Dispute Resolution

Our contract management team at Long O Donnell seeks to reduce the risk of disputes by early adoption of contract strategies which apportions risk to the appropriate party.

However, where disputes arise, we provide an exemplary record assisting in disputes and adjudication.

Negotiation

Where two parties have to agree on a course of action, expert consultancy and planning before the discussions take place is always advisable. We can help your company by devising the negotiation strategy, identifying any pitfalls and predicting counter-arguments and mitigation strategies before they happen.

Mediation

Mediation is a practical yet sophisticated process designed to address the real issues and obstacles behind conflicts. With a neutral third party involved, a constructive and positive environment is created in which discussions take place. Both sides are in control of the process and come to an agreed settlement under the guidance of the mediator. Highly trained mediators do not impose a decision, nor indicate any partiality for either side. It is confidential, flexible, cost effective and highly successful in producing results that all sides are happy with.

Arbitration

Some construction disputes must be settled through arbitration. Although a voluntary procedure, like mediation, it differs in that an independent arbitrator will decide on the outcome. Arbitral proceedings demand the highest standard of factual evidence and can absorb many man-hours when prepared by an in-house or external solicitor's team. It can be a long and technical procedure demanding a detailed understanding of the dispute and its ramifications. Costs can be significant.

Adjudication

Construction law changed in 1998 (see Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 in our page about The Law) and allowed the greater use of adjudication in small and large construction disputes. It has speeded up the processes of dispute resolution by the intervention of an expert Adjudicator qualified to make a binding and enforceable decision, which if not complied with, will be supported by the courts.

Expert Determination

In expert determination, the parties agree to be bound by the decision of an expert in the field of the dispute. This process can be useful where the dispute is about a technical matter and is commonly used in the construction industry. The expert will usually be given inquisitorial powers to investigate the dispute himself, rather than only relying on the evidence the parties choose to present.

Case Assessment and Early Neutral Evaluation

Early Neutral Evaluation is the tool often used for investigating a case before it has been heard in court. Two parties appoint an independent expert assessor, such as Winfield Associates, to evaluate the relative positions of each side and recommend a course of action. Although this is not a binding opinion it provides an unbiased guide to the likely decision if heard in court. It may influence the parties to an early settlement, avoiding lengthy hearings.

Case assessment is similarly useful in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of a claim before reaching court. A full analysis of the risks involved, both financial and otherwise, will be presented and a strategy concluded.

Contractual Claims Resolution

Unexpected situations arise every day that create contractual problems that were not foreseen when the document was written. When a contractual claim is raised, the impact can have a damaging and debilitating effect on business. Work may be delayed by several weeks or months, unpaid invoices can devastate cash flow, and endless management hours are spent pulling together information, not to mention the stress on the individuals concerned. As soon as a contract seems to be experiencing problems, we advise you contact us. We will give you an honest evaluation of the claim and the options open to you.

Preparation of Court Documents

When litigation is inevitable you need to prepare thoroughly for the hearings that follow. In house resources and external solicitors will find this an arduous and time consuming task and may lack the knowledge to interpret the issues and effectively manage them. Traditionally solicitors are often instructed to carry out the collection of evidence and preparation of documents, but with hourly rates soaring, this is likely an expensive option.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution provides another way for litigants to resolve a dispute.

The expressed intention is that the parties to a dispute are expected to endeavour to reach a compromise, and the court is given power to impose cost sanctions to penalize a party that makes no attempt to settle.

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Dispute Resolution – providing the industry with an alternative means of dispute resolution from the traditional approach. Alternative Dispute Resolution enables our clients the ability to efficiently resolve contractual and commercial disputes to release value from their contracts. We have successfully completed dispute resolution for a number of key clients throughout the UK and Internationally.