Dispute Resolution does not always involve going to Court
We weigh up and assess the merits of each case before we give any formal advice. Sometimes it is not possible to resolve a dispute between the parties. Often the parties will try to reach a compromise. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a mechanism that allows the parties to reach such a compromise. If that is the case, we will explore the relevant avenues as outlined below. Alternative Dispute Resolution involves either mediation or arbitration
Clients come to Blackstone Law Solicitors where there is an issue and where they need legal assistance because they have either attempted to or don’t know how to resolve a dispute.
Disputes can be resolved in a number of ways which are set out below.
There are many factors to be considered and it be that your case can be settled without the need to go to Court.
Compromise where both parties will attempt to compromise the matter in order that both parties have a win -win situation.
The Discussions that take place are confidential and the parties have some element of control. Mediation is an attempt to provide a fair and reasonable outcome to a dispute.
The arbitrator makes a decision and often this will give rise some additional costs being incurred. Where an Arbitrator makes the end decision, that decision is binding upon both Parties. ADR often is flexible and creative. It can allow new terms to be introduced and is not based purely upon the law.
The differences between Mediation and Arbitration
Mediation is not binding and is less formal
Both Parties agree to follow this process
The Ombudsman Service
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) initiated the set up of the ombudsmen service. This can assist in providing ADR for consumers or customers to business disputes. The ombudsmen service can assist and avoid litigation. However, terms and conditions apply for each type of matter that is referred to the ombudsman.
It could be said that there are as many types of possible dispute as there are people in the world. What we mean by that is that we can all be a subject of a dispute at some stage in our life. Depending on the nature of the dispute Blackstone Law Solicitors & Advocates can help you in the following two ways.
Going to Court
If, after assessing the facts we decide (with you) that the best option would be to issue proceedings. We will inform you of the advantages, disadvantages, the costs involved, the process and any possible outcomes. We will look at the strengths of your case and the weakness of the opponent’s case to determine the best way forward.
Some Clients will have no hesitation taking the other party to Court whilst other Clients may feel anxious or nervous. Whatever the case may be, we will support with all the way- if there is a chance of success. It has to be proportionate. Sometimes it is not possible to resolve a dispute between the parties by ADR and as such we either issue a clam in the county Court or High Court depending upon the value of the case.
Court fees are payable and the issue fee is usually a proportion of the value of the claim. In such circumstances if you are starting the legal action or issuing the claim then you are the Claimant in the legal proceedings. If you are recipient of a claim against you then you are the defendant.
The claimant must state their case clearly and prove their case to be reasonable and true. The defendant must respond to the claim against them and this often involves putting an alternative account or view to that of the claimant.
On occasion, the defendant makes a counter claim against the claimant if there are sufficient grounds, for example, person A says company B owes then £25,000. Company B says ‘no we do not owe you any money’.That is the defence. If Company B then says, in fact person A owes us £10,000 then £10,000 is the value of the counter claim.
If the Judge hearing the above hypothetical case by way of example and he finds both parties are true and correct he could then follow that the practical solution is that company B pays company A £15,000 as a result of the ‘set off’. A set off is a compromise calculation between monies owed in both directions between the claimant and the defendant. Staying with the current example, calculation or set off is £25,000 – £10,000 = £15,000 to be paid.
At Blackstone Law Solicitors & Advocates we have acted for clients who have had disputes regarding
- Terms of a contract with utility companies providing gas or electricity for business
and breach of terms
- Housing matters for landlords
- Breach of Commercial agreements
- Defending companies and consumers in the High Court, County Court and
- Contracts where only part performance of the obligations of the parties has occurred.
- Representing parties AFTER the substantive legal dispute has been concluded and
the nature of the dispute has been the associated legal costs in the matter.
In legal disputes the general rule is costs ‘follow the event’ which means usually the winning party has its legal costs paid by the losing party in general terms. The specifics on each case will depend on the facts. The Court also has wide powers and discretion to award costs to the parties and/or caps the costs as the Court sees fit.
These budgets are usually drafted by specialists and as such the document illustrates to the Court the level of legal costs to date and future projected legal costs. At the end of the trial in Court the Judge will then consider the issues relating to legal costs and the amount of legal costs recovered from the losing party. It is the rule of the Judge to case manage the associated legal costs in the case and the Court has wide discretionary powers to do so.
Commercial disputes often involve the person or company who believes they have been ‘wronged’. From that ‘wrong’ action or omission (one or both) of the parties could lose money or are bound to lose money in the future. In such cases, depending upon the facts we can act for you as Claimant or Defendant.