It can be incredibly daunting to be involved to be involved in a professional dispute. That is why it is important to seek legal advice at the earliest possible stage.
Below we have outlined some of the most frequently asked questions that arise from clients when instructing us regarding a dispute with a business or individuals.
It is very important to involve a solicitor immediately. Often, pre-emptive rights or weapons in a dispute resolver’s armoury (such as pre-action disclosure and pre-action Part 36 offers) are lost if a solicitor has not been instructed when the dispute first arises. The emergence of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 have introduced Pre-action Protocols for various specific disputes and a general practice direction for all disputes to ensure that pre-action steps are taken to seek to avoid disputes ending up in Court. Parties may be penalised later on costs if these procedures have not been followed. Guiding a dispute through any forum of dispute resolution involves knowledge of specialist rules which we are conversant with.
The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) were introduced in 1998 to provide a complete set of rules for all the Courts in England and Wales. The ethos behind the CPR is to ensure that litigation is a dispute resolution forum of the last resort. The CPR introduces a new procedural code with the overriding objective enabling the Courts to ensure that cases are dealt with justly and at a proportionate cost.
The overriding objective also expects the Courts to enforce compliance with the CPR and the accompanying Practice Directions and Court orders. Guiding your way through the various Rules and Practice Directions can be a potential minefield without the guidance of a litigation expert.
Pre-action Protocols are guidelines laid down in the Civil Procedure Rules to encourage parties to resolve their disputes without the need to resort to Court procedures. There are different Protocols for different types of action. Each has its own idiosyncratic steps to ensure the dispute is conducted in a way which will best resolve the dispute. There is a general practice direction for all matters proceeding through the Court and Pre-action Protocols for specific claims, such as:
Some of these Protocols involve pre-action meetings and others provide reasonable times for the Defendant to formulate a full reasoned response to a letter of claim, so that proceedings can be avoided where possible.
All Court actions must be started within the limitation period which is given to a specific claim. The period is often six years from the date of when the cause of action arose. In contract, this will be when the contract was breached. In the tort of negligence, this will be when the damage is suffered. In some cases the limitation period is longer or shorter than this. For example, in proceedings under the Inheritance (Provision for Defendants) Act 1975, a claim must be made within six months of the date of the grant of probate or letters of administration.
If proceedings are issued after the limitation date has expired, then the Defendant will have a complete Defence to any claim.
Alternative Dispute Resolution is a collective name given to forums of dispute resolution which are not standard Court proceedings. Please visit the Alternative Dispute Resolution section of our website for more information.
An injunction is an Order from the Court stopping a person from taking a particular action (a prohibitory injunction) or requiring a person to do something (a mandatory injunction). For more information please visit the Injunctive Relief section of our website.
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