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Litigation: Is there trouble brewing?

Updated: Jul 13

Whilst protection is better than a cure, when there is a potential dispute, litigation and Court proceedings on the horizon what should you do?

Don't panic, take stock and carefully evaluate the situation.

Disputes of any kind are an unwanted distraction, which can take you away from your work, adding a layer of time, inconvenience and cost to the business.

Before lacing up the boxing gloves, and throwing a few air shots, here are some of the things you should think about:

Is there an ongoing commercial relationship to protect?

Whatever the nature of the business, whether its goods and/or services, your customers, clients, suppliers, principles or supply chain partners, the reason you engaged with them in the first place was to benefit your business. Right?

Is there a cost to the business either now or in the future, if the relationship breaks down?

Cost does not necessarily mean financial, it could be a cost to reputation or even the loss of future opportunities. There may be little or no cost but if there is, it should be weighed against what you hope to achieve, and what can be achieved through the Court, from bringing or defending a claim.

What is the value of the case or claim?

Even if the cost to the business is negligible, does the value of the claim or case justify your time and expense? What price do you put on your time? Depending on your involvement in the case and seniority, it is highly likely that you will be required to invest your own time whether that is providing information and documents to your legal team, dealing with questions, reviewing evidence and witness statements or taking time out to give evidence in Court.

The cost of your time to the business could constitute a significant proportion or even exceed the claim value. This does not include legal fees including Court fees and Barristers.

Because its worth it!

When Sewell Law is instructed, we like to understand the relationship between the parties and whether a dispute can be resolved without throwing hand grenades but more often than not, the client has explored this and doing nothing or absorbing the loss is likely to harm the business to the extent that legal advice, representation and potentially Court proceedings are appropriate. After all, in the case of a limited company, the directors of a business are under a legal duty to act in the best interests of the organisation.

Sewell Law will always carefully consider cost benefit and whether the values involved justify the likely costs involved when measured against litigation risk. This goes with the territory of looking after our client's best interests.

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