How To Sue Another Business in the UK
Businesses and individuals can suffer loss because of their commercial relationships in a wide variety of circumstances. A company may fail to meet its contractual obligations, withhold payment, give negligent advice or make untrue statements, causing financial or reputation damage, or both. In these situations and more, a business can enforce its rights by taking legal action against the company that caused it damage.
While many individuals and businesses are aware of the value of making a claim when their rights have been infringed, some hesitate to do so while they weigh the risk of a complex and expensive court case. But it is possible to manage and reduce the expense of having recourse to the courts.
Advantage Litigation Services guides businesses of all sizes and individuals through the legal process and helps them to manage the potential risks associated with suing a business in the UK. We work with our clients to identify their legal issues and the most suitable funding options that will allow them to resolve their commercial dispute with confidence.
Suing Another Business in the UK
You may want to sue another business in the UK for many reasons. It may have damaged one of your assets, breached the terms of a contract, infringed your intellectual property rights, provided negligent professional advice or services or owe you money.
But before taking legal action to enforce your rights, it is necessary to determine the best way of resolving the dispute. In some cases the best solution may involve engaging in arbitration or another form of dispute resolution, while for others a claim may need to be raised in the courts.
Suing another business in the UK involves a number of stages, and by finding the right funding option, it is possible to ensure that your business’s and your own interests are well protected, every step of the way. At Advantage Litigation, our expert team will assess your case for free, on a no obligation basis. We can then put you in touch with a solicitor who can guide you through the legal process.
Starting Court Proceedings
Once your claim has been assessed, on a free, no obligation basis, a member of our panel of expert commercial law solicitors will help you start your claim. A solicitor will help you determine which court the claim should be raised in (whether the County or High Court) and the procedure that applies (whether the small claims, fast track or multi track).
Litigation starts once the court fee is paid and a claim form, which contains a brief summary of the claim and the remedy sought, is submitted and formally accepted (issued) by the court. This involves identifying the value of the claim, the relevant facts and legal issues, and whether the claim is to recover money or for another form of remedy, such as an injunction restricting a business from doing something. This information is then set down in detail in the particulars of claim.
Once the claim form and particulars of claim are served on the defendant within the required time limits, the defendant must file a defence if they intend to defend all or part of the claim. If no defence is filed within the prescribed time limit, the claimant can apply for a default judgment. Default judgments are a binding final determination of the claim based on a failure by one of the parties to take action, such as not filing a defence. They are commonly made in favour of the person making the claim, and can only be appealed in specific circumstances.
Our funding options offer a flexible way of funding commercial claims. From the court fee to the costs of legal work, at Advantage Litigation we can help you get your case off the ground.
Should the dispute need to proceed to litigation, there may be a case management conference. This is a procedural hearing for determining how the case will be conducted until the hearing. The Court will, at the case management conference provide a number of ‘directions’ (steps that you and your opponent must deal with – such as disclosing documents and filing statements), in order to prepare the matter for Court. The courts are taking an increasingly proactive approach to case management, one of the consequences being that they will not tolerate unjustifiable delays in taking steps (‘directions’) they have ordered. Further, the court will not tolerate disproportionate costs.
If you are suing another business, your solicitor shortly before the hearing date will prepare bundles of the documents that will be referred to during argument. Both you and the defendant will also supply each other and the court with a written skeleton argument outlining your respective cases and the arguments that will be put forward during the final hearing. These skeleton arguments are usually drafted by a barrister, who presents their client’s case to the court.
How long the case lasts depends on the case and the procedural track it follows. For example, cases on the fast track cannot last for more than one day, whereas cases on the multi track are likely to be complex and last longer.
Once the hearing is complete, the Judge will deliver their judgment. If the losing party doesn’t comply with the judge’s orders, such as not paying the damages awarded, it may be necessary to take enforcement action.
Who will pay the costs of bringing the claim, and the amount that will be paid, is a matter for the court. The general rule is that the unsuccessful party pays the proportionate costs of the successful party. However, the court will take factors such as conduct and settlement offers into account when deciding the amount of the other party’s costs, if any, that need to be paid. For instance, a party who at trial fails to do better than an earlier formal offer made by his opponent may have to meet his opponent’s costs and bear his own costs from the date of that offer even if he succeeds in establishing at trial that his opponent was at fault for the damage / loss that he suffered.
As well as helping you access justice through funding arrangements, we also have vast experience providing out clients with litigation protection. There are a variety of insurance products (known as ‘After the Event’ (ATE) insurance) that make it possible to remove or reduce the risk of facing an adverse costs order.
Innovative Litigation Funding for Businesses
If you are thinking about suing another company but are worried about the costs of resolving the dispute or going to court, Advantage Litigation Services can help. We have vast experience navigating the different ways of funding commercial dispute resolution and are best placed to help you identify the most appropriate funding option and litigation protection that will best benefit you and your business. Click here to contact us or call 0800 160 1298 to discuss how we can help you manage the risks and find a funding option that works for you.