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In this day and age it is totally normal in business for a occasional disputes to occur between customers, suppliers, competitors and employees.

A good way to make disputes a lot less stressful is to ensure that you have a decent dispute procedure firmly in place before you begin trading. By having a dispute system in place you will be more likely to save a considerable amount of time and money when dealing with any dispute. If you don’t deal with a dispute quickly and professionally, you leave yourself open to legal action.

As soon as a dispute arises you should try and get some professional legal advice from a specialist business solicitor in order to find out how best to deal with it. You should try to resolve your dispute by communicating with the person making the dispute before you consider any other option.

If you have a contract with the person that has started a dispute, you should look over it thoroughly to see if there is already an outline for how a dispute should be dealt with. You may also want to check if there is a termination clause which will allow you or the person raising the dispute to cancel the contract without the risk of legal action.

You should ensure that you store all of the communication evidence between you and the person that raised the dispute carefully. You may need to use it if you have to get a third party involved in the dispute to help provide them with a clear picture of what has been happening. When you store confidential documents you need to make sure that they are carefully stored in compliance with the relevant code of practice regarding privacy.

If despite your best efforts your dispute procedure fails the next step in the dispute process would be litigation. The litigation process is worked out through the courts and there is ‘pre action protocol’ put in place to try to encourage both parties to resolve the dispute before the case get to the court room.

The litigation can be a very expensive process and you will be required to pay most of the legal fees involved up front. The losing party will be required to pay some of the winning party’s fees, this usually only amounts to around 50-70% of the overall costs so even the winning party ends up having to pay substantial legal fees. Litigation through the courts can be very regimented with no room for any flexibility. Court proceedings can also take a considerable amount of time and can end up being very stressful.

Another option is arbitration. While this also goes through the courts it generally tends to be a lot more flexible than litigation. The people involved in the dispute can choose an arbitrator to deal with their case. Arbitration is likely to cost as much as litigation and you should consider that arbitrators may not be as reliable as a court judge.

There are other alternatives to going through the courts. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) includes methods such as mediation, this offers a much cheaper, quicker and less stressful way of sorting out a dispute.

For more legal advice and information, and for free legal resources I suggest you visit There are many fine books available to assist you with your business legal needs at, a division of Forum Publishing Company.