Resolving commercial disputes - checklist

Resolving commercial disputes - checklist

Commercial disputes can quickly escalate and become costly in terms of time and expense. This checklist will help you handle disputes with the aim of resolving them.

  • Review what was agreed, and how clear the agreement was. Clarify how the other party has failed to live up to the agreement. Consider to what extent you may have contributed.
  • Assess the loss you have suffered as a result and consider any loss they may claim to have suffered.
  • Collate evidence (eg written contracts, correspondence and witness statements).
  • Try to negotiate an amicable resolution. Keep evidence of negotiations including copies of letters and notes on conversations.
  • Follow any alternative dispute resolution processes outlined in your contract before pursuing legal recourse.
  • Remind the other party of your right to charge interest on late payment.
  • Assess the other party’s ability to pay, for example by running a credit check (including records of outstanding county court judgments).
  • Take legal advice unless the dispute is straightforward, represents a relatively small amount and runs no risk of a significant counterclaim.
  • Assess whether you have a strong case - how clear the legal position and evidence are - and the risks of a counterclaim or losing in court.
  • Clarify the costs and timescales involved in taking the recommended form of legal action; decide whether it is worth pursuing.
  • Consider how far you are prepared to compromise either by accepting stage payments or partial payment for a quick resolution.
  • Either abandon the claim or inform the other party in writing of your intention to take legal action. Follow the appropriate procedure.
  • Track progress and legal costs as the case proceeds.
  • Continue to be prepared to compromise; accept any reasonable offer to avoid further delays and disruption, and the risk of court action.
  • After a successful court case, be prepared to enforce judgment to obtain payment.

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