Commercial Dispute Resolution – ADR & Litigation


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Commercial disputes

Commercial dispute resolution involves using processes to resolve disagreements between businesses and other parties.

Commercial disputes refer to conflicts or disagreements that arise between businesses or entities involved in commercial transactions.

These disputes can arise from various issues, including contractual breaches, disagreements over terms and conditions, non-payment or delayed payments, defective products or services, and more.

ARC Costs can assist in recovering and negotiating the legal costs involved in commercial litigation. We also provide an introductory service whereby we introduce those with a commercial dispute to a solicitor who can help them to resolve their case.


Common commercial disputes

Commercial disputes can arise on a national or multi national level and some of the most common commercial disputes include the following:

  • Contractual Breaches: Often, disputes arise when one party fails to fulfil its contractual obligations.
  • Misrepresentation: False statements or incomplete information during negotiations can lead to disputes.
  • Payment Issues: Non-payment, delayed payments, or disputes over invoicing and pricing can be sources of conflict.
  • Product or Service Quality: Disagreements may arise if the delivered products or services do not meet the agreed-upon standards.
  • Intellectual Property Disputes: Disagreements over the use, ownership, or infringement of patents, trademarks, copyrights, or trade secrets can lead to legal disputes.
  • Data Security and Privacy Issues: Breaches of data security or privacy concerns, especially in industries dealing with sensitive information, may result in disputes between parties involved.
  • Antitrust Issues: Allegations of anti-competitive practices, price fixing, or monopolistic behaviour may result in legal disputes between businesses.
  • Joint Venture and Partnership Disputes: Conflicts may arise between business partners or entities involved in joint ventures over decision-making, profit sharing, or the overall direction of the venture.
  • Cultural and International Differences: Cross-border transactions can be complicated by cultural misunderstandings, differences in legal systems, and varying business practices, leading to disputes.
  • Non-Payment or Late Payment of Debt: The most common cause of debt disputes is when one party fails to make payments according to the agreed-upon terms. This can result in financial strain for the creditor and lead to disputes over the outstanding amount.


Commercial dispute resolution methods

Resolving a commercial dispute can be complex, and the use of a solicitor from a reputable commercial law firm is always advisable. Some methods used for commercial dispute resolution include the following:

  • Negotiation: Parties can try to resolve disputes amicably through direct discussions and negotiations between their dispute resolution teams.
  • Mediation: A neutral third party (mediator) helps facilitate discussions and assists in reaching a mutually acceptable resolution.
  • Arbitration: An arbitrator, or a panel of arbitrators, makes a binding decision based on the evidence presented by both parties.
  • Litigation: If all else fails, parties may resort to initiating legal proceedings and seeking resolution through the court system.


Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for commercial disputes

ADR methods, such as mediation and arbitration, are becoming increasingly popular as they offer quicker and less expensive alternatives to litigation.

Decisions from litigation or arbitration may need to be enforced by courts, especially if the losing party does not comply voluntarily.

If parties unreasonably refuse to engage in ADR, there may be costs consequences.

Outlined below are some benefits of using ADR for commercial dispute resolution.


ADR processes are generally more cost-effective than litigation. They often require less time and involve fewer procedural formalities, reducing legal fees and associated expenses.

Time Efficiency:

ADR processes are typically faster than court proceedings. This is crucial for businesses seeking a timely resolution to commercial disputes, allowing them to resume normal operations sooner.


  • ADR methods are flexible and can be tailored to the specific needs of the parties involved. This flexibility allows for creative and customised solutions that may not be available in a courtroom setting.

Preservation of Relationships:

ADR focuses on cooperative problem-solving rather than adversarial tactics. This can help preserve business relationships, which is particularly important in the commercial context where ongoing collaborations are common.


ADR processes often provide a higher level of confidentiality compared to public court proceedings. This can be advantageous for businesses concerned about protecting sensitive information.

Expert Decision-Makers:

In arbitration, parties have the opportunity to select arbitrators with expertise in the subject matter of the dispute. This ensures that the decision-makers have a deep understanding of the industry and relevant issues.


ADR proceedings are generally less formal than court trials. This informality can lead to a more relaxed and collaborative atmosphere, making it easier for parties to communicate and find mutually agreeable solutions.

Global Accessibility:

ADR can be conducted internationally, making it a viable option for resolving disputes between parties in different countries. This is especially valuable for businesses engaged in cross-border transactions.

Voluntary Participation:

ADR is typically a voluntary process, allowing parties to participate willingly. This often leads to a more cooperative atmosphere, as both parties are more likely to be committed to finding a resolution.

Preservation of Business Resources:

ADR allows businesses to allocate resources more efficiently by avoiding protracted legal battles. This is particularly beneficial for small and medium-sized enterprises with limited resources.

Greater Control Over the Process:

Parties have more control over the ADR process, including the selection of the neutral third party, the scheduling of sessions, and the overall structure of the proceedings.

Innovation in Dispute Resolution:

ADR encourages innovative and collaborative problem-solving approaches. Parties have the flexibility to explore and adopt creative solutions that may not be available in a courtroom setting.

Legal costs in commercial disputes

The general principle regarding costs dictates that the party that loses a legal case is responsible for covering the legal expenses of the winning party. However, the court retains the authority to exercise discretion in determining an alternative cost order during litigation. In instances where specific cost awards are explicitly outlined in the damages settlement, these provisions typically govern the case, particularly when the primary resolution occurs through a Part 36 Offer.

The court exercises its discretion in issuing a Costs Order and typically takes the following factors into account when determining how costs should be allocated:

  1. The conduct of the case both before and during legal proceedings.
  2. The reasonableness of the issues raised.
  3. The manner in which the issues in the case have been presented or defended.
  4. Whether the winning party exaggerated their case.


If you are the successful party to a commercial dispute, it is likely that you will be entitled to recover all or some of your legal costs incurred. In this case, a Bill of Costs will need to be prepared and submitted to the paying party to recover your legal costs and disbursements. The paying party may wish to negotiate costs by serving their points of dispute, which you can further negotiate using points of reply. If an agreement cannot be reached, parties may proceed to detailed assessment hearing to have their costs assessed by a Judge.


How Can ARC Costs Assist?


ARC Costs are highly experienced in advising and assisting with costs issues and disputes in different areas of law. As Costs Draftsman and Costs Lawyers, we can assist in your Commercial Litigation Costs issues.

If a costs award has been made, allowing you to recover costs from your opponent, we can assist with preparing a Bill of Costs on your behalf to ensure maximum recoverability. We can also assist in Costs Negotiations and represent you at detailed assessment proceedings which can determine the amount of costs you may be able to recover.

If you have been ordered to pay costs to your opponent, we can assist in disputing costs which may be sought and which you may deem to be excessive and unreasonable. We can do this by way of preparation of  Points of Dispute and also through negotiations to ensure you will only pay for costs which are reasonably incurred and not exaggerated.

Should you wish to discuss your costs query with us, please contact us on 01204 397302 or via email at Alternatively, you can complete our online query form and we will contact you to discuss your query further. We can provide expert legal advice on costs in our free, no obligation initial consultation.

ARC Costs maintains an extensive legal network of expert commercial litigation solicitors with a track record of success on these types of cases. We would be happy to pass on your details to assist in your commercial dispute resolution.

We may receive payments from third party solicitors on our panel to whom we may refer your claim. We will never charge you for any referrals made to our panel of third parties. 


4 Bark Street East, Bolton, BL1 2BQ

01204 397302

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