Areas in which we can help your Commercial Litigation and Debt Recovery Problems
Headed up by Sukhbir Mall, NDP’s team of commercial litigation and debt recovery solicitors are experienced in all matters involving commercial litigation and debt recovery. Click here to see case studies for our work in solving commercial litigation and debt recovery problems, and testimonials too.
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Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution
Disputes are, unfortunately, a reality in today’s business world. Wherever possible we will help you avoid litigation and the disruption and costs that this can involve.
Our goal is to bring your dispute to a successful conclusion – as quickly, cost effectively and painlessly as possible. We will evaluate your case and work through the options with you.
We will always use the most appropriate methods to resolve your dispute. This may involve alternative dispute resolution processes, including: adjudication, arbitration, early neutral evaluation, expert determination and mediation.
When dealing with commercial litigation, we recognise that our clients require speed, efficiency and an understanding of commercial risk. We will take time to understand your objectives and devise a litigation strategy that best suits you.
NDP’s Commercial Litigation Solicitors represent commercial clients in many business sectors in all types of contentious matters. The team conducts litigation in Arbitrations, the County Court and the High Court.
Shareholder and Director Disputes
Going into business with others is the commercial equivalent of getting married, and the divorces which often follow can be just as painful as a marriage breakdown. In business there are steps you can take to best protect your position. Similarly, if business relationships break down, failing to get good advice at an early stage can cost you dearly.
Our shareholder disputes team is one of the few teams to comprise lawyers whose main day to day occupation is acting on shareholder and director disputes. The area is one of genuine specialism with a huge amount of detail that can be missed or overlooked without the necessary experience.
Over the years, the team has acted for many shareholders across a diverse range of industries and professions. It has recovered many millions of pounds for directors and shareholders who find themselves in conflict and in need of guidance.
The areas in which we can help with your commercial litigation and debt recovery problems are:
Urgent Court applications and injunctions
Injunctions are one of the most important tools available to litigators. As with any urgent application to court, there can be a huge amount to be done in a very short time. Getting the strategy right from the outset is crucial, as is having the right experience and resource to deliver against the strategy. Urgent Court applications and injunctions can take a number of different forms: for example, prohibitive injunctions restraining a person from doing a particular act; mandatory injunctions require a person to do a particular act; freezing orders or injunctions are used to freeze some or all of a person’s assets; a ‘search and seize’ order permits (usually unannounced) access to business and sometimes residential premises for the purposes of searching for specific evidence of wrong-doing.
The NDP Team has many years’ experience of acting in these urgent applications and injunction scenarios. We know when and how best to deal with injunctions of all varieties. We have the resource to deal head on with the urgent demands on time made by many of these scenarios. A failure to act, or react quickly can be fatal in such matters. We have a track record of many years experience and many clients to testify to our ability to deal successfully with urgent and injunction applications, whether for claimants or defendants. Contact us for help and advice.
Partnership and Boardroom dispute resolutions concerning directors and shareholders’ rights.
Actions might be taken against fellow partners, because of their breach of their statutory or fiduciary duties, or for breach of the terms of the partnership agreement.Frequently, partner disputes arise because one or more partners consider that another partner is not pulling their weight, or is taking an unfair share of profits.This in turn may lead to one or more partners leaving the partnership either by serving notice, or by expulsion. This may lead to a claim for damages or other relief, for example:
- An account of profits.
- Forfeiture of fees.
- Compensation for losses caused to the partnership for breach of fiduciary/contractual duties.
- An injunction preventing certain actions occurring.
Outgoing partners will seek to enforce their right to be paid all profits rightfully due to them under the terms of the partnership agreement.
Many partnership agreements will contain a clause which gives the partnership/other partners the right to expel a member (regardless to the fact that the member is not in breach of any provision of partnership agreement) if the majority of the members think that it is in the best interests of the partnership to do so.
The Courts will be concerned to see that where such a power is exercised, it is exercised in good faith. So it should not be exercised for the personal benefit of one or more partners or for reasons unconnected with the business.
Where there is an under performance or a personality clash and in either case it is detrimental to the business, then the exercise of such a power may be upheld.
However, in exercising such a power, principles of natural justice will apply in that proper investigation needs to take place and the member who is to be expelled must be given a right to address concerns, to be heard upon them and to make representations.
We provide assistance to partners leaving a partnership, in connection with their rights and entitlements as partners, and the processes to be followed in connection with any termination, suspension, retirement or expulsion.
Contact us for help and advice.
Winding-Up, Bankruptcy Petitions and Debt Recovery
Bad debt affects all businesses. Failure to collect debts as and when they fall due will affect the cash flow of a business, and as a result, its ability to run smoothly and profitably.
As debt recovery specialists, we can help improve your cash flow and profitability by taking quick and efficient action on your behalf, in order to recover all your outstanding debts.
The debt recovery team works hand in hand with clients, assisting in managing debt problems and providing professional representation and expertise on a personal level. The service emphasises prevention, debt avoidance, education and cost effective action tailored to each client’s needs.
We prefer, where possible, to utilise the Insolvency remedies of Bankruptcy Petitions and Winding-Up Petitions (and the threat of them) to recover your debts. NDP’s Solicitors are very experienced in this field of work.
A Winding-Up Petition against your company looks like a very innocent document when it is served on a company at its registered office. It has a date on it when it will be heard, but it is not accompanied by any explanation.
The effects of such a Petition on a company should not be underestimated. A Winding-Up Petition is a document seeking the compulsory liquidation of a company.
Frozen Bank Account
Once the world gets to know of the issue of such a proceeding then it will result in the company’s bank account being frozen, leaving the company unable to trade or even pay its salary bill.
A creditor cannot solely accept any payment from the company as any liquidator appointed could ask for the money back.
By the time the hearing date comes round it may well be too late.
The use of Winding-Up Petitions by legitimate creditors is a common way of forcing the payment of outstanding debts.
We have significant experience of presenting and pursuing winding up petitions on behalf of legitimate undisputed creditors to secure swift payment of debts. The process can be used to enforce outstanding judgements. We can advise on the ramifications and costs of pursuing these actions.
We are perfectly placed to assist companies who are subject to a Winding-Up Petition. If there is a dispute over the debt claimed we can seek injunctions to prevent issue or advertisement of the Petition as well as defending the Petition itself, if our attempts to negotiate a solution are unsuccessful.
We can help with obtaining validation orders to validate urgent payments from the bank. If necessary we can advise and refer the company one of our trusted Insolvency Practitioners who work with us to find the appropriate solution for companies in financial difficulties.
Some recent examples of work in this sector include: (Are these case studies. Can we have some detail on the successful outcome?)
- Seeking urgent injunctive relief to prevent the advertisement of a Winding-Up Petition on a contested debt.
- Advising a company in receipt of a Winding-Up Petition and working with a local Insolvency Practitioner to seek a company voluntary arrangement as an alternative to winding-up.
- Issuing Winding-Up Petitions on behalf of an international client to seek recovery of substantial undisputed sums.
A Bankruptcy Petition issued against a person is a serious matter. If an order is made against you, all that you own, including (and perhaps most importantly) any financial interest that you have in a house, will transfer to a trustee in bankruptcy. The Trustee will then try to sell those assets to realise them for the benefit of creditors.
Just as with a Winding-Up Petition against a company the effects for a person are substantial. Once a Bankruptcy Order is made then to have it annulled can be very costly.
We have extensive experience of advising on Bankruptcy Petitions and the issue of Statutory Demands and all associated applications.
As a creditor we can help in using the process to secure payment of unsecured undisputed debts. The process can also be used to enforce a Judgment over £750.00 against an individual which is unsatisfied.
If you receive a Statutory Demand or Petition and you dispute what is claimed then we can also help in preparing and representing at application to set aside the Statutory Demand or defending the Petition. In the event that you need help because of financial difficulties then we can refer you to a local Insolvency Practitioner who will be able to assist with the best course of action to take.
We will provide advice on your credit control process, on written contracts, terms and conditions, retention of title and security Enforcement We will advise on all methods of enforcement, including Statutory Demands, Bankruptcy, Winding-Up proceedings, enforcement officers, Charging Orders and attachment of earnings orders.
Annulment of Bankruptcy Orders
We at NDP specialise in annulling Bankruptcy Orders and have done so for many of our clients by successfully arguing that the Bankruptcy Order ought not to have been made in the first place, by entering into an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA), by reviewing or rescinding the Bankruptcy Order or by making payment to the bankrupt’s creditors.
We advise clients on whether it is necessary to pay the Government Ad Valorum fee for tax. We also assist in making applications to the Court to allow the release of equity from the family home, which requires the court’s permission after bankruptcy as the bankruptcy’s assets vests in the Official Receiver from the moment the Bankruptcy Order is made.
As the same time as applying for an annulment of the Bankruptcy Order, we often obtain the Official Receiver’s agreement not to appoint a Trustee in Bankruptcy, as once a Trustee in Bankruptcy is appointed, (especially if joint Trustees in Bankruptcy are appointed) significant costs are racked up, which are then paid from the proceeds of sale of the bankrupt’s properties.
These sale proceeds are paid into the “bankruptcy estate” and it is often to the surprise of bankrupts, and their families, that the Trustee in Bankruptcy and his or her solicitors are firstly paid from the sale proceeds with any surplus monies thereafter being used to pay the bankrupt’s creditors. Some cynics therefore say that Trustees in Bankruptcy are therefore only interested in selling the bankrupt’s assets to feather their own nest and that the bankruptcy process has nothing to do with acting in the interests of creditors, which is the Trustee’s fundamental duty.
We have often seen trustees’ costs reach such a level that the amount to be distributed to the creditor is severely reduced from the available pot for distribution.
If an annulment is obtained, the bankruptcy order is seen as never having been made in the first place. This is to be contrasted with a bankrupt being released from his bankruptcy after a year. This is known as obtaining or automatic discharge, unless the trustee decides to make an application to the court to have the discharge suspended for some reason, commonly because it is said that the bankrupt has reduced to co-operate with the trustee. After an automatic discharge is obtained, the ex-bankrupt is known as “a discharged bankrupt”, whilst during the term of his bankruptcy he is known as “an undischarged bankrupt”.
Contact us for help and advice.
Search and Seizure Orders
Formerly known as an Anton Pillar Orders, a search and seizure order is an order from the Court which enables a party to enter into identified premises to search and seize documents, items or articles clearly specified in the Court Order and which may subsequently become evidence in Court proceedings. Documents and computer records are items that might typically be sought when seeking this kind of injunction.
Speed is always of the essence.We have experience of obtaining injunctions very quickly and effectively. In a number of cases obtaining this sort of injunction at an early stage represents a ‘knock-out blow’ resulting in the main litigation being settled shortly afterwards. Contact us for help and advice.
All businesses can be subject to unannounced inspections or dawn raids by any of the following authorities: HM Revenue and Customs, OFT, European Commission or other competition regulators, Serious Fraud Office, Police (including regional police fraud squad), Financial Conduct Authority, Health & Safety Executive and local authority enforcement agencies. If there is a reasonable suspicion with the authorities that records related to the inspection are being kept elsewhere, inspections can also be made at those premises too. It is vital to note that premises, not people, are raided. So your business can be subject to a dawn raid even if nobody within your organisation is actually being investigated.
The way in which a dawn raid is handled can have very significant consequences, for an organisation’s reputation and unless handled correctly, can also lead to issues with clients and staff. Fines can be imposed where cooperation is inadequate and failure to secure privileged documents can also prejudice rebuttal and defence evidence as well as aggravating penalties.Professional advisers and financial services businesses need to have clear regard to the extent of any search warrant to ensure that client confidential information that is outside the warrant’s scope is not disclosed.
It is important to politely and firmly co-operate as much as possible but it is vital that you protect both your business and employees and limit disruption to the business.
Our team has extensive experience in helping our clients minimise the risk that they will attract unwanted regulatory attention. NDP can help with an immediate effective response and action. We can act quickly and decisively by attending your premises; liaise with the authorities; check the validity and scope of the warrant; ensure copies of all documents/information are copied; protect your interests (e.g. privileged information) and employees who may be interviewed under caution; advice regarding the seizure of computers and any electronic storage devices.
Breach of Contract Claims
Commercial disputes are increasingly commonplace in today’s climate of economic uncertainty. It is essential you seek the right tactical advice as early as possible to minimise impact to you and your business. At NDP, we believe that the best way for us to help you resolve any form of contractual dispute is to understand your business and to give you straightforward advice about your options. We believe in offering cost-effective solutions delivered pragmatically and efficiently. Commercial disputes are increasingly commonplace in today’s climate of economic uncertainty.
It is vital that you seek the right tactical advice as soon as possible to ensure that you minimise the impact to you and your business. We advise companies, partnerships and entrepreneurs. Our experienced team of dispute resolution lawyers will work closely with you to fully understand the issues you are facing, and explore the best approaches to meet your commercial objectives.We recognise that every dispute is different and each will need its own individual solution to suit your specific needs. We draw on our considerable experience in dealing with a wide range of disputes arising out of all types of commercial activity.
Our litigation team is always prepared to use tough methods to protect your business rights. We do, however, recognise that court action will not always be appropriate and appreciate, therefore, the usefulness of mediation, arbitration and all forms of ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) in resolving contentious business matters. Contact us for help and advice.
Interference with Business claims
If your business has been affected by the actions of a competitor that has persuaded others to default on their contractual obligations to you, or pressured or conspired with others to interfere with your business interests and cause you loss, then a claim based on one or more of the economic torts might be the way forward for your business.
The team at NDP acts quickly and understands the need to listen. We are able to advise our clients in confidence of achieving the best outcome possible: resolving matters and minimising the possibility of future disputes. Contact us for help and advice.
If you or your business is experiencing commercial litigation and debt problems in any of the areas detailed above, contact us for a FREE initial consultation.