We have strong experience in acting for Plaintiffs and Defendants in a broad range of contract disputes.
Some types of contracts and agreements disputes we can assist with include:
Contract disputes usually arise when a party has breached the terms of the contract or if the terms are unclear and ambiguous and the parties have conflicting interpretations of the terms. There are many paths that can lead to a successful resolution of a breach of contract. A resolution can be reached through negotiation, mediation or initiating court proceedings.
Our contract dispute lawyers appreciate that sometimes a contractual dispute does not mean that the relationship is necessarily over. Sometimes firm, yet careful, negotiation can mean that a relationship can continue post the dispute.
Our approach is to firstly give you advice about your legal position, after listening to you and reading any relevant documents. If sensible resolution is possible without legal proceedings, it is typically preferable to pursue this approach. Negotiation and mediation are better than litigation as they are more informal, cost less and are more time effective dispute resolution mechanisms. You are also able to exercise more control throughout these processes and this allows you to navigate towards your desired outcome more easily.
That said, sometimes litigation is necessary. Particularly if the other party is not prepared to come to the table and sort the matter out. Initiating court proceedings will compel the other party to take the matter seriously. The formalities and deadlines associated with formal proceedings require them to engage in the process or risk losing out. This usually encourages the parties to work together to resolve the dispute.
Sometimes, particular terms or clauses in a contract are unenforceable. This can result in the legitimate avoidance of what appears to be a valid contractual term.
A contract term may be unenforceable if it is inconsistent with the law, and what is specified in applicable legislation and may also be unenforceable if it is deemed to be “unfair.”
If statute provides for something, you cannot contract out of the law. Legislative requirements will generally prevail over inconsistent contract terms and those terms will be considered void.
Certain terms may be considered unfair in circumstances where that party is likely to be significantly disadvantaged or suffer loss or damage as a result of the other party enforcing unfair contract terms. Unfair contract terms do not apply to all types of contracts, however, where they do and a party is protected, the unfair contract terms are void and unenforceable by the other party.
In some circumstances, the parties may have conflicting interpretations of particular terms or clauses in a contract and cannot agree on the effect of the term or clause. This requires careful and strict interpretation to ensure that the intended effect of the term and the contract as a whole is understood.
Misleading and Deceptive Conduct
Some areas of law sit above the terms of a contract and have the effect of overriding the contract, for example in the case of misleading and deceptive conduct under the Australian Consumer Law. Misleading and deceptive conduct is conduct in trade or commerce, which misleads or deceives the consumer or other businesses or is likely to mislead or deceive.
Conduct can still be considered misleading and deceptive, even if the party alleged of the conduct did not intend to mislead or deceive. It is the party’s actions and statements that qualify rather than their intentions.
If a misleading impression is created about the price, value or quality of consumer products or services, it is likely to be considered misleading and deceptive conduct and breaking the law.
Conduct includes actions and statements, such as advertisements, representations, promotions, disclaimers and small print and the content contained within each of these.
This area of law is thus very complex in this space.
We regularly act for Plaintiffs where misleading and deceptive conduct is alleged – and the results in terms can be astonishing, even against large companies.
Some of the remedies you may have available to you if someone has breached a contract or agreement include:
Many disputes can be resolved without the need for a court to decide the outcome. Getting legal advice may be an exploratory step or could be required if an urgent action is needed, such as an injunction, to prevent someone from doing something adverse to your commercial interests.
We have helped many clients whether they are making a claim or if the allegations are made against them. The usual approach for an aggrieved party is to issue a detailed letter, setting out the nature of the allegations and the remedies sought (which usually involves money) however there are many things, such as undertakings that may be required.
Undertakings should be carefully considered as they are a binding and enforceable agreement that you are agreeing to perform.
Our litigation and dispute resolution lawyers can provide you with clear advice on your rights and obligations, including your options and prospects of success.
Alternative dispute resolution or “mediation” is used in all legal proceedings and is sometimes a pre-requisite – such as in franchising or retail leasing disputes. Mediation is beneficial to you as the process requires the parties’ lawyers to critically examine the evidence to hand. With the inclusion of the mediator, lawyers and a formal setting, many disputes resolve favourably.
Our litigation lawyers have extensive experience in representing clients at mediation. Most cases tend to resolve there.
After a demand or claim is made, it should be taken very seriously at first instance. If the allegations are baseless, then a strong sharp letter on lawyer letterhead is the way to go. A well-written letter that carefully addressed the issues will often put the matter to rest.
If the other party is persistent, or if the allegations otherwise need to be defended, careful consideration needs to be given as to how the exposure can be minimised.
We regularly defend erroneous or overstated claims and know how to isolate the issues and fight back when such allegations are made.
Careful consideration and experience is required when handling disputes and litigation. Not all lawyers have experience in litigation even though they understand the other legal aspects or even prepare contracts. Read more here on what a litigation lawyer does and why getting a skilled litigation lawyer is essential.
We regularly litigate on our clients’ behalf in the Magistrates Court, County Court, Supreme Court, Federal Circuit Court, Federal Court, Family Court and VCAT. We also have strong appellate experience.
We have the requisite experience in dealing with small, medium and very substantial claims. Different types of claims call for different approaches. The quantum of the claim can also affect the approach.
We have the depth in our litigation team to deal with virtually any type of contract dispute. You can be assured of a concise, professional approach comprised of excellent technical knowledge of the law and commercial understanding.
Joanna Shaft of PCL Lawyers is outstanding in her knowledge of the law and is incredibly proactive and helpful. I had immediate positive results with her assistance in retrieving my rental bond in full, from an unreasonable and unruly landlord. Joanna was able to do in a day what the rental tribunal couldn’t do in several weeks. Utmost professionalism, attention to detail, care and concern for clients, and very reasonable costs. I highly recommend Joanna’s representation and the services of PCL Lawyers.
I would highly recommend the team at PCL Lawyers and Roland in particular. He helped me through my case and was thorough and communicated well at all times. His experience shows, especially when the going gets tough! Thanks again Roland for a job well done!
I brought on PCL Lawyers and Joanna Shaft to deal with a fairly complex property dispute. I found Joanna to be professional at all times and was happy with the advice and recommendations given. I achieved the legal outcome I was seeking and would certainly use PCL Lawyers again in the future.
Excellent Service provided by the team. They helped me to resolve my case. I would highly recommend everyone Litigation Lawyers Melbourne.
Working with PCL lawyers and specifically my lawyer has been very satisfactory. They are professional, respectful and friendly. Management of my case has given me the reassurance and confidence to progress my case. Details have been explained at all stages.
I would happily recommend them.
You want to know that you are getting advice and real solutions. You not only want a lawyer who has strong experience and knowledge in legal matters, but a lawyer who can also navigate you through the commercial realities.Request a meeting