Tips for Better Dispute Resolution
There’s never a good time to have to handle a dispute, and they have a way of appearing just when you have neither time nor resource to deal with them. To reduce the risk of a dispute arising later, it’s important to make sure that contracts are accurate at the outset. Here are a few tips to help you avoid costly disputes and avoid the breakdown of otherwise valuable commercial relationships.
Are all terms included?
When a contract includes an Entire Agreement clause it’s likely that it includes every aspect that is to be considered. However, there could be other elements, such as documents or email, that introduce additional terms to which the parties would be bound.
Keep all correspondence
Any written correspondence between you and the other party should be kept and recorded. This includes email, letters, even text messages, that may be used to clarify an understanding whether the terms may have varied later, and to confirm the intentions of each party.
Has there been a breach of the terms?
When determining if there has been a breach of the terms, check the contract thoroughly to ascertain that a breach has occurred and, when necessary, how serious the breach is. Before taking any action, ensure that you followed correct processes, gave precise details, etc., when ordering the goods or services, and that any delay or error may have been the responsibility of either party.
Dispute resolution clause
A threat of legal action isn’t always the best action to take. A contract may include a dispute resolution clause which would set out a procedure that should be followed first. This may start with a meeting between parties, and then a process for escalating the process, perhaps to mediation or arbitration.
Negotiation may be key
In most cases negotiation over the terms and liability would be the best course of action for all parties. It must be made clear that during negotiations that the contractual rights and obligations of all parties are not waived. Decide if the discussions that take place in any negotiations are to be treated without prejudice, thus remaining confidential at that time.
In the event of a contract dispute that becomes complex or cannot be resolved in negotiation or mediation, or the relationship breaks down during negotiations, do consult with a solicitor early on. This will help smooth the process and lead to a quicker resolution.< Back to News