Dispute Resolution

Whether it’s on behalf of a private client, private sector business, or public sector organisation, at the heart of our Dispute Resolution Team’s work there is always a pragmatic attitude and high-quality service, which is tailored to the unique circumstances of every case.

It’s an approach that is applied to all matters dealt with by our award winning team, and in each instance the team scrutinises all the viable options before setting them out to the client and making recommendations on how the dispute can best be resolved, including through court proceedings if necessary.

Of course, we always focus on achieving the best result for the client and this often means investigating early settlement routes such as mediation and negotiation which can lead to faster and more cost effective conclusions. If a dispute is not capable of such resolution, you can be sure we always protect our client’s position extremely robustly and monitor proceedings constantly to achieve the most successful outcome possible.

The team are also ranked in the Top Tier of the 2024 edition of The Legal 500 UK in Commercial Litigation and Social Housing, which is a testament to the quality and consistency of service provided across the team as well as their reputation in the wider legal market. The Legal 500 is a directory of all of the leading law firms across the UK and beyond, with the final rankings decided following an independent and impartial research process.

The team has a growing property litigation offering which means we have specialist lawyers who can handle a wide array of property related disputes including landlord and tenant disputes, social housing cases, applications for injunctions, housing disrepair, boundary disputes, Property Chamber Tribunal proceedings and all types of commercial lease disputes including forfeiture, rent arrears and dilapidations advice.

Dispute Specialisms

Commercial Litigation

Our Dispute Resolution team has vast experience of representing clients in a wide variety of commercial disputes, including those with a cross-border element. This has resulted in the team gaining recognition in the Commercial Litigation category of The Legal 500.

Our team understands that disputes within a business can be extremely time consuming and will often cause unwanted disruption to the day-to-day running of the business. Our lawyers, therefore, work closely with clients to understand the nature of the business and the context of the dispute, so that we can identify the most cost-effective and commercially-viable solutions to suit their individual needs.

In all cases, we provide advice which is practical, pragmatic and, above all, useful to the client, finding effective solutions that may not always be obvious at the outset.

These are just some of the areas of commercial litigation work that our team are regularly asked to assist with:

  • Commercial contract disputes;
  • Disputes around sale of goods or service agreements;
  • Claims against company directors;
  • Advising minority shareholders on their rights and bringing derivative actions;
  • Unfair prejudice petitions and representing petitioners and respondents;
  • Partnership disputes; and
  • Obtaining injunctions/freezing orders to prevent dissipation of assets.

Whatever the nature of complexity of your dispute, we have the skills and expertise to help. 

For advice or assistance in relation to any other non-contentious matters relating to your business, please contact a member of our Corporate and Commercial team who will be able to discuss your requirements in detail.

Probate and private client litigation

Our Dispute Resolution team are regularly instructed in relation to various types of probate and private client disputes and work very closely with the firm’s Private Client team to ensure that all technical aspects of the case are properly considered.

Our team appreciates that probate and private client disputes are often very upsetting and emotional in their nature, frequently involving strained relationships between family members. This type of dispute will also often involve a number of complex legal issues that must be taken into consideration, which can be difficult for clients to process, particularly in cases where family members have recently suffered a loss. Our experienced team will always approach disputes of this nature in a highly sensitive and sympathetic manner, providing advice which is clear, practical and timely.

Wherever possible, we will strive to keep the dispute out of court, encouraging clients to consider mediation as an alternative method of dispute resolution where probate and private client disputes are concerned. Our team have a track record of resolving disputes at mediation, particularly involving family members, in cases where it initially seems almost impossible for the parties to agree a way forward.

Some examples of the types of cases that our team can assist with include:

  • Claims for financial provision from an estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975;
  • Disputed wills on the grounds of capacity or undue influence;
  • Probate disputes involving fraud;
  • Disputes involving Executors’ misconduct;
  • Breach of Trust claims; and
  • Issues around the Court of Protection and Lasting Power of Attorney.

Whatever the nature or complexity of your dispute, we have the skills and expertise to help. 

For advice or assistance in relation to any other non-contentious matters relating to your personal affairs, please contact a member of our Private Client team who will be able to discuss your requirements in detail.

Insolvency litigation

Our Dispute Resolution team provides advice and representation to individuals, companies and insolvency practitioners, in relation to a wide variety of contentious insolvency issues, working closely with our firm’s Corporate and Commercial team. Insolvency legislation in particular has changed a number of times since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our team works hard to ensure that they keep up to date with all new developments.

Our team advise individuals and businesses on the recovery of assets and payments from either individuals or entities that are at risk of insolvency, and often achieves settlement early on by way of serving a statutory demand, or subsequently by serving a petition. We also provide advice to directors who have been presented with a claim following the winding up of their company, often as a result of there being allegations such as wrongful trading, preferential payments or a director’s loan.

We have good relationships with leading insolvency practitioners in the region and assist with issues on their behalf such as debt or asset recovery, and instigating claims against former company directors.

The types of matters that our team are able to assist with include:

  • Service of statutory demands;
  • Bankruptcy and Winding Up Petitions;
  • Misfeasance and breach of directors’ duties;
  • Transactions defrauding creditors;
  • Transactions at an undervalue; and
  • Unlawful dividends or payments.

If you would like any further information on the services that we provide, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Property litigation

We have expertise in all aspects of property litigation and work very closely with our Commercial Property and Residential Property teams to ensure all angles of our clients’ cases are properly examined and advised on.

Our team has vast experience in dealing with all manner of property disputes, whether commercial or residential, rural or urban.  We are acutely aware that whether our client is a private individual or a corporate entity, disputes surrounding property can be very stressful and unsettling and a speedy resolution is always of the utmost importance, not least to ensure certainty moving forward to avoid any issues arising when the property comes to be sold at a later date.

Our team are therefore strongly committed to finding practical solutions to such disputes at an early stage, and will always look to see whether an amicable settlement can be found.  If this is not possible, clients will be advised of all available options, and our Team will guide you through whichever legal process is appropriate, whether that be County Court or High Court proceedings, Tribunal proceedings, or through an Arbitration route.

We regularly advise our clients in respect of the following:

  • Boundary disputes;
  • Enforcement of restrictive covenants;
  • Disputed rights of way;
  • Possession proceedings;
  • Forfeiture proceedings;
  • Leasehold disputes;
  • Right to Neighbouring Land Act disputes;
  • Party Wall Act disputes; and
  • Landlord and Tenant disputes.

Whatever the nature or complexity of your dispute – be it in relation to any residential, commercial or agricultural land or property – our experienced team is likely to be able to assist you so please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Social housing

Our team has a particular interest and specialism in social housing litigation and act for a number of leading registered providers of social housing across the North of England.

The social housing sector has its own specific requirements and considerations, and our team enjoys getting to know our clients and understanding their particular requirements and ethos.  The approach taken when disputes arise is often very different to a purely commercial entity and our team is sensitive to that approach and committed to assisting in resolving such disputes, ideally before involving any Court.  If this is not possible, our team is well known amongst the regional Judiciary and presents cases in a thorough but straightforward manner, with an excellent record of achieving positive results for our clients, particularly in the area of anti-social behaviour.

The services that we can offer include the following:

  • Housing Disrepair;
  • Possession proceedings;
  • Demotion proceedings;
  • Part 1 ASB Injunctions;
  • Committal applications;
  • Succession advice;
  • Trespass proceedings; and
  • Shared Ownership disputes.

Our Team also works closely with our Commercial Property team who can assist with the non-contentious elements of social housing – from land acquisitions and “golden brick” purchases to all elements of the site set-up – having been heavily involved in all property related matters for our existing social housing clients for over 20 years.

We pride ourselves on providing a personal service to our clients, and adding value wherever possible.  We regularly provide guidance on cases being investigated before they are referred for formal legal action, and work closely with individuals within the social housing organisations to build strong relationships which operate seamlessly.

If you would like any further information about our social housing offering, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Consumer litigation

Buying goods and purchasing services is based on an implied trust that the goods or services that you are purchasing are fit for their purpose, they are as described to you when you purchased them and that they comply with the ever-growing thicket of regulations or trading standards.

However, what happens if you purchase a service or goods, and your implied trust is shattered by goods that were not as you were described or services which are not fit for purpose? Our Dispute Resolution team has extensive experience in representing clients who find themselves in similar situations. Our lawyers have a deep understanding of the Consumer Rights laws, which have been designed to protect your rights in such circumstances.

Consumer disputes often emerge in a number of areas, but some of the most common cases we deal with include:

  • Faulty motor vehicles;
  • Services provided by tradesmen that are not fit for purpose and/or incomplete
  • Disputed Warranties or Guarantees regarding a product or service;
  • Disputes regarding contractual terms and conditions; and
  • Misrepresentation of goods or services.

Don’t settle for less than what you paid for when it may be possible to do something about it.  Whatever the nature or complexity of your dispute, our Dispute Resolution team have the skills and expertise to help.

Professional negligence

When an individual seeks professional advice, this is usually because they are faced with a situation which falls outside of their own individual competencies. Trust is placed in a professional who will provide advice and guidance to help you reach important decisions, whether these be of a financial, legal or another specialist nature.

In some cases, the professional advice that you have relied upon may be careless, misguided or simply incorrect. If the negligent advice causes you to incur financial loss, you may be able to instigate a “professional negligence” claim against the professional who gave you the advice. In many cases, this claim is often referred to the professional’s insurer.

Professional negligence can occur in all areas where professional services are provided, but the most commonly encountered examples involve:

  • Accountants and Auditors;
  • Engineers;
  • Architects;
  • Solicitors and Conveyancers; and
  • Surveyors and Valuers.

Not surprisingly, professional negligence claims can require extensive investigation and expertise, and can become extremely complex. Our Dispute Resolution team has successfully represented a broad range of clients in such matters, with our lawyers handling the disputes with a forensic mindset and a consistently proactive outlook.

If you find that you have incurred financial losses due to advice that you have received from a professional, please contact our Dispute Resolution team to discuss this further.

Debt recovery

Based on a strong understanding of the practical realities of business, with a focus on providing proportionate and common-sense solutions, our Dispute Resolution team are a safe pair of hands to recover debt owed to both commercial and private clients.

Utilising the broad skills of the solicitors within our Dispute Resolution team, rather than being reliant on the factory approach of a generic debt recovery agency, means that you will have:

  • an approach tailored to your customers and circumstances; and
  • the option to quickly escalate a problematic recovery into litigation or attempt an alternative process.

Our vast experience in recovering outstanding debts allows us to quote confidently for business-to-business recovery and we act under a transparent fee structure for uncontested recoveries.

Don’t let outstanding debt be a distraction from running your business, contact the Dispute Resolution team at Swinburne Maddison.

Clinical negligence and personal injury

Our Dispute Resolution team is experienced in helping people gain compensation and rehabilitation where they have unfortunately suffered accidents that are through no fault of their own or where medical care does not go according to plan.

We understand that injuries suffered as a result of accidents or clinical negligence can have a significant impact upon our clients and their families, and our lawyers are here to provide support and guidance throughout all stages of the claim. We are dedicated to ensuring that our clients obtain the right levels of compensation and that matters are resolved as promptly as possible. We understand that each case is very different and are committed to giving each and every claim the attention it deserves.

For those claims that we consider have over a 50% chance of success following a merits assessment, we offer ‘no win no fee’ funding which allows clients to avoid having to pay any “up front” legal fees.

Below are some examples of the types of personal injury and clinical negligence claims that our team often assist with:

  • Road traffic accidents;
  • Accidents at work;
  • Accidents in public places;
  • Industrial injury and disease (including asbestos-related conditions);
  • Medical misdiagnosis;
  • Errors with medical procedures;
  • Dental negligence; and
  • Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority claims.

Whatever the nature or complexity of your case, our experienced team is likely to be able to assist you so please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Housing disrepair

Our property litigation lawyers have many years of experience in defending housing disrepair claims for landlords, whether those be landlords who are local authorities, large commercial enterprises, charitable organisations or individuals with buy-to-let properties. Our client base includes landlords of varying sizes, both within the North East and also nationally.

Our team understands the challenges facing landlords when dealing with housing disrepair claims, with the levels of damages and legal costs pursued by claimant firms frequently being significant. At Swinburne Maddison, we have an excellent understanding of the Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Condition Claims and are aware of tactics that are often used by claimant firms to seek payouts that are excessive.

We are committed to helping our landlord clients understand the differing levels of risk with each individual claim brought and are often successful in deterring claimant firms from pursuing claims any further, defending claims at trial or helping our clients reach sensible settlements out of Court on a commercial basis.

We often act for clients whose tenants have made the following allegations of disrepair in their homes, though this list is by no means exhaustive:

  • Damp, mould and leaks;
  • Faults with sewage and drainage systems;
  • Faulty doors and windows;
  • Cracks to plaster;
  • Defective heating;
  • Infestations from pests and vermin; and
  • Health and safety risks

The key to landlords being able to avoid or easily defend disrepair claims is to act quickly. Landlords must be able to show that they responded promptly to any suggestion of disrepair and that works were carried out within a reasonable period of time.

We would strongly encourage landlords to contact us a matter of priority if there has been a suggestion of a housing disrepair claim being pursued against them so that our lawyers are able to respond as effectively as possible. 

Landlord and tenant

Our property litigation lawyers have a wealth of experience dealing with the specific disagreements and disputes that can arise between a landlord and tenant. We act for a wide range of clients, from commercial landlords with a large portfolio of business premises to owners of buy-to-let residential homes.

Regardless of our clients’ backgrounds and the scale of property portfolios that they are dealing with, we understand the challenges that landlords face when problems with tenants arise and our team is well-versed in dealing with complex property law and contractual issues.

Examples of the types of dispute that we often assist landlords with include:-

  • Default of tenants and eviction;
  • Possession proceedings and enforcement;
  • Recovery of rent arrears;
  • Defending disrepair claims;
  • Disputes regarding compliance (including tenancy deposit schemes);
  • Dilapidation claims;
  • Lease renewal and surrender; and
  • Squatter eviction.

We also regularly act on behalf of tenants – of both commercial and residential premises – so, whatever the nature of your enquiry, get in touch and we will have the expertise to help. 

To find out more about the ways in which our Dispute Resolution team could assist you, please call us on 0191 384 2441, or complete our online enquiry form.

For pricing information in relation to our Debt Recovery services, please click here.

“The team focuses entirely on my specific needs, gets to the heart of the matter quickly and has a complete grasp of all relevant details — this has delivered great success over the years.”

The Legal 500 UK, 2021 edition

“The team focuses entirely on my specific needs, gets to the heart of the matter quickly and has a complete grasp of all relevant details — this has delivered great success over the years.”

The Legal 500 UK, 2021 edition

“From the start we were dealt with by a partner and were kept personally updated throughout.”

The Legal 500 UK, 2022 edition

“The team are highly approachable, accessible and communicate in clear, concise, jargon-free language.”

The Legal 500 UK, 2023 edition

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