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Settling A Commercial Dispute

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Exercise caution when negotiating during a dispute

A judgment from the Technology and Construction Court warns that, even in the high pressure run-up to a full trial, the court will give effect to a client's settlement of a dispute. In this case, a company had appointed a contractor to carry out works to a listed Victorian manor house. The parties could not agree the sum due to the contractor and the parties each commenced proceedings.Following an exchange of written settlement offers between the parties' solicitors, the parties' managing directors spoke by telephone to try to settle the disputes. After the conversation, the contractor asserted that the parties had reached a binding agreement, but the employer denied this. The court ruled that, as a result of the conversation, the parties had orally agreed that the company would pay the contractor £275,000 in full and final settlement.This checklist highlights the factors a business should consider when they are thinking of settling a commercial dispute.

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