Disputes are a fact of life. They are sometimes a necessary evil to allow a business to come through a difficult period of trading. In one’s personal life they can arise when you least expect it. A dispute in one’s commercial life can often cross into one’s personal life. Disputes are stressful. They require management and careful consideration in addition to legal advice. You require considered advice. The following is a list of “top tips” on how to manage your personal and/or professional crisis.
- Stay calm
It is easy to lose your cool. Especially if someone who you were formerly close with or in business is making accusations against you. You probably don’t agree with the accusations. In fact you see them as an unfounded personal attack. However, good decisions are not made when one feels under attack. A good solicitor ought to empathise with your position, but take the emotion out of communications with the opposing party or their solicitors. This is an additional benefit to seeking good legal advice. Not only do you need to know your legal rights, you need an advisor to have a cool head.
- Don’t hang about
You may need to seek urgent court orders to protect your position. For example, have you had personal or business belongings taken without your permission? Perhaps a device with sensitive data has been removed by a former employee? Or partner? While there may be issues for the criminal law, it is more often the civil law that will afford you immediate protection.
- 47(2) of the Court of Session Act 1988 allows for interim delivery of moveable property. The Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987 allows for interim diligence to secure the defender’s assets pending the outcome of litigation. Interim interdict can be obtained to prevent a party from breaching your legal rights. Scots civil law offers you a wide variety of interim protective relief in certain circumstances which can be used to protect your reputation and business interests.
- Be prepared
Ensure you have caveats lodged for both you as an individual and any legal entity you trade in all relevant courts. They are an inexpensive tool that is a must for all. Should anyone seek one of many interim orders against you, you will be given notice before the grant of same against you.
Think ahead. See disputes coming down the road. Anticipate an opponent’s next move. Seek advice. Being caught out causes stress. Anticipating friction will give you peace of mind.
- Be realistic
Take on aboard the advice you are given. Accept the inevitability of litigation – time and cost. Sometimes that will be acceptable to you. Sometimes it will not. It is your case. So you need to accept the inherent risks of litigation. Only 50% of those who leave the court room as a “winner”.
- Drive a result
Agree a realistic result / target with your solicitor and drive towards that result. It is a team game. A result may not always look like a “win” to the outside world. But know what a realistic “win” is for you and aim for that outcome.
Keith Anderson is a partner in the litigation & dispute resolution department at Gilson Gray. He is ranked in the Legal 500 and is described as to “go-to man in a crisis”. He has acted for a range of high profile clients in both public court actions and private arbitrations including professional football clubs, politicians and listed companies.
The information and opinions contained in this blog are for information only. They are not intended to constitute advice and should not be relied upon or considered as a replacement for advice. Before acting on any of the information contained in this blog, please seek specific advice from Gilson Gray.