Commercial Disputes


It is a fact of life that commercial disputes arise. It is almost inevitable that not everything will go to plan all of the time. Issues can arise and conflicts can occur, but that needn’t be a cause for concern if you have the right representation. Our team strives for swift, cost effective and realistic solutions.

Key Commercial Dispute Services

We can advise on various types of commercial disputes including:

  • commercial contractual disputes including insurance disputes;
  • director, shareholder or partnership conflicts;
  • debt collection;
  • intellectual property infringements;
  • construction and property disputes;
  • professional negligence;
  • insolvency issues; and
  • judicial review.

Keeping you out of court

Mediation is a very successful alternative to court litigation in resolving disputes. It offers a forum in which an accredited mediator – who is of course also a neutral party – acts as a facilitator in order to help parties resolve their differences. This means that a suitable settlement can often be reached without the need for court proceedings to take place. Mediation then results in an enforceable contract being made, but only when all parties sign a written agreement. 

Arbitration might also be an option for you. Arbitration can most easily be explained as an alternative to court proceedings, by which an independent arbitrator is appointed by either the parties involved in the dispute or a third party. Decisions on the merits of the dispute by an arbitrator are usually final and not subject to appeal, so it is therefore vital that you get the appropriate legal advice before entering into proceedings.

Funding a commercial dispute

Resolving commercial disputes can be expensive and even with our effective legal team 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.
  • “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 policies 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.

Guide to Litigation

We created this guide to provide you with an overview of the litigation process in England & Wales. You will find a summary of the common stages a civil case goes through, whether your case is a personal one or commercial, and some of the options available to resolve a dispute.

Download our Guide to Litigation here.


How we’ve helped our clients

“We had finally found a firm of solicitors who dealt with matters with the expediency, urgency and enthusiasm that we ourselves input to problem cases. In the event of default and disputes Delta Finance had engaged a number of different firms of solicitors over the years and found the process slow and cumbersome. After being recommended to the team at Paris Smith we had finally found a firm of solicitors who dealt with matters with the expediency, urgency and enthusiasm that we ourselves input to problem cases. It has also been refreshing to receive advice from someone with a detailed knowledge and genuine understanding of our industry.”

Julian Hill

Delta Finance Corporation

Chambers and Partners Legal Directory 2022

Experienced team with an established reputation on the South Coast. Acts for a range of regional and national clients in sectors as diverse as manufacturing, recruitment and financial services. Regularly called upon for its strength in shareholder and payment disputes with additional expertise in contentious insolvency matters. Also regularly called upon to advise on a range of contentious contractual issues.

Notable Practitioners :

Chris Holliss advises clients on shareholder and contractual disputes, as part of his wider litigation practice. He acts for both companies and individuals.

Legal 500 Directory 2021

Paris Smith LLP’s regional reputation sees it acting for a range of local SMEs and national companies headquartered in the South. Practice head Helen Brown attracts a high volume of work, regularly taking on disputes work for many of the firm’s most high-profile clients. Christopher Holliss leads the debt collection and asset recovery sub-division, and is especially active for SME and multinational clients operating in the recruitment sector. Peter Ralls QC draws on a wealth of experience as a commercial and civil litigator to run cases and act as counsel on complex matters led by colleagues within the team. All named lawyers are based in Southampton.

A sources says “Paris Smith’s commercial litigation team provides a gold standard service to their clients. The bundles are always meticulously prepared, the briefs comprehensive and thorough”.

Introducing your key contact

David Eminton
Partner – Head of Dispute Resolution



16th January 2020

Is Your Solicitor Playing To Win?


16th January 2020

Is Your Solicitor Playing To Win?

Do your lawyers have the knowledge to win your case? There are many avenues your solicitor could go down to ensure you win, and keep costs down. Partner Helen Brown explores this.

Show Notes:
00:40 What normally happens when you have a commercial dispute? Helen describes the situation you want to avoid
01:30 Helen considers some of the tactical mistakes that are made during a commercial dispute resolution process
01:47 Helen suggests some ideas to think about when you are going through a commercial dispute, how can you ensure you win?


13th August 2019

How To Resolve Commercial Disputes Without Going To Court


13th August 2019

How To Resolve Commercial Disputes Without Going To Court

How do you settle commercial disputes without going to court? Mediation can hold the key. In his latest podcast, Managing Partner Peter Taylor explains what mediation is and how it applies to commercial disputes.

Show notes:
00:28 What is mediation? Peter defines what happens
01:00 How successful is mediation statistically and what is the role of the nominated mediator?
01:27 Mediation can be particularly useful when parties need to maintain a relationship. Peter talks through when this might be the case
01:43 Peter talks about the wider benefits of mediation as opposed to the courts.
02:26 What happens if a dispute is not settled in a mediation?
02:49 Are there any disadvantages to mediation?
03:42 What is the process in mediation? Peter explains the stages which parties go through step by step
05:55 What happens when a settlement is agreed? When is this legally binding?
06:58 What does a settlement through mediation feel like?

Downloadable Guides

You may also be interested in

Landlord & Tenant

Get in touch

We are here to help. Get in touch to speak with an expert.


Stay up to date with our latest industry news

By completing your details and submitting, you are consenting to us sending you relevant legal updates and invitations based on the areas of interest you select. For further details please read our privacy notice.