Cox Minhas & Co have the training, knowledge and experience to resolve commercial disputes to your best advantage. In doing so we make recommendations considering the critical processes and factors including,
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Over forty years of dispute resolution experience, both nationally and internationally, reminds us that each case is different and our extensive expertise in comparative dispute resolution process, will ensure we start at the correct point to find the best solution to your dispute.
The Cox Minhas team offer clients a full service regarding ADR advisory services including the following areas of expertise:
Where a party believes there is the possibility a dispute may arise, it is recommended that action is taken prior to the point at which the possibility becomes reality. If conflict can be avoided, in almost all instances, it will result in less time wasted, less cost and better on-going relationships. Conflict avoidance requires particular expertise and involves either party seeking independent advice to find a way of resolving the issue before it has substantially materialised.
At any stage in a dispute, parties will benefit from exploring the possibility of settlement. Any form of litigation brings with it the certainty of expense coupled with uncertainty of outcome. Resolution by agreement is the best option but a skilled negotiator is essential to help achieve the most satisfactory result. The role played by emotion even in commercial disputes should not be under estimated. The team at Cox Minhas & Co have gained the CEDR Certificate in Advanced Negotiation, giving you a head start in resolving your dispute.
The most frequently used form of ADR, mediation involves the appointment of a neutral facilitator to assist the parties to resolve the dispute by agreement. Mediation is suitable for the vast majority of disputes, whether domestic or commercial and whether between two or several parties. Its principal advantages are that it is entirely voluntary and, except in limited circumstances, completely confidential. So parties have a safe environment in which to explore settlement options. Any deal struck is binding only when expressed in writing and signed by all parties.
Litigation is an exacting forensic adversarial process managed by a court in the UK and determined by a judge for the purposes enforcing rights and seeking remedies. Even before proceedings are issued parties are required to conform to a stipulated pre-action behaviour. This requires each party to provide the other with a comprehensive outline of its case supported by disclosure of relevant documents. The parties are encouraged to resolve disputes by Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) e.g. mediation, without issuing proceedings. If that fails, the litigation process will include stages such as disclosure of documents, exchange of witness statements, the production of expert reports and interim applications, concluding in a trial before a judge.
Adjudication is a less formal but binding adversarial process for resolving conflicts in a fast and succinct manner that has found popularity and extensive application due to it becoming a statutory right in construction and engineering disputes in the UK. It often occurs while the parties continue to work together on a given contract. This offers clients, main contractors, subcontractors or construction professionals either a preliminary process which can be finally determinative or an interim process before court or arbitration proceedings. Construction clients may consider this option if their aim is to return to business as normal in the shortest possible time. Expert advice will be required to assess whether adjudication is the best alternative dispute resolution route.
This is the international adversarial dispute resolution process of choice given the enforceability of arbitral awards across many jurisdictions and the increased element of confidentiality surrounding its conduct compared with litigation.
Arbitration is a process chosen by the parties in their contract and has the advantage of privacy over litigation. The parties either agree who the arbitrator is to be or nominate a dispute resolution body to appoint the arbitrator and decide where the arbitration is to be conducted. There are many different rules which the parties adopt as their preferred private dispute rules for the arbitrator to apply each of which contain subtle differences. There are limited rights of review and appeal of arbitration awards.
If a dispute has at its core either a clearly defined legal issue or a technical matter, the parties might agree to accept the verdict of a jointly appointed expert in the relevant legal or technical field. This form of ADR is increasing in popularity as it is seen as a quick and cost effective way to resolve a dispute or to deal with a discrete element, so opening the way to achieve overall settlement. If the parties cannot agree the choice of expert, there are numerous professional bodies who can be asked to make the appointment.
The court has power to make an order prohibiting an individual or company from doing something or requiring them to do something. The sanction for breach of an injunction includes imprisonment for contempt of court. An injunction may, for example, restrain a party from disclosing confidential information or committing a nuisance or breaching an agreement not to solicit customers of a business. An injunction is granted where a court is satisfied that damages would not be an adequate remedy. In most cases, the court will expect the party applying for an injunction to give notice to the other party so that all relevant information is before the judge.
The court has power to order that a defendant shall not deal with specific assets or move them outside the jurisdiction. As this is a severe measure, it will only be allowed if the court is satisfied that there is a real risk that the assets will be disposed of to avoid enforcement of a judgment. The order can be made without giving the defendant notice of the application but there must be full and frank disclosure to the court of all material facts. The court must also be satisfied that the applicant has a strong case on the underlying dispute.
In certain limited circumstances, the court has power to order a party to permit the opponent to enter premises (business or domestic) to search for and remove specified "documents", including computer hard drives and other electronic devices. The implementation of the order is overseen by an independant supervising solicitor. The purpose of the order is to preserve evidence that might otherwise be destroyed or to recover documents that have come into the possession of someone who has no right to receive them. Where documents are held electronically, a forensic computer expert will accompany the search party and must be given the passwords necessary to access the IT system.
Supervising Search Orders
When applying to the court for a search order, a party must provide details of a suitable independant solicitor willing to act as the supervising solicitor when the order is enforced. The role of the supervising solicitor is to explain the terms of the order to the party whose premises are to be searched, to allow that party an opportunity to obtain legal advice and to ensure that the solicitor conducting the search does not exceed the scope of the order. The supervising solicitor will also decide whether particular documents are covered by the order. At the conclusion of the search, the supervising solicitor must file a detailed report with the court. Christopher Cox and Angela Taylor have acted as supervising solicitors.
Public inquiries are regularly conducted when land is being developed and there is a possible impact on the general public. The inquiry is an open forum and accepts both written and verbal evidence from pressure groups, interested parties and members of the public. The Inquiry is conducted by a qualified team who deliver their conclusions in the form of a written report, given first to the government, and soon after published to the public.
Legal Health Checking
It is very difficult to predict the future but Cox Minhas & Co can offer the next best thing when it comes to commercial disputes. We will look at existing contractual relationships within your business and alert you to potential threats to your business often making it possible to avoid commercial disputes before they arise. By carrying out a health check on your business we can ensure disputes (and therefore costs in time and legal fees) are kept to an absolute minimum. You may require a one-off service whereby we assess your existing contractual relationships and processes and advise on them, or we can be on hand for regular advice and guidance when you enter new agreements.
Enforcement of Foreign Judgments and Arbitral Awards
If an individual or corporate body has obtained a judgment in a foreign jurisdiction, or an award from an arbitration held outside this jurisdiction and it is believed that the defendant / respondent owns or has an interest in assets held within the jurisdiction, it is possible to attach such assets through the UK court. The procedure will depend on which jurisdiction dealt with the substantive claim and gave the judgment or arbitral award to be enforced. Subject to that, enforceability against assets in this country can be an effective means of recovery.
For further information and advice on how Cox Minhas & Co can assist, please contact us on: 01604 973977
“Working with Christopher Cox Solicitors was a pleasing experience. Your ability to overcome complex problems was admirable and your strong emphasis on personable communication meant we could engage in an effective and professional manner”
MD Specialist Groundworks Construction Company