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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
    Vis­it Law-Now for leg­al know-how and com­ment­ary
    Dis­putes Di­gest
    Au­gust 2017


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    ‘Ser­i­ous ir­reg­u­lar­ity’, in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­ha­viour and con­fid­en­ti­al­ity
    The los­ing Re­spond­ent in an ICC Ar­bit­ra­tion with the seat in Lon­don chal­lenged the Award on the grounds of ‘ser­i­ous ir­reg­u­lar­ity’ and ar­gued that as one of the ar­bit­rat­ors had ac­ted in­ap­pro­pri­ately, it should be set aside and not re­mit­ted back to the ar­bit­rat­ors.
    Pub­lic policy and the en­force­ment of ar­bit­ral awards
    In Anatolie Stati and oth­ers v Kaza­kh­stan [2017] EWHC 1348 (Comm), the Eng­lish High Court held that the De­fend­ant’s ap­plic­a­tion, to set aside per­mis­sion gran­ted to the Claimants to en­force an ar­bit­ral award, should pro­ceed to tri­al as there was suf­fi­cient evid­ence.
    Cross-bor­der lit­ig­a­tion after Brexit: steady as she goes?
    The UK Gov­ern­ment aims for civil ju­di­cial co­oper­a­tion with the EU after Brexit to con­tin­ue on a sim­il­ar basis as the cur­rent re­gime, ac­cord­ing to a po­s­i­tion pa­per re­leased on Tues­day. In the pa­per, the Gov­ern­ment out­lines the prin­ciples it be­lieves should ap­ply.
    Nor­way’s Court of Ap­peal up­holds valid­ity of new tar­iffs for the trans­port...
    The Court of Ap­peal in Nor­way has now pub­lished its highly an­ti­cip­ated rul­ing on the ‘Gassled’ ap­peal, fol­low­ing an un­suc­cess­ful chal­lenge to the valid­ity of tar­iffs for the trans­port of gas in the Dis­trict Court in Oslo.
    No priv­ilege against em­ploy­er over per­son­al doc­u­ments on em­ploy­er’s...
    A prop­erty de­vel­op­ment com­pany has suc­cess­fully res­isted an ap­plic­a­tion by its former Group Fin­ance Dir­ect­or to re­strain use of per­son­al doc­u­ments on the grounds of leg­al pro­fes­sion­al priv­ilege. The High Court held that the dir­ect­or was not able to as­sert priv­ilege.
    Com­pet­i­tion Ap­peal Tribunal dis­misses £14 bil­lion col­lect­ive ac­tion...
    Mas­ter­Card has suc­cess­fully op­posed a col­lect­ive ac­tion in the Com­pet­i­tion Ap­peal Tribunal (“CAT”), in the latest in­stal­ment of the mul­ti­lat­er­al in­ter­change fee (“MIF”) lit­ig­a­tion.   Mas­ter­Card faced a £14 bil­lion claim – the largest ever filed in the UK – brought.
    How to con­duct a pro­cure­ment chal­lenge in Eng­land and Wales
    The Tech­no­logy and Con­struc­tion Court (the TCC) - the gen­er­ally pre­ferred for­um for pro­cure­ment chal­lenges in Eng­land and Wales - has ad­op­ted a Guid­ance Note (the Note) on the con­duct of pro­cure­ment chal­lenges.
    Min­im­um pri­cing for al­co­hol chal­lenge to be heard by UK Su­preme Court...
    On Monday and Tues­day next week, 24-25 Ju­ly 2017, the UK Su­preme Court will hear the much an­ti­cip­ated ap­peal brought by the Scotch Whisky As­so­ci­ation, spir­it­sEUROPE and CEEV against the Scot­tish Min­is­ters, re­gard­ing their plans to in­tro­duce min­im­um pri­cing.
    Lease or li­cence: a use­ful re­mind­er
    Sum­mary This case is a use­ful re­mind­er that it is the cir­cum­stances, con­duct and in­ten­tion of the parties that de­term­ines the basis of an in­di­vidu­al’s oc­cu­pa­tion of a prop­erty. If the cir­cum­stances neg­ate any in­ten­tion to cre­ate a ten­ancy, the word­ing of the.
    Co-op­er­a­tion makes it hap­pen
    A re­cent de­cision re­in­forces that the All Scot­land Per­son­al In­jury Court will be slow to de­part from the strict time­tabling re­quire­ments of the court rules.   To en­sure that times­cales are met, parties are ex­pec­ted to co-op­er­ate.
    Time to say sorry? Apo­lo­gies (Scot­land) Act 2016 comes in­to force
    On 19 June 2017 the key pro­vi­sions of the Apo­lo­gies (Scot­land) Act 2016 quietly came in­to force, hav­ing re­ceived Roy­al As­sent in Feb­ru­ary 2016. A short but sig­ni­fic­ant Act, the lack of fan­fare may be­lie its rel­ev­ance.
    Es­cal­at­ing Ground Rents: Traps for the un­wary
    Whilst the con­tro­ver­sies sur­round­ing es­cal­at­ing ground rents in long lease­hold res­id­en­tial prop­er­ties have re­ceived sig­ni­fic­ant press in re­cent months, there is a fur­ther hid­den danger to be aware of.   This is­sue has been brew­ing since the Hous­ing Act 1988.
    Ju­di­cial Re­view: Per­mis­sion ap­peals must be made to the Court of Ap­peal
    The High Court con­sidered wheth­er, after it had re­fused per­mis­sion to ap­ply for ju­di­cial re­view (“JR Per­mis­sion”) fol­low­ing a hear­ing: (i) it also had the power to de­term­ine an ap­plic­a­tion for per­mis­sion to ap­peal against that de­cision, or (ii) the only course.
    A land­lord's duty to re­pair is not the same as a duty to keep safe...
    Rae­barn were the land­lords of a mixed use prop­erty in Lon­don. Mr Dodd was on hon­ey­moon in Lon­don and was vis­it­ing one of the flats on the first floor on Christ­mas Day in 2007. He lost his foot­ing on a flight of stairs while leav­ing the flat and suffered cata­stroph­ic.
    The New Fla­menco – Su­preme Court al­lows own­ers’ ap­peal
    The Su­preme Court, on 28 June 2017, found in fa­vour of the own­ers in the long-awaited “New Fla­menco” judg­ment - Glob­alia Busi­ness Travel S. A. U. (formerly Travel­Plan S. A. U. ) of Spain v Fulton Ship­ping Inc of Panama.
    The Ver­dict - Round-up of cor­por­ate crime de­vel­op­ments across CMS
    We are pleased to send our new is­sue of The Ver­dict, an at-a-glance round-up of re­cent leg­al de­vel­op­ments in re­la­tion to cor­por­ate crime. In this is­sue, the spot­light is on some sig­ni­fic­ant changes to anti-cor­rup­tion laws in the Czech Re­pub­lic, in­clud­ing.
    Dilap­id­a­tions claims and in­dem­nity pro­vi­sions - alive and kick­ing?
    A re­cent case in the Com­mer­cial Court of the Court of Ses­sion, Moor Row Lim­ited v DWF LLP (“Moor Row”) res­ul­ted in some in­ter­est­ing ar­gu­ments in what oth­er­wise looked like a straight­for­ward dilap­id­a­tions claim.
    Min­im­um En­ergy Ef­fi­ciency stand­ards: the bees MEEs
    Min­im­um En­ergy Ef­fi­ciency Stand­ards (MEES for short) are the cur­rent buzz words in the prop­erty in­dustry. If you’ve not heard of them yet and you are a land­lord of either (or both) res­id­en­tial and com­mer­cial prop­erty, now is the time to sit up and take no­tice.