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Clearing the Air on Commercial Disputes

Navigating your way through a commercial dispute can be time consuming and stressful. Disruption caused to your business and the impact on managerial time can be costly.
Commercial disputes are becoming increasingly commonplace, and therefore it is essential that businesses obtain strategic advice as soon as possible in any dispute so that they can minimise the impact on the business.

Generally speaking, the law takes the view that a contract is formed between parties when one party makes an offer to another who accepts the offer. The parties have to be certain as to the terms of the contract, there has to be an intention to create a contract and there has to be ‘consideration’ i.e. there has to be some value.

A contract does not need to be in writing or signed for it to be effective, although agreed and signed contracts setting out the terms and each parties obligation to the other are helpful when a dispute arises.

Contracts can include express terms, i.e. terms which have been expressly agreed between the parties, and can also include implied terms i.e., terms which have been not expressly agreed but may be incorporated into the contract by reason of previous dealings between the parties, the intention of the parties or legislation.

Disputes often arise in a commercial context because there is a dispute as to the level of performance by one party to the contract or simply one of the parties to the contract has failed to deliver. It is important to note that there are statutory time limits by which time any claim for a breach of contract must be issued in Court. Generally, this time limit is a period of 6 years from the date of any breach of the contract, or in the case of an unpaid debt you would calculate the 6 year period as beginning from the date of the invoice.

Commercial disputes usually stem from one party failing to perform their side of the agreement. Often this can be supplying faulty goods or machinery, can be one party making a misrepresentation to the other, a breach of trust or fiduciary duty or even a professional negligence.

If you have suffered as a consequence of a breach of contract, then there are various remedies available to you that can be ordered by the Court.

An award of damages is the basic remedy available for a breach of contract and is usually intended to put the injured party back into the same position financially that they would have been in had the breach not taken place. Where a party has failed to perform their side of a contract, the Court may make an order for specific performance – this is an order compelling the party to do something that they should have done under the contract. If a contract was concluded as a result of mistake or misrepresentation then the Court may order rescission, i.e. a setting aside of the contract, ordering that the parties are put back into the position they were in before the contract was agreed.

If you need any help and advice in relation to Commercial Disputes or Employment Law, please do not hesitate to contact me or the team on 01133 50 40 30 or at hello@scesolicitors.co.uk.

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SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide.  Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

Richard Newstead
Latest posts by Richard Newstead (see all)
Richard Newstead

Richard qualified as a Legal Executive over 20 years ago and has significant experience in Employment law and Litigation. Richard acts for both employers and employees drafting and advising on settlement agreements, contracts of employment, consultancy agreements, directors service agreements and general workplace policies. He acts for commercial clients in the employment tribunal dealing with unfair dismissals, constructive dismissals and claims for discrimination.

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