by Antony Fanshawe
Why Commercial advice and expert evidence can help shorten disputes and save you money
It is generally acknowledged that litigation is hell. The only way out is to dispose of it as soon and as cost effectively as possible. The trouble is that it’s like quicksand; it drags you in, and there is a point of no return, where it seems cheaper to continue in the hope of winning, than to concede and pay up (and up and up…).
And like Hell, it goes on for all eternity, or feels like it.
The only upside is that it’s the same for both sides.
It may seem counter-intuitive that I should advocate that you hire someone like me who is not a lawyer, and will be an additional cost, to supplement your already hugely well qualified and hugely expensive legal team.
I submit that there are two reasons:
1. You, and the other side can get an earlier, and fuller understanding of the evidence;
2. You will make a show of strength in negotiation.
In my experience, the first iteration of the evidence, and the legal opinion which is based on that evidence, rarely bears much resemblance to the position at the end of the litigation. As the process of discovery and the interlocutory sparring continues, the facts of the case can subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) change, and with them the legal advice, and the chances of success.
Part of my job is to accelerate the understanding of the evidence- from experienced commercial and accounting perspectives, so that both sides can better understand the risks implicit in continuing the litigation for longer than necessary, and what if anything they might get out of it, as early as possible.
I think that the advice of people like me can shorten the process, improve the outcome and save costs (by reducing the time taken to reach a resolution).
The second point was brought home to me in a case where funds had been transferred to a company outside the main group shortly before the group went into administration, and my clients faced a claim for restitution after the group became insolvent.
I demonstrated that almost all of the funds had been spent on maintaining the operations of the Group and not diverted elsewhere. On the face of it the claim against my clients was as good, legally, as it gets, but my clients were able to negotiate down the offer of settlement that had been made before my report (and rejected), in large part, Counsel told me, due to the strategic impact of my report- the opponents knew that they faced an evidential uphill struggle and settled early to avoid a bruising court battle.
Call Antony Fanshawe on 07979 103275, to open discussions.