Commercial disputes can often be difficult and complex, but the inclusion of an international/cross-border element may increase the complexities further and bring additional costs.
An international element in a commercial dispute can take many forms such as between an English and an international company, international companies with a contract which elects English law and courts for jurisdiction, or the service/goods agreed were simply provided in England.
What happens if a case has an international element?
The starting point for such disputes is ensuring the correct legal jurisdiction, and any potential issues relating to it are identified. Any contract should have a dedicated term setting out which laws and court jurisdiction shall apply, including if a dispute arises. Failure to have a clearly drafted jurisdiction clause will almost certainly lead to incurring additional costs and greater delay, depending upon the level of agreement between the parties on the issue. The effect of a dispute on the issue of jurisdiction can become so complex and contentious that the time and cost of such could rival the claim itself.
The laws and courts of England and Wales have become a choice for many contracts, even when neither company is based or registered there, such is the trust in the quality and independence of their judgment.
Effective use of ADR
Thanks in part to the court’s greater emphasis on parties using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods, an increasing number of disputes are now being settled outside of court; this can save a considerable amount of costs for both parties. The savings achieved can be both financial and in terms of time, given that the parties can often choose to set their own timetables and remove elements of the usual court process that are not appropriate in that specific case.
We would always advise our clients to consider ADR, before issuing formal legal proceedings. Our experience in dealing with international arbitrations and negotiations is as in demand as our ability to conclude matters via court.