Fighting the Good Fight

Litigation can be messy, stressful and expensive.  What is the best way to come through it successfully – and what does success mean for you?

Litigation is carefully managed by Court rules and deadlines, which are designed to ensure that proceedings are fairly and justly disposed of, and which also aim (among other things) to ensure that costs are proportionate, there are no unnecessary delays, and the parties take opportunities to settle their dispute.  However, while these factors – and the ultimate success of your case – may be high up on your list of priorities for the litigation, it is likely that you also have other goals.  Particularly if you are litigating for the first time, you may not even be aware of what these goals are until you are fully entrenched in proceedings; and by then it may be too late to effectively alter your strategy to accommodate them.

Priorities which are not wholly about winning the legal case take many shapes and forms, from commercial to reputational to emotional.  By way of example only:

  • If you are seeking an injunction against a departing employee who has taken confidential data in order to start or join a competing business, as well as stopping them in their tracks you may want to send a message to your existing employees and to other competitors that you are alert to, and willing to fight, such attacks.  Sending that message and preventing future threats may be what makes the cost of the litigation worth it.
  • If you are facing a potentially nasty divorce, protecting your children from the worst aspects of it, or from the dispute dragging on, may be just as important to you as the amount of a financial remedy.
  • In a dispute with partners or shareholders, you may wish to protect the business at the heart of the dispute – particularly if it is one that you helped to found.
  • If you are defending an injunction or a claim against you there may be interruptions to your ability to conduct business, or damage to your reputation, and you may want to coordinate your legal response with a public relations strategy.
  • You may be interested in the recovery of a key asset – and not just its financial value – and so the timing of investigations to trace the asset, and when you decide to litigate, might be critical.
  • Depending on the nature of the case – and on your own personality – you may want to be discreet about the proceedings, and to keep your name out of the papers as far as possible, or you may want the international media to shine the spotlight on the case.

These are not interests that it is always useful to advertise; if your opponents know about these goals it might reduce your leverage.  That does not mean they shouldn’t be pursued.  Identifying what your goals are, at an early stage, will allow you to: plan and prepare better; to make more informed decisions; and to identify where different goals are at odds with each other – and how to deal with those tensions.   Ensuring that you have a global strategy – with lawyers at the heart of that strategy who ask early on what all your goals and concerns are, and listen to you – is key to getting the best outcome possible.

Nicola McKinney is a partner at Grosvenor Law in our commercial litigation team who often advises on complex, cross-jurisdictional disputes.

Please do not hesitate to contact Nicola on  07855084165 or at

The contents of our blog posts do not constitute legal advice and are provided for general information purposes only