Very few parties enter into a contract with the assumption that it might result in a dispute. However, if the worst happens, it is important that you and your business are protected.
Here are some of our key tips to ensure that you are in the best possible position should a dispute arise.
- Ensure that all contracts are formal, written documents which have been properly executed by both parties. It is very common for businesses to rely on what are essentially ‘handshake’ agreements –which is not an issue until something goes wrong.
- Take the time to ensure that the contract has been drafted properly. One of the main strategies for avoiding disputes is to obtain appropriate legal advice at the drafting stage. It is also important to only agree to obligations that you know you can comply with, and to ensure that the other party is agreeing to comply with things that you consider to be an essential part of the contract performance.
- Make sure that the contract includes appropriate terms for dispute resolution. This could include clearly setting out what either party would consider to be a breach of the contract, in what circumstances the contract can be (or is considered to be) terminated, and specific clauses relating to dispute resolution, such as the requirement to proceed to arbitration or mediation in certain circumstances.
- If you feel that the other party is in breach of their contractual obligations, take steps early to protect your position. This can mean obtaining legal advice on what your options for redress are, and invoking any termination or other dispute resolution clauses under the contract. You may also wish to consider advising your insurers if the dispute is likely to have flow-on effects on your liquidity, ability to comply with other contracts, or generally is likely to impact detrimentally and significantly on your business operations.
- Ensure that all matters relating to the contractual dispute are recorded in writing. Once relations between the parties have broken down to such an extent that there is clearly a dispute, it may be important to be able to provide evidence in a litigation setting as to who took what steps, and when.
- Obtain legal advice early. Lawyers experienced in these matters can provide advice as to whether there is a clear dispute under the contract, and what remedies may be available under the contract or in a litigious setting.
At Pentana Stanton, our lawyers can advise whether there is a dispute and how much compensation or other remedy you might be entitled to. We can guide you through strategies for achieving this outcome, regardless of the nature of the dispute you are engaged in. Contact us today to discuss how we can assist in resolving your business and contractual disputes.