Advisory & Dispute Resolution

Whether we like it or not, this is not a perfect world and so, during the course of business, invariably a dispute can arise. It is how you deal with that dispute that can have an impact on your business. Frankly put, being involved in a dispute is bad for business (given the management time and financial cost associated with the dispute).

Experienced business people do quite often manage to resolve disputes through pragmatic commercial stances. However, this approach doesn’t work for every dispute and so, what happens when you are unable to reach that resolution? We want to help you. Sometimes the involvement of lawyers can help that resolution ‘get over the line’ and we will do all we can to assist you in reaching that resolution so that you can get back to doing what you are best at doing – running and developing your business!

To help you in this regard, as long as we are able to do so (which is down to the approach your opponent takes) we utilise a pragmatic and commercial approach to the resolution of your dispute. Your end goal is what we work towards. We apply tactics, the law, strategy and importantly, common sense to each matter. We don’t use fancy legal speak. We are concise and to the point. We are approachable but importantly, we get things done.

Irrespective of this, sometimes there is no alternative but to go to Court. To that end, our team of specialist litigators and advocates work closely with leading sets of Chambers to ensure that your case is evidenced and presented as effectively as it can be. Although being involved in any litigation is risky, we try and minimise the risk and overall cost as proactively as we can. The lawyer assigned to your matter is the lawyer you will deal with. Whilst it will always be your case, it becomes our case as well.

The Commercial Litigation team undertakes a full wealth of Commercial & Chancery work in all Courts across England and Wales including (but not being limited to):
  • Contractual Disputes;
  • Intellectual Property;
  • Insolvency (both personal and Company);
  • Shareholder / Director Disputes;
  • Professional Negligence;
  • Agency disputes (pursuant to the Commercial Agent Regulations);
  • Sports Law;
  • International disputes;
  • Advocacy.
There will always be risk associated with litigation. There is no such thing as a sure fire win or loss.

As with all law firms, all of our lawyers have hourly rates. Whilst we believe that we have more than competitive hourly rates, it is our view that the hourly rate is somewhat draconian and harks back to days gone by. The world is much more modern and rightly, clients demand flexibility for paying for legal services. With the ever changing scope of the legal world, specifically the Court forum and the litigation process (where Court fees equate to 5% for any monetary claim above £10,000.00 and the unsuccessful party runs the risk of having to pay your opponent’s costs), we understand that clients are concerned about the funding of any legal services.

We want to try and put a stop to those concerns.

As a smaller practice, we are able to offer clients a wide range of methods for funding their legal matter. We help clients involved in litigation disputes by trying to agree a stage by stage fixed fee for each step of the litigation process. We don’t believe in incurring unnecessary costs for the sake of costs and so, if we are pursuing a litigation for you, we try and utilise the same fixed costs regime that is used in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court1. This is to hope to try and provide some form of transparency as to the fees that may be incurred in circumstances where a dispute proceeds to a final Court hearing.

Notwithstanding the stage by stage fixed model preference, sometimes this isn’t always the best option for you. We therefore also may also be able to offer to undertake work on an agreed fixed fee percentage. If these options don’t work for you or if you have a matter that is likely to be ongoing across a length of time, then we are happy to offer you a “3 tier retainer” payment option to help spread the cost across a year2. That retainer will enable you to have access to the team (across all divisions) for a fixed period of time each month for the same fee. The retainer will cover all services that you may need [whether it was drafting of a shareholders agreement to terms and conditions to drafting pleadings) and you will have the reassurance that you can have that access without the concern of significant legal fees being incurred.

Against that, should the case warrant it [and none of the other funding options that we offer are suitable for you] then we are happy to consider funding options such as “Conditional Fee Agreements” (also historically known as “no win – no fee agreements”) and Damaged Based Agreements. However, we don’t like agreeing such funding arrangements because we don’t think that they are beneficial to you, as the client. Following a change of the rules regarding Conditional Fee Agreement success fees [specifically that the ‘success fee’ is no longer recoverable from your opponent if you are successful], it is our view that the CFA is no longer financially viable. This is because you would effectively be paying twice for our fees. This is because the premium fee will always be set at 100%.

We take a similar view to Damaged Based Agreements. Under the governmental guidelines, we would charge 50% as our fee. Once you had signed the agreement, that fee is payable irrespective of when the matter was resolved. This could mean that your matter was settled within a week or a month3, you would have to pay us 50% of the transaction /settlement deal. This is in addition to the need to pay for Counsel’s opinion to verify that your claim had prospects of at least 65% (which is also a requirement before any Conditional Fee Agreement is entered into).

In our view, these two funding methods are detrimental to you as our client but we do understand that not all funding methods are suitable and so, we are happy to discuss with you a funding method that works for you.

Footnotes:
  • 3 Effectively, at any point when the matter settled / was resolved after signing the agreement.