Managing LLP Partner
Business and commercial disputes are an inherent risk of running a business. They are a distraction, time consuming, impeding development of the business.
Our experienced litigation lawyers will listen to you to understand the facts and what a solution to the issues looks like for you. We shall advise as to the tactical and strategic options. We offer practical, clear, commercial advice on the strengths and weaknesses of the case, and of course the costs of pursuing the claim or defending a claim. We shall not offer false hope. If we think your case has weaknesses then we shall say so.
We have expertise in all methods of dispute resolution – face to face negotiations, mediation, arbitration, expert determination, adjudication of construction disputes, as well as the County Court and High Court.
Contracts are an integral part of doing business. The contracts may be with suppliers, clients or customers, consultants or advisers, businesses – all enterprises need contracts to develop and fulfil their purpose and objectives. It is a fact of life that contracts do not always run as one would wish and issues arise between the parties to the agreement which bring them into conflict. The lawyers’ role is to advise and represent their clients’ interests in securing a resolution.
The dispute may have arisen because of what was said prior to the contract being made which led to one of the parties entering the agreement which is considered to have been misleading. It may be that one party did not get the service or product on time, or of a quality which it was expecting. There may be a dispute over unpaid invoices.
When such situations arise then unless there is a good measure of communication and understanding between the parties, positions can often become polarised with claims and counterclaims being made. Our lawyers regularly deal with cases of this nature. They will ascertain the facts and consider the strength of the available evidence. They will discuss our clients’ objectives and advise whether such goals are realistic or not. We have a breadth and depth of knowledge and experience to navigate the route to a resolution tailored to our business clients’ needs.
We have many years of experience in handling complex contractual disputes both in the county court and high court, mediations and arbitrations. We are able to offer teams of lawyers to meet the needs of our clients, large or small, as necessary. We will advise on the costs of the litigation and the funding options available.
Our lawyers have particular expertise in the following areas:
We have experience in many sectors including:
From time to time the stresses and strains of business can lead to disputes between key individuals in a company or firm. This may be between directors in the boardroom, shareholders or partners. Our corporate dispute lawyers have a wealth of experience and expertise in advising as to options, strategies and tactics to resolve such issues.
Disputes between directors, shareholders and partners can quickly escalate, particularly at times when a is not performing well or the owners and leaders of the business have differing, perhaps entrenched, views as to the direction, strategy or vision for the business. The effects of such disputes can become acrimonious and personal very quickly. They cause reputational risks to the business, create uncertainty for employees, stakeholders, customers and suppliers, disruption, restrict progress as well as create unwelcome opportunities for competitors.
Our lawyers advise business owners and leaders as to the roles and responsibilities of directors and their statutory obligations. They will grasp the facts to understand the cause of the issue, what the client is seeking to achieve for him/herself and/or the business and advise as to the options to resolve the dispute, having regard to the ongoing risks posed by the dispute continuing.
Disputes between shareholders are a recurring issue for businesses, particularly those in which there is no signed shareholder agreement in place. They can often arise when a minority shareholder believes that a majority shareholder is not acting in the best interests of the company, or a majority shareholder feels that a minority shareholder is seeking to frustrate the progress and development of the business. Tensions will run high and we have expertise in advising clients in such situations to find a solution and settlement, through the courts or frequently mediation.
Partnership is defined in the Partnership Act 1890 as follows:
“Partnership is the relation which subsists between persons carrying on a business in common with a view of profit”.
Accordingly, partnership does not need to be in writing for a partnership to exist. Disputes can arise between partners for a range of reasons, including a disagreement over strategy, appointment of a prospective new partner or member of staff, remuneration and performance, poor behaviour, succession planning, the exiting of a partner to name a few. We shall understand your issues and concerns, discuss your needs and aspirations and thereafter advise on tactics to resolve the problems and challenges which you face.
“Cash is king” is a frequently used saying business. The logic of these three words is undeniable. It enables a business to meet its objectives, to develop, to pay its staff and suppliers, to purchase more stock, to invest and innovate, to pay shareholder and directors, to discharge liabilities. The list could continue.
There are times when payment of certain invoices is not forthcoming. It could be because the debtor does not have means to make payment or because the debt is disputed, either on entirely legitimate grounds or for allegedly spurious reasons.
We believe that successful recovery of debts and other assets for our clients requires action which is prompt; professional; persistent; proportionate in terms of the costs incurred in securing recovery of the debt and outcome focused. This is based upon our many years of experience in this area of work for our business and commercial clients.
Please see our Charging Structure for details of our charges for this service.
Your intellectual property is important. It underpins your business and gives you monopoly rights to stop competitors taking advantage of your intellectual creation.
If you have taken the trouble to protect your intellectual property by registering a Design Right, Trade Mark or Patent, or if you have copyright, unregistered design right or common law rights, then you will want to take swift action if you see your rights being infringed.
It is important in those situations to move quickly and decisively; your ability to stop the infringer can be lost if you delay.
You also need clear and objective advice on the prospects of successfully challenging the infringer.
Our team is always on hand to give that rapid guidance and to proactively pursue infringers.
The lawyers in the intellectual property disputes team also have both legal and commercial experience of IP issues, giving you the benefit of seeing the bigger picture in terms of what technical issues will arise and how these can be dealt with.
Our team has experience of tackling infringers in the High Court, the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, the Patents Court and via arbitration and mediation as well as negotiated settlements where appropriate.
Arbitration is a binding process in which an independent arbitrator is appointed by the parties or a third party organisation as may be agreed by the parties. It is seen as an alternative to court proceedings.
Arbitration is a dispute resolution mechanism which may be agreed by the parties to a contract and recorded in the dispute resolution clause in a business contract as an alternative to court proceedings. Such clauses are often seen in contracts for supply of goods and services internationally or domestically, franchise and distribution contracts, some joint venture agreements, as well as those contracts concerned with intellectual property or construction.
Commonly, an arbitration clause in a contract will specify:
It is common for arbitration agreements to incorporate institutional arbitration rules such as those of the International Chamber of Commerce and The London Court of International Arbitration. They have tried and tested rules reference to which are included in standard arbitration clauses. Such rules detail the process to be followed.
The arbitrator may be sole or part of a three person arbitral tribunal, who shall consider the submissions of each party, the evidence and the documents before delivering a decision.
Decisions on the merits of the dispute by an arbitrator are usually final and not subject to appeal, although the award may in exceptional circumstances be set aside by a court. Awards made by an arbitrator can include damages, interest and costs. They are enforceable through the courts.
Court litigation is only one of the forums for resolving disputes. Another very successful platform is mediation. Mediation is a non-binding confidential forum in which a neutral accredited mediator helps the parties resolve their differences. He or she acts as a facilitator to settlement. It is without prejudice to any court proceedings which may be taking place. An enforceable contract is only made when the parties sign a written agreement.read more
Construction is a key element of a successful economy and will continue to be so. Construction projects are often complex and involve a number of parties and aspects. A successful construction project is the outcome of a well managed integration of all the moving elements to it. Recent research has concluded that construction disputes are on the increase.
The three most common causes of disputes in construction projects is as a result of failings in the administration of the contract, a lack of understanding and/or compliance by the parties of their own obligations and failing to give the required period of notice under the contract.
Construction disputes require specialist focus and prompt attention. Time is often critical and as each day passes costs increase. The consequences of these disputes are invariably undesired expenses, delay and disruption to one’s business. The distraction and amount of management time spent in dealing with such issues is often significant with wider ramifications.
Paris Smith’s construction disputes team of specialist lawyers have expertise in acting and advising in a range of construction related disputes including those concerning pay-less notices, delays in the completion of the contract, insolvency of one of the contracting parties, enforcement of bonds, disputes between contractors and professional negligence claims against specialist contractors/project managers/architects or engineers. We have expertise in representing clients in various forums for resolution of construction disputes including:
Property related disputes and arguments arise for a multitude of reasons. It may be a dispute between landlords and tenants, ownership and adverse possession arguments, covenants permitting or restricting certain use, activities or access, rights of way, removal of squatters. Arguments arise over boundaries, party walls and even the interpretation or wording of key documents. Resolution of such disputes requires specialist expertise and experience.read more
In the course of our business or personal lives we seek advice from or work to be undertaken by professionals. One naturally expects that advice and work to be reliable and undertaken to a competent level. On occasions it is not. We have both the expertise and experience to advise as to what can be done in such situations.
Please also visit our Frequently Asked Questions page to see if your query can be answered there.read more
Resolving disputes can be expensive. However efficiently your legal team work, there are additional costs such as court fees, barristers and experts to factor in.
We can help you explore ways to reduce both the up front cost to you, and reduce the risk of having to pay legal costs to your opponent if you lose.
Legal Expenses Insurance: As an individual you may have cover under your household contents insurance policy, or as a business you may have taken out legal or business interruption cover, or Directors’ and Officers’ (“D & O”) insurance. We can work with your insurer to agree a strategy and a budget to run the litigation at your insurer’s cost.
Litigation Funding: We have links with a number of companies who offer to pay the legal costs of a dispute up front, in return for a share, usually around 30%, of the damages won. You will also be required to take out an “After the Event” insurance policy to protect you and the funder from having to pay costs to your opponent if you lose (see below).
“After the Event” Insurance: A number of insurance companies offer insurance policies to protect you from paying the winner’s costs if you lose the case (known as “adverse costs”). These polices are usually “self insuring” which means that there is no premium to pay up front. A notional premium is agreed, which usually increases at different stages of the case as the risk increases. If you win the case, you will pay the insurance premium out of your damages. If you lose the case, there is no premium to pay at all.
Conditional Fee Agreement: If you are making a claim, rather than defending one, and you are willing to share an agreed percentage of your damages with us, we will look at entering into a “no win, no fee” agreement if your case is strong enough.
“Pro Bono” work: If your case is of significance to a wider group or of importance for the public good, we will consider taking on the case without charge if it is likely to be successful.
Known for being an experienced team that stands out for its expertise in debt recovery work assisting notable asset-based lenders. Acts for an impressive roster of regional and national clients, and is also regularly called upon for its strengths in trust and probate cases, shareholder litigation, and landlord and tenant disputes. Capable of advising on insolvency claims. Sources say “They have lots of experienced lawyers who are especially adept at handling insolvency claims”.
Chambers & Partners Legal Directory 2018
Paris Smith LLP’s team is ‘very responsive and provides excellent and nuanced advice‘. David Eminton is well-known for his focus on real estate and insolvency litigation. Recently promoted partner, Christopher Holliss, wins praise for his ‘fantastic service‘ and Jason Oliver is ‘responsive to ideas and doesn’t jump to (expensive) conclusions‘. The team is further enhanced by insolvency expert Mike Pavitt.
Legal 500 2018-2019
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