SELECTION AND USE OF EXTERNAL ADVISERS IN DISPUTES
CD: Particularly for companies that may be new to commercial disputes, what types of external advisers are available to help them through the process? How might the nature of a dispute influence the external advisers a company should seek to engage?
Lowe: Having the right advisers in place is critical to successful dispute resolution. In very broad terms, external advisers fall into two camps: those who will lead, manage, organise and advise generally such as lawyers and commercial claims managers; and technical specialists who will provide expert advice on specific aspects of a dispute. Unless you have an in-house legal department will the relevant skill set, an external adviser who specialises in dispute resolution will be essential. Traditionally, this is a role for a law firm and this remains the preferred approach for disputes involving matters of contractual interpretation. If a dispute is purely about value or quality, the services of a commercial claims manager may be more appropriate than a lawyer. Whether technical specialists will also be required to provide expert advice will depend on the nature of the dispute. The lead adviser will assist with the identification and appointment of specialists, and some commercial claims managers may also be able to offer expert technical advice as part of their services.
Egbedi: The nature of the dispute is the first and key factor in engaging any external adviser as it narrows down the key issues, areas of differences in the dispute and helps a company choose the right external advisers to engage. These externals advisers may include law firms – especially those which specialise in the area connected to the company business – as well as insurance firms, accounting firms, IT software firms, language interpreting firms, among others.
Apr-Jun 2018 issue
BAM Nuttall Limited
Spectrum Geo Ltd