Resolving Commercial Disputes

There are always going to be disputes in commerce.  That is the way of the world but I think there are some cardinal rules to follow if you find yourself in a contentious situation.


  • Try to negotiate an amicable solution.  Review what was agreed and how clear the agreement was.  Always keep evidence of negotiations including copies of letters and notes on conversations.
  • Assess whether you have a strong case.  Clarify how the other party has failed to live up to the agreement and consider what extent you may have contributed to the dispute.  Assess the loss you have suffered and the risks of a counterclaim.  Collate all evidence e.g. written contracts, correspondence and witness statements.
  • Decide whether you need legal advice.  Legal advice should be sought unless the argument is straightforward, represents a relatively small amount of money and runs no risk of counterclaim.  Clarify the costs and timescales involved in taking the recommended legal action.
  • Be prepared for a protracted and costly process if you pursue legal action.  Track progress and legal costs as the case proceeds.  After a successful court action, be prepared to enforce judgement to obtain payment.
  • Retain any details of the other party’s bank accounts from cheques, standing order mandates etc.  These can be very useful if enforcing a court judgment.
  • Accept a reasonable offer rather than go to court.  Consider how far you are prepared to compromise either by accepting stage payments or partial payment for a quick resolution.  Continue to be prepared to compromise by accepting any reasonable offer to avoid further delays and disruption and the risk of court action.


  • Waste time or money pursuing someone who cannot pay.  Assess the other party’s ability to pay by, for example, running a credit check or finding out what property they own.
  • Refuse to compromise.
  • Ignore the risks of losing any legal action.

We are here to help with any commercial disputes and try to provide a resolution.  If you have any questions please call Paul Neilly on 0141 552 3422 or email him on

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About Paul Neilly

Paul’s first degree was a BA Honours in Financial Services following which he spent five years working for a large insurance company as a pensions specialist. He then completed his law degree at the University of Strathclyde and Diploma in Legal Practice at the Glasgow Graduate School of Law. Paul subsequently joined Mitchells Roberton as a trainee in July 2006 and qualified as a solicitor in September 2008. Principally concerned with civil litigation, Paul specialises in contract disputes, landlord and tenant issues (commercial and residential), debt recovery, family law, employment law and personal injury claims. He also handles cases involving Adults with Incapacity. Paul regularly appears in the Sheriff Courts throughout Scotland and has experience of appearing before Licensing Boards and instructing matters in the Court of Session. Being a general civil litigator Paul is keenly aware of the need to keep step with developments in the law and legal education. This led Paul to join the committee of TANQ, the Trainee and Newly Qualified Society of the Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow, in which role Paul currently organises seminars and networking events for its members. Paul is married with a young son and daughter. In his spare time he enjoys cooking, reading and watching sport, particularly following the exploits of the national football and rugby teams, although this is more of a vocation than a source of enjoyment.

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