The ‘Navigating the Litigation Maze’ series kicks-off with a step by step guide to dealing with unpaid invoices. Future guides will cover disputes concerning orders and contracts and partnership and shareholder disputes.
According to a recent report by Federation of Small Business* commercial disputes cost small businesses in England and Wales at least £11.6 billion each year. The report revealed that 70% of small businesses have faced at least one dispute between 2010 and 2015, with an average amount under dispute of £18,000. Almost three quarters of disputes were a result of late or non-payment.
Howes Percival’s free, step-by-step guides are designed to help companies stay on the right side of the law and ensure complex issues are handled correctly. The flow-chart format shows, at a glance, the route that companies need to take at any stage of a dispute, which will put them on the right track to manage a resolution in a cost effective manner – and, if necessary, show them the best time to instruct a lawyer. The guides will be downloadable from Howes Percival’s website.
Commenting on the launch of the new guides, Alison Kirby, Partner at Howes Percival said:
“At some point, most businesses have to deal with a commercial dispute of some kind – whether that’s an unpaid invoice, a dispute with a supplier or conflict between directors. Commercial disputes can be stressful, costly and time-consuming. They can have serious consequences for businesses, from short-term cash flow difficulties to insolvency.
“In our experience, most problems start off as quite small disputes, which means businesses will often try to resolve it themselves. But when that approach goes wrong it can be spectacular. Our ‘Navigating the Litigation Maze’ flowcharts are designed to put directors back in the driving seat by giving them practical guidance to manage disputes early on, with clear direction on the steps they need to take. Our aim is to equip businesses with the information they need to resolve disputes as quickly and painlessly as possible, while helping them recognise when it may be time to engage legal guidance.
“The most common dispute companies face is dealing with late or unpaid invoices, so we’ve chosen this as the topic for our first guide. Our ‘Unpaid Invoice’ flowchart outlines the correct procedure companies should follow to maximise the chance of successfully obtaining payment. It covers the basics of what action is required and when to take it.”
The first Howes Percival ‘Navigating the Litigation Maze’ guide to Unpaid Invoices is available here.
Howes Percival’s Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution team advises on both national and international commercial disputes. The team advises on a broad spectrum of disputes for businesses, government clients and individuals and have expertise in dealing with complex, high value and high profile cases. They specialise in disputes that require urgent court action such as injunctions, freezing orders and search and seize orders.
*Federation of Small Business Commercial Dispute report published December 2016, 72% of small businesses’ legal problems are due to late or non-payment.