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The Secrets of Successful Dispute Resolution

Handled incorrectly, disputes can quickly become a drain both emotionally and financially. Your time is very precious. Below is our recipe for success so that whatever the dispute, you can continue with your daily affairs with peace of mind:

  1. Hire a lawyer who will take control by making your problem their problem and focus solely on resolution. Disputes run away with themselves when lawyers become consumed by the legal process (which must be followed), without an appreciation of the bigger picture, which is to achieve the best commercial outcome.
  2. Whatever the merits of your case, from the outset you should have a clear strategy in place to achieve your objective. This should be justified on commercial grounds (AKA worth the fight). Insist that your lawyer sets out how they will get you to where you want to be and keep their progress under constant review.
  3. Everything you or your lawyer does must help rather than hinder the objective. Running weak arguments, posturing or winding the other side up can impact negatively on your case by setting the date for resolution back, thereby increasing costs.
  4. Unless they fuel the objective, resist doing anything that will simply make you feel better. If the other side takes the dispute or your actions personally, whatever their case, they might fight harder and mess you around out of principle.
  5. Negotiations should take place when your negotiating position is at its strongest (your lawyer should advise when), or sooner if you are concerned about your opponent’s ability to pay.
  6. Always take legal advice before you issue court proceedings. What appears fair to justify a claim might not reflect the legal position. You might have more than one type of claim and miss the strongest one or actually have no valid claim at all. Get those proceedings wrong and you could end up paying the other side’s costs. All too often claims are made without lawyers that cannot be successfully concluded without being amended and paying costs.
  7. From the beginning, provide your lawyer with all of the evidence (good and bad) and ensure that they speak to the key witnesses early to assess their reliability. Many cases fall apart because unhelpful documents come to light later on or key witnesses prove to be uncooperative or unhelpful.
  8. Before taking formal action, ensure that your opponent has the means to pay. Don’t be stung by the dispute where the other side becomes insolvent and all you are left with is your lawyer’s invoices.
  9. Set a realistic costs budget and insist upon being updated about costs every month to sense check with your lawyer that they remain within budget and are proportionate. Costs are always an issue. Once out of control, they can destroy any commercial benefit to engaging in the dispute in the first place.
  10. Mediation, mediation, mediation! When the time is right, this is usually your best way to resolve those emotive or tricky disputes. It should be explored at every stage.

 

For more information please contact us on 0161 926 9969 or by e-mail hello@mlplaw.co.uk