Contract Disputes Solicitors
Both businesses and individuals enter into contracts every day, both verbally and in writing. Unfortunately, a number of these contracts will end up being breached and often, both parties to the contract will blame each other and a dispute arises.
No matter how detailed a contract may be, there is always a potential that either party will fail to adhere to its terms, whether intentionally or unintentionally. In these situations, a commercial relationship could be put at risk, with delays and other complications often arising.
It should go without saying that finding swift, cost-effective and practical solutions to commercial contract disputes will often be in the best interests of every interested party. This is something our specialist contract disputes solicitors will be able to support you with.
Our commercial contract dispute solicitors work with clients across the UK from our offices surrounding Bristol and South Gloucestershire, in Bedminster, Bishopston, Bristol city centre, Kingswood and Thornbury.
What is a contract dispute?
In simple terms, a contract dispute will occur where there are any disagreements over the terms or conditions of a contract or the way an individual or business is acting in relation to
Examples of contract disputes include, but are not limited to:
- Breach of contract (failing to follow contract terms)
- Disputes surrounding the wording of a contract
- Disputes concerning the meaning of technical terms
- Mistakes and errors in the contract wording
- Fraud (such as one party being forced to sign a contract)
Verbal vs written contracts
If the contract has been entered into verbally, it is likely there will be a difference of opinion as to what the terms of the contract were. Parties will need to collate supporting evidence to convince a judge that their version of events is true.
The fact that there was a written contract does not prevent there being any issues in dispute. There are several factors that you will need to consider. Common examples of these include:
- Whether there were any agreed variations to the contract
- Whether there were any unwritten terms of the contracts
- If there were any variations to the contract that have been accepted by conduct
Why choose Barcan+Kirby for help with commercial contract disputes?
At Barcan+Kirby, our expert solicitors provide comprehensive support and contract dispute advice to individuals and businesses across the UK.
We regularly handle commercial contract disputes that relate to a wide range of sectors and industries, providing practical, cost-effective solutions that are designed to find swift solutions to the issues at hand.
Our contract dispute solicitors understand that every case is unique. As such, we will always take the time to understand your personal circumstances and objectives, tailoring our advice to ensure that we achieve the best possible result for your situation.
Contract disputes FAQs
In many cases, contract disputes are commonly triggered by one party’s inability or refusal to perform their contractual duties. This is more commonly referred to as a breach of contract.
Contract dispute cases that involve a breach of contract may also include cases where contractual duties are not completed within the specification indicated, or they are not completed on time.
There are two main types of contract breaches to be aware of:
- Breach of Condition: This is a breach of an important term of the contract which entitles the innocent party to rescind the contract and seek damages.
- Breach of Warranty: This is a breach of a term of the contract which gives rise to damages only.
The purpose of damages is to return the innocent party to the position it would have been in had the breach of contract not occurred. A party can also seek ‘specific performance’, where the court orders a party to carry out their obligations under a contract, such as to complete a sale or provide services.
Outside of a breach of contract, contract dispute law is dictated by issues related to the contract itself and the way it may be worded. This includes misrepresentation. This may occur where one party is accused of inducing another party into an agreement by making a false statement of fact, whether or not this was intentional. For misrepresentation to have taken place, the statement must have influenced one party’s decision to enter into the contract.
There are a wide range of contract dispute resolution methods that are likely to be deployed, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Common contract dispute resolution methods that might be used in these types of cases include:
- Contract dispute negotiation
- Contract dispute mediation
- Contract dispute arbitration
- Contract dispute litigation
In some cases, disagreements or misunderstandings related to a contract can be resolved without the need for any formal negotiations to take place, but this is a best-case scenario.
The contract dispute resolution process will typically follow a number of similar steps. However, it is important to remember that every case is unique, and the exact contract dispute resolution methods that are used may differ slightly.
Before engaging in any type of contract dispute resolution, it will usually be recommended for both parties to review the situation as carefully as possible to establish whether any actions can be taken to find a quick and cost-effective resolution.
With the assistance of a specialist in contract dispute law, it is advised that the terms of the contract itself are reviewed in detail, the root cause of the dispute is identified and any relevant evidence to support a future claim is gathered.
After this has been done, your contract dispute solicitor can then advise you on your legal position and what actions you can take, including the potential strengths and weaknesses of your case.
If contract dispute resolution is required to achieve a clear outcome, the starting point will usually be to engage in negotiation. When used effectively, negotiation can help both sides to reach an agreement that is in everyone’s best interests.
Because negotiation often proves to be cheaper, less formal and less time-consuming than other options, it is usually seen as the most desirable contract dispute resolution procedure.
Contract dispute mediation and arbitration are often the next steps in resolving a contract dispute if negotiating is not possible, or unsuccessful.
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution where a neutral third party (a mediator) helps both parties to resolve an issue related to the contract. The mediator facilitates the discussions that take place between both parties and does not offer any specific legal advice to either side.
Arbitration sees a contractual dispute be submitted to an arbitrator. An arbitrator will hear both sides of the dispute and proceed to make a final binding decision called an award.
If alternative dispute resolution methods such as negotiation, mediation and arbitration prove unsuccessful, it may be necessary to bring a case forward to court.
Litigation proceedings at court will typically involve one party submitting a case to seek damages, or the performance of the terms of a contract.
Litigation is likely to be the most expensive and time-consuming option, but it can provide a clear resolution to a contract dispute.
Get in touch with our contract dispute solicitors
Contract disputes can be complex, time consuming and costly. This can have a detrimental impact on either a person or a business. It is advisable to seek advice early from a commercial lawyer on the terms of the contract and your entitlement to any damages prior to attempting to reach an early settlement.