Dispute Resolution can take many forms. The most effective way to resolve any dispute is to try to prevent it occurring initially. This relies of appropriate professional advice being taken by all parties before entering into any construction or property contract.
Where a dispute cannot be avoided, the most important first step is to appreciate that a dispute does exist. having accepted this fact, the next step is to establish its nature and extent, what are the associated risks and how is it best to address and resolve. It is ideal that this assessment is undertaken before a formal 'pre-action' letter is sent by a claimant to a defendant or before a defendant prepares its response, having received such a letter.
Having made the assessment of the claim, the resolution process can commence. Howard has acted in more than 150 disputes in the last 20 years. These have ranged from small domestic building contracts and pre-acquisition house surveys to large commercial matters with one being valued at circa £100 million.
Many disputes are resolved when the issues are clarified and understood by both or all the parties. Despite there being protocols for dispute resolution, often claims are not well prepared and can immediately be reduced in magnitude and quantum following assessment by experts appointed by the parties. Conversely, of course, claims can also be understated and are increased by the same process. The fundamental principals for all parties involved are honesty and transparency and for the professional advisers, integrity as well.
Whatever the circumstances and possible consequences, expert advice is required to provide clarity, objectivity and balanced opinions, based on independence and integrity. No one and no party should want to have their disputes resolved in Court, where control and the judgement, is under the control of the Judge and not the parties. Many disputes can be resolved following expert intervention, through meetings of experts and often through mediation or other ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) mechanisms.
Howard is renowned for his thoroughness, attention to detail and for speaking plainly to clients and their legal advisers in order that they are clear as to his opinions on the allegations and clients' positions. Dispute resolution is not suited to advisers who are indecisive or may be tempted to be partisan, it is for those who are professional, independent, impartial and honest.