Dispute resolution for businesses

When problems occur, it's a time for cool heads, rational thought and expert advice.

Commercial disputes are part of business life, but they can also be frustrating distractions, consuming time and resources that could be directed elsewhere. And, at their worst, they can cause serious damage your business and even threaten its viability. So, speed and pragmatism can be just as important as the merits of your position – commercial disputes are almost always about resolution rather than ‘winning’.

At Morrisons, we recognise that a fast, cost-effective resolution, designed to support your business objectives, is the main priority. Alongside a restitution of any damage, you want to return to ‘business as usual’. So, we take a practical, commercially informed approach and always look for alternatives to the cost, time and unpredictability of litigation. But when litigation is the best option, be assured that we have the skills and experience to forcefully assert your interests.

Our team comprises qualified arbitrators and mediators – all experienced and robust negotiators. Experts in our respective fields, we can also draw on the experience and knowledge of specialist teams, including colleagues from our corporate, employment and commercial property teams.

We recognise that value for money is also a concern for you, so we provide estimates and updates to help you to project manage litigation costs effectively. We offer a range of innovative pricing solutions to ensure that our services are tailored to your budget as well as your business need.

Products and services

Our team helps businesses manage risk and resolve disputes resulting from a variety of sources. Some brief details on the key services we provide are can be found below.

Company and commercial disputes
  • Shareholder disputes and deadlocked companies
  • Directors’ liability – misfeasance and misconduct claims
  • Commercial contract disputes
  • Partnership
  • Professional negligence claims – particularly against solicitors, accountants and surveyors

Our dispute resolution services are built on the precept that your time and energy are best spent running and developing your business rather than dealing with disputes, however significant they may be.

We aim to quickly understand your particular situation and its business context, and then analyse the strength of your position and help you to understand your options. We are highly experienced in running complex and multi-party claims and will work closely with you to find the best and most practical solution. In some cases that may mean recommending litigation and we are well-equipped to take this on for you. Equally, we will not shy away from confronting uncomfortable truths and giving you unpalatable advice if that’s what we believe is in the interests of your business.

We are experienced and adept at securing injunctions at short notice to secure evidence and prevent further damage to your interests. Similarly, we are experienced in applications for expedited trials, as well as in alternative dispute resolution, including adjudication, expert determination, arbitration (ad hoc and scheme-led) and mediation.

We also advise Insolvency Practitioners, companies and directors on:

  • Misfeasance, fraudulent or wrongful trading; directors’ disqualification
  • Antecedent transactions (Transfers at undervalue and preferences)
  • Applications for validation orders
  • Applications to restore dissolved companies to the Register
Tax Disputes
  • Direct and indirect tax disputes
  • Tribunals
  • Proceedings brought by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and National Crime Agency (NCA)
  • Exposure through property dealings

Failure to comply with tax liabilities is serious and can have far-reaching consequences for companies and individuals. Quite understandably, even the suggestion of vulnerability in this area can cause a great deal of anxiety.

We advise individuals and companies on disputes relating both to indirect taxes – those collected by an intermediary such as a supplier or retailer e.g. VAT – and direct taxes, which are those that you pay yourself, directly to the Government, such as income tax.

We regularly represent clients before the First Tier and Upper Tier Tribunals and in proceedings brought by the FCA and NCA.

We advise clients on complex Stamp Duty Land Tax matters arising from commercial property transactions, the purchase of high value homes and property portfolio investments.

Property disputes

Our Property disputes team are experienced in

  • Representing tenants in disputes with landlords
  • Representing landlords in disputes with tenants
  • Professional negligence claims
Party Wall disputes

No-one wants to end up in a dispute with their neighbours – at home, at work and or on the site of an investment property. It’s just not good news. But there are times when you have to step in and take legal steps to protect what’s important to you.

Nowhere is this more relevant than with building works that involve the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, which regulates works to party walls and excavations close to the adjoining owner’s property. These could negatively affect the value of your property, or impact the work or safety of your employees or tenants. You may find yourself confronted by a neighbour who refuses to comply with the Party Wall Act. Equally, you may have works planned that enhance your property but find yourself facing a difficult neighbour who wants to frustrate or delay the works.

We help property owners resolve applications for party wall injunctions quickly and cost-effectively. We can also help you challenge a wrong or unfair party wall award by pursuing an appeal in the County Court.

Basement Extensions

Basement extensions are a popular way of increasing the living space within a property where space is at a premium and can add substantial value. Experts suggest that spending £300 per square foot on constructing a basement will yield a return of around £2,000 per square foot at the point of sale. [Given that this is the business section, is there a corresponding figure for their impact on rental value?]

All property alterations can be stressful; building works are disruptive and fraught with potential for disagreement with your contractor as well as the neighbours to your property. Concerns about the noise and disruption caused during the works are common, as well as concerns about the potential for damage to adjoining properties.

We can help you to identify and manage the risks when undertaking a basement extension and avoid many of the pit-falls that can lead to disagreements with neighbours and result in costly delays. If a dispute does arise, we can help resolve it as quickly and cost-effectively as possible to keep your development on-track.

We can also help owners whose properties are affected by basement developments in neighbouring properties by identifying and addressing the risks early in the planning stages. If a dispute arises after the building works have started, we can take quick and decisive action to protect your interests and to recover any losses that you may have suffered.

Telecoms disputes

The telecommunications industry is constantly evolving and the introduction of new technologies, the trend towards network consolidation and the application of a complicated and uncertain legal framework, mean that it’s easy for landowners hosting telecoms equipment to feel that they have lost control of what’s happening on their property.

If you have telecommunications masts and equipment installed on your property or land, or if you’ve been approached about this, or you want to have equipment removed, you should speak to an expert.

We can help you get the best possible deal to ‘make the most of your mast’ and expedite any changes so that your property and any affected tenants suffer minimal disruption.

We can:

  • Advise landowners on their obligations and rights under the Electronic Communications Code
  • Negotiate and conclude agreements with operators for the installation or retention of telecoms equipment
  • Enforce the removal of telecoms equipment from land
  • Recover compensation from operators
  • Advise on issues arising out of network sharing, such as the upgrading and addition of new equipment and the sharing of the network infrastructure.