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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.

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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They are outstanding on client care, very thorough and commercially astute.

Chambers 2016

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    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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    Law-Now: Dispute Resolution
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    Drastic changes in renewable energy laws trigger damages award
    In an award dated 4 May 2017 (publicly available in Spanish only) issued in Eiser Infrastructure Limited and Energia Solar Luxembourg S. à. r. l v The Kingdom of Spain (ICSID Case No. ARB/13/36), an arbitral tribunal found that Spain’s legislative changes in the.
    Court refuses application for pre-action disclosure of insurance...
    Court refuses application for pre-action disclosure of insurance policy The High Court has refused an application for pre-action disclosure of the public liability insurance policy of a company that, if litigation were pursued against it, was likely to become.
    Oil and Gas: In defence of corporate structure
    In His Royal Highness Emere Godwin Bebe Okpabi and Others v Royal Dutch Shell PLC (“RDS”) and Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (“SPDC”) [2017] EWHC 89 (TCC), the Technology and Construction Court confirmed that the English Courts will not permit.
    SFO overcomes privilege claim for internal investigation document...
    Summary The High Court has held that certain documents created by legal and other advisers of Eurasian National Resources Ltd (“ENRC”) during an internal investigation into allegations of wrongdoing, are not protected by legal professional privilege.
    Digital economy bill receives Royal Assent
    On 27 April 2017 the Digital Economy Bill received Royal Assent in the ‘wash up’ session prior to the formal dissolution of Parliament on 3 May 2017.   The Digital Economy Bill incorporates the new Electronic Communications Code.
    The extent of an “information duty” owed by a non-advising bank t...
    Thomas and another v Triodos Bank NV [2017] EWHC 314 (QB) In a recent mis-selling case, the High Court has examined the extent of the duty of care which a bank owes to a fixed rate loan customer in the course of a non-advised sale.
    Supreme Court overturns ruling on assessment of damages in accoun...
    The Supreme Court has ruled that, where loans made to a company on the basis of a firm of accountants’ negligent due diligence report had been repaid by the company using money borrowed from the lender’s owner, neither the lender nor its owner could claim against.
    Challenging standard form exclusion clauses under UCTA: new TCC g...
    A TCC decision last week has rejected an attempt to challenge a broadly drafted standard form exclusion clause under the Unfair Contract Terms Act. The decision gives helpful guidance as to the circumstances in which broadly drafted exclusions might be considered.
    The UK Supreme Court… on tour?  UKSC to sit in Edinburgh for the...
    Last month, the UK Supreme Court announced that it will sit in Edinburgh in June 2017.   This is a historic first: it will be the first time the Court has sat outside of London.   From 12 – 15 June 2017, the Court will sit at Edinburgh City Chambers, the home.
    Supreme Court rules that challenge to enforcement of foreign arbi...
    This article was produced by Olswang LLP, which joined with CMS on 1 May 2017. In IPCO (Nigeria) Ltd v Nigeria National Petroleum Corp [2017] UKSC 16, the Supreme Court held that the Court of Appeal had been incorrect to require the appellant to provide security.
    A matter of discretion: Scottish court's refusal of post limitati...
    Summary Scottish court refuses amendment of industrial disease claim to change statutory basis for action after the expiry of limitation period. The suggestion is that the same decision may not have been reached in the English courts.
    Singapore court considers validity of bare arbitration clauses
    This article was produced by Nabarro LLP, which joined CMS on 1 May 2017. Summary and implications In KVC Rice Intertrade Co Ltd v Asian Mineral Resources [2017] SGHC 32 (KVC), the Singapore High Court considered how the Singapore International Arbitration.
    Tesco DPA reveals how need to announce price sensitive informatio...
    Following Tesco PLC’s announcement to the London Stock Exchange on 28 March, the SFO has confirmed that it has, in principle, reached a DPA with Tesco Stores Limited (“TSL”) regarding an accounting scandal in 2014, which resulted in the business overstating.
    Commercial Court in Scotland Increases Emphasis on ADR
    The Court of Session has issued new requirements for commercial actions, taking effect from 27 March 2017. The requirements highlight a change in emphasis for alternative dispute resolution, including specific provisions requiring parties to consider ADR at.
    Due diligence and proportionality under scrutiny in latest ICSID...
    Summary In a decision dated 21 February 2017, a tribunal acting under the auspices of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (“ICSID”), the World Bank’s arbitration institution, in Ampal-American Israel Corp.
    Business specialist courts come together under a new umbrella
    From June of this year, the specialist civil courts are to be known as the “Business and Property Courts of England and Wales”, the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary has announced. The Business and Property Courts will bring together all the business specialist.
    Supreme Court rules no security needed to challenge enforcement u...
    In IPCO (Nigeria) Limited (“IPCO”) v Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (“NNPC”) [2017] UKSC 16, the UK Supreme Court overturned a ruling requiring NNPC to provide security as a condition to challenging the enforcement of an arbitration award.
    Caught in the crosshairs: CMA has the construction sector in its...
    On 28 February, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced an investigation into suspected anti-competitive behaviour in the provision of supplies to the construction industry.   This is now one of two Competition Act cases the CMA is investigating.