Improve your legal position in business disputes
Optimise your position when business disputes arise
- Get insights into where disputes may be headed
- Assess likely outcomes
- Options for decision making in disputes
- Plan ahead
Behind every legal dispute is a business problem.
It's the business problem that matters.
We support businesses to deal with:
- a contract partner is not keeping to what they said they would do
- a business has complained about a breach of contract, and is going to do something about it. The dispute may move to a phase where there is no turning back
- another business:
- is behaving in a way which does not seem quite right
- makes excuses for not playing by the rules, or
- what they say does not match what they are doing
- a business threatens to terminate a business contract when they are not entitled to
- your business receives a legal claim from out of the blue and catches you off-guard
- a contracting partner is not keeping to the terms of a contract
- a business tries to change a contract without your consent
Intellectual Property Disputes:
- infringement of intellectual property rights, and uses IP rights without permission
- breach of an IP licence
- a business infringement intellectual property without your permission
- you’ve been betrayed by a business partner and trust has vanished
- someone has done something – or has made a serious and credible threat to do something - that threatens the business in the near future
IT Disputes/Software Disputes:
Serious disagreements in IT projects arise for any number of reasons. They can arise during any phase of the software development lifecycle, anywhere from concept to deliverable.
Sometimes working through the SDLC to get a new technology out there does not work as planned. Maybe an agile approach was adopted with all the ducks in a row at the beginning, to mitigate the risks with the waterfall approach.
The promise of delivery of higher quality software and technology solutions does not always come through on digital transformation projects.
The build may not go as well as thought, exposing oversights and erroneous assumptions in the design. Sometimes problems with IT projects expose themselves during acceptance testing. Sometimes they don't.
Problems can arise later in the process after go-live. Use of live data may expose shortcomings in acceptance testing, causing the business trouble operating as it thought it would. Some businesses have been known to grind to halt pending resolution of critical fixes, in a real time environment. The seriousness of disputes escalate. They become more difficult to resolve.
There may not be a tenable solution. Poor performance, project cost overruns, delays in delivery and missing well-planned deadlines, interrupted and erratic performance of IT systems all contribute to escalation of disputes.
It can be a simple as a breakdown in trust between service provider and customer following poor performance. The relationship might work as well as it used to. Or as it was promised.
It may be a matter of finding out how the business can move on if the IT infrastructure contract is not working as well as it should. But there can be pieces in play which make it difficult to end it all. Leaving it can lead to problems confrontations worsening, having to confront a huge a bill, making the dispute more trouble to resolve and move on.
Getting out of it sometimes means doing exactly that: with the least damage done to the business, lessening the hassle the business is haemorrhaging, before it gets even more difficult to handle.
Often, getting out means finding a way for that to happen, while minimising potential blowback.
What steps should be taken? What plans need to be put in place from a legal perspective to protect the business? Sometimes, saying the wrong thing makes matters worse, and make your legal position more difficult to defend.
It can be critical to understand the implications of one plan or another at an early stage. Those events can change the nature of the legal rights and solutions available.
Different disputes call for different approaches. The ability to control the business depends upon what has happened leading up to and during the dispute.
Knowing the legal environment and what is legally relevant can inform the next steps. They're the sort of decisions to steer the business through the dispute.
You make choices to set up fall-back positions if things do not work out as you would like along the way.
In other situations, some behaviour can be difficult to take lying down. Sometimes it is a matter of being seen to be tough enough to take it on and put your foot down, protect business its reputation and what it sells. The way disputes are handled reflect on the business and how seriously it takes itself and its reputation, and how others perceive it.
Other times it's a matter of calling a bluff and taking the fight to them, and not be a pushover.
Some situations call for a more guarded approach to draw out their position and take steps to improve your position.
On other occasions, common approaches may not work and you might really need to think and act outside the box.
Often it makes sense to mediate, expert determination or use some other form of dispute resolution. When things get really serious, sometimes getting injunctions to prevent behaviour no-one would believe is reasonable, claiming pay-outs and claims for damages in litigation can be the only option. Other than folding.
Know your Legal Position
You can have a higher level of certainty and know the risk factors in legal disputes and get:
- a clear understanding of your legal position - whether a claim or defence is solid, doomed to fail or fall somewhere in-between
- an assessment of the seriousness and imminent danger of legal threats turning into legal action
- clarity of the legal process, and what usually must - or should - happen before things escalate for the type of dispute, to preserve your best position
- avoided ambiguity on the important legal questions
- focus on what is important to be successful, and avoid wasting time and energy on what will not
- the legal criterion which apply to prove your legal claims
- knowledge of shortcomings of the other side's case
- an understanding of the value of legal claims
- a clear plan of action with known options to take down the road as the situation develops
You can eliminate significant risk for your business when you evaluate the legal situation.
Your business finds itself in a position to assess the merits of steps which are planned - and inaction - and get a better sense of the effect of decisions the business makes.
Informed Legal Advice
When disputes go legal, the factors at play aren't quite like they are commercial disputes which haven't.
Disputes advice, can assist limiting the legal risk and exposure, an open up options which might not have been thought possible. With it, priorities can be re-aligned along a path might be the best approach for the business.
- Know what your options are from a legal perspective
- Align your commercial objectives
- Handle decisions for the business in difficult situations
It may end with the other side conceding to your view of the relationship, discourage legal proceedings being commenced and resolve the dispute.
The business could find itself more in control of what happens next.
We are able to tell you what realistic outcomes are, and how your dispute might play out. We can break it down in bite-sized chunks so that it's not overwhelming. Understand each of the steps, and why they probably make sense in your situation.
Get a grip of exactly what's going on in the legal context in an uncomplicated format.
- Decide how you want to position yourself after considering the risk factors, advantages and disadvantages
- Assess how hard you want to go, or not
- Make deliberate decisions to move forwards
This sets you up to move towards your business objectives with purpose.
Prioritise your Business
You’ve got a business to run.
Many of our clients see us as an occasional extension to their team. As skilled and experienced professionals, your solicitors should not need to micromanaged, and should use initiative to see the business through.
Our legal expertise can slot into your way of working. Our overseas clients use us because they know that managing solicitors from different time zones just doesn't work. Being kept up to date makes all the difference.
Where do you stand in IT Disputes?
We are commercial solicitors, with specialist expertise working with businesses with:
- contract disputes, including:
- failures to deliver services and products
- refusals to honour contractual obligations
- breaches of non-competition agreements
- ending contractual relationships prematurely
- structuring claims for damages
- secret commissions and bribery
- protection of interests in intellectual property rights and licensing arrangements involving:
- failures to deliver services
- data and software
- service level agreements
- infringement claims and defences
- breaches of licences
- misuse of sensitive confidential information
- interim injunctions
- business relationship melt downs, such as shareholders disputes, joint ventures and business partnerships
- business partners taking and treating business assets as as their own and making unlawful profits from it
- false statements, misleading statements and fraud in the business environment
We have advised businesses in a whole host of industries such as information technology service providers, financial services, film, telecommunications, aerospace. military and defence industries, manufacturing, automotive, banking, utilities, mobile telecommunications, travel and leisure, insurance, oil and gas, retail and mining.
There's not many industries where we have not assisted business consolidate their position and resolve disputes.
We create options, help clients move towards realistic and attainable goals, and provide guidance to assist decision-making in the commercial context.