Our dedicated team can work with you on all areas of dispute resolution from small to multi million pound claims.
BUSINESS OBJECTIVES ACHIEVED
We provide Dispute Resolution services in the following areas:
Disputes ranging from an unpaid invoice, to a complex multi-million pound breach of contract claim or the consequences of receiving negligent advice from a professional, can cause disruption to trade, unwanted distraction for business owners and cash flow issues. Either way, you need the right team behind you to find a solution.
The Forbes Dispute Resolution team will first assess the complexity of the dispute and provide the right level of legal support to be able to respond appropriately. Our advice will be framed with both your overall business objectives and your desired outcome in mind.
Our lawyers have expertise in a broad range of disputes, but particularly involving companies and partnerships, contracts and commercial issues, professional services, land and property, construction and intellectual property. We regularly litigate successfully in all forums including the County Court, the High Court and the Lands Tribunal and represent clients in settlement meetings, ADR and mediation.
We have considerable experience in proactively fighting cases in which court proceedings become necessary, however we do seek to resolve disputes out of court in order to keep costs down.
We also ensure that we explore the right funding option available to suit your case and circumstances, be it fixed fees, CFA/DBA, time spent basis or insurance backed.
In short, no. The Courts encourage parties to deal with disputes when they first arise and try to avoid Court proceedings where possible. This often involves complying with Pre Action Protocols and the early exchange of information. We help our client's explore all options before engaging in court proceedings, including settlement meetings, mediation and other forms of ADR.
Much of the work we do for our clients focuses on the stage before Court proceedings are issued, whether for a claimant or a defendant. It is important to get advice at these early stages and seek to explore options to resolve disputes before matters progress. The vast majority of our cases are resolved at these pre-litigation stages.
Not necessarily. Settlement discussions at the Courts actively encourage mediation and other forms of ADR. However, it is important to be prepared (mentally and financially) to see a claim through to a trial once started. If not, then you weaken your position.
Even if a settlement is not achieved before trial, you can still discontinue a claim (if you have instigated it) but, if you do, you will normally have to pay the other side's legal costs up to the point that you withdraw.
How long a case takes to get to court depends on the size of the case, on the issues involved and on the availability of court time. In a straight forward small claim, it might only take a few months, but in very large cases it might be over two years. However, in cases of extreme urgency, such as where an injunction is required you can be in Court the same day as you instruct us. We will keep you informed throughout as to how the case is progressing and what the timetable is. Parties to litigation are encouraged to exchange information before proceedings are issued and we will always advise you on ways to resolve disputes without having to go to Court with the delay and expense that entails.
There is no case where success is guaranteed. In some cases the outcome depends on no more than who the Judge believes on certain key issues. What we will do is give a realistic assessment of the factors the Judge will take into account and identify the evidence we will have to obtain to present your case to the Judge. Based on our experience we will give you the best estimate we can of what the prospects of success are, and advise you on the commercial realities of the proposed case.
ADR stands for 'Alternative Dispute Resolution', the most commonly used form of which in business disputes is mediation. All forms of ADR involve the parties engaging in some way so as to avoid the cost and uncertainty of a trial, where a Judge makes a decision having heard the case.
Mediation itself is a form of ADR that involves the parties jointly appointing a mediator (often a qualified lawyer with formal mediation training and experience) to assist the parties in resolving the dispute at a mediation appointment. For substantial claims, these appointments are often over a full day and involve the mediator encouraging the parties to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of their own cases, look at what they want to achieve and trying to bring the parties towards a compromise or settlement.
Mediation is not always appropriate as it involves the parties engaging in a process that, if successful, would involve compromise. We encourage mediation for the right cases and find that the success rate of mediations is extremely good.
Our aim is to provide cost effective advice and to go about dealing with the case to ensure the best value representation for you. It is impossible to say at the outset what the total final cost is likely to be, as all cases differ and we will not know the stage at which matters will be resolved. For certain types of case fixed fees might be available. However, in each case we will give you the best estimate we can based on our experience as to what the likely costs are, and discuss with you any alternative ways of resolving the dispute in the most cost effective manner. Please also bear in mind that there is not only a direct financial cost to you, but that you will have to commit your own time to being involved in the process. This will all need to be taken into account when assessing the viability of the action.
There are a variety of funding options available. If you have legal expenses cover then, as long as your claim is accepted by your insurer, they will pay your fees. If you do not have this cover you may be able to obtain it from an 'after the event' insurer, although this kind of cover can be expensive. In certain circumstances we may also agree to represent you on a 'no win, no fee' agreement, where we only get paid if your claim is successful. There are also sometimes options to fund a claim through a third-party funder, who would eventually take a share of your recovered damages. If you are funding the case privately, we will discuss our rates with you and normally send invoices on a monthly basis to allow you to spread the cost.
If the claim is worth over £10,000 then the normal rule is that the loser will be ordered to pay the winner's costs. These are only general rules and the Judge can depart from them if he /she thinks it is just to do so, so the outcome cannot be guaranteed. Further, the loser is normally only ordered to pay 'assessed costs', which means the winner might receive less than they have paid their own lawyer, and the order is only of any use if the loser has the resources to pay. There are ways of making it more likely that you will get indemnity costs (that is all of your costs) if you win by making offers to settle or to mediate, but we will discuss these with you. You will be responsible for paying our fees whether or not you recover anything from the other side.
If the claim is worth less than £10,000 the normal rule is that you will pay your own legal costs whether you win or lose.
If you win the case how you get paid depends on the financial situation of the loser. The more information you can give us about their financial situation the better. However, if the loser has no money or other assets with which to pay then the only result might be their insolvency. We will normally discuss with you at the outset whether it is worth embarking on an action if the other side has no resources with which to pay.