Dispute resolution
9 February 2021 | Business, News

Dispute resolution: Managing your Risks

Although something most people would rather not think about, disputes happen, and most businesses will be confronted with the prospect of having to deal with some sort of dispute at some point.

To avoid commercial disputes it’s vital that any risk is managed.  In an ideal world disputes would be avoided, but occasionally they can be difficult or impossible to foresee, and so strategies to handle such eventualities are needed.  Poor communication, documentation, process specification, or even inadequate contracts can all lead to the risk of dispute, be that be business-to-business or between and employer and their employees.

Most business disputes can be avoided by ensuring that contracts set out precisely what is expected of each party.  It is important to see that the terms are appropriate under current law, and that they are enforceable; terms should be regularly reviewed to keep pace with any legislation changes that occur.  It is also worthwhile to keep an organised paper trail of correspondence between parties during the negotiation of terms so that clarity can be given should the intent of the agreement become under scrutiny.

The management of the paper trail goes beyond simply keeping track of inbound and outbound communications, and your legal representative will be able to advise on to whom communications should be made available.  For example, if any paperwork, including a fairly innocuous email, is forwarded to someone who is not part of your instructed group the content of that communication may not be subject to privilege.

In the event of any dispute it is important to seek expert advice as early as possible.  What may seem to be fair and reasonable to one party may not appear the same to the other, and so determination of which party “wins” may fall to the legal framework.  If possible, one should always look at alternative methods of dispute resolution, such as arbitration or mediation, as choosing one of these routes can help avoid significant costs to all parties.  Should a court case be unavoidable, make sure that you can meet the costs, either by way of using your own funds or by using one of the alternative funding methods, such as litigation insurance or third party funding.

To discuss how Aughton Ainsworth’s services can help with dispute resolution, please contact Andy Williamson at andywilliamson@aughtonainsworth.com.

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