A commercial lawyer has co-founded an online dispute resolution service which he says will enable small businesses and individuals in the UK to resolve contract disputes without the ‘headache’ of costly litigation.

The platform, called Ajuve, promises to deliver binding awards in under six weeks, with these awards being enforceable in more than 140 countries under the New York (Arbitration) Convention. It charges an upfront fee calculated on the amount involved in the dispute. 

Although HM Courts & Tribunals offers the Money Claim Online dispute resolution platform, the founders of Ajuve say theirs is a more comprehensive service and is also the first from a private company.

Ajuve was co-founded by Quentin Bargate (pictured), a senior partner at London firm Bargate Murray, and his son Alex Bargate, an online marketer at the firm.

Quentin Bargate said the site would provide lawyers with a ‘solution to their headache of dealing with unprofitable claims’.

The platform will initially use arbitrators from Bargate Murray though other lawyers will be invited to join.

Citing figures showing that just 270,000 out of some 1.75m civil claims filed in England and Wales each year are defended, the two founders say the service offers a ‘straightforward and convenient solution’ enabling businesses to avoid ‘costly and complex litigation’.

As well as the arbitration service, the platform also provides a free calculator and a dispute resolution clause for inclusion in contracts. The service is also expected to offer online mediation in the coming months. 

Other professionals, including lawyers, will be invited to partner with Ajuve’s ‘Quick Look’ system, to give advice to users who are unsure of what steps to take.

Bargate said: ‘While we may face some resistance from other lawyers to begin with, we think the majority will see its obvious benefits.’

He added: ‘After 30 years of experience in the legal sector, I, like many other lawyers, have become increasingly frustrated with the time, cost and stress associated with dispute resolution. There is a clear need for a simple and affordable system of online dispute resolution; we don’t need to be the prisoners of an imperfect past.’