statements made in newspapers and magazine articles, television and radio broadcasts, e mails, websites, employee references and advertising material.

We also offer pre-publication advice to businesses that are concerned about publishing statements that could result in allegations of defamation.

Commercial Disputes

We understand how litigation can affect your business and will act quickly to protect your assets. Whether you are a Claimant or Defendant our experience and knowledge of disputes enables us to accurately assess the merits of your claim, or a claim brought against you. We can then advise you on the best options for dealing with the claim. Our advice is practical, commercially focused and results driven.

We can assist you find the most efficient and cost effective way to resolve your legal dispute and advise on the following areas of litigation:

  • Breach of contract claims
  • Professional negligence – Accountants, Financial Advisors, Surveyors and other professionals.
  • Disputes between directors and shareholders including claims for unfair prejudice
  • Disputes over wills, probates and inheritance between beneficiaries and executors
  • Construction disputes – commercial and private
  • Partnership disputes – Solicitors, GP Practices etc.
  • Insurance disputes
  • Commercial property disputes
  • Landlord and tenant issues

Personal Property Disputes

Disputes involving your home and land are personal, and can impact your daily life and stress levels significantly.  They may also de-value your investment into your home and land.  Our team are on hand to assist you where possible to protect your interests.  We can help you resolve:

  • Sale/purchase disputes
  • Rights of way problems
  • Restrictive covenant issues
  • Delayed completion
  • Boundary disputes
  • Structural damage
  • Defects on newly built properties
  • Evicting trespassers
  • Evicting lodgers
  • Builders disputes & resolution

We always seek to resolve these intensely personal disputes as speedily as possible so you can continue with your day-to-day life.

Construction Disputes

We can act for both Claimants and Defendants across a wide spectrum of construction disputes ranging from defending local businesses against difficult consumers to bringing multi-million pound claims on behalf of national and international companies. These disputes include contract disputes involving contractors, sub-contractors and employers. Whether you are involved in procuring or delivering design, construction or operations, we can advise on all stages and aspects of the process from inception, through to completion and beyond, to reduce and solve any issues.

We will advise on the use of standard, modified and bespoke contracts for specific projects and the best way to minimise risk for you under those contracts documents. We can help agree contracts and sub-contracts and negotiate loss claims.

We can pursue damages for defective construction and building works against major construction companies, and as defendants for construction clients in defending claims against them.

Claims can include:

  • Claims for defective works
  • Claims for delays, and variations
  • Claims for negligence against architects & surveyors
  • Disputes between developers/contractors
  • Claims for non-payment
  • Enforcement 

We can often defuse a potentially costly dispute allowing everyone to agree a speedy resolution and continue with their commercial relationships.

Whenever defects or claims occur, we will quickly provide a comprehensive, practical and cost effective response which could include negotiation, alternative dispute resolution, mediation, adjudication, arbitration, injunctions, conciliation and litigation.

Directors Conduct

Where a limited company has entered into any insolvency process, the Insolvency Practitioner must report on the conduct of the directors to the Insolvency Service. This can result in the Insolvency Service making enquiries of the directors about their conduct whilst running the business. This can lead to claims brought against directors by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills seeking to disqualify them as directors.

If you have been contacted by the Insolvency Service about the affairs of an insolvent company which you held a directorship in, you need to act promptly. Any delay or failure to co-operate may make things worse for you.

If legal advice is sought promptly, you will have a greater opportunity to seek to prevent proceedings against you, or at least seek to reduce any potential disqualification period.

If the former director’s conduct makes them unfit to be involved in the management of a limited company, then the Secretary of State will seek to negotiate a disqualification undertaking with that director, or seek a disqualification order from the court. Any disqualification can be from 2 to 15 years.

Certain conduct may lead to disqualification, for example:

  • Trading to the detriment of creditors at a time when the company was insolvent and unlikely to be able to return to solvency
  • Failure to keep proper accounting records
  • Failure to prepare and file accounts or make returns to Companies House
  • Failure to submit tax returns or pay tax to HMRC
  • Failure to co-operate with the Insolvency Practitioner

We are able to provide advice and support throughout the process. We are able to engage in correspondence with the Insolvency Service to address any points in respect of your conduct. The Insolvency Service may decide against starting court proceedings against you if you are able to persuade them that you did not engage in conduct rendering you unfit to be concerned in the management of a limited company.

We recognise that the approach that is suitable for a director of one business may be entirely different for another business. We are able to tailor our advice to suit your individual circumstances.

We can assess the merits of any claim brought against you and advise you on your options and can defend disqualification proceedings brought against you. Further we can negotiate an undertaking with the Secretary of State which may enable you to continue acting in the management of the company, but subject to certain conditions.

If we consider that a disqualification order is likely, we can negotiate the terms of an undertaking which may reduce the period of disqualification. If you have been disqualified as a director, you may not act as a company director (or LLP member) or in any way, whether directly or indirectly, be concerned or take part in the promotion, formation or management of a company. The sanction for breaching a disqualification order is imprisonment and/or a fine.

However, you may be able to continue in the management of a company if you have permission from the court. We may be able to help you obtain permission from the court to continue being involved in the management of a company after a disqualification order has been made.

Injunctions

When urgent action is required to protect your commercial interests, we can act quickly guide you to a successful outcome. Whether you need to compel a party to take certain steps or restrain them from engaging in particular activities, we can seek to obtain and implement an injunction on your behalf.

Injunctions provide an emergency remedy. They may be granted by the courts to prevent damage which may otherwise be irreparable.

We can support you in:

  • Obtaining a freezing order, giving you greater assurance of subsequently recovering damages or unpaid debts
  • Seeking a search order on your behalf, entitling you to search for and seize evidence for subsequent use in legal proceedings.
  • Enforcing restrictive covenants in employment contracts and service agreements
  • Preventing a breach of confidence or misuse of confidential information and trade secrets
  • Protecting your intellectual property rights from infringement
  • Compelling a party to cease an ongoing breach of contract

Injunctive proceedings are notoriously expensive. Whilst the costs may be justified by the likely consequences of failing to take action, we understand that you need to know from the outset the amount of money you need to budget when seeking an injunction. We can provide favourable but realistic costs estimates based on our experience. Wherever possible and appropriate, we will seek to minimise your legal costs by negotiating undertakings with your opponent. These have the effect of requiring your opponent to follow an agreed course of action or risk being held in contempt of court, which can result in significant fines or even imprisonment.

We are equally adept in resisting the threat of injunctive proceedings against our clients. With significant legal costs at stake and the potential for abuse of injunctions by parties seeking to oppress opponents, it is vital to obtain expert legal advice when you are threatened with an injunction. We understand that responding to such a threat is time-critical, and can act quickly to assess your position, advise you on your options and explain the possible outcomes of alternative courses of action.

Landlord and Tenant Disputes

Even with the best vetting and tenant references procedures landlords can still experience problems with tenants. We can help to regain possession of your property.

We can support you in drafting and serving a valid Section 21 notice, the important first step in gaining possession of your property. After the Section 21 notice has been served and 2 months have passed, we can complete the claim form with additional accompanying evidence and issue the claim at Court.

The vast majority of applications are dealt with on the papers alone and do not normally require a Court Hearing. In the absence of any Defence from the tenant, we will apply for judgment in default on behalf of the landlord.

If a hearing is necessary we will be able to attend on your behalf and will discuss a competitive fee based on the facts.

If the tenant fails to leave the property by the last date Ordered by the Court, we can assist in instructing the Court bailiffs to attend the property to evict the tenants.

Partnership Disputes

When a dispute occurs in a business partnership it can often cause problems not only within the business but also on a personal level especially where business partnerships were formed with family, friends or acquaintances without a Formal Partnership Agreement.

Unfortunately disagreements can cause the business to struggle financially and in some instances fail.  Our team can deal with these issues swiftly and sensitively whether there is a Partnership Deed or not, and help you to come to an outcome which suits you.

Common areas of disputes or discord include:

  • Underperforming partners
  • Personality conflicts
  • Financial mismanagement
  • Disagreement of profit share
  • Transfer & continuation of the business without agreement
  • Dissolution

We have a commercial and pragmatic approach to resolving these disputes. However, if court proceedings cannot be avoided we can support you at every stage to resolve your dispute as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.

Shareholder Disputes

Disputes are bad for business and never more so than when a business is in dispute with itself. Shareholder disputes and director disputes can arise in a number of ways, typically where:

  • A director or shareholder is excluded from the management of the business.
  • A director pays himself a greater salary or benefits than others.
  • The company changes its dividend policy.
  • A director does not pull his or her weight but still draws salary and dividends from the business.
  • A director sets up in competition with the company or diverts its business.
  • A partnership incorporates as a company or LLP and treats a former partner unfairly.

We recognise that business must go on and that the parties’ interests are best served by reaching an amicable conclusion rather than litigating which can be costly and stressful. We work with you to provide an early assessment of your dispute and set out your options for resolving it. 

The majority of shareholder disputes are resolved by one shareholder selling its shares to the remaining members. We work with specialist accountants to ensure the business is properly valued and that our client’s interest is properly recognised. We will also work with experienced mediators to enable the parties to discuss and agree a valuation and terms of settlement.

Occasionally it is impossible to reach an agreement without going to court. If you find yourself in that situation, we will fight for you in court claims including:

  • Unfair prejudice petitions where the court may order other shareholders to buy your shares or sell their shares to you.
  • Derivative claims seeking the court’s permission to bring claims on behalf of the company, including against directors who have diverted the company’s business or set up in competition with the business but use their board control to prevent the company bringing its own claim.

Winding up petitions, where the court orders the liquidation of the company and the sale of its assets.

Do you have any questions?