Commercial Disputes

SMEs and large enterprises need to interact with each other to maintain or enhance their operations, and to expand their business. To ensure the legitimacy of their venture, they also need to secure approvals from certain government agencies, and comply with their policies and mandatory business activities. The list of problems that could arise in the course of commercial activities is almost endless. Dealing with disputes in court can exhaust an enterprise’s legal resources, affect their reputation and business relationships, as well as have a negative impact on their bottom line.

Companies often interact with suppliers or manufacturers to deliver their products and services. With business transactions moving online, enterprises are opting-in for ease and convenience. Transactions over the web, however, may be less reliable than face-to-face meetings, and in the process a company might encounter a fraudulent business, or one that has poor service or faulty products. This situation can lock both sides in a dispute when a contractual agreement is not adhered to. For instance, breaching the “duty of care” mandate in every contract is construed as professional negligence. “Duty of care” essentially requires both sides to perform the range of duties assigned to them according to the terms of the deal. For example, if a property developer has hired a contractor, there is an expectation that the contractor will deliver the highest quality work they can accommodate.

In the course of running their business, companies also rely on other firms to support their operations. This includes financial institutions for banking and insurance, as well as the lessor of the property that the company occupies. Miscommunication with these firms can cause disputes for some enterprises. Similarly, a contentious point of conflict for companies is in the interactions with their competitors. Companies guard their “trade secrets” through Intellectual Property Laws, and anyone that attempts to use these, whether through negligence or purpose, can find themselves at the centre of a dispute. Aside from this, enterprises can also come into conflict over disagreements on the use of licenses or when expanding their business through franchising.

To protect consumers and the general public, the government has policies in place to regulate how companies provide products and services. Companies, unions and regulating bodies may find themselves locking horns when they see differences in the way certain policies should be applied. The government may implement rules that promote a safe marketplace for customers, but these may be too restrictive for the operations of some businesses. Nevertheless, non-compliance can prevent a company from launching or continuing its business, which can result in a commercial loss and missed market opportunities.

At SHAW Arbitration, we know how quickly a dispute can halt an otherwise smoothly operating enterprise. We want to avoid having you spend your resources chasing court trials that may dismantle your reputation in the process. Instead, we can help you resolve any of the following disputes quickly and conveniently, and in a way that accommodates everyone involved so that a future-focused outcome is achievable:

  • Internet contracting and e-commerce
  • Trade practices and fair trading
  • Retail tenancy
  • Industrial relations
  • Workplace bargaining
  • Government privatisation and outsourcing
  • Insurance
  • Banking and fInance
  • Liability
  • Unions
  • Intellectual Property (IP), copyright and trademarks
  • Professional negligence
  • Licences
  • Franchising
  • Leases
  • Partnership dissolution
  • Due diligence
  • Maritime

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Alison Shaw of SHAW Mediation successfully mediated a contract and building works dispute for one of our clients.  I found the mediation to be useful in requiring the disputing parties to be in one place at one time, allowing each side to express their position (and even vent their frustrations) whilst being kept in line by an experienced mediator. It was by no means certain to me beforehand that the matter would resolve at the mediation, but Alison’s guidance and systematic approach facilitated a commercial settlement.  I am confident the parties would not have reached a better outcome if they had gone to court.  I rate highly the mediation process used by Alison Shaw in this matter, and would recommend her to other clients considering mediation in the future.

Matthew Hawke

Cowell Clarke