Litigation & disputes
- Alex Kleanthous
- Updated: Mon, 13th Feb 2017
Our approach is to settle litigation disputes wherever possible, but to be prepared to litigate if necessary to achieve results. Our clients are based all around the world. What sets us apart from our competitors is that we are nimble and cost proportionate. Point being the courts will no longer entitle a winning party to recover disproportionate costs.
Our litigation dispute service includes:
Our clients come from a range of industries including professional services, tech, media and trading companies. We help businesses, shareholders, directors and partners. We have a network of solicitors in over 80 jurisdictions to call upon if the case requires legal input from a foreign jurisdiction. We often act for insured clients.
Litigation dispute – strategy formulation
We know that costs are an important factor. We therefore keep the cost benefit analysis under constant review looking out for the tipping point.
We break a case down into stages providing cost estimates at each stage for you.
Core focus areas
We have the experience to resolve almost any litigation dispute.
Commercial contracts – usually involves the supply or sale of goods or services on a domestic or international basis.
Directorship disputes – we act for shareholders or companies claiming against directors. We also defend directors accused of a breach of their fiduciary duties such as unlawful acts.
Employment disputes – we act for employers or employees.
Intellectual property disputes – we can act for any party.
Partnership disputes – we act for both partnerships or individual partners.
Shareholder disputes – we act for majority or minorities.
We also work with shareholders disputing fair value on exit.
Elements of a good litigation dispute strategy
To succeed, we often run several strategies concurrently. For instance, consider these strategies:
- Evaluation of the case – obviously evidence plays a major part. But there are also more subtle points which can be dressed up or played down to your advantage. Timing is part of clever evaluation. As is the appetite for risk and the characters involved.
- Costs – how much to spend and at what stage of proceedings, mindful of the proportionality requirement. Legal costs do have to be reasonable and proportionate to the matter as discussed below.
- Offers – timing and value are important considerations. The first offer has to be pitched to be enticing whilst allow room for manoeuvre.
- Negotiation – when to negotiate and when to concede is a skilful decision we help you to make.
Using the English courts to resolve a litigation dispute
The English legal system and its courts are seen as robust and fair. Consequently, the English courts are often the primary choice for the resolution of international dispute litigation. The English courts have access to a wide range of tools for settling international disputes and, crucially, for enforcing their judgments abroad.
We handle the international elements and streamline the process. We determine questions relating to jurisdiction, and then, which country’s laws apply.
Courts are a last resort these days. Every attempt to settle should be made with evidence to support attempts made. Failure to attempt settlement will be heavily criticised by the courts and punished in the form of orders to pay the other side’s legal fees in addition to damages.
Frank evaluation of the litigation dispute
It is very easy for anyone to get drawn into the litigation dispute and lose sight. Our role is to provide a frank and impartial evaluation of the case and evidence.
Setting out the claims
The claimant has to prove its case. The claimant should plead all potential claims. If this is not done, then the claim is flawed. If acting for the defending party, we know the routes of attack. Time invested early on may pay dividends later on.
Disposing of claims
When acting for the defendant we seek to eliminate the claimant’s claims at the earliest opportunity. How we go about this will depend upon the case in question. Experience tells us that strong well considered defences can cause weak cases to settle quickly or be withdrawn.
Undermining evidence is another tactic to deploy.
Litigation dispute legal cost minimisation
Depending on how you approach the case, costs can be used as a tactic to gain leverage. Litigation cost reforms are designed to warn parties to act proportionately and reasonably. Recent cases have seen parties rack up legal costs, only for the legal costs to be dismissed. Dismissal means that the legal costs are not capable of recovery. This leaves the winning party footing the winner solicitor’s bill.
There is a commercial driver to this. The courts do not want to see legal overspend. You will be in a better position if you engage a cost proportionate firm, as you will then likely be able to recover a greater percentage of costs if you win. If you lose, your bill will be less, and you will have scope to challenge the basis of the winner’s costs. We do provide cost estimates for each stage of the litigation dispute process. You can then budget legal spend accordingly.
Litigation dispute – settlement
Time and money can be saved if we can negotiate a commercial settlement for you. Our overarching goal is to resolve the commercial dispute on the best terms, with minimal cost. Our experience puts us in a position to suggest creative solutions to avoid the court process. Suggesting settlement is a sign of economic acumen rather than weakness.
In some cases, as a strategy of settlement, litigation does have to be commenced. If this is the case, we have the capability to run litigation in all English courts.
Litigation disputes recently successfully resolved
Recent instructions include:
- Himanshu Dasare acting for the franchisor of a national restaurant brand on its breach of franchise agreement claims against a number of franchisees. The franchisees colluded to set up in competition, and take business know-how. Our injunction prevented that from happening.
- Alex Kleanthous acting for a worldwide natural resource company on a complex dispute concerning a service provider’s breach of production standards. Alex helped settle the case outside of court, preserving confidentiality.
- John Deane acting as mediator. The claim concerned two opposing groups of shareholders in a FinTech company. John mediated the dispute and carved out new rights and restrictions within a shareholders’ agreement that fitted requirements.
- Catherine Gannon leading a multi-jurisdictional breach of service contract claim. The defendant had caused substantial loss to the claimant, a provider of hosting services. The claimant’s business was temporarily suspended. Catherine ensured that the loss was recovered.
Alex Kleanthous is the partner charged with running the litigation disputes team. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us if we can be of assistance to you or your business.