Two of Cambridge’s professional firms partner to help businesses with cost-effective dispute resolution 10 June 2019 Share Cambridge-based Top 30 accountants, Price Bailey, are partnering with local law firm Ashtons Legal to deliver a new service which will give Cambridgeshire businesses an alternative, cost-effective way of resolving business disputes. This is being done through the multi-award winning Escalate dispute resolution service. Escalate is 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 and enable the 250,000 small and medium enterprises across the UK better access to justice. According to Price Bailey, many SMEs leave legal and financial disputes unresolved because they fear the potential cost involved without a guaranteed positive outcome. Escalate can help remove these barriers. The most tangible key benefit of the 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. This is great news for small and medium-size companies, and will empower them to challenge, in particular, larger businesses in a way that they might otherwise not have done. This service is being rolled out nationally, with Cambridgeshire being one of the first counties to benefit. Both Price Bailey and Ashtons Legal have long-established reputations and credibility in this area so harnessing their expertise to help SMEs in this cost-effective way is a very positive move. Matt Howard, Price Bailey’s Insolvency and Recovery Partner instigated the partnership between all the parties and Escalate, says: “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. Escalate has helped to put that right. 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.’’ Also commenting on the new partnership, Tom Bailey, Partner at Ashtons Legal said: “Escalate’s mission is to help the SME business community so that the £40 billion that’s 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 £50 million that is currently locked up in commercial disputes. The partnership with Price Bailey is a game-changing proposition to help SMEs in Cambridgeshire with their cash flow and avoid some of the inevitable bumps in the road that come with running a business”.