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Commercial Contract Dispute Resolution

 

Commercial contracts set out your rights and responsibilities when you commit to a business agreement. But when something goes wrong, contract disputes can lead to arguments about who is responsible.

Resolving contract disputes quickly can save on costs and time delays, protect brands and reputations, and can ultimately salvage valuable working relationships. To achieve all of this, you need the right legal advice.

Lanyon Bowdler work closely with commercial clients from our offices in Shropshire, Herefordshire and North Wales. We serve the West Midlands, North Wales and the Marches, but we can take commercial law cases from anywhere in England and Wales.

As a full-service Legal 500 law firm, with Lexcel accreditation, we work proudly on high-profile and high-value cases to deliver the best standards of legal advice to businesses of all sizes including large multinational brands and household names.

We work closely with our clients to ensure our people feel like part of your own team. As a result, when you encounter a dispute, breach of contract, non-payment or fraud, you have a legal team you can turn to every time.

Types of Contract Disputes

Lanyon Bowdler advise on all types of contract disputes and commercial dispute resolution. The list below is not exhaustive, but some of the issues on which we advise include:

  • Agency Disputes
  • Breach and Enforcement of Restrictive Covenants
  • Construction Contract Disputes
  • Distribution Disputes
  • E-Commerce Contract Disputes
  • Fraud
  • Joint Venture Disputes
  • Licensing Disputes
  • Misrepresentation
  • Multiple Party and Cross-Border Disputes
  • Non-Payment of Goods or Services
  • Outsourcing
  • Supply Chain Disputes

We work with clients from all regions of England and Wales, and across all sectors plus we are recognised in the Top Tier by The Legal 500 for agricultural businesses. No matter the size of your company or the scale of your dispute, we can help.

Our legal services are completely confidential and we can negotiate settlements that protect your privacy, so that the outcome is not only financially acceptable, but also does no harm to your brand.

How We Resolve Contract Disputes

We work diligently and tirelessly on behalf of our commercial clients to resolve contract disputes in as positive a way as possible. Wherever there is an opportunity to salvage your relationship with the opposing party, we will seek to do so.

Our commercial dispute lawyers will consider methods of alternative dispute resolution in order to reduce time spent in court, and will attempt to negotiate a settlement where we believe it is in your best interests.

If litigation is unavoidable, our experienced legal team will represent you in court and mount a robust case to achieve a positive outcome.

In all instances, we will provide you with honest, professional legal advice to the very highest standards. Our clients are our priority and whatever the circumstances of your dispute, we will put you first as we pursue an acceptable resolution.

The Lanyon Bowdler Difference

Wherever we work in England or Wales, we bring to bear the best knowledge and understanding of the local area, including the commercial sector in each town, city or region.

Combined with exceptional levels of customer service and unparalleled legal expertise, we deliver outstanding advice on contract disputes and other areas of commercial dispute resolution.

Our firm is tight-knit, but are also renowned nationwide as talented lawyers and litigators on an individual basis. We always aim to provide legal advice in a professional yet approachable way, so that you know us by name and by face - our people as part of your own team.

We are proud of our reputation and the many different ways in which we are recognised, from our Legal 500 rankings to our tireless work across multiple cases for high-profile repeat clients.

Commercially Driven Legal Advice

We understand that as a commercial entity, you need legal advice that puts your business interests first and foremost. Lanyon Bowdler delivers on this necessity in several ways.

Our clear fee structure and transparent costs mean you can always have sound expectations of the potential expense associated with pursuing a case. Where possible we will recover costs from the opposing party to minimise the financial impact of a dispute.

We are driven by your commercial interests. That means where appropriate, we will make good use of alternative means of dispute resolution, avoiding costly litigation and aiming to achieve an out-of-court settlement when this is the best possible outcome.

Our team are not only talented litigators, but also exceptionally skilled negotiators across all methods of dispute resolution. This allows us to provide full-service contract dispute resolution no matter which method we decide to use.

At all times, we keep you engaged and informed so that you know when we make significant progress and when we resolve the case in your favour - allowing you to take any necessary business decisions as your claim proceeds.

How We Establish Your Legal Position

A key first step in contract disputes is to establish the legal position of both parties. To do this, we consider the following:

  • Does a legally binding contract exist?
  • What are the terms of that contract?
  • Are there grounds for a contract dispute?

Once these basics are established, we can advise on the appropriate course of action to pursue or defend a claim.

Commercial contracts are typically set out in writing and may be drawn up by lawyers, but this is not always the case. In principle if you make an offer and another party accepts it, and if they agree some form of payment in return, then a contract has been formed.

Examples of ways this can happen include:

  • Commercial contracts written by lawyers
  • Offers in any form of writing (including digital e.g. email)
  • Oral contracts (e.g. telephone calls and other verbal agreements)

The format of the contract can make it easier to establish the legal position of both parties. For instance, if you made a verbal contract in a conversation that was not recorded, it can be more difficult to demonstrate exactly what was agreed or the intent of the other party.

However, that does not always mean that you do not have a claim in the eyes of the law. That is why it is important to understand the contract itself, before we decide how best to pursue your case.

In some cases, especially where you have worked with the other party on previous contracts, there may also be implied terms that give you extra rights beyond those specified in the immediate contract. Where possible, we will use these to strengthen your position further.

Breach of Contract Disputes

Disputes involving breach of contract arise when one party does not deliver on their responsibilities under the contract. In order to pursue a claim, we will consider whether their failure represents a material breach in a legal sense.

Not all failures can be considered a 'breach of contract' in the technical sense, and not all breaches constitute a 'material breach'. However, if the other party has clearly not delivered on their side of the agreement and this has led to a financial (or equivalent) loss for your company, then it may be worth pursuing a legal claim even if litigation is necessary.

Again, we will always put the best interests of our client first, including your commercial interests. We will advise on whether we believe pursuing the claim is likely to have the most positive outcome for your business.

Claims for Breach of Contract

If we believe it is sensible to pursue a claim, we will seek compensation from the other party to recoup the financial losses incurred by your business due to the breach. Many commercial disputes can be resolved out of court by negotiating a mutually agreeable settlement.

We can take many different factors into account when deciding how much to claim. The direct financial losses are a starting point, but the level of damages you receive can also be based on any ambiguities in your contract, as well as the relative negotiating strength of the involved parties.

In general, settling out of court is faster with fewer costs, and can also preserve the business relationship, allowing you to work with the other party again in the future if you wish. Again, where we believe it is in your best business interests to pursue this as an outcome, we will negotiate accordingly.

How to Defend a Breach of Contract Claim

In cases where you are the defendant rather than the claimant, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as you are notified of the other party's intention to claim damages from you.

The initial stages of the case remain the same: we will look to establish whether a contract exists, the terms of that contract, and whether the dispute is based on valid grounds. Often we find that no valid claim exists, and will defend your position in the strongest terms when this is the case.

Even when the claimant has a strong case, effective negotiation can achieve a more positive outcome for your company. Where we believe this to be true, we can negotiate on your behalf to minimise delay, damage to your reputation, and to reduce the costs incurred.

Alternatives to Litigation

We are skilled in all forms of alternative dispute resolution, including commercial mediation and out-of-court settlement negotiation. In most instances, the faster a case can be resolved, the better the outcome for all involved parties.

If you have received a letter before action, we can advise on the best way to proceed. That might mean rejecting the claim completely, making an immediate offer, or agreeing to go to court.

In cases where you are the claimant, we can draft a robust letter before action. This will set out your legal position, any actions you intend to take (e.g. litigation) and any remedies you are seeking from the defendant.

Sending a well-written letter before action can often resolve a case in a very short space of time. Where necessary we can follow up with further correspondence in an attempt to reach a fast but positive outcome.

Where this is not possible, we will consider methods of ADR such as mediation and conciliation. This not only improves the likelihood of resolving the dispute quickly, but also shows the courts that you attempted to reach an agreement amicably, even if the case progresses to litigation.

Commercial Litigation Lawyers

If you decide to proceed with a case that cannot be settled out of court, we will litigate professionally and diligently to maximise your chances of success. We have a strong track record and our lawyers are renowned as individuals and as a team for their expertise and advocacy.

Winning your case is crucial, but is only one part of a positive outcome. We will also mount the strongest possible claim for costs and damages, to ensure that your business receives the full amount of compensation it is entitled to.

Contact the Lanyon Bowdler Commercial Team

Lanyon Bowdler welcome all enquiries relating to commercial dispute resolution and contract disputes. We are Lexcel accredited, so you can be confident that you will receive the highest standards of customer service.

We offer honest, professional legal advice, based on an unparalleled combination of local knowledge, experience and expertise in all aspects of commercial law. We represent commercial clients in all regions of England and Wales and no case is too big.

Our offices are located across the West Midlands, the Marches and North Wales, including Shrewsbury, Telford, Hereford, Ludlow, Oswestry, Conwy and Bromyard.

To get in touch, please contact our commercial litigation team by filling in our online enquiry form or give us a call. All enquiries are handled with total privacy and confidence, particularly in the case of contract disputes which we understand can be extremely commercially sensitive.

Lanyon Bowdler are here to help, with renowned individuals who are ready to robustly build or defend your case, negotiate the best possible settlement out of court, or tirelessly pursue litigation in search of a satisfactory resolution to your dispute.

Testimonials

Personal attention. Good advice.

- Mrs C Bhamra, Shrewsbury

Natasha Gibbons was very easy to talk to, I felt at ease with her, and she always kept me up to date with the case. She has provided excellent service throughout.

- Mrs C Roberts, Gwynedd

Everyone was kind and understanding, she was brilliant - explained every part of the procedure. Totally recommend Lanyon Bowdler's services.

- Mrs A Harris, Ludlow

Efficient and hassle free, thanks so much.

- Mrs J Moller, Oswestry

Ed provided utmost confidence throughout the process and I would have no hesitation in recommending him to other clients.

- Mr J Ostler, Hereford

Everything from start to finish made me feel they always had my best interests.

- Mrs D Manser

As a Welsh speaker, I attach great importance to being able to communicate in Welsh with my solicitor - as I can with him.

- Mr H Jones & R Jones, Llanrhystud

Excellent service in a clear and concise manner.

- Derwen College, Oswestry