Being involved in a dispute or litigation is almost certainly at the bottom of your ‘to do’ list. It is inevitable, however, that every business will from time to time encounter difficulties that are potentially contentious in nature.
We understand how important it is to you and your business to deal with such issues cost effectively and as expeditiously as possible.
Our Disputes and Litigation team has the experience and expertise to advise you on a wide range of contentious matters including:
- Sale of goods cases,
- Business and agricultural property disputes,
- Landlord and tenant disputes,
- Commercial and contractual disputes,
- Professional negligence claims
We help our clients to avoid formal proceedings wherever possible. We will explore with you the possibility of an out of court settlement which may be achieved by way of mediation or another method of alternative dispute resolution. In some cases, though, court action will be unavoidable and our Disputes and Litigation team have a strong track record in dealing with all aspects of the litigation process from commencement of proceedings through to trial (and, where appropriate, appeal).
We recognise that, often, the process of identifying and assessing the possible solutions to a problem can be as complex as the dispute itself. We will give you bespoke advice and adopt a cost effective approach.
The lawyers in our Disputes and Litigation team will work to ensure that you achieve the best commercial outcome in any given situation.
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It will not cost you anything to contact us for initial guidance. We are happy to have an initial confidential telephone discussion with you to assess whether you may have a claim.
If you then decide to instruct us, we will review all the available funding options with you so you can decide which one is most appropriate for your circumstances.
Options for Funding your Claim
There are various ways of funding your claim. The most common are:-
Not all cases are suitable for ‘No Win – No Fee’ agreements but we are always happy to consider this option with you during our initial discussion.
If we accept your case on a ‘No Win – No Fee’ basis and you do not win your case then you do not have to pay our fees. However if you win, you pay us a success fee in addition to our basic charges and expenses. You can recover our basic charges and expenses from your opponent providing your claim is successful. However, please bear in mind that the Court has a wide discretion in relation to the costs based orders that it can make. The success fee is not recoverable from your opponent and you alone are responsible for it.
We may advise you to take out an insurance policy to guard against the risk that you might lose your case. You are solely responsible for the cost of that policy although most insurers defer payment of the premium until the conclusion of your case. Often the premium is self-insured by the policy and thus not directly payable by you if your claim is unsuccessful.
If your case is not suitable for a CFA we may be able to offer you a discounted CFA.
This way, we agree to charge discounted fees as the case progresses. If you win the case, you agree to pay the balance of our normal fees, which are usually recoverable from your opponent.
Many people have what is known as “Before the Event (BTE)” insurance as part of their motor, home contents or other policy.
This may be described as Legal Expenses Insurance or Family Legal Protection. The coverage may not extend to your claim so you should check the policy carefully and contact us with any queries.
If you are a member of a Trade Union, it is possible they may provide some help with legal issues but again you should check with them that they cover the particular circumstances of your case and the extent of any cover.
If you fund your claim yourself, you will be required to pay for the cost of the case as it progresses.
We will submit interim accounts to cover the work done for you on a regular basis to help you to budget for the costs that will be incurred. If you win your claim, it may be possible to recover the majority of your costs from your opponent, depending on the particular circumstances of your case. However, please bear in mind that the Court has a wide discretion in relation to the costs based orders that it can make. When those costs have been paid by your opponent we will reimburse you for the sums you paid us on account up to the value of the costs recovered from your opponent. You will still be liable for any shortfall.
Where possible we will agree fixed fees for different stages of the claim so you can be certain what the costs for each stage are likely to be before you decide to go ahead.
For details of each option please see our terms and conditions.
You can be confident that if we believe you have a good claim, we will use our best endeavours to find a way of funding it.
Our Disputes and Litigation team have extensive experience in dealing with property related disputes.
We act for a broad range of clients including landlords of commercial premises, developers, investors, educational establishments and property managers and we understand that in property matters things don’t always go according to plan.
When complications arise it is essential you work with a legal team that can react quickly, adapt to your changing needs and give clear, tactical advice; it is for that reason that we offer early advice and assistance so problems can be avoided or resolved before the need for formal action arises.
We advise on a number of contentious property matters including:
- Landlord and tenant disputes,
- Contentious and non contentious business lease renewals,
- Rent and service charge recovery,
- Dilapidations claims,
- Disputes over breaches of covenant including forfeiture/relief applications,
- Service charge disputes,
- Recovery of land or premises from unlawful occupiers,
- Lease surrender negotiations,
- Disputes over consent to assignment/sub-let/change use/alterations,
- Disputes with owners of neighbouring properties over boundaries, easements (e.g. rights of way, rights to park; rights to light), breaches of covenant, trespass, nuisance, adverse possession,
- Residential possession actions and rent recovery for commercial landlords.
Sadly sometimes professionals such as accountants, architects, surveyors, veterinary surgeons, teachers or even solicitors, don’t get their advice right.
While some complaints may simply be due to poor service and can reasonably be addressed by the professional’s ombudsman or regulator, others can result in significant financial detriment to the individual or business concerned.
We understand the wider implications of negligence for businesses and individuals, including damage to reputations and relationships, and work hard to achieve practical and cost effective solutions to minimise the impact to you or your business.
Most professionals are required to carry insurance to protect the consumer if they are negligent.
If you believe you have suffered financial loss as a result of the negligence a professional our expert Disputes and Litigation team can provide expert assistance in investigating and pursuing a claim. We are able to offer a range of funding options and will work closely with you from the outset to help you achieve practical and cost effective solutions tailored to your particular circumstances.
Wolferstans is one of only a few firms in the South West with lawyers who can offer you and your business specialist licensing advice.
Our experience is in advising upon all aspects of the regime relating to premises licences and the requirement in certain circumstances for a temporary event notice.
Our specialist team has a rare insight into the workings and thought process of the Local Authority in its consideration of licensing requirements and its regulation of licensed premises.
We can help you with new applications, variations to existing licences and can offer you support in the event that there are objections to your application.
We are happy to support and represent you at licensing sub-committee hearings and in the event of an appeal or formal review of your licence and its conditions.
The team can also provide advice on other regulatory regimes including Vehicle Operators’ Licensing.
Restrictive covenants are often included within an employment contract by a business to protect their commercially valuable information (confidential information) from misuse after an employee leaves. Employees are usually required to agree them when joining a company and will form part of their employment contract. The pro-active employers should therefore be reviewing their contracts and restrictive covenants as well as their systems and controls to ensure they afford the right protection to those in business development, client facing and revenue generating roles.
However, with the continued competition amongst employers to attract and retain the most talented employees, the number of issues and claims arising from the breaches of restrictive covenants contained in employment contracts are on the increase. Many employers and, on the other side, employees will likely require legal assistance, especially given the complexity of this area of law and the next steps that may need to be taken, which for example may include an application to the High Court for an injunction and associated search orders as necessary.