Disputes, if not resolved quickly, often pose a threat to the continued success of a business. They can be a significant disruption from tasks critical to protecting your business interests and achieving your goals. However, with so many variables and regulations involved, navigating a dispute can be difficult especially if you become the subject of one.
Keep reading to understand what a commercial dispute is and what your options are in resolving one.
What is a commercial dispute
A commercial dispute, at its core, is a disagreement between two or more parties in relation to commerce.
Many commercial disputes arise due to mismanagement, misunderstanding of, or failure to perform contract terms and conditions. That is why we always advise clients to review their contracts before signing them. Having a complete understanding of all the terms and conditions in writing is much more reliable than verbal assurances.
What are some examples of commercial disputes
Commercial disputes cover just about any kind of dealing between individuals and business entities and can vary in complexity. Below are some examples of commercial disputes:
1. Real estate disputes
Real estate disputes involve disagreements related to contracts, termination of leases and property agreements, development, settlements, landlord-tenant relationship, acquisitions, etc.
2. Contract disputes
Disputes can also arise due to misinterpretations or breach of contract. This can occur through not performing the contract in a timely manner, not payng on time, or not observing the terms of the contract.
3. Lease disputes
Lease disputes relate to any issue involving a landlord and tenant. These could be issues on contract negotiations, failure to perform obligations during the lease term, issues with the return of security deposit, contract rectification issues, or when the agreement is terminated.
4. Supply chain disputes
Non-performance, payment inconsistencies, and other disruptions made under trade and supply agreements could also stir up disputes between buyers and suppliers..
5. Intellectual property (IP) disputes
IP disputes include licensing of intellectual property, ownership of intellectual property, passing off, misleading and deceptive conduct, copyright issues, etc.
6. Business sale and acquisition disputes
Disputes revolving around the sale or purchase of a business usually arise due to unclear or undisclosed contracts, unforeseen liabilities, or even a straight-up deception on the part of the seller.
7. Shareholder/director disputes
Dispute of shareholders and directors may be breach of directors’ duties, oppression claims, breach of fiduciary duty, misappropriation of funds, division of assets, etc.
What is commercial dispute resolution
Generally, dispute resolution is a way of settling disputes either in a court of law through mediation or in private setting outside of court. Understandably, parties in disputes often confuse litigation or in-court dispute resolution as their only recourse in ending a dispute.
However, there are other ways of trying to reach a consensus which are often quicker and more cost-effective than going to court. Below are the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes that you can attempt voluntarily before considering court action.
Negotiation involves notifying the other party about the dispute and offering to discuss the issues (without emotions) with them directly. This is usually the first step to take when a dispute occurs.
With the help of a dispute resolution practitioner (a facilitator), the parties in dispute identify the issues and how they are to be resolved. The facilitator might be able to facilitate a better discussion between the parties to better negotiate a mutually acceptable outcome.
The mediation process involves assigning a neutral third party or “mediator” to work with the parties in an attempt to reach an agreement or compromise. A mediator generally facilitates negotiations between the parties and may make suggestions about how the parties can resolve the dispute; the mediator generally assists in finding common ground.
In disputes revolving around technical issues, seeking an expert for determination is a good idea. Referring to someone with sector-specific expertise can help you decide on your dispute not only with the evidence at hand but also with the expert’s personal experience. For example, you may opt for expert determination for the valuation of a business or a specific asset.
VCAT, Federal Court, County Court, or Supreme Court?
The Civil Procedure Act in Victoria dictates that you should first attempt to resolve your dispute out of court if it’s something possible. However, if all else fails, you should get advice from a lawyer prior to commencing an action in court.
How a lawyer can help you in a commercial dispute
While it’s not always possible to resolve a dispute out of court, TNS Lawyers’ experience and skills are invaluable resource when it comes to addressing your commercial dispute resolution needs.
Whenever you run into an issue, it’s important that you know when to touch base with a great team of legal professionals that can come to your aid. Be prepared to work diligently with your chosen law firm throughout the entirety of the dispute resolution process to increase your chances of getting the outcome you want.
Let TNS Lawyers manage your commercial disputes
If you find yourself involved in a commercial dispute, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. While the points in this article refer to just some of the most common forms of dispute resolution, we can discuss and form a legal strategy that lets you confidently proceed with your matter.
Schedule a consultation with us using the contact form below or by calling +613 9052 3214.