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When another person or organisation has broken the contract between you to provide the goods or services in return for payment, you may have grounds for compensation or redress.

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Our specialist Litigation team are on hand to help you with any queries you may have.

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Our expert solicitors are here to support you with advice, outlining your options at the very first stages to ensure all possible objectives are reached.

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The Litigation team at Poole Alcock will advise you on the best route to take, depending on your tenancy agreement.

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At Poole Alcock we understand that you want to resolve any dispute cost-effectively and maintain good relations where possible.

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A company’s articles of association are of paramount importance; they are the key constitutional document setting out the basic management and administrative structure of a company.

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Forming a company can be a positive and exciting step for many business owners. However, it is important to ensure from the outset that the documents governing your company’s operations suit your business needs.

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Acquisition of another company is an effective way to grow your business. Ensuring a successful transaction is all about the detail. You need to know exactly what you are buying.

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When the time comes to sell your company, or shares in your business, you will wish to maximise the return on your investment of money, hard work, time and emotion.

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A guarantee is a legal commitment to repay a debt where the original borrower has defaulted on their repayments. In essence, the person providing the guarantee will “step into the shoes” of the debtor.

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Whether you are lending to or borrowing from a third party, it is always prudent to record the terms of the loan clearly.

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A company’s articles of association are of paramount importance; they are the key constitutional document setting out the basic management and administrative structure of a company.

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If you are in dispute about which school your child should attend or think that it will be in the child’s best interests to change schools it will be necessary to apply for a Specific Issue Order through the courts.

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If your child is aged under 16, it is possible to change their name by deed poll providing that all of the parties with Parental Responsibility are in agreement. However, the child’s birth certificate will not normally be changed as this is a historical record from when the child was born.

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When a child is removed from one of the parents without the other parent’s permission or a child is not returned at a pre-arranged time, it is important to act quickly to reinstate the child’s normal or pre-agreed routine.

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Whenever possible separating parties should speak to one another and make arrangements for the care of the children which are in the children’s best interests and can be worked around by both parents.

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Most of the legal rights given to parents are by way of Parental Responsibility (PR). PR means ‘all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority that a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property by law’.

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You can apply to end or dissolve your civil partnership if you have been in the partnership for at least one year. It is very similar to divorce, in that you will need to make an application to the court.

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When parties separate they may be able to reach an amicable agreement about the finances of the household and how these should be divided going forward. However, for most this can be the most difficult area to resolve.

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We can provide you with the peace of mind of conducting your divorce on a fixed fee basis. We will be able to provide you with the figure at the outset, allowing you to budget and plan your finances in advance.

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We are proud to be chosen by Cheshire Police Federation as their nominated divorce lawyers to provide specialist divorce and family advice to its members.

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A pre-nuptial/pre-civil agreement is a legal agreement made between two individuals before their marriage has taken place. It usually sets out how the couple wish their assets to be divided between them.

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A separation agreement is a written agreement used when a couple want to stop living together. The agreement can be used to decide a variety of topics including, who will pay the mortgage.

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Under the Equality Act 2010 harassment is defined as unwanted conduct which is related to either; age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation and is therefore unlawful.

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Unfair dismissal is a complex area of employment law and one where you need a legal expert to safeguard your financial interests as well as your professional future.

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It can be hard to realise that you may have been a victim of workplace discrimination. Discrimination is based upon what are called Protected Characteristics.

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Under the Equality Act there are 9 specific areas which are called protected characteristics; any discrimination against workers because of these characteristics would be unlawful.

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It is important that businesses handle the termination of a director’s contract appropriately, especially if you need to achieve a swift exit without disrupting the operation of the business.

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Employers should enter into a period of consultation with their employees, giving them information on why the redundancies are necessary and if there are any alternatives available.

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Has your employer discussed ending your employment through redundancy or with a settlement agreement/compromise agreement?

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There will be times when an employee’s conduct or performance falls short of what is expected of them in their contract of employment, or they believe that they have been treated unfairly at work.

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The TUPE Regulations are in place to preserve employees’ rights when a business is transferred to a new employer. The Regulations can apply to organisations of all sizes when a business is sold.

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From the recruitment process, through to issues such as TUPE, training from expert employment solicitors can help you to use the law as a positive framework to implement the best employment practices.

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A written contract of employment is a legal requirement as part of the employment relationship and failure to provide one can leave both parties unclear about their rights and responsibilities.

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Settlement agreements, which used to be called compromise agreements, can play an important part in ending an employment relationship, but there are some important legal safeguards.

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Severing ties with a director or senior executive comes with countless decisions about how to protect your business.

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Whether it is direct or indirect discrimination, a case of harassment, or failure to promote diversity, the Equality Act makes discrimination unacceptable in the workplace.

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It is easy for important steps to be missed during a staff crisis however, each vital step may be a legal requirement. An omission that could have a serious impact upon your business.

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Employers should enter into a period of consultation with their employees, giving them information on why the redundancies are necessary and if there are any alternatives available.

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Whilst it is better to try to resolve a dispute directly with an employee, there will be times when it simply is not possible. In those cases, you may be called before an employment tribunal.

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As an employer you have to be cautious with how you deal with dismissals in order to not be accused of an unfair dismissal.

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Failure to comply with employment legislation can be devastating for a business. Compensation awards for unfair dismissal claims can be in excess of £75,000 and awards for discrimination are unlimited.

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Our team has extensive experience of settling claims arising from a wide variety of accidents and injuries suffered in the workplace.

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Whilst a trip to the beauty salon may conjure up images of relaxation and pampering, many services use potentially harmful chemicals and machinery.

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Poole Alcock have a number of keen cyclists who commute to work and enjoy cycling as a hobby or as a competitive sport. We therefore understand the frustration that can occur.

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Every employer should ensure that the exposure of his employees to substances hazardous to health is either prevented or, where this is not reasonably practicable, adequately controlled.

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The loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult situations in life we have to face, and the thought of bringing a claim for compensation at this time is a difficult one.

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An employer has a duty to eliminate or reduce exposure to vibration to as low a level as is reasonably practicable. In doing so, the employer should have assessed any risks in the task concerned.

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Suffering a head injury is understandably concerning for the victim and their family. It is important to investigate any potential brain injury that may have been caused.

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Tinnitus is any noise (for example, buzzing or ringing) in the ear and can be caused by exposure to excessive levels of noise, although there are other causes too.

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It is logical to think that if you are constantly carrying out the same physical task at work, such as lifting heavy boxes without a break, you may well develop a bad back.

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Common causes of road traffic accidents include other road users, poorly maintained roads, obstructions in the road and slippery surfaces. You may have suffered an injury.

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Accidents can happen at any time and in any place – in the street, at work, at the supermarket. If you think that another person or organisation was responsible for your accident then you may be entitled to compensation.

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Suffering a spinal cord injury can be a life-changing event, impacting on almost every aspect of your life. If the accident was not your fault, then financial compensation is often necessary.

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Alternatives to Litigation – Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternatives to Litigation – Alternative Dispute Resolution Poole Alcock are Cheshire based solicitors whose...

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Alternatives to Litigation – Alternative Dispute Resolution

14th January 2016

News : Uncategorised

Alternatives to Litigation – Alternative Dispute Resolution

Poole Alcock are Cheshire based solicitors whose litigation team advise and successfully represent clients on a wide range of disputes. Here we look at the merits of Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) and it’s various forms.

ADR is a common function of the Litigation process and usually undertaken in the following forms:

•Adjudication

•Early Neutral Evaluation

•Expert Determination

•Mediation

Adjudication

Adjudication is commonly used for construction matters relating to

•Interim payments.

•Delay and disruption of the works.

•Extensions of time for completion of the works.

•The final account.

Before commencing Adjudication a party should:

•Consider whether the dispute has crystallised. This means whether or not the dispute has been set out in detailed correspondence with the intended respondent, making it clear what is being sought and the basis of the respective claim.

•Ensure that the dispute has been defined in a notice which sets out the key areas of dispute by the referring party. Unless the contract allows more than one, include only one dispute.

•Adhere to the contract’s time limits.

In construction disputes there is a statutory right to adjudicate. Parties are unable to contract out of this right and a party to a construction contract has the right to refer a dispute to adjudication at any time.

An adjudicator’s decision is binding on an interim basis and/or is binding on the parties until the dispute is finally determined. This can be via legal proceedings, arbitration or by agreement.

The Construction Act 1996 provides for 28 days between the referral to the adjudicator and the adjudicator’s decision, although that period may be extended by agreement.

Early Neutral Evaluation

Early Neutral Evaluation (“ENE”) is usually a non-binding process undertaken on a Without Prejudice basis where an independent and impartial evaluator is appointed to give the parties an opinion on the merits of the matter.

Recent court decisions have endorsed the use of ENE where both parties have differing opinions on merits, legality and technicalities. In some cases ENE can be used prior to the parties engaging in mediation.

Mediation is discussed further below.

Expert Determination

Expert Determination is the process where by both parties agree to appoint an independent expert to determine points. This is usually in relation to specialist and/or technical disputes.

Expert determination is not commonly used where disputes involve purely legal disputes or require the consideration of voluminous documents and are often contained within contracts.

An example of where you may find such a clause is in a contract for the sale of goods. For instance, where an expert opinion is required to demine whether or not the item is to the required standard.

Some of the benefits of Expert Determination are:

•That it may be cheaper, quicker and less formal than other forms of ADR.

•That it helps the parties to maintain a business relationships (it is confidential and generally less adversarial than litigation or arbitration).

However, an expert can only give a valid opinion/determination within the realms of his/her competency and there are no general rules to govern this procedure.

For instance, an expert is unable to compel a party disclose documents or provide witness evidence.

Mediation

Mediation is one of the more common forms of ADR.

This process usually involves a third party (a mediator), appointed by both parties, who is attempting to facilitate an agreement to resolve the respective dispute.

Mediation often involves both parties, accompanied by the legal representative(s), meeting at a chosen venue, usually at a firm’s office or, in neighbour disputes, at both respective properties with the mediator walking between the properties.

Often the parties will be kept in separate rooms where they can discuss between themselves and then ask that the mediator relays message/requests/offers to the opponent.

All of these discussions usually take place on a Without Prejudice basis. This in essence means that whatever is discussed at the Mediation is confidential from the Court until otherwise stated.

Mediations often last for a full day.

Ombudsman

The number of ombudsmen has grown over recent years and cover a wide range of services and industries. Contacting an ombudsman may also proved to be an effective form of ADR.

Next Steps

Our specialist litigation team will be happy to discuss with you and explain how ADR may be of help in resolving your dispute – whether for you or your business. Please do not hesitate to telephone 01270 762325. Alternatively, please visit our website at www.poolealcock.co.uk.

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