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Dispute Resolution


It is unfortunate that from time to time disputes may arise between private parties. The Courts expect groups to make attempts to resolve their differences without resorting to litigation, which is regarded as a final measure.


Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) can allow disputes to be resolved quicker and in a more cost effective manner than by issuing Court proceedings. In many circumstances, disputes of a private nature can be resolved through informal negotiations with both parties. If this is not possible the most common form of ADR is mediation, whereby the parties meet with a mediator to aid in reaching an agreement.



If the dispute cannot be resolved through ADR, litigation may be pursued by issuing Court proceedings. Once proceedings have commenced some forms of ADR – such as mediation – can still be pursued. At Clarke Barnes Solicitors we are experienced in all levels of Dispute Resolution and will be able to advise you on the most effective resolution method.

Contractual Disputes

Contractual disputes arise when parties disagree as to the interpretation of a contract they have entered into, whether written or oral. In some cases, the dispute may arise due to a genuine difference of interpretation as to the meaning or wording of a contract. In other cases, one party may trigger a dispute in an attempt to delay their liability under a contract. The advice offered when handling contractual disputes often overlaps with other services we provide such as advice on Corporate Debt Recovery or Insolvency.


At Clarke Barnes we are experienced in guiding our clients through contractual disputes and appreciate the commercial realities involved, as it is often the case that parties have to work with each other post-resolution of the dispute. Clarke Barnes can advise on the best steps to take in any contractual dispute, subject to the predicated client budget. In some cases, this may mean trying to resolve the matter through Alternative Dispute Resolution, such as Mediation or a more informal ‘without prejudice’ meeting. Other circumstances may require issuing proceedings immediately and securing our client’s position through an ex parte application for a Freezing Injunction, should the conduct of the offending party be of such a level that an injunction is required to protect the assets and position of our client.


We are also able to offer expert interpretation of the meaning and implication of any contract, in order to assist our clients in delaying or avoiding liability. At all times we remain aware of the overriding concerns of our client, and remain focussed on achieving the desired outcome in a legally and commercially appropriate manner.

High Court & County Court Litigation

Litigation cases handled in the High Court and County Court cover a spectrum of different claims, from basic debt recovery to complex Intellectual Property disputes. High Court litigation is referred to as ‘commercial litigation’, whilst County Court litigation is known as ‘civil litigation’. In general terms, a claim for damages should only be brought in the High Court if the value of the damages is in excess of £100,000. In a personal injury claim the damages must be in excess of £50,000.


Claims can also be commenced in the High Court if required by certain statute or if the claim is deemed to have complex issues of law or fact or if it is seen to be in the public interest. Clarke Barnes have  successfully applied to have claims transferred from the County Court to the High Court at the request of our clients. At Clarke Barnes our fee earners have widespread experience in both High Court and County Court litigation. We are able to advise on any claim you may wish to bring, or any claim that may have been brought against you. We will ensure the fee earner we attach to your case boasts the requisite experience whilst charging an appropriate rate, as we appreciate that litigation costs can often become excessive.


We liaise closely with a number of leading sets of barristers’ chambers and as such, we are able to obtain specialist legal advice from top-ranking barristers in specific areas of law, should the input or representation of a barrister be required. Stephen Gilchrist, our consultant at Clarke Barnes, possesses the experience and skill-set necessary to provide advocacy in both the County Court and the High Court.

Fatal Accident Claims

If someone close to you dies in an accident, they often leave behind a group of devastated family members and loved ones. If the fatal accident in question was caused by the negligence of another party, the family of the deceased may be in a position to make a fatal injury compensation claim. Amidst the shock and grief of a loved one dying, making a claim of this kind is often the last thing many people consider. In some cases however, it is vital that such a compensation claim is made in a timely manner, as the remaining family members may be facing financial hardship through no fault of their own.


The importance of such a claim, both immediately after a fatal accident and in the years afterwards, is such that it requires to be handled by a firm of solicitors with experience of dealing with complex, high value cases. The solicitors will need to take the time to fully understand the impact the death of a loved one has had on your family, both emotionally and financially. Our Partner, Arthur Barnes, has extensive experience in dealing with fatal accident claims and will be able to offer empathetic guidance your family through the claim process. Initially, our firm will evaluate the prospects of any such claim free of charge and, if we are of the view that the claim is likely to succeed, will act on a conditional fee agreement, removing the stress of funding the litigation.