Commercial Contract Disputes
When you examine the business disputes that come before the Courts, a majority of them relate to disputes surrounding contractual provisions.
Although commercial contract disputes are common, that does not mean to say they are at all desirable. Disputes will drain you of money, resources, and take your focus away from growing your business.
This is why our Contract Disputes Solicitors take a tenacious approach to dispute resolution, settling matters swiftly and cost-effectively so you can concentrate on your organisation. We also go further, reviewing and drafting your commercial contracts so they include provisions to prevent disputes in the first place, and if they do occur, ensure there are robust terms related to effective dispute resolution.
We are a recognised and highly recommended diverse, multi-lingual law firm based in Coventry and Warwickshire that uses best-in-class technology to provide clients with streamlined, modern, and highly effective civil litigation advice and representation. Our many years of experience means we have a robust reputation for excellence with the UK’s best Barristers and Queen’s Counsel, Forensic Accountants, Industry Experts, Insolvency Professionals, and Surveyors who can provide additional support to our Civil Litigation Department when required. Our clients also benefit from our ability to instruct the country’s most respected expert witnesses.
Below are some common questions we get asked about commercial contract disputes.
What are the key elements of a contract?
Before a contractual dispute can be resolved our Solicitors must ascertain whether a contract exists. The essential elements of a contract are:
- Intention to create legal relations (assumed in commercial dealings).
- Certainty of terms.
Oral contracts are as legally binding as written ones so long as they contain the above elements. The difficulty comes with proving what was actually agreed and the certainty of terms which is why it is always best practice to put commercial contracts in writing.
What constitutes a breach of contract?
A breach of contract occurs if one of the parties fails to perform its obligations under the agreement.
Breaches of contract fall into three categories:
Minor – where although a term/s has been breached the breach is so trivial the contract can still be performed. The injured party can claim damages; however, the contract will not be terminated.
Material – this applies when several breaches have ensued, or the breach goes to the heart of the contract making it impossible to continue with its performance.
Anticipatory – where one party informs the other they cannot perform part or all of their contractual obligations. This can result in the contract being terminated and the injured party is able to claim damages.
What is a force majeure clause?
A force majeure clause provides that one or both parties to a contract are excused from performing their obligations due to an event that is outside of their control.
The effect of the clause will depend on how it is drafted. Most force majeure clauses only suspend contractual obligations and once the event ends, the agreement is re-activated. The affected party’s liability for non-performance will also be removed until the event has ceased.
Parties affected by a force majeure event are expected to take all possible steps to avoid the event or mitigate its consequences. Failure to do so could result in the party not subject to the event bringing a breach of contract claim.
How are damages assessed in breach of contract claims?
The purpose of an award of damages for breach of contract is to compensate the injured party for loss, rather than to punish the wrongdoer. The general rule is that damages should in so far as possible, put the injured party into the position they would have been in had the contract been performed.
The Court will use the ‘but for’ test when assessing the value of damages. This involves examining the position of the Claimant after the contract has been breached and establishing hypothetically their position ‘but for’ the breach, then comparing the two.
With our three decades of experience, we can quickly gauge the level of damages you could expect to receive and use litigation tactics such as a Part 36 offer to achieve the best result.
Why choose us?
Commercial contract disputes are hugely varied and can involve complex cross-jurisdictional issues and threaten the completion of multi-million-pound projects or deals. We are alive to the stakes involved and have the talent, experience, and resolve required to get the outcome that benefits your business.
People choose and recommend us because we get results and in most instances, we are able to settle disputes outside of Court. Our Contract Dispute Solicitors will take care of your case, ensuring you understand the options available and get the advice you need to protect your best interests.
To talk to us about a commercial contract dispute, please contact us using the form below.
Meet your 'Commercial Contract Disputes' specialists
The team to guide you through your legal needs.
Depending upon the complexity we are able to offer fixed fees in some cases. In other cases our solicitors chargethe following hourly rate:
- Partner/Member SolicitorHourly rate of £250 + VAT
- Senior Solicitor or Head of Dept: (PQE 8yr+)Hourly rate of £225 + VAT
- Assistant Solicitor/Fee Earner (PQE 3/7yr)Hourly rate of £200 + VAT
- Newly Qualified Fee Earner (PQE 1/3yr)Hourly rate of £170 + VAT
- Paralegals/TraineesHourly rate of £120 + VAT
- Support ParalegalsHourly rate of £100 + VAT