Price Bailey joins dispute resolution initiative

Top 30 accountancy practice Price Bailey has announced it is partnering with law firm Ashtons Legal to deliver a new service which will give businesses an alternative, cost-effective way of resolving business disputes, in a bid to improve the ability of SMEs to recover bad debt

The two firms are signed up to the Escalate dispute resolution service, a collaborative venture involving accountancy firms, law firms, funders and insurers. Its mission is to bring together the dispute ‘supply chain’ and encourage everyone to assess the issues in a fresh way, in order to offer the 250,000 SMEs across the UK better access to a resolution.

According to Price Bailey, many SMEs leave legal and financial disputes unresolved because they fear the potential cost involved without a guaranteed positive outcome.

The firm says the most tangible benefit of using the Escalate service is that it carries no financial risk to the business concerned. A business which pursues a dispute in this way will only pay a fee if a successful settlement is achieved. 

Matt Howard, insolvency and recovery partner at Price Bailey, instigated the partnership between all the parties and Escalate.

‘Resolving a commercial dispute has historically been time consuming, costly and risky for claimants, which is why many of them decide to reluctantly write-off what they’re owed.

‘By removing financial risk, providing transparency on process and pricing, and ensuring that the claimant remains the main beneficiary on settlement, Escalate provides an opportunity to resolve disputes in a way that helps rather than hinders businesses cash flow,’ he said. 

The service will be rolled out nationally this year.

Tom Bailey, partner at Ashtons Legal, said: ‘Escalate’s mission is to help the SME business community so that the £40bn that is written off each year as bad debt is reduced.

‘In our view, a bad debt is just a commercial dispute that didn’t get resolved.

‘Escalate is already helping SMEs to recover more than £50m that is currently locked up in commercial disputes.

‘The partnership with Price Bailey is a game-changing proposition to help SMEs with their cash flow and avoid some of the inevitable bumps in the road that come with running a business.’

Ranked at number 28 in the Accountancy Daily Top 75 Firms Survey, Price Bailey reported fee income of £27m last year.

Pat Sweet

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