Leading construction consultancy, Decipher, has become the latest professional services business to join Escalate, the ground-breaking commercial dispute resolution service for SMEs.

Escalate helps businesses to remove all financial risk and achieve a prompt settlement in pursuing a wide range of commercial disputes. It was named ‘Innovation of the Year’ at the prestigious British Accountancy Awards last autumn.

Decipher specialises in providing a range of construction-related services, including project management, quantity surveying and dispute resolution.

Escalate is unique and follows a two-stage process. Firstly, it focuses on a negotiated settlement, using licenced corporate recovery specialists with a track record of rapidly recovering assets to negotiate on behalf of the claimant, and encouraging the defendant to settle quickly in the client’s favour without the need for litigation. The process allows a maximum of three months for this negotiation. If the defendant is unwilling to settle in this timeframe, solicitors will begin preparing for litigation. As part of the service, all fees and associated costs are funded and paid on the client’s behalf all the way up to a High Court resolution.

This contrasts with the traditional commercial dispute resolution process that typically takes 18 months; is often billed by the hour; can require the payment of disbursements, such as court fees or the costs of an expert, up front; and leaves the claimant at risk from large legal bills from its advisers and exposure to the defendant’s costs in the event of an unsuccessful outcome.

Bill Bordill, Director at Decipher, said: “Decipher are experts in resolving construction-related disputes with a reputation for embracing new ways of thinking, so partnering with Escalate was a no brainer for us.

“Many businesses don’t pursue commercial disputes because of high upfront costs, long delays and considerable uncertainty – but the Escalate process provides another way.

“Escalate has the potential to be a game-changer and we’re looking forward to using it to help our clients resolve their construction-related disputes.”

Nick Harvey, one of the founders of the Escalate process, said: “We’re pleased to welcome Decipher as our latest Escalate partner firm. Decipher joins a growing number of leading accountancy practices, lenders and membership bodies that are helping SMEs to unlock millions of pounds from commercial disputes.

“Recent research from the Federation of Small Businesses suggests there were at least 3.4 million commercial disputes involving SMEs between 2010 and 2015. This represents a significant cost and cash flow constraint to businesses, and can sometimes be the reason why they fail.”

Chris Clay, Managing Director of Escalate, said: “Pursuing a commercial dispute has tended to be a costly, lengthy and risky undertaking. Escalate has changed that by providing a smarter way for businesses to resolve commercial disputes.”

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