Being involved in a dispute, whether that be with a supplier, customer or other third party for any business can be detrimental but is unfortunately not unusual.
There are a number of simple steps that can be taken to avoid protracted disputes and potentially formal court proceedings.
Our top tips are:
- Document everything relevant to the dispute and maintain records of all of the relevant correspondence (whether this be physical or electronic).
- Have a clear understanding as to the what the key contractual terms are (whether they are written or oral).
- Plan ahead and manage risks.
- Understand the other party’s objectives.
- Set out points of dispute and consider disclosing documents in support of your position at an early stage to the other party to enable both parties to understand each other’s respective arguments.
- Regularly assess progress and costs.
- If you are thinking about making a concession or an attempt to settle the dispute, consider marking the email or letter “Without Prejudice”.
- Be open to and carefully consider proposing or agreeing to Alternative Dispute Resolution such as a without prejudice meeting or mediation.
- Consider training your staff on handling complaints in order to prevent escalation of such complaints at an early stage.
Above all, it is paramount that you obtain advice as early as possible. As soon as it appears that matters are becoming complicated or a disagreement is showing signs of escalation, seek advice from a commercial disputes solicitor. Being proactive and getting advice early on can save significant and avoidable costs and time further down the line, particularly if proceedings are issued by the other party.
For more information on this or any advice on any aspect of a business or commercial dispute, please contact a member of our Commercial Disputes & Litigation team directly or call us on 0115 9 100 200.
Posted on December 2, 2022