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Dispute Resolution

When disputes arise, they can often have far-reaching implications for the rest of a business.

Contentious issues need to be dealt with swiftly and appropriately to prevent them escalating, keeping disruption and financial impact to a minimum. Mitigating risk is just as important as robustly fighting a claim in court. There are numerous alternatives to litigation, so pursuing the right strategy is important to ensure disputes are resolved in the most effective way.

Lewis Silkin Dispute Resolution

We treat problems as if they are our own, working closely and collaboratively with our clients to provide practical solutions that fit with their commercial objectives. While we have a substantial group of litigators, we are also experts in alternative dispute resolution, mediation and arbitration. In addition, we also provide risk mitigation and investigation services to help clients identify where issues might arise, and where they have in the past, to work out the causes and implement solutions.

Whether it’s handling high-profile, complex cases in the High Court and beyond, or working behind the scenes with a minimum of fuss, clients rely on our first-class insight to help them stay one step ahead.

 

 

 

 

You can view our latest two Dispute Resolution blog posts below and our full blog here.

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Under pressure: what kind of pressure makes a contract unenforceable?

09 April 2021

Even as lockdown eases, multiple periods of restrictions over a sustained period, and the wider economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, have made the performance of many commercial contracts very difficult, if not impossible. As a result, some parties have sought to avoid their obligations altogether, whilst others may seek to amend them as they begin their post-lockdown operations.

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Will a court force a party to perform its contractual obligations?

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As businesses start to get back to some kind of normality, they must be alive to their options if faced with a counterparty unable to comply with its contractual obligations in an uncertain economy. The usual remedy in such a scenario would be for the innocent party to sue the defaulting party for the loss and damage suffered as a result of the other party’s failure to fulfil its obligations.

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Are contract amendments agreed during lockdown legally binding?

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Performing obligations in commercial contracts during the Government enforced lockdown has been a serious challenge for many businesses. Sometimes that challenge was so great that it was the catalyst for a breakdown of a business relationship. To avoid remaining bound by onerous obligations some parties felt compelled to terminate contracts.

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But you promised! Even without a written contract, promises can be enforced and rights given up.

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Broken promises in commercial life can leave businesses in real difficulties. That feels particularly unfair when a party’s only mistake was to take the other at its word. Which is why in the normal course of things businesses should have written contracts to remove risk and uncertainty.

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Can a contract be terminated if the effects of COVID-19 have prevented performance?

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The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on businesses worldwide. Lockdown, restrictions, disruption to supply chains, increased pressure on cashflow and reduced capacity have all affected the ability of businesses to fulfil contractual obligations. Despite best efforts to co-operate, preserve contracts and maintain business relationships, as we emerge from lockdown and gradually return to some sort of normality, many will find themselves in a position where their counterparty remains unable to perform its obligations and will be in breach of contract.

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Did contractual dispute resolution clauses have immunity from the effects of Covid-19 and the lockdown restrictions?

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As businesses plan to recommence operations, they must consider the legal implications of any action taken or contemplated to preserve contracts and business relationships and be alive to the potential consequences of action threatened or taken by other contracting parties. The actual or perceived amenable approach taken by some during the pressure of lockdown may quickly evaporate as the country returns to some sort of normality. This combined with economic uncertainty is likely to result in an increase in disputes.

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Pursuant to the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 (CDDA) the court may, in certain circumstances, make a ‘Disqualification Order’ preventing an individual from being a company director for a period of up to 15 years.

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