Business Disputes, Dispute Resolution

 

In business, it’s impossible to avoid the occasional dispute. This might be with a partner, a supplier, a creditor, or indeed with your business colleagues or staff.

In the case of specific employment issues, see our specific page on Employment Law here and our News section for useful articles on the subject such as this one on “When Employees Turn Rogue”.

Common disputes and issues that we regularly help clients with include:

  • Partnership disputes, Director and shareholder exit disputes
  • Domain name disputes – see also our article on this subject here
  • Copyrights, Patents, Intellectual Property and Trademarks – see our newsletter article here
  • Distribution and franchise disagreements
  • Various Issues arising from breach of contract
  • Advising on the legal position in the absence of contracts

Some specific disputes where we have helped clients with dispute resolution include:

  • Advising on termination of IT software development and services contracts in particular the recovery of outstanding fees in excess of €1million.
  • Advising on and handling dispute between exiting director/shareholder of a management consultancy and the other directors/shareholders in relation to alleged breach of fiduciary duties (by solicitation of clients prior to exit) and the division of clients and future profits.
  • Multi million shareholder dispute involving family members and various assets and claims in multiple jurisdictions.
  • Issue of claim for unpaid fees (circa £80,000 including interest and costs) and subsequent settlement.
  • Pre-litigation settlement of claim in restitution for a £30,000 refund paid twice in error by our client to its own client.
  • High court injunction brought ex parte against our client for breach of restrictive covenants.
  • Freezing order placed on our client’s assets amidst a dispute over theft of intellectual property

Pre-litigation settlement of claim for non-payment of invoices and breach of consultancy agreement between our client and a multinational energy provider. You can also protect your business and make disputes easier to resolve, whether you are a start up or an established business by:

1      making sure you have a strong set of Terms & Conditions and  regularly reviewing these – see our helpful article here.

2      putting in place a Partnership or Shareholder agreement and clear Articles of Incorporation where relevant Ensuring that employment terms are clear and provided to employees within 2 months of their start date;

3      Dealing with complaints or grievances whether from staff, clients or suppliers amicably and swiftly to avoid such issues escalating.

Investing in protecting yourself legally early on in your business life cycle always works out much more cost effective than having to sort out disputes later without a clear set of terms or any legal agreements in place.

Litigation

We work on the premise that part of our job is to assist you pro-actively in avoiding litigation where possible. Litigation is  usually unwanted, expensive and can for small businesses be the making or breaking of a venture, distracting both staff and principals from vital tasks and diverting financial resources from where they are most needed.

Commercial disputes are however a fact of business life and some do lead to litigation if all else fails. We advise both claimants and defendants on a wide range of litigious matters including unpaid debt disputes, breach of directors’ fiduciary duties, breach of contract and shareholder and partnership disputes. We advise in particular on the following:

  • Reviewing your position and advising whether issuing a claim is your best option or what forms of alternative dispute resolution would best suit your needs;
  • Negotiating an out of court settlement or starting a claim and advising on the best court for this or preparing a defence to a claim form received.
  • Instructing Counsel in light of the nature of the dispute, the sums and issues involved and attending conferences.
  • Preparing court documents including claim forms, particulars of claim, defences, counterclaims, court orders, witness statements, lists of documents, court bundles.
  • Advising on tactics and strategy throughout the process;
  • Attending mediation with a view to settlement.

Some specific litigation case studies where we have helped clients include:

  • Defence of High Court application for injunctions and settlement of substantive claim in respect of alleged breaches of our client’s contract of employment, specifically: non-solicitation and non-competition covenants; misuse of confidential information; and failure to return company property.
  • Highly litigious case involving the alleged breach of directors’ fiduciary duties and theft of database, including defence of freezing order application and subsequent application to discharge, successful defence of application for summary judgment, and eventual £1.3million settlement.

See also our News section for useful newsletter articles such as this one on alternative methods of dispute resolution and our many client testimonials here.

 

Why choose Fortune Law?

Fortune Law is a boutique commercial law firm based in the heart of London’s West End. “Boutique” in the sense that as a client of Fortune Law, you benefit from the same depth of expertise and professional experience as a larger law firm, the difference being that although our offices are located in the West End, we have lower overheads and pass on those savings to our clients. That means lower fees with no compromise on quality or speed of service.

We have significant experience in acting for blue chip clients and listed companies but our client base mainly comprises serial entrepreneurs, start-ups, SME’s and individuals, all of whom benefit from the same level of service and skill set.