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6 tips to avoid and minimise commercial litigation

6 tips to avoid and minimise the risk of commercial litigation

Our lawyers pride themselves on delivering cost-effective and commercially sound legal advice, but even with experienced solicitors fighting your corner, commercial litigation can be unwelcome, time consuming and costly.

Our team have drawn on their experience to identify six steps that  you can take to help  protect your business from the risk of commercial litigation.

Conduct business under a contract

When entering in to a relationship with another organisation, make sure you have a contract in place that covers the full extent of your relationship.   Make sure it is clear, contains everything that has been agreed, is signed by all parties and, if possible, drafted or at least reviewed by a solicitor.

Retain emails, correspondence and documents

Commercial litigation can often be stopped in its tracks when a party can quickly put its hand on a document or email, which either solves or adds colour to a brewing dispute.   Save everything!

Staff training

If your employees enter in to and negotiate contracts, consider whether or not training is appropriate.   Contract law isn’t always straightforward, but even a few hours training for staff by your in-house legal team, or an external legal advisor, could cover some useful ground and help identify potential pitfalls before they develop.

Communication, communication, communication

Many commercial disputes arise because businesses either weren’t frank with each other or failed to keep a customer or supplier updated.   Keeping people in the loop and managing expectations, even when the news is bad, can diffuse an escalating potential dispute

Be proactive

Don’t ignore an angry supplier, customer or client.   If a potential dispute doesn’t look like it is going away, acknowledge the problem and take action.   This could include talking to a commercial litigation solicitor, or simply picking up the phone to try and engage with the aggrieved party.   Ignoring the matter can often increase animosity and our lawyers always favour constructive engagement.

Be prepared to negotiate and explore alternative dispute resolution

The Courts expect those involved in commercial litigation to have at least considered and preferably explored ways of resolving the dispute, other than through the courts.   This is known as alternative dispute resolution.   This could include conducting a round-table meeting, face-to-face settlement negotiations, or more formal mediation or arbitration.   Alternative dispute resolution is often quicker and cheaper than having a trial before a judge and can even preserve the business relationship.

Our commercial litigation and dispute resolution solicitors are always happy to have an initial, free, no-obligation meeting with potential clients and can be contacted on 0207 632 4300.   Or feel free to email Matthew Purcell, our Head of Dispute Resolution.

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