Dispute Resolution Lawyer, Commercial Litigation Solicitor, Civil Litigation, Court Claim – what does it all mean and what’s the difference?!

As a business, knowing you have a legal dispute or legal problem is one thing, knowing what to do about it and what to search for in Google, can be quite another.

The legal profession and its legal marketing does not always help and it is rarely obvious what the difference between a 'dispute resolution solicitor' and a 'commercial litigator' is!

Even if you vaguely know what these words mean, are there any differences?   At Saunders Law our lawyers try very hard to speak in plain English, so we asked them.

Dispute Resolution

This often refers to taking legal advice from a solicitor with the aim of resolving a disagreement- through any number of ways.   The disagreement can be with a supplier over a product delivered, a customer over an unpaid debt or a newspaper for publishing a defamatory story.   All of these are disputes and they can be resolved in a number of ways. This doesn't necessarily mean the dispute will end up at court; our solicitors strive to provide commercial solutions that preserve business relationship, so a dispute could be resolved through solicitor negotiation, out of court settlement or mediation.


Litigation is very similar in meaning to 'Dispute Resolution' does - but is often used to describe a dispute that is being pursed in the courts.   The case that is being taken to court can be called the 'legal action' or 'law suit' but is usually simply referred to as 'the claim'.   To start the claim, a claim form needs to be filed with the court.

Commercial Litigation

Commercial Litigation is an umbrella term for litigation - a dispute or claim at court - which has arisen in a business context, between two or more business or commercial organisations.   These disputes could involve a breach of contract, a failure to pay an invoice, the professional negligence of an accountant or solicitor, or fraud commitment by a former director or employee.

Civil Litigation

Civil Litigation describes any sort of litigation or dispute that is outside of the criminal law system.   Whilst in meaning, it includes commercial litigation, this term is more often used to refer to disputes and claims involving individuals, particularly where a private individual is claiming something from another.

Solicitor or lawyer - what is the difference?

A lawyer is a general term for anyone who gives legal advice but calling yourself a lawyer doesn't necessarily mean you have had legal training, but it can be an umbrella term used to describe solicitors, barristers and legal executives.

A solicitor is an individual who is qualified and permitted by law, to advice others on the law. A solicitor has gone through a prescribed period of learning and training and is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

At Saunders Law, our lawyers try very hard to speak in plain English, protecting our clients and keeping their commercial interests safe, so they can get on with business.

We always offer a free, no-obligation meeting. Call us on 020 3131 7275 or enquire online.


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