Frequently Asked Questions About Contractual Disputes

Frequently Asked Questions About Contractual Disputes

These FAQ’s are intended to provide a general guide to contractual disputes and dispute resolution. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

It is important that you find the right solicitor in the law firm to advise you. Before making your decision, do not hesitate to ask questions to ensure that you’re comfortable with a firm’s philosophy, experience, and expertise.

The FAQ’s below include answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive.

If you want additional information or would like to discuss your individual case in more detail, contact Jon Gilbert at MHHP Law on 020 3667 4787 or by e-mail at


If you have a significant commercial transaction or dispute, or a question about the law that may affect your business or financial interests you should at least talk with a solicitor before deciding how you wish to proceed. To help you decide whether you need representation, your initial half-hour consultation is only £60 plus VAT. Find the answers you have been looking for, today!

At MHHP Law we provide a personal and attentive service. You will have a direct dial telephone number and email address for your solicitor. You will be provided with expert advice and guidance towards the best outcome for you. Our costs will be reasonable, transparent and agreed with you in advance.

We offer a partner lead service. Your initial consultation will be with a solicitor and probably with the partner in the firm who would be your solicitor if you choose to instruct us. You would probably have some assistance from a trainee solicitor at suitable times during the conduct of your case but you will always have direct access to the partner leading on your case.
Whilst some cases are won or lost at trial, the reality is that most cases are won or lost during the phases of litigation before any trial. Thorough investigation of all the facts and evidence are key to creating the opportunity for an early negotiated settlement which can save you a huge amount of money, time and stress. Here at MHHP Law we prepare every case from the start with the end in mind that it may go to trial but it will usually be better for you if it does not.

It is this preparation, dedication to excellent client service throughout, and our determination to exceed expectations that sets MHHP Law apart. Beyond our determined litigation and advocacy experience, MHHP Law fully understands that people are at the heart of what we do. People do not hire solicitors unless they need help, and often our clients are in the midst of a difficult time in their lives.

So we keep our focus on the client, providing conscientious and compassionate guidance to those in need of our professional services. We take enormous pride in being chosen by our clients to represent them, and you can be assured that your case will never receive less than the very best service that we offer at MHHP Law.

Every case is different, so the only way to find out if we can help you is to call us.

You can also email us at or fill in our online Contact Form. We will meet with you at your convenience. At our meeting, we’ll listen to your concerns and give you our best judgment about the strengths and weaknesses of your case and how best to proceed.

The prospect of costly litigation prevents many people from even investigating their legal options.

Obviously, legal proceedings can be very expensive, but it can also be very expensive not to act. We will discuss costs with you at the beginning and throughout the case. We will only undertake work that you have approved so there won’t be any surprises on costs..

Step 1: After you have made the decision to hire MHHP Law to represent you, we begin the process of constructing your case. While every case is different, the first step is to conduct a detailed interview. This will enable us to get the facts we need to investigate your case and decide on our strategy to advance and protect your interests. We will also consider with you all funding options relevant to your situation. At every step we will review and consider with you the strength of your case as well as the prospects of negotiating a settlement.

Step 2: Depending on your individual circumstances and the requirements of your case, the next step is a detailed investigation. Every case is different, but typically we may contact witnesses and financial, valuation or other experts, we will obtain and review documents and records, and we will analyze the facts of your case to develop a comprehensive strategy for achieving the best result possible. Throughout we will consider and discuss with you the cost benefit analysis of the case.

Step 3: The third step is preparing the background to comply with the Civil Procedure Rules Pre Action Protocol relevant to your dispute, and considering with you Alternative Dispute Resolution, prior to issue of any proceedings.

Step 4: Court Action. Once proceedings have been issued, and the litigation process is underway, we work diligently to move your case forward. We will keep you fully informed throughout this time-consuming and difficult process, because we never lose sight of the fact that this is your case, and that you have hired us to robustly represent your interests.

The length of time proceedings takes varies. It depends on a number of factors, such as the complexity of the case, the number of parties involved, the amenability of the parties to resolve the case and the court’s timetable. Relatively straightforward proceedings, without any complex legal or factual issues, could be over in a few months.

However, more complicated proceedings involving several parties could take several years to resolve. The implementation of the Civil Procedure Rules and judicial case management means that cases should not be allowed to drag on without being progressed.

We appreciate that our clients are concerned about the speed and pace of their case, and so we are committed to providing the best representation possible within the time frame discussed at the start. We keep our clients fully in touch and informed of progress throughout the case, so that they know that we are always working hard to bring their case to a timely and successful resolution.

Whenever parties enter into binding legal agreements – whether to obtain certain types of insurance, to purchase goods, or to enter into an agreement for the provision of professional services — disputes can later arise, sometimes years later. Such disputes can cause confusion, anxiety, and the potential for serious financial losses.

Whether an individual supplier or contractor failed to provide services, goods or payment as agreed, or you need help interpreting and resolving an ongoing dispute with a company, or government institution, the team at MHHP Law can provide the resources, experience, and skills to conclude the dispute in an effective way.

In contract litigation, the claimant seeks remedies in the civil court from a defendant for breaching an agreement. To resolve the dispute, the court will examine the following:

  • The contract document itself. What, specifically, does the agreement say? Are any clauses contradictory or ambiguous? Were multiple drafts of the contract written? Who prepared the contract? What is the level of sophistication of the respective parties? Could a Court construe some or all of the Contractual Clauses as unfair? If there is no written agreement, can the oral agreement be enforced?
  • Circumstances of the dispute. How did the alleged breach occur? How did this breach negatively affect the claimant, financially or otherwise? How was notice of the breach communicated? How might the past and present relationship between the claimant and defendant inform the dispute? Does the Contract reflect the Parties true intentions?

Applicable law: Many contracts require that disputes be handled in particular courts, under specific laws. Other contracts require the parties to submit disputes to mediation, Alternative Dispute Resolution or arbitration. A lawyer handling a contract dispute should always know which laws might apply. Are there precedent cases that might have a bearing? If so, what were the results in those cases?

MHHP Law represents both claimants and defendants in complicated commercial and business contract litigation on a regular basis. We can scrutinise the contract in question and design a strategy to achieve the best outcome for you, whether that means negotiation or litigation. We can also introduce you to tools and best practices, so you can avoid similar disputes in the future.

Unpicking complex contracts: Whether you operate a business that contracts freelancers, agencies, and suppliers on a regular or occasional basis; or you provide services in a heavily regulated industry, you probably have neither the time nor the expertise to review all of your contracts with a fine-tooth comb. Moreover, the time, money, and energy it takes to resolve difficult disputes can frustrate your business, sap your energy and reduce profits. The variety of contract disputes is essentially limitless.

Fortunately, we have the skill, experience, and resources to address even the most complex disputes efficiently.

MHHP Law can empower you to conclude your dispute and return to focusing on your business and personal life. We can also streamline, clarify and scrutinise agreements you make now or in the future to minimise your risks of future litigation.

In most cases, a claimant seeks damages measured by financial losses or possibly lost profits believed to have been caused by the defendant. Sometimes a claimant seeks redress other than money, such as an injunction or court order to require or prevent some action by a defendant.

How much and whether a claimant will recover depends on many variables, including the nature of the loss and whether and how it can be measured, and many other factors, including whether a contract or statute limits or provides for a certain amount of damages or legal fees.

Absolutely not: In some cases we are able to negotiate settlements with the other side after investigating the case but before any proceedings are issued at court.

We are aware that commercial relationships are often sensitive and could be damaged by the premature commencement of Court Proceedings. However, many disputes are not resolved until significant leverage is applied by lodging proceedings at court. Cases are often resolved through alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) processes such arbitration or mediation.

A claimant must issue proceedings at court within the time period allowed by the limitation period that applies to the case. These vary from case to case, depending on the applicable law and particular circumstances.

You should consult a knowledgeable solicitor to obtain advice on the applicable limitation period, when it starts to run, the likely expiry date, and whether any extension of time is possible.

Courts encourage settlement, but can’t force parties to reach an agreement. It is usually in each party’s best interest to settle a case without going through a trial, however.

Trials can be expensive, and cost time and money that could be better invested. Nevertheless, sometimes no settlement can be achieved. As such, the parties are entitled to have their dispute decided at trial.

Mediation is a common form of voluntary Alternate Dispute Resolution process (ADR). Usually an experienced neutral mediator meets with the parties and assists them in negotiating a resolution.

The mediator does not adjudicate on the case, or make a judicial decision on the law or evidence. The mediator facilitates the negotiating process; acting as an honest broker or in some cases will evaluate it for the parties to assist them in making a better judgment as to whether to settle.

A judge may order the losing party to pay the costs, or more often, some of the costs, of the winner. The rule of thumb is that “costs follow the event” or that the loser pays the reasonable costs of the issue.

These costs may include the costs of the winning party’s solicitor and barrister in preparing the case plus disbursements or expenses, such as experts’ fees, court fees and witness expenses. The over-arching principle however, is that each party is responsible for paying his or her own lawyers’ fees.

An appeal is only possible in limited circumstances, where there has been an error in the law applied by the court. Courts of appeal are limited to deciding questions of law, not fact.

Yes. MHHP Law is a multi- service law firm. Our firm handles a variety of legal matters, including Divorce, matters involving Children, disputes over property, inheritance and will disputes, trust and estate claims, wills, lasting powers of attorney, probate, commercial property – have a look round our website.

When a contract references contract dispute resolution, this is referring to terms in a contract that can rectify disputes, whether this is on a non-binding or binding solution. These scenarios can sometimes require the parties to engage in alternative methods to resolve grievances, such as mediation and arbitration.

In some instances, reference to litigation through the courts may be required (which is commonly referred to as a “jurisdiction clause”.)

If a situation arises that requires a resolution to a contractual dispute, there are factors you should consider moving forward. It’s worth noting, getting legal support during contractual disputes is advised. When finding a resolution, you should:

  • Seek a resolution that can be agreed upon in a timely manner and doesn’t impede on the functionality of your company
  • Is financially viable and won’t have a devastating impact on your affairs
  • Comes to a solution that doesn’t result in the dispute ending up in court, which can avoid further costs and additional time
  • Keep the number of people involved to a minimum to aid the resolution process and keep the dispute under control
Dispute resolution can be broken down into 4 pillars, putting it into easily digestible bite-sized chunks. These are:

  • Independent negotiation 

Negotiation is frequently the first port of call for those who are involved in a dispute and wish to resolve it without the input of outside sources. This is because, in certain cases, both parties wish to have an upfront conversion which can be effective in resolving arguments and finding an amicable solution that benefits both bodies.

  • Mediation 

Acquiring a mediator into a negotiation can be an effective method as they are a completely neutral point of contact, who can offer no personal opinions or assessment. In some instances, courts will request that parties explore the mediation route proper to bring a case to the courtroom. If in the instance a party refuses a mediator, this may cause the judge to frown upon the other party and they could run the risk of facing a costs order, so this is something to bear in mind when faced with a situation that may benefit from a mediator.

  • Arbitration

An arbitrator is a third party who has been appointed by the parties themselves to resolve the dispute at hand. The arbitrator is also a neutral influence and is a specialist in the said field in which the dispute arises. Before reaching a conclusion, the arbitrator will hear from both parties involved. This may not necessarily be one arbitrator, you do have the option to choose to have a panel of arbitrators which will be overseen by a chairman.

Once a decision has been reached, it is legally binding and can be enforced by a court.

  • Conciliation

Conciliation is a customary dispute resolution option that is commonly used in terms of employment disputes. The conciliator’s opinion is used to help both parties recognise individuals’ positions in the dispute and come to an agreement.

Contracts require a series of elements to certify their validity. Each party involved needs a solid understanding of the terms in the contract and each mutually agrees upon them. If these terms are not mutually agreed upon or don’t follow the stated terms, the contract is typically not legally valid and is able to be contested in court.

There are a variety of different disputes that may arise, some examples of these can include:

  • Issues upon review of said contract
  • Queries regarding the offer made in the contract
  • Disputing the meaning of a contract’s technical terms
  • Any mistakes or errors pertaining to the terms made in the contract
  • A party claiming they were forced to sign a contract
  • Contracts not standing by original agreements made prior, these can be months or years earlier

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