Contractual and commercial disputes are among the most common business litigation issues. Nearly every business situation involves some type of contract and commercial disputes arising in an infinite number of ways.

Contractual Disputes

Contractual disputes result when a contractual term is breached by any of the parties to the contract. Failure to perform according to the terms of the contract is the most common cause of any contractual dispute. Disputes may also arise owing to disagreements over interpretation of terms in the contract between the parties. Contractual disputes can stem from a variety of agreements which may become a source of conflict between the parties to those agreements. The agreements include:

Business agreements involving customers or clients, distributors, vendors, suppliers, manufacturers, contractors and *Subcontractors, independent contractors, licensing, etc;

Service agreements involving contracts for the supply of goods and services or contract to render a particular service;

Contracts relating to lease, sale or purchase of land and property;

Construction contracts;

Government contracts;

Finance and loan agreements;

Commercial agency & franchise agreements; and

Marketing and sponsorship agreements.

Commercial Disputes

When there is any disagreement between two or more businesses, usually concerning a contract or a property, commercial dispute occurs. Commercial disputes include disputes relating to:

Property law: Property law disputes involve disagreements in relation to land such as fencing, tenancy, ownership, delay in settlement etc.

Contract law: This involve disputes arising out of misinterpretation of a contract or any term of the contract, payment default on delivery of goods or a dispute concerning payment and/or finalisation of project, dispute arising from a building contract.

Lease: This concerns disagreements arising from agreements made with regard to leased property and such disagreements can include disputes relating to rent amount, lease term, renewal amount etc.

Building: This includes differences arising from agreements made with regard to building construction such as disputes arising out of workmanship, costs, time, and variation to plan.

Trade Practice: This includes unfair and deceptive trade practices including unfair trade competition.

Partnership: Partnership disputes concern differences arising from partnership agreements between parties. Such disagreements can include but are not limited to breaches of partnership agreements, disputes regarding acting by a partner(s) without authority, future direction of business, division of assets etc.

Shareholder/Director: Disputes concerning disagreements such as breach of a shareholder’s agreement, dispute over direction of company, acting without authority and breach of a director’s fiduciary obligation fall in this group.

Professional Negligence: This includes disputes arising from misleading professional advice, accounting error, incorrect property evaluations, real estate misrepresentations etc.

Dispute Resolution

Contractual and commercial disputes may be resolved by adopting any of the three options outlined below:

Informal Negotiation: Informal negotiation or discussion is the easiest form of dispute resolution process. Often the parties to the dispute(s) can negotiate a resolution that is satisfactory to both without the need for formal mediation. However it is important and always recommended to confirm any verbal agreement in writing.

Mediation and Arbitration: Mediation or Arbitration is another option available to resolve the dispute(s) if informal negotiation fails. Resolving disputes through mediation and arbitration usually cheaper and quicker as compared to the Courts. The Australian Commercial Dispute Centre, referred to as “ACDC” requires parties with a dispute to submit their dispute(s) to them. The Arbitrator will hear both sides of the dispute and make a legally binding ruling. Arbitrators have greater leeway in such matters as: active participation in the proceedings, accepting evidence, questioning witnesses and deciding appropriate remedies. Arbitration can be voluntarily initiated by the parties.

Court proceedings: Court proceeding(s) is the last resort available in case a dispute cannot be resolved by way of negotiation, mediation and arbitration. The jurisdiction of a Court to try a dispute, whether contractual or commercial, depends on the monetary valuation of the claim made by either of the party to the dispute.

Commercial and contractual disputes are common in the running of a business and our team at Owen Hodge Lawyers are proficient to offer advice and take all necessary steps on the client’s behalf to ensure speedy and effective resolution of any dispute.

Owen Hodge Lawyers have highly skilled lawyers supported by advanced technology to deliver maximum benefits to clients involved in complex and expensive litigation.

Our lawyers are trained to provide advice, meeting the response requirements of clients and answering relevant questions in an easily understandable manner.

When disputes develop into litigation we have the skills and tools to advise clients and conduct cases to hearing if necessary. Our lawyers are experienced in the gathering of evidence, interviewing witnesses and qualifying experts. We will advise as to options for resolution and costs involved. When appropriate we will encourage alternative resolution options such as mediation.

Contact our Sydney business lawyers today to discuss how we can help you with your contractual and commercial disputes.

If you need any assistance with this topic, please contact us.

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