A smarter way to resolve commercial disputes

In partnership with

Commercial disputes are part of corporate life for even the most successful businesses – but they can cause considerable damage when they are written off.

Over £40 billion a year is written off by SMEs because they do not believe that there is a cost-effective way to resolve their disputes. High upfront costs, exposure to spiralling legal bills, and the average litigation case spanning 18 months, mean that many businesses reluctantly decide against pursuing valid – and valuable – claims.

The Escalate dispute resolution process aims to achieve a result in less than three months by employing a team of experienced dealmakers to negotiate on your behalf. This revolutionary approach, which removes all your financial risk, is funded by Escalate all the way to the High Court if necessary, allowing you to focus on running your business.

Case Study

FREELANCE WEBSITE DEVELOPER LEFT UNPAID BY CLIENT

The Client

A freelance website developer

Dispute Value

£30,000

The Commercial Dispute

A freelance website developer had a claim against a client who refused to pay their invoices for search engine optimisation work that it had carried out. 

It was asserted that no benefit had been gained from the work done, despite the nature of SEO work being one of long-term reward rather than short-term gain, which had been highlighted to the client at the start. 

Many reasons were provided for not paying, but none seemed genuine and it was felt that the company was simply trying to avoid paying.

How Escalate Resolved the Dispute

Escalate became involved, and when we were also rebuffed after first contact, we drafted the court papers and gave the defendant one last chance to pay. In response, the defendant offered payment of 80%. 

The defendant then asked to pay in instalments over two years. We refused, and ordered that either full payment or the offered 80% balance needed to be paid within seven days, or we would issue court proceedings. Full payment was made shortly thereafter.

General FAQs

What are the costs of resolving a dispute?

Escalate charges a capped fee of 30% (plus VAT) of the amount recovered, ensuring you will receive at least 70% of the damages awarded. Everything is included in this fee, including upfront costs such as court fees, and expert witness and barrister fees, so you have complete transparency and certainty from the very start of the process. And remember that you don’t pay unless there is a successful outcome.

In contrast, we estimate that a £200,000 dispute undertaken through a traditional litigation process would incur costs of over 50% of the recovered amount*. The costs will increase further if you take out insurance to protect yourself against the defendant’s costs in the event of an unsuccessful outcome. In these circumstances, it is possible that you could end up with as little as one third of the original value of the claim under a traditional dispute resolution approach.

* Assuming a 70% recovery of damages and 50% recovery of costs from the defendant.

What types of cases can you pursue?

There are no restrictions on the types of disputes Escalate can tackle – for example bad debt, contractual, negligence or IP infringement.

I have a dispute from two years ago that I decided not to pursue at the time. Can I use Escalate?

Yes. We can revisit disputes that are up to three years old, enabling businesses to start to recover monies that were previously written off and providing an unexpected cash flow injection if successful.

How long does the Escalate process usually take?

Once a case has been officially accepted and engaged by the Escalate team, we aim to resolve the dispute within 3 months. The timetable for delivery of the Escalate process depends on the complexity of the case, but we always strive to resolve a dispute as quickly as possible.

There are three stages to the process – Engagement, Mediation and finally Litigation if a successful outcome cannot be achieved at Mediation. In most cases, the claim will never make it to court as both parties are keen to settle during the Mediation phase. Our system is designed to keep the pressure on the defendant to make settlement as quick as possible, using our corporate recovery experts, rather than the case ending up in a long drawn out court battle.

What happens if I lose my case?

In a traditional dispute resolution process, you’ll be liable for your own costs plus at least part of the defendant’s bills if you lose your case. Escalate removes the financial risk – you don’t pay out unless we reach a successful settlement. If your case is unsuccessful, you won’t be required to pay the defendant’s costs either because of Escalate’s adverse cost protection.

Case Study

BREACH OF EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT – UNPAID EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

The Client

Individual Client

Dispute Value

£400,000

The Commercial Dispute

The individual in this case had entered into an employment contract with an offshore company. In return for their services, the individual was to receive substantial employment benefits that were commensurate with his role as an executive.

However, the offshore company then failed to provide the substantial employment benefits agreed, which was a clear case of breach of employment contract.

How Escalate Resolved the Dispute

Escalate initially engaged in correspondence with the offshore company, however they failed to positively respond to the claim. The matter was further complicated by the defendant’s offshore status, which presented enforcement challenges and transparency issues.

We promptly commenced proceedings, and following successful negotiations with the offshore company’s representatives, were able to settle the matter under a confidential Settlement Agreement. From start to finish, the breach of employment contract case was resolved less than six months after issuing the claim.

Case Study

UNPAID INVOICES & UNRESPONSIVE CLIENT

The Client

A recruitment firm specialising in finding candidates for the digital marketing sector

Dispute Value

£120,000 plus costs

The Commercial Dispute

A recruitment firm helped a digital marketing agency to recruit a senior manager. The digital marketing agency claimed that the recruitment placement had been made via its own sources, and refused to engage with the recruiter or pay it for its services, leaving their invoices unpaid.

At this stage, solicitors were instructed to seek to recover payment from the agency, but this did not generate a response. Further letters from the recruitment firm’s lawyer were sent to the agency to no avail.

How Escalate Resolved the Dispute

By engaging the Escalate team, negotiation muscle was introduced. A court claim was issued, a judgment secured and within three months, the whole debt had been recovered.

How the process works

Hover over icons to find out more

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Negotiation

Restructuring experts target a settlement in under three months

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Litigation

If negotiation is unsuccessful, proceedings will be issued using specialist legal teams that are funded all the way up to the High Court

By looking at the process from your perspective, we’re transforming how businesses manage disputes:

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No Financial Risk

You don’t pay out unless we reach a successful settlement and the claim is fully supported by adverse costs insurance at no cost to you

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No initial outlay

We pay for all the up-front costs

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Rapid results

We aim to get your monet back within three months but if we can’t settle, we have the financial backing to support you all the way to a High Court resolution

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Fixed fee basis

Complete transparency from the start

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