Many corporations will at some stage be involved in a commercial dispute and may need to consider their legal options to resolve the matter, whether through compromise or by litigation. Legal disputes are stressful, whether you are bringing or defending proceedings. We are experienced negotiators with expertise across all areas of commercial litigation including:
- contract disputes
- corporate / director / shareholder disputes
- disputes concerning mergers and acquisitions
- property and leasing matters
- debt recovery and insolvency disputes
- employment disputes
Alternative dispute resolution
Where practical, we foster alternative dispute resolution processes to help achieve a timely, cost-effective outcome.
Alternative dispute resolution refers to a range of methods that can be used to resolve a commercial dispute or settle a claim outside the jurisdiction of a court or tribunal. Common processes include negotiation, mediation, and conciliation.
Mediation involves a neutral person (the mediator) who assists and encourages the parties to a dispute to reach an outcome. The process is facilitative and confidential, and the mediator does not decide the matter. Processes such as these are generally less formal and more cost effective than litigation and can offer more flexible solutions than what might be achieved through court orders. Agreements reached through dispute resolution can be formalised in legally binding terms of settlement.
Even where a contract has been carefully drafted, a dispute may arise as a result of the parties not agreeing on the interpretation of a term. Disputes might also arise if one of the parties is unable to comply with its obligations under the contract, even if that inability is beyond the control of either party.
If you find yourself in a contractual dispute, the best approach to take may depend on whether you are trying to preserve the relationship on an ongoing basis. Getting competent legal advice early is important when it comes to properly managing a dispute. We can help you explore a range of dispute resolution options to deliver an appropriate outcome tailored to your circumstances.
Insolvency disputes and litigation
One of the biggest issues for many businesses, particularly when starting out, is cashflow. If you are a company director, maintaining proper cashflow is especially important to avoid personal liability for trading while insolvent. If you are having difficulty meeting your company’s debts and have been served with a statutory demand, failure to act promptly may result in your company being wound up.
Conversely, where you are owed money, it might be necessary to issue a statutory demand to ensure that you receive what you are owed. Of course, if money is owed by an individual rather than a company, the processes for getting paid are different and your approach might vary depending on the sum owed. No matter the situation, our lawyers have experience in dealing with insolvency litigation and disputes.
Shareholder and inter-corporation disputes
Shareholder disputes might arise in a variety of situations, such as where:
- Shareholders disagree with management or board decisions, particularly where they are a ‘silent’ partner and provide capital only or if they are a minority shareholder.
- Parties using a company to operate their business feel like they are doing more than another.
- One party wishes to force a sale of shares to remove somebody from the business.
No matter the cause of the disagreement, getting prompt and competent legal advice enhances the possibility of resolving the dispute without costly litigation.
Despite early attempts to resolve a commercial dispute, court proceedings may be the only viable option to achieve a result or to defend a matter. Litigation refers to the commencement of legal action to be heard and determined by a relevant court.
Court proceedings are complex – they usually involve a range of legal issues and there are always two or more versions of events. They may require expert witnesses and can become protracted and expensive. Parties who are unsuccessful in a litigated dispute risk having a costs order made against them – not only will they need to pay their own legal fees, but they may be liable for the legal costs of the other party.
It is vital that your case be objectively assessed on the legal and practical merits of litigation. We will carefully review your matter and provide comprehensive advice so you can make an informed decision before taking this path. We are skilled negotiators and experienced litigators. If instructed, we will prepare your case with care and diligence and advocate strongly on your behalf.