In an increasingly globalised world, many businesses now trade internationally or have commercial relationships with individuals and organisations based abroad. As a result, when disputes arise they often have an international dimension and require input from lawyers who are able to provide expert advice on both domestic, EU and foreign law matters.
Our Dispute Resolution and Litigation team specialise in trade disputes with a cross-border element and are members of Legal Counsel International – a network of lawyers and law firms based in 17 countries around the world. We have experience in dealing with international transactions and work in collaboration to resolve international disputes in an effective, efficient, and timely manner.
How we can help
As part of a global network, we can provide country-specific advice on the rules and regulations that may impact an international dispute and which will need to be taken into account when considering your commercial aims, and in developing your dispute resolution strategy.
We have an impressive track record in settling cross-border disputes without the need to resort to litigation. We are particularly experienced in international negotiation, mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.
Where an amicable resolution cannot be achieved, we also have the experience to support you to resolve a dispute through international arbitration and court or tribunal proceedings, and also to take overseas enforcement action where this is appropriate and necessary.
Our clients come from a range of industries and service sectors, and include multinational corporations, public and limited companies, partnerships, joint ventures, and sole traders.
We can provide advice on:
- international contract disputes;
- international commercial property disputes;
- international sale of goods and supply and services disputes;
- international IT and e-commerce disputes;
- disputes involving a foreign company, partnership or joint venture;
- director and shareholder disputes;
- disputes involving a foreign agency, distributor or franchise;
- breach of domestic or international intellectual property rights;
- breach of competition rules;
- breach of import or export regulations;
- shipping and transportation disputes;
- international debt collection and recovery;
- international insolvency;
- enforcement of a foreign judgment or arbitral award; and
- international injunctions and freezing orders.
We can also provide advice on jurisdictional issues, applicable law and the possibility of forum shopping where this may be an option.
Applicable law and jurisdiction
If there is a professionally drafted contract in place which covers the subject matter of your dispute, then the chances are that it will state the law that is to govern each party’s rights and responsibilities, and also the country that will have jurisdiction to determine any disagreements.
However, where there is no contractual provision – or where there is, but your opponent is now trying to renege on what was agreed – then it will be necessary for the issues of applicable law and jurisdiction to be resolved through negotiation, or else decided by a court who will be guided by a complex series of national rules and post-Brexit EU and international regulations.
Arguments about applicable law and jurisdiction have the potential to be very costly, and to quickly evolve into a ‘dispute within a dispute’ if not tackled effectively.
We have the expertise to advise you on these issues as soon as a dispute arises or appears likely, and to help you secure an agreement or court ruling on where your dispute should be heard and the governing law that should apply which works in your favour and makes both commercial and practical sense.
Forum shopping may be something that you need to consider where it is likely that more than one country may have jurisdiction to deal with the dispute that has arisen. In this scenario, it might be possible for you to take tactical steps to ensure that your preferred country is the one that ends up handling the dispute, for example by issuing proceedings in that country before your opponent has the chance to issue in their country of choice.
However, when it comes to forum shopping, you need to ensure that you understand the unique features of the court and tribunal system in the country you wish to select – so you can ensure it is capable of delivering what you want to achieve. You also need to act quickly and decisively.
Why choose Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors?
Our Dispute Resolution and Litigation team is experienced in international dispute resolution. Led by Trevor Coward, whose cases often involve a cross-border element and raise complex technical issues, our team is well-known for their specialist and commercially focused advice and for their ability to work seamlessly with lawyers and other professionals across the world in order to resolve even the most challenging and intractable trade disputes. They also have an enviable reputation in enforcing court orders and arbitral awards abroad, and in securing pre-emptive injunctions and worldwide freezing orders to preserve the assets of an opponent who may be tempted to dissipate them in order to avoid their liabilities.
And to keep up with legal developments affecting international trade, you may also like to sign up to receive our newsletter or visit our resource hub. You can also find out what existing users of our dispute resolution and litigation service think about us by reading our client testimonials.
What our clients say:
‘’Trevor Coward of Geoffrey Leaver acted for us in a particularly challenging litigation. His tenacity, sound practical advice and tactical approach to the case secured us a very satisfactory outcome.
‘’He is someone you will be glad to have on board when the going gets tough.”
Alan Mills, Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance
For more information about how we can help, you can read testimonials from our dispute resolution clients
Chambers & Partners 2021 notes the team is well-respected and active on a wide range of contractual claims and commercial disputes, including unfair prejudice claims and fraud-related proceedings. Local and international clientele comes from a variety of industry sectors, and also includes private individuals and SMEs. One client commends the “proactive, engaging and considerate” nature of the team.
Chambers & Partners 2020 says ‘Well-respected team active on a wide range of contractual claims and commercial disputes, including unfair prejudice claims and fraud-related proceedings. Local and international clientele comes from a variety of industry sectors, and also includes private individuals and SMEs.’
Legal 500 2020 says ‘Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors LLP’s dispute resolution and litigation practice specialises in commercial property disputes, distribution and agency agreements, debt collection and director, shareholder and partnership disputes. Its work includes dealing with injunctions and freezing orders and work in areas such as insolvency, international trade and IT and e-commerce. Practice head Kenneth Stangoe, Trevor Coward, Guy Brooks and Richard Millard are the key contacts’
The Dispute Resolution & Litigation Team
Ken Stangoe Partner
Dispute Resolution & Litigation 01908 689307Ken is Head of the Department. He has over 20 years' experience as a commercial litigator, with a heavy focus on property disputes, including forfeiture actions and applications for relief, right of way disputes, rent recovery for commercial landlords, trusts of land, dilapidations claims, boundary disputes, rent and service charge recovery and lease renewal applications.
Richard Millard Managing Partner
Construction & Development 01908 689382Richard has over 20 years’ experience acting for clients in the construction industry, providing pragmatic advice to developers, contractors, sub-contractors, design and construction professionals, housing associations, smaller builders and homeowners.
Guy Brooks Partner
Dispute Resolution & Litigation 01908 689304Guy has more than 30 years’ experience in the legal profession and headed up the Commercial Litigation department of local firm Fennemores, before joining Geoffrey Leaver as joint head of the Dispute Resolution department in 2006. The Dispute Resolution department have been recognised by Legal 500 UK.
Trevor Coward Partner
Dispute Resolution & Litigation 01908 689311Trevor specialises in the closely connected fields of commercial litigation, partner/director disputes, insolvency, property litigation, and professional negligence. His background is one of broad experience across a wide range of commercial litigation. He is a member of Legal Counsel International, an alliance of lawyers in 17 countries.