Nabarro is piloting a low-cost ­alternative to ­disputes after developing a conflict ­avoidance system for clients.

Gerard Khoshnaw

Gerard Khoshnaw

The conflict avoidance audit involves a review of internal procedures with heads of key client ­departments, a training ­programme for management and staff on possible pitfalls and preparation of a risk management report to the organisation’s board.

Nabarro head of ­commercial disputes for northern England Gerard Khoshnaw said that, while it would cost up to £5,000 for a company to use the audit, this was substantially less than the eventual cost of possible litigation.

The system is being ­piloted with Sperry Marine, the UK subsidiary of global defence contractor Northrop Grumman.

Northrop Grumman European legal director and assistant general counsel Wolf von Kumberg said: “We’re very interested in looking at novel tools to reduce conflicts. Very few firms look at earlier stages of conflict prevention in a disciplined or analytical manner because litigators don’t necessarily have the right training for it and in the past they’ve had enough work.

“Now that times are tougher firms are listening more and clients are expressing their own wishes in a more definitive way.”