Hooks Consult assist clients in resolving civil disputes. Disputes can concern anything from unpaid bills or unfulfilled contract terms to problems between landlords and tenants, infringement of IP rights, construction-related claims, the liabilities of insurers, shipping cases, defective products, media and entertainment industry wrangles… the list is endless. And that’s just in the commercial sphere. The most common types of litigation involving private individuals are discussed at length in our personal injury overview.
If disputes are not settled by negotiation, they will be concluded either by court litigation or an alternative form of dispute resolution. The most common other methods are arbitration and mediation. The former is often stipulated as the preferred method in commercial contracts, and is essentially a private court, while the latter is generally achieved through structured negotiations between the parties, overseen by an independent mediator. These methods can still be problematic: arbitration is almost as expensive as litigating, mediation is not necessarily adequate for complex matters, and some argue that opponents can use alternative dispute resolution as a means of ‘bleeding’ money from each other or as covert interrogation.
Confusingly, there are two divisions of the High Court dealing with civil cases – the Chancery Division and the Queen’s Bench Division (QBD) – and each hears different types of cases. For instance, the Chancery Division handles matters relating to trusts, probate, insolvency, business and land law, while the QBD hears various contract law and personal injury/general negligence cases.