This website discusses Charter-party disputes. The word “charter-party” is clear to commercial people. What about of the word “dispute”? Construed in its context, it has been a source of debate over the years. As said:
Two men have an argument over who won the University Boat Race in a particular year. In ordinary language, they have a dispute over whether it was Oxford or Cambridge. The fact that it can be easily and immediately demonstrated beyond doubt that one is right and the other is wrong does not and cannot mean that that dispute did not in fact exist. Because one man can be said to be indisputably right and the other indisputably wrong does not, in my view, entail that there was therefore never any dispute between them.
(Saville J, 1990)
…there is a dispute once money is claimed unless and until the defendants admit that the sum is due and payable. In my judgment, if a party has refused to pay a sum which is claimed or has denied that it is owing then in the ordinary use of the English language there is a dispute between the parties.
(Swinton Thomas LJ, 1998)
Why do contractual disputes occur? Lord Neuberger expressed it in these terms:
…the law cannot simply be concerned with dry principle: it must also reflect human life and experience. After all, legal disputes are ultimately based on real life problems, .. But, quite apart from that, the parties to a contract sometimes have a positive interest in obscurity, in lack of clarity. Both sides to a negotiation may be content to include an ambiguous provision in it, on the basis that, if they try and spell it out more clearly the deal may fall apart, and they would rather leave it unclear – not least because it will probably never lead to a dispute anyway…
(Lord Neuberger, 2016)