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Dispute Resolution

United Kingdom

At CMS, we have thought more about Your World. You do not want to litigate, and neither do we. You want to avoid disputes and when they do arise, have the right team to resolve them.

Unlike most major law firms, you will not find a traditional litigation department at CMS. What you will find is a large team of specialist lawyers who share a refreshing approach to disputes. Structured according to the industries our clients work in, we bring our deep sector expertise to your dispute ensuring you will always receive advice in the context of your own market. 

Where your dispute cannot be resolved in any other way, we have the expertise and resources to ensure your dispute if pursued through litigation and arbitration, including, where necessary, appeals and challenges to the highest courts and tribunals.

The quality of the work was consistently at a high level. The advice – which was largely very industry-specific and needed to go into a great level of detail – was to the point and well presented.
Client feedback, Global Arbitration Review

Consistently ranked in the Global Arbitration Review ‘GAR30’ of the world’s busiest international arbitration practices and as one of The Lawyer’s Top 50 Global Litigation firms, you will have a team experienced in all forms of dispute resolution.

We advise clients on international arbitration (both commercial and investor-state), litigation (either of the underlying dispute or in support of arbitral proceedings), expert determination, adjudication and mediation.

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    Advocacy

    As someone looking for advocacy advice, it is essential you get seamless legal representation, efficiency, accessibility and speed. CMS has extensive advocacy experience in courts and tribunals across the United Kingdom on a broad range of matters. These include commercial contracts, construction and engineering, oil and gas, employment, fatal accident inquiries, judicial review, personal injury and property damage, planning and consenting, and public procurement.

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    Alternative Dispute Resolution

    Avoiding costly disputes is often the favoured route for businesses when challenges arise. Alternative dispute resolution – which includes mediation, moderation, and expert determination - is an increasingly attractive option for clients wishing to avoid lengthy and costly proceedings. 

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    Commercial Disputes

    In today's global marketplace, despite best business practices, litigation and disputes are often unavoidable. As a large publicly listed company or a small privately owned business, you will need lawyers who will deliver the outcome that meets your objectives and work within the commercial realities you operate in day to day.  

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    Construction & Engineering Disputes

    The magnitude of the sums involved, the time needed for a project to come to fruition and reach completion, the scope for variations to be made and extensions of time granted, the technical nature of processes such as testing and commissioning, and the number of entities that can be involved – it is no wonder that the construction, engineering and infrastructure sectors are among the most contentious industries in the world.

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    Corporate Crime

    If your business faces allegations of illegality or other wrongdoing, whether from whistle-blowers, regulators or other authorities, you will need to act quickly to investigate and protect your corporate reputation. You will need to know how to respond to the issue in the minutes and hours after it has arisen, both internally and externally, in order to protect the business and avoid exacerbating the problem. You will also need to know how to investigate the issues, while protecting the integrity and confidentiality of the process and maximising the protection of legal privilege where available.

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    Employment Disputes

    When you’re facing an employment dispute, you need a legal adviser who will give you clear advice on the best route to a solution. This will include a commercial assessment of prospects, likely costs and timeframes.

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    Energy Disputes

    International energy companies operate in a complex and challenging environment. Investments in the energy sector are often high-value, high-risk transactions involving projects that rely on cutting edge technology. In addition to the technical challenges in this heavily regulated industry, the progressive development of reserves and infrastructure around the globe, and the need for ongoing geographic diversification, have exposed energy companies to increased legal and political risk. In such an environment, despite best business practices, disputes may be unavoidable.

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    Finance Disputes

    Disputes involving financial institutions can be complex and involve vast sums. This is where our experience gained through long-standing relationships with major banks and financial institutions can deliver efficient and effective solutions for your business.

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    Financial Regulatory Disputes

    As a financial services business, the daily challenges you face in doing business in a highly regulated, cost pressured environment mean you need advisers who have an unparalleled understanding of the regulators’ expectations, how they apply to your business and are commercial, practical and resourceful.

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    Insurance & Reinsurance Disputes

    Whether you are an insurer, broker, reinsurer or insured party, your world is changing rapidly as tougher capital and risk requirements impact your business.  

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    International Arbitration

    Arbitration is a good choice to resolve disputes when you need flexibility, enforceability and an award which reflects the realities and complexities of your business. To achieve this, particularly in industries like insurance, energy, construction, engineering and TMT, you will need arbitrators and advisers who are comfortable with the technical detail. 

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    Judicial Review

    When a public body or official has made a decision that impacts on an industry, sector or project, sometimes the last available resort is to challenge the decision on legal or procedural grounds by way of judicial review. A party involved in a challenge needs the support of a team who understands their industry and the challenge process.

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    Real Estate & Planning Disputes

    Whether you are a developer, landlord, contractor or occupier, when a real estate project or transaction becomes contentious, you need legal advice from a disputes team that understands the issues peculiar to the sector.

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    Reputation & Defamation

    Reputation is one of the most valuable assets a person or organisation can have. When this is under threat, it is important to defend it quickly and fervently. The Defamation Act 2013 is designed to create a balance between freedom of expression and the right to a good reputation. This has introduced a whole range of new complexities.

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    Risk & Investigations

    Fraud, corruption, tax evasion and money laundering are issues high on the public, political and enforcement agendas around the world. Regulatory and trade bodies’ more stringent restrictions and transparency requirements, as well as improvements in corporate internal controls, have also led to better internal reporting of concerns, generating a new series of challenges in terms of appropriate analysis and investigation of reported issues.

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    Technology Disputes

    Our Technology Litigation Team provides dispute resolution services to clients in all industry sectors. We advise on disputes relating to hardware implementation, software design and implementation, systems integration and development projects, IT outsourcing and off-shoring, software licensing, software copyright, (including ‘look and feel’), computer implemented inventions / software patents, database protection and extraction, e-commerce and online contracts, online infringement issues and ISP defences, online and computer fraud, including criminal actions, and domain names, including cyber-squatting, typo-squatting and other domain parking. 

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    CMS first law firm in Europe to adopt innovative m...
    10/02/2017
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    On 1 February, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented India’s annual Union Budget for 2017-2018 (the “Budget”) for the fiscal year beginning 1 April 2017. The central aim in this year’s Budget appears to focus on the most vulnerable with increased spending.
    13 December 2016
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    10/02/2017
    Assessing proportionality in public procurement? The uncertainty...
    On 14 December 2016, the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") answered the Dutch Supreme Court’s ("DSC") preliminary questions regarding Article 45 (2) of the EU public procurement directive (Directive 2004/18/EC) and general principles of equal treatment and.
    29 September 2016
    Disputes digest
    Issue 4: September 2016
    09/02/2017
    Conspiracy to commit contempt
    The Court of Appeal has held that agreeing to frustrate a freezing order can amount to the tort of conspiracy. Under the Lugano Convention, the court in whose territory the agreement is reached will have jurisdiction to hear a claim for damages by the beneficiary.
    28/06/2016
    CMS disputes partners identified as Rising Stars i...
    06/02/2017
    New regulation comes into force supporting creation of a European...
    The new regulation n°655/2014 supporting the creation of a European bank account preservation order procedure came into force on 18 January 2017. This is now enforceable throughout the Member States of the European Union, excluding the United Kingdom and Denmark.
    24/05/2016
    CMS UK launches Brexit checklists
    01/02/2017
    Choice of English law presides in ISDA Master Agreements – Court...
    The Court of Appeal has upheld an earlier decision of the High Court that the law applicable to interest rate swaps entered into between a Portuguese bank and a number of Portuguese transport operators is English law.
    25/11/2015
    Disputes Digest - current legal issues affecting t...
    01/02/2017
    The Court of Appeal has considered the test for implied terms in...
    Background The Court of Appeal has reiterated that the starting point for the court when considering the existence of an implied term is to give effect to the parties’ intentions in relation to express terms of the contract.
    03/09/2014
    An International Issue: 'Loss of Profits' and 'Con...
    30/01/2017
    It takes two to arbitrate: but in what circumstances will a Court...
    In Silver Dry Bulk Company Ltd v Homer Hulbert Maritime Company Ltd [2017] EWHC 44 (Comm), the Commercial Court has affirmed that whilst it “takes two to arbitrate, just as it does to tango”, the Court will nevertheless take a strict approach with regards to.
    Phillip Ashley
    13/03/2014
    Enforceability of Take-or-Pay Provisions in Englis...
    26/01/2017
    UK Supreme Court rules in the Article 50 Brexit Appeal: what happ...
    The UK Supreme Court has given its judgment in the matter of R (on the application of Miller and another) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2017] UKSC 5 – more commonly known as “the Article 50 Brexit appeal”.
    03/02/2014
    Informs - Civil justice
    20/01/2017
    Decision time: judgment in the Article 50 Brexit Appeal due Tuesd...
    The UK Supreme Court has announced that its decision in the appeal of R (on the application of Miller & Dos Santos) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2016] EWHC 2768 (Admin) – otherwise more commonly known as “the Article 50 Brexit appeal”.