Commercial Contracts Disputes - Jonathan Lea Network

In business, almost every transaction and relationship will involve some sort of contract. In fact, we all enter into contracts on a daily basis, and inevitably, on occasion, things can go wrong.

When things do go wrong, the fallout can have a seriously negative effect on your business. For example, falling out with a key customer or supplier can significantly harm your reputation and business, as well as theirs. There are many reasons as to why such a dispute can emerge, and the non-exhaustive list below sets out some examples of how it can happen:

  • issues arising out of a contract review;
  • concerns arising from an offer that has been made in a contract;
  • disagreements over wording used in the contract (usually technical terms or even ambiguities);
  • mistakes, errors and omissions in the contract;
  • a party to a contract alleging that they have been coerced or forced into the contract;
  • disputes involving business associates or employees; and
  • disputes where a party does not honour their commitments under a contract.

To successfully deal with a contract dispute, the first step is to work out as to whether a contract existed between the parties in the first place and work out the terms of the contract. Once we have established this, we can advise you in relation to whether grounds exist for a dispute and what actions should be taken.

There are a number of necessary ingredients that are required for the formation of a contract. Firstly, an offer, which must be sufficiently clear and certain, must be made. Secondly, the offer must be accepted, and thirdly consideration (i.e., something of value and usually money) is provided. Both parties to the contract must intend to create an agreement that is legally binding.

A contract can be formed either in writing or orally, or a mixture of both. Oral contracts are legally binding, just as written ones. However, it is helpful to make a contract in writing so as to ensure its existence can be proved, if the need arises in the future. In some situations, a written contract is required by law.

Usually, where one party to the contract fails to meet its obligations under the agreement a breach of contract occurs. However, it is important to consider the nature and extent of the breach as not all failures of obligation constitute a breach. It is also the case that even if a breach of contract has strictly occurred, but it is a trivial breach (and not one that inhibits the performance of the contract on a material level), it may not be worthwhile pursuing if it has little or no practical effect on the contract.

There are a variety of remedies available if it is found that a breach of contract has occurred and typically damages (monetary compensation) is sought by the innocent party who suffered a loss arising from the breach.

It is also imperative to take legal advice promptly if you are finding yourself accused of breach of contract so that you can take proactive steps to protect your commercial interests, finances and reputation. Our dedicated and experienced team can advise you as to whether a breach of contract has occurred and, if so, whether it is in the business’s interests to pursue or defend the matter.

How we can help

As always, we can offer you a no-cost, no-obligation introductory 20-minute call to discuss your contract dispute matter. Please do get in touch with us so that we can discuss your contract dispute matter and utilise our expertise to steer you to the most suitable outcome.

Our Areas of Experience

  • Acquisitions and disposals of freehold and leasehold properties, including agricultural land and buildings
  • Construction contracts
  • Development projects including planning agreements, options, conditional contracts and joint venture arrangements
  • Leasebacks and re-financings
  • Leasehold arrangements and landlord and tenant negotiations
  • Leasehold enfranchisement;Planning contracts including s.106 agreements
  • Residential site assembly and plot sale disposal
  • Short term licence to occupy agreements
  • Vacant property management, including property guardian contractual documentation

Our Commercial Contracts Disputes Team

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