Litigation and dispute resolution

Dispute Resolution and Commercial Litigation

A commercial dispute is a disagreement or point of contention over an agreed-upon contract between two or more parties.  Disputes may be internal or with external stakeholders and are usually in relation to breaches of contract or disagreements amongst those closely involved. 

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When a dispute arises, it is essential to seek legal representation as soon as possible to minimise any negative effects on a business’s reputation or financial standing. Although commercial disputes are common in business, contacting a legal practitioner to evaluate your next move is the most vital step you can take to ensure you’re protected. The main goal is to ensure that the matter doesn’t proceed to litigation and that an efficient, cost-effective resolution is found.

Commercial litigation can occasionally be a necessary progression in a dispute if no agreement is able to be reached between parties. Commercial litigation has the potential to take up significant financial and time resources and can also be detrimental to your reputational standing within your industry. If your dispute reaches this stage, it’s likely that one or more of the parties may sue another to defend their rights and seek to be compensated for the actions committed by the party at fault.   

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What is dispute resolution? 

Dispute resolution is the process of resolving a disagreement or dispute occurring between two or more parties. Dispute resolution is the most common method of resolving matters of conflict without going to court.  Although a court appearance can be unavoidable in some circumstances, there are a number of steps that you and your legal team should consider before reaching this point, including negotiation, mediation or arbitration.

It’s not uncommon for disputes between business partners and associated stakeholders to quickly develop from small misunderstandings to major disagreements that can negatively affect an entire business.  For this reason, it’s essential to seek out an experienced Brisbane dispute resolution practitioner who can help you take strategic action as soon as a problem arises to avoid severe reputational and financial implications.

If you have been served with a Claim and Statement of Claim, you should consult with an experienced litigation lawyer as soon as possible. 

If a dispute cannot be avoided, a good lawyer will strategise with you and tailor advice to best suit the specific business requirements.  While the aim is to avoid the need for litigation, we can provide appropriate legal advice when it’s in the client’s best interest. 

Common causes of commercial disputes

Commercial disputes can develop quickly for a vast number of reasons.  Usually, a dispute arises when one party has failed to perform or deliver what was agreed upon within a business contract.  This can create an unfair playing field or cause potential harm to other parties within a contract.

Other common examples of causes of commercial disputes include:

  • Disagreements between stakeholders over an equal and fair splitting of profits amongst all interested parties 
  • One partner or stakeholder makes a decision to misappropriate funds or use funds without consulting others involved in a contractual agreement 
  • Disagreements over an equal and fair division of assets when a business partner decides to exit from an agreement or contract
  • Intellectual property infringement involving copyright and using designs without permission or consultation
  • Shareholders oppose one another regarding the best strategy when creating a business plan or deal

No matter your dispute type, it’s imperative that you have the appropriate representation and the right tools in place to settle the conflict before it escalates.

How are commercial disputes resolved?

The practitioner will first analyse whether the issue must be immediately elevated to litigation. If this isn’t necessary, the focus will shift to resolving the dispute in a timely and cost-effective way mutually beneficial for all parties.  The critical methods of dispute resolution are negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and finally litigation. 

  • Negotiation is often the first step and involves direct communication to attempt to reach an agreement.  Practitioners can assist with drafting letters and other documents at this stage.
  • Mediation is the process of an impartial practitioner assisting all parties to negotiate and reach a resolution.  A decision reached by mediation is not binding.
  • Arbitration is a process where disputes are presented to a practitioner, and decisions made are legally binding for all involved.
  • Litigation happens when no resolution can be reached, and is conducted through the court system. 

The method of resolution that you land on will depend on the type of result that you’re after. Usually, the most efficient and cost-effective way to maintain a working business relationship is to resolve matters outside of court. 

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