6 trusted guidelines for handling contract disputes

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Contracts and the disputes that flow from them are indicative of the complexity of the law. As such it is important to minimize the likelihood of a dispute by properly documenting the arrangement when carrying out business with another organization. This could very well assist you in getting the other party, often a company, to hold up their side of the bargain. Here is a guide to help you in case you encounter any contract disputes.

Prepare in advance

Ensure that you know the facts and have all the necessary documents that you need. These include emails, correspondence, the contract (including the terms and conditions). You should ascertain the names of relevant witnesses that can support your case and offer evidence in case a lawsuit is inevitable.

Know what you want

It is essential for you to know exactly what you want from the other side who allegedly breached the contract. It will no doubt be important for you to win your case otherwise you will have to pay the other side damages and legal costs. Sometimes, if you are a business, you may want to win to prevent future contract disputes of a similar kind and to set a good precedent. At other times the goal may be to protect a reputation in the industry. In other instances a businesses may want to defend a profitable business relationship and will seek to avoid a messy court dispute at all costs.

Know what you are up against

It is important for you to have a clear understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses and also of your opponent. Try and work out if your opponent has the appetite for a court battle or not. You should also determine whether they have the finances to handle lawsuits and whether they are able to pay for your loss and damages in case you win the case. This will assist you in determining whether you would want to file for a lawsuit for breach of contract or not.

Consider the outcome and the cost involved

When you plan to sue an individual or business for breach of contract, you will definitely have to spend money on legal costs by getting a lawyer involved. Ensure that you determine your likely cost and also the time commitment to you. You should also determine the likely outcome of the case in terms of your prospects as it will help you come up with a strategy for settlement (if necessary).

Seek legal advice

If you have a litigation lawyer, it is best to seek his/her advice.  This is important because your solicitor will scrutinize the breach of contract and matters incidental. He/she will also offer useful advice that can help narrow down the best solution for the problem at hand. This helps you know your legal position on the issues at stake and the weaknesses and strengths in your matter.

Prepare your action plan

When you have all the information that you require you should plan your approach. Determine which of the available options whether it is mediation or court proceedings are likely to give you the outcome that you desire and the tactics that will help you achieve them. You must have all the key documents and facts available. If the other party is willing, you can consider alternative methods of resolving disputes rather than to go to court.

When resolving contract disputes, it is important for you to listen to the advice given by your lawyer. It is best that you are completely honest with your lawyer and avoid hiding any crucial evidence. This is because your opponents could use any lack of candour to their advantage.