We appreciate that litigation is an expensive and time consuming process which often leaves all parties, including the successful party, feeling dissatisfied.
Our approach, therefore, is to explore with clients from the outset what their objectives are in any dispute and to seek to identify the speediest and most cost effective route to that end. Where appropriate we discuss with our clients the possibility of participating in the various forms of dispute resolution available to them, before going to court.
If litigation does prove inevitable, we seek to establish with our clients a strategy to achieve agreed goals, which we keep under review at each stage of the litigation, balancing costs with achievable results.
In England only a small percentage of disputed cases result in a full trial at Court and whilst we are well equipped to deal with the cases which go that far, and have an extremely high success rate, we pride ourselves in our ability to achieve the best possible settlements for our clients.
The Department has experience in handling a wide range of matters from major disputes to simple debt collection. We have particular expertise in the following areas:
- Contractual Disputes
- Professional Negligence
- Property Disputes
- Nuisance and other Torts
- International Disputes and Jurisdictional challenges
- Construction Disputes
Alternative Dispute Resolution
There is a general recognition that Litigation, whilst sometimes inevitable, is an expensive process to undertake. Therefore there has been a move towards Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR); this method is favoured by the courts to the extent that it may soon become compulsory to have entered into ADR negotiations before proceedings can be issued. Failure to do so can already have an effect on costs awards.
ADR can take on various forms, the main areas where you are likely to be involved are:
One of the main advantages of arbitration is that parties can select their own arbitrator and it is a private, confidential process whereby the arbitrators’ decisions are not publicised. The fact that the parties have entered into Arbitration proceedings is not disclosed either. Arbitration is often favoured in International matters and it is quite common to have arbitration in England, under UK law even when both parties are from outside the jurisdiction.
Many agreements require the parties to arbitrate rather than litigate. Even if this is not the case for a particular dispute parties can agree to arbitrate rather than litigate if they wish to do so.
Our head of department, Howard Colman is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and has excellent knowledge of Arbitration.
Colman Coyle has extensive arbitration experience and is able to offer advice on the whole process. We will also offer advice on the suitability and availability of particular arbitrators.
Mediation is an entirely consensual process whereby the parties appoint a mediator, who can be an individual with or without particular training (usually, mediators are accredited by one of the leading organisations such as the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) or ADR). It is important that parties do consider mediation in disputes, as a failure to do so may mean some or all of the costs involved in Litigation being disallowed by the Court even if they succeed.
The mediator has no power, but simply facilitates the parties’ discussions when attempting to reach an agreement. The process is entirely without prejudice and confidential, so anything said cannot be relied upon at a later stage.
We have been involved in a large number of mediations from very small disputes between private clients to major commercial mediations involving large number of parties and multiple mediators. We will always advise our client to make settlement decisions that are in your best interests and are not detrimental.
Mediation has a very high success rate and enables parties to agree settlements which would not be possible in litigation. We are keen supporters of mediation and aim to discuss the benefits and appropriateness in all disputes.
Howard Colman, the department head is a trained mediator with the ADR Group and is also one of a very small number of specialist construction mediators recognised by The Technology and Construction Solicitors Association (TeCSA).
This is predominantly a method of dispute resolution in construction cases. A right to adjudicate is a mandatory sentence of most construction contracts imposed by statute. Adjudication has been of particular use to small sub-contractors who are not able to afford the costs involved in Litigation or Arbitration. Many disputes are resolved through this process which is relatively cheap and very speedy (decisions are usually given within one month from the date the dispute was referred.
Howard Colman is on TeCSA’s panel of adjudicators and is regularly nominated as an adjudicator. In addition we have substantial experience acting for parties involved in adjudications. As such the department is best placed to offer our clients insightful and practical advice on the process and possible outcomes of the process.
TIP – If you are a property professional we have a specialist department dedicated to Commercial Property Litigation. Click here to find out more about the services we offer.