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With commercial disputes on the rise as a result of the recession, businesses are being advised to put a strategy in place to help prevent them becoming entangled in costly litigation cases.
Law firm DWF says a combination of training, taking care with terms and conditions and awareness of common pitfalls can help to prevent disputes arising.
Litigtion partner Graham Dagnall says: “When an economy is in a downturn an inevitable consequence is an increase in disputes, which cost both time and money. Having a clear strategy allows you to focus on your core business and helps prevent disagreements arising in the first place.”
He has the following ten tips for businesses:
Train employees in dispute avoidance techniques – fall-outs commonly arise through lack of knowledge and poor communication.
Foster a dispute avoidance mindset in senior executives so it becomes engrained in the business culture.
Make sure you have up-to-date and well-drafted terms and conditions - even if it doesn’t stop a dispute arising, it will increase your chances of winning.
Ensure sales staff are familiar with your terms and conditions and apply them rather than terms provided by the other party.
Are your terms clear as regards payment? Do they include the right to claim statutory interest?
Check your retention of title clause which allows you to maintain ownership of any goods you supply until payment is received. Will it be effective in the event that a customer becomes insolvent?
Take steps to protect your confidential data.
Capture and store information in a convenient format so you can make informed decisions quickly.
Confirm verbal communications by notes or email to avoid misunderstandings.
Make sure your accounts teams know how to challenge claims for statutory interest from suppliers if they have behaved unfairly.
Graham Dagnall adds: “When times are hard you need to focus on what you do best and dealing with disputes detract from that. Training employees and ensuring you have robust systems in place will help protect your business against the risk of costly litigation.”
DWF provides advice and training on dispute management and procedures and alternative dispute resolution, including the preparation of best practice procedures and staff training materials.
Notes to editors
DWF LLP is one of the fastest growing law firms in the UK. With over 970 people based in Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Preston, DWF provides a range of services grouped under the following practice areas:
Banking & Finance
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