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Many of us will be involved in a contract dispute at some stage in our lives when we do not receive what was agreed upon. Taking legal advice early on is often the best way to resolve issues before a situation escalates.
There are many types of contracts that we enter in everyday life, including as a consumer, an employee, a tenant or a property owner. When something goes wrong, there is often a legal right to ask for the issue to be remedied.
At Glanvilles Solicitors, our expert contract dispute solicitors represent clients in respect of a wide range of legal disagreements. Our team are strong negotiators and are frequently able to reach an agreement without the need for court proceedings. We will put together a robust case on your behalf to enforce your rights and achieve a fair outcome.
We provide breach of contract advice and representation in respect of:
We will advise you of your options and what remedies you believe your contract has been breached.
If you are involved in a contractual dispute, and you need to know your rights or have legal representation, we will be happy to help.
Our dispute resolution team understand how difficult and stressful it is to be involved in a legal disagreement. We strongly believe that you should be treated fairly under the terms of any contract that you enter into, and if there has been a breach of the contract, we will do all we can to obtain justice for you.
Our team is friendly and approachable and will offer you the guidance and support you need throughout your case.
At Glanvilles, we offer outstanding service as well as genuine legal expertise. You will have your own personal lawyer who will deal with your case and who will work proactively to move matters forward as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
When you use our contract dispute resolution services, we promise:
When someone fails to deliver on what has been agreed under the terms of a contract, then the contract has been breached. This could be a failure to provide a service as agreed, doing defective work, providing a defective product or not meeting an agreed timescale.
A legally binding contract can be formed in a number of ways, including by email. The essential points that must be present for a contract to exist are:
It is also important that there is no misrepresentation by either party and no illegality, or the contract could be declared invalid.
Provided the above points are met, a contract could in principle be made verbally with nothing at all in writing. While it is clearly preferable to have an agreement in writing setting out include any terms and conditions that apply, a contract could be made without being written or without being signed.
However, where the contract is in writing, it will be easier to show intention to be legally bound by the agreement.
Some contracts contain what is referred to as a force majeure clause. This states that the parties’ obligations and/or liabilities may change if an event happens which is beyond their reasonable control and which prevents them from fulfilling their obligations under the terms of the contract.
The occurrence is referred to as a force majeure event. The contract will set out what will constitute a force majeure event, which could include power cuts, government legal action, rioting, flooding, lightning, explosion or a pandemic.
The force majeure clause will also detail what relief will be available. This could be allowing a delay in the performance of the contract, excusing one party from performing their obligations under the contract or allowing one party to end the contract.
In English law, force majeure is not implied in any contracts. This means that if you wish to claim that a force majeure event has taken place, the contract must specifically contain a force majeure clause.
A contract can be breached in different ways, including a minor breach and a material breach. Where the breach is minor, for example, a builder uses different materials to those stipulated in the contract, but they are of similar quality, the contract can still be fulfilled.
Where the breach is substantial, and a major part of the agreement is not fulfilled, then the party who has suffered losses can bring a claim for damages.
If the breach of contract is fundamental, depriving one party of the expected benefit of the contract so that they could not be expected to continue, they may be allowed to terminate the contract and claim damages.
An experienced dispute resolution solicitor will often be able to negotiate an agreement to settle the issue early on. This is faster and more cost-effective than a court hearing. At Glanvilles, we can work with you to find an acceptable solution to your contract dispute before positions become entrenched.
If an agreement cannot be reached, we can work with you to take the matter to alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation. Your case would be heard by a neutral mediator who would work with both parties to try and find a mutually acceptable agreement.
In the event that an issue cannot be resolved in this way, we can help you make or defend a small claim. The small claims track is a court process that deals with civil claims amounting to no more than £10,000.
Larger claims can be heard by way of the court’s fast track process. If your claim does go to court, we will ensure you have a strong case and expert representation.
The court may award damages that aim to put the claimant in the position they would have been in had the contract not been breached.
If the breach is fundamental, then the contract can be terminated, and the court may also award damages.
There is also the option for the court to order specific performance, requiring one party to carry out their obligations under the contract.
The best way to deal with a contractual dispute is to seek legal advice early on. Once a solicitor is involved, issues may be resolved very quickly as the other party realises that it is in their best interests to cooperate.
To speak to an expert dispute resolution solicitor, give us a call at your local Hampshire or West Sussex branch in Chichester, Fareham or Havant or fill in our simple online enquiry form for a quick response.