PA Duffy and Company have offices in Co. Tyrone and Dublin, this means we are uniquely positioned to deal with Litigation and Dispute Resolution matters in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Our commercial law team works with small local businesses as well as large multi-national businesses. Our expert commercial solicitors understand the complexities of running a business and our approach is to take swift action with a view to resolving disputes in an expedient and effective manner.
There is a vast array of dispute resolution methods which our commercial solicitors use including litigation, mediation and arbitration. Our commercial solicitors will take instructions from our client’s and always choose the method which is most beneficial to our client’s interests.
We have compiled a list of detailed dispute resolution methods that may help you to understand how these matters are dealt with in practice:
• Litigation – Depending on the circumstances of the dispute our commercial law solicitors may advise that the best way to resolve the matter is by way of litigation. This is common in cases which involve breach of contract, defamation, intellectual property, as well as other commercial disputes. A common example of a case that may require litigation is where goods are ordered and payed for by one party (our client) and the other party fail to provide said goods. In this case there would be a financial loss to our client so we would sue the at fault party for breach of contract and aim to recover any loss suffered through the Courts process.
• Arbitration – This is an effective means of resolving commercial disputes without having to go through the Courts process. These proceedings usually arise if agreement can not be reached between disputing parties but both parties agree to refer to the case to an independent arbitrator (neutral individual or body) and accept their decision on the matter. This will usually take place by way of an Arbitration Tribunal. This approach is common in cases of sale and purchase disputes for example.
• Mediation – Like arbitration, mediation is a method which can be employed to settle disputes outside of Court. An independent mediator is appointed with the consent of both parties. The mediator will work with both parties in an attempt to reach a fair agreement. This method can be used for property disputes, debt disputes and contractual disputes for example.
• Procurement Challenges – PA Duffy are experts in this particular area of dispute resolution. There are various ways to challenge procurement which are usually related to the decision-making process by the body/company making the decision. A challenge may be based on inaccurate scoring for tenders, unlawful influence on procurement body, biased decision by procurement body or on the basis of a failure of the procurement body to take in to account relevant considerations.
• Debt Recovery – This is a common problem faced by businesses and is certainly one of the most unpleasant tasks in relation to running a business. If you are chasing a debt and the period you allow for payment of said debt has elapsed you should act swiftly to ensure your companies interests are protected. Our experienced solicitors will advise you on the best course of action to take, this can include pre-action debt collection, county court proceedings and bankruptcy proceedings for example.
• Adjudication – This method offers the possibility of an enforceable decision being made without recourse to the Courts. It is used quite often in construction and building disputes. The preferred adjudicator is often named in a contract between the disputing parties and will usually be an independent, professional adjudication body. The process involves one party sending a Referral Notice to the adjudicator and the other party filing a response. The adjudicator will then provide a decision within 28 days based on the facts. While the quick turnaround is desirable, the absence of an oral hearing in these matters may result in an undesirable and unfair outcome. Nonetheless, it is still a viable dispute resolution method.
• Judicial Review – This method can only be used as a remedy of last resort. A judicial review can be taken against a public body or authority if they have made a decision which you consider to unlawful, unfair, irritational or the decision maker has failed to act in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights. This is often an effective remedy for public law procurement challenges.
How We Can Help
At PA Duffy and Company our commercial solicitors aim to take away the burden of resolving dispute issues from our client’s. While each case will be different, we can guarantee that our service will include:
1. Expert advice – If a dispute arises you can contact one of our expert commercial law solicitors and they will meet you or speak to you on the phone to discuss how best to resolve the matter. You will be advised on the most effective method or remedy to your problem and our solicitors will tailor our services to your needs.
2. Communication – We will keep you updated on the progress of your case throughout the dispute resolution process. Our commercial solicitors are approachable and responsive to any queries you may have and will try to help you understand the legal complexities.
3. Getting Results – Dispute resolution is about finding the correct remedy to your client’s problem. Our solicitors have the expertise and knowledge to apply the correct remedy and obtain the desired outcome for our client’s.
We have devised a hypothetical scenario which may help you to understand how dispute resolution methods operate in practice:
Colm is the director of a company who sell large engineering machinery throughout Ireland and the UK. Colm sold two machines to a customer in Co. Galway for a total of £28,000. Colm applied his companies’ usual protocol for payment of invoices, allowing 28 days for the payment of the invoice. He then sent a reminder letter asking that the invoice be paid within 14 days. When this time elapsed he made a phone call to the debtor and instructed that he would allow a further 14 days but if no payment was received he would be pursuing legal action. The invoice was not paid.
Colm approached our commercial law team who sent a pre action letter to the debtor stating that they had breached a contract for goods by failing to pay their invoice, which has resulted in our client sustaining a significant financial loss. They were given a further 21 days to make payment of this invoice with the threat of Court Proceedings if they did not.
No payment was received. Colm took his solicitors advice that the best way to proceed was by way of litigation. Court Proceedings were issued seeking full payment of the debt. Prior to the Hearing date for the case the debtor’s solicitor and Colm’s solicitor entered into negotiations and it was agreed that the debtor would pay the invoice in full with any added interest if Colm agreed to drop the case against him. Colm was happy with this outcome and instructed his solicitor to accept the offer.