Contract Disputes

From Contract Dispute to Commercial Litigation: Legal Advice for Every Stage

Contracts can be created in many different contexts and may be governed by different rules. Generally, where two or more parties reach an agreement, it will be reflected in a legally binding contract. It is important that such a contract is drafted using very precise language, otherwise any resulting disputes may lead to commercial litigation.

The knowledgeable lawyers at Gavel & Page are adept both at writing clear and thorough contracts as well as obtaining successful outcomes through commercial litigation. In our experience, seeking legal advice at the time an agreement is reached will save you time and money in the long run. If you find yourself in a dispute, however, we can also assist you.

 

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Many Types of Contracts

There are numerous types of contracts used for a variety of purposes. These may include, but by no means are limited to:

  • Building Contracts;
  • Sub–contracts;
  • Joint Venture Agreements;
  • Shareholder Agreements;
  • Franchise Agreements;
  • Loan Agreements;
  • Lease Agreements;
  • General Commercial Contracts;
  • Confidentiality Agreements;
  • Deeds; and
  • Supplier Agreements.

Every contract, regardless of the type, will contain the intentions, rights, duties, obligations and expectations of the parties which govern their interactions and behaviours, as well as the process for handling any disputes.

 

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When Poorly Written Contracts Lead to Disputes

Disputes do arise. They are not uncommon and sometimes, they are inevitable. Where a party fails to comply with a term of the contract, or otherwise disagrees as to the meaning of a clause in the contract, it may result in a breach or dispute.

Such disputes often relate to:

  • Poorly drafted clauses in the contract where the intention of the parties has not been captured;
  • Ambiguous terms and conditions leading to confusion;
  • A failure to understand obligations under a contract due to lack of advice or preparation before entering into the contract;
  • A change of circumstances beyond the control of one or more parties; and/or
  • Disputes arising from false or misleading representations.

Whether you are in breach of a contract, or are affected by another party’s breach, you should seek advice as early as possible in order to ensure you understand your rights and minimise any ongoing loss.

The terms of every contract differ, so it is important to be aware of your specific obligations. Despite one party’s breach, for example, you still need to comply with certain requirements, otherwise you may also be in breach of the contract, further complicating matters.

Ideally, you should engage a contract or commercial lawyer at the time an agreement is reached. This ensures that the agreement is drafted in a way that reflects your intentions, that you understand the terms and have a thorough knowledge of your obligations and potential for risk.

 

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Commercial Litigation and Other Consequences of Contract Breaches

If written contracts can be complex, then poorly written, oral and partly oral, partly written contracts can be a maze of confusion. Trying to establish which terms were agreed, or what the intention of the parties was, or whether an alleged conversation took place, and finding the evidence to support those assertions, can be challenging.

The first step in any contract dispute is to try to negotiate an amicable solution. If this is not possible then commercial litigation may be inevitable. It is more cost-effective, however, to spend time drafting a professional contract at the beginning of the agreement, rather than unravelling misunderstandings and breaches later on.

Having said that, if you are already a party to a contract and find yourself in a dispute or potential dispute, we can certainly assist with commercial litigation proceedings.

Receive Timely and Effective Advice for Your Next Contract

The earlier you obtain advice the better. Gavel & Page take the time to listen to the issues in dispute, review all necessary documentation and provide you with timely and meaningful advice. We are committed to resolving the dispute effectively, in terms of time and cost, whether by mediation or litigation.

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