Upon completing your tax obligations, you find a client hasn’t paid over 28 weeks of invoices. You’ve communicated with the business about the outstanding money owed. Unfortunately, the new manager isn’t responding to your payment requests. Digging through the Queensland Government business portal, you find a handy letter of demand template. Upon issuing this, you receive a response from lawyers representing the business that owes you money. They’ve advised nothing is outstanding… The pin drops, and you realise:
1) I don’t have time to deal with this
2) I need the money owed to my business
3) I didn’t enter an official contract for the supply of my service beyond my invoices
Resolving A Business Dispute
Resolving a business dispute depends on the outcome you want. It’s often a balance between time and money for parties involved. Both of these factors are important in identifying a reasonable path forward.
Early Interventions & Alternative Dispute Resolution
In a business dispute, early interventions are the smoking gun. A form of early intervention is Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR. The correct method of ADR depends on the type and complexity of the business dispute. ADR can reduce the cost and time involved in resolving a business dispute. ADR can also preserve the business relationship with the other party.
Mediation provides the grounds for a neutral third party, referred to as the mediator, to negotiate. The goal of the negotiation is to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. Mediation is valuable when both parties seek to maintain their business relationship, avoid reputation damage, or value confidentiality.
Arbitration is a form of ADR where a business dispute is submitted by agreement of the involved parties to one or more arbitrators. These arbitrators form a binding decision on the business dispute. Arbitration is private and time-saving due to it being an alternative to court.
Submitting a specific matter to one or more experts to determine the outcome. Expert determination is a type of ADR where the involved parties submit their dispute to an expert who determines the outcome of the case. In general, the expert specialises in the area of the dispute and isn’t always a lawyer. For example, the expert might be an accountant or valuer.
Parties and their lawyers agree to settle without the need for litigation. A collaborative lawyer advocates for their client and is not impartial to the deal. Collaborative law can save time and money when a business dispute occurs. Having an experienced business dispute lawyer is an advantage when it comes to collaborative law.
Real Business Dispute Examples
Company Dispute – occurred when our client thought she was an equal participant in a company until she discovered the company records didn’t mention her. As a result, the company director refused to pay her. A liquidator was appointed, and the business was sold, resulting in payment to our client.
Director Dispute – when a company director refused to return property such as vehicles that the company-owned. After some quick mediation, the property was back in the company’s hands.
Shareholder Dispute – where our client, a company director and shareholder, didn’t want to continue in the business. It was suggested she (our client) had resigned and transferred her shares without receiving anything in return – that was until court proceedings were commenced.
Partnership Dispute – where a partner passed away and the other partner continued the operation of the business, without paying the deceased partner’s estate for his share in the partnership.
Guarantor Dispute – happened with a client and a large financial institution, where a loan was guaranteed based on certain facts. These facts were found to be misleading and deceptive when the loan defaulted and the major financial institution pursued our client for monies.
Business Contract Dispute – A dispute occurred in a legally binding written and/or verbal agreement between two parties from differing views on contract terms and a breach of the contract. It was found the verbal agreement of our client was able to be upheld.
Business Dispute Solutions
There are many types of business disputes unique to the individuals and businesses involved, some of which we covered above. Ryan Murdoch O’Regan Lawyers have highly specialised teams for resolving business disputes via our Brisbane and Gold Coast Lawyers.
Business Dispute Advice
Advice is the earliest intervention method; business dispute advice is tailored to the outcomes sought and the situation at hand. It’s best to have fully-informed, prudent decisions to minimise time and financial losses. Seeking early advice is helpful due to a specialised business dispute solicitor’s expertise. Early action and comprehension are valuable and paramount to a speedy resolution.
Business Dispute Negotiations
Negotiations can be daunting, especially when legal professionals are involved. The form a negotiation takes is best assessed by a specialist business dispute negotiator. An experienced negotiator is an advantage for discussions and correspondence with disputing parties.
Business dispute negotiations include sending a letter of demand, which will provide a quick dispute scenario to the other party. Obtaining an injunction to freeze assets before they disappear or resisting an injunction. Building pressure on other parties to ensure compliance with the terms of an agreement and to add leverage to your position.
Finally, commercial litigation commences or defends action in all courts and tribunals. It’s often the most costly and time-consuming option, but sometimes it is the only way, and you need an expert team on your side.
How Much Does A Business Dispute Lawyer Cost?
A business dispute lawyer’s pricing will vary, depending on the type of dispute, the parties involved and the method of business dispute resolution decided upon. An example of a business dispute lawyer cost is a letter of demand. It can range from free (using a state government template) to $1000+ for a strategic letter of demand drawn up by an experienced lawyer. A further example is commercial litigation which can span $10,000-$100,000’s depending on the complexity and size of the business dispute.
Resolving a Business Dispute in Queensland
Business disputes occur, and our team of lawyers have resolved thousands. The best advice for resolving business disputes in Brisbane, Gold Coast or Queensland is to seek early advice from experts. There are many options to resolve business disputes, and the easiest is to pick up the phone or send us an email.