Category Archives: civil litigation

Consumer Disputes

According to the Office of Fair Trading, unsatisfactory goods and services cost British consumers more than £8 billion a year.

What is consumer law?

Consumer Law is the area of law which provides protection to the consumer when they purchase a product or service. The Law ensures that consumers are protected against such issues as fraud or mis-sell and that consumer markets abide by the rules and regulations of this directive. Consumer Law also protects organisations, for example regarding issues of copyright or intellectual property right theft.

What are consumer disputes?

Consumer dispute means a dispute where the person against whom a complaint has been made, denies or disputes the allegations contained in the complaint.

English Law for consumers and consumer disputes

Under English law, traders need to comply with the legislation and regulations on the sale of goods. The law on this area has evolved over many years and is principally set out in the Sale of Goods Act 1979, as amended by the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 and the Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002.

All buyers of goods and services are entitled to remedies under the legislation but consumers are entitled to a greater range of remedies. ‘Consumers’ are people who are buying for themselves, i.e. not for their trade, business or profession. All buyers are entitled to goods of satisfactory quality but cannot, for example, expect a legal remedy for fair wear and tear or a fault they should have discovered on reasonable inspection.

Whether you are a consumer seeking redress or a trader seeking to ensure you comply with your obligations, our consumer team can offer an in-depth comprehensive service in all consumer matters and can advise and represent you to a successful resolution of any consumer disputes.  For more legal assistance contact our solicitors on 01206 500181.

 

 

Disputes Resolution and Mediation

Disputes can cause individuals and small businesses direct financial loss, unbudgeted costs, wasted management time and often irreparable damage to relationships and reputations. It is, therefore, crucial to resolve disputes quickly and understand the range of options available to you.

When it comes to dispute resolution, we now have many choices. Understandably, disputants are often confused about which process to use. The choices include:

  • Mediation
  • Arbitration
  • Litigation

Here we will discuss meditation.

What is Mediation?

The goal of mediation is for a neutral third party to help disputants come to the agreement on their own. Rather than imposing a solution, a professional mediator works with the conflicting sides to discover the interests underlying their positions.

Mediation can be helpful at allowing parties to open their feelings and fully explore their grievances.

Mediation process

Working with parties together and sometimes separately, mediators try to help them hammer out a resolution that is sustainable, voluntary, and nonbinding.

There are 6 steps to a formal mediation;

  • introductory remarks
  • statement of the problem by the parties
  • information gathering time
  • identification of the problems
  • bargaining and generating options
  • reaching an agreement

Advantages of Mediation

The main advantages of attempting to reach the agreement by mediation are:

  • You are directly involved in negotiating your own agreement.
  • No settlement can be imposed upon you (as happens in litigation or arbitration).
  • The proceedings are conducted in private, and you are in control of your own position.
  • Because mediation can be used early in a dispute and agreement can be reached more quickly than may be the case when pursuing the problem through the courts.
  • You have the services of an experienced person who can aid your negotiations, and assist in achieving a quick settlement.
  • Generally, the cost is greatly reduced in comparison with pursuing the matter through the courts or arbitration.
  • The Mediator may be able to explore alternative solutions that may not have been considered by the parties or are not possible or available through the courts.
  • It is possible to re-establish a positive relationship between the parties once the dispute is resolved.
  • If the Mediation is unsuccessful you have neither prejudiced or sacrificed any legal rights nor delayed significantly any ultimate settlement by the legal process.

 

Contact us for dispute resolution and mediation

We can advise you on the best strategy for achieving your objectives within your budget and preferred timescale. We focus on identifying the issues early and using the most appropriate method of dispute resolution. These range from negotiating on your behalf to appointing an independent third party or an expert to come to a solution. Contact our litigation department to discuss which method suits you best.

Contractual Disputes

Contractual disputes can arise before, during or after a contract has been entered into. It is therefore important to ensure contracts are drafted comprehensively. Examples of such disputes include the provision of faulty goods and services, the pursuit of unpaid debts and recovering damages arising from breaches of business contracts.

Common reasons why contractual disputes arise

Our specialist contract solicitors can assist with all types of contractual disputes, including:

  • Issues arising from a contract review
  • Concerns around an offer you have made in a contract
  • Disagreements over the meaning of technical terms within a contract
  • Mistakes and errors
  • Fraud
  • Disputes involving business associates or employees
  • Disputes where a party does not honour their commitment under a contract

 

Once a dispute surfaces, we always encourage our clients to resolve matters quickly without resorting to litigation to preserve the contractual and business relationships. If this is not possible, we will take effective and where necessary immediate action to protect your position.

Contractual Obligation

A contract is an agreement giving rise to obligations which are enforced or recognised by law. When contracting parties’ sign such an agreement they mutually agree to perform their part of the obligations stipulated in the agreement.

Contract law governs the relationship, content and validity of such an agreement and covers a wide range of agreements, from the sale of goods/provision of services to exchanges of interests or ownership.

What Are Contract Obligations?

Contract obligations are those duties that each party is legally responsible for in a contract agreement. In a contract, each party exchanges something of value, whether it is a product, services, money, etc. On both sides of the agreement, each party has various obligations in connection with this exchange.

If either party fails to perform their contractual obligations according to the contract terms, it will usually result in a breach of contract. This may result in a damages award to reimburse the non-breaching party for their economic losses.

How we can help with contract obligations case?

Contract law essentially comes into play when the agreement terms are breached or about to be breached and the aggrieved party needs to enforce the terms of the agreement. Our commercial and litigation teams combine to assist and advise you throughout the contractual process, from drafting the contract to your specific requirements, to advising and representing you if there has been a breach of contract.

Examples of Contract Obligations

Contract obligations generally depend on the specific subject matter of the contract. Contract obligations for a sales contract may be much different than other types of contracts, such as a rental agreement contract. However, most legal agreements contain some of the same types of contract obligations, such as:

  • Payment:  One party is usually legally bound to provide payment for the sale of goods or services. The contract terms may state obligations regarding payment amounts and the deadline for payment.
  • Quality of Goods:  The seller may also be bound to provide goods of a certain quality. This may be specifically described in the contract

These types of obligations can vary according to the individual details of the contract. In addition to these specific obligations, each party in a contract is also bound by certain general principles and obligations when forming the contract.

For instance, each party is obligated to deal fairly and truthfully with the other party, and each party is also obligated to refrain from using force or oppression in obtaining the agreement.

Can Contract Obligations Be Transferred to Another Party?

In some cases, contract obligations can be transferred to a third party. For instance, if one party is obligated to paint the other party’s house, they can sometimes hire an outside party to do the painting for them. This is known as “contract delegation”.  Contract delegation may or may not be allowed for all obligations; the ability to delegate a contract duty may depend on the type of obligation as well as state contract laws.

For instance, a contract obligation usually can’t be delegated if it involves unique craftsmanship or artistic ability that can only be performed by the specific party to the agreement.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Contract obligations will be different in each individual claim. You may need to contact an experienced contracts attorney if you have any disputes or legal questions about a contract obligation. Your lawyer can provide you with legal research and guidance to address your inquiries about contract obligations. In addition, if you need to file a lawsuit for a violation of contract obligations, your attorney can provide you with assistance and representation in court.