On 29 July 2021, The Times newspaper reported that Scarlett Johansson (“Johansson”), star of the movie Black Widow was suing Walt Disney Co (“Disney”) for breach of contract. The alleged breach surrounded Disney’s release of the movie on its online streaming platform at the same time as it was released in cinemas.

Recent reports indicate that Disney has requested that the matter be settled outside of court, behind closed doors. Although this may not be agreed, it should be noted as a tactical step on Disney’s part, designed to bring the matter to a swift conclusion with minimal cost and  less public attention.

The Written Contract

These circumstances offer a teaching moment as to why a written contract between parties engaging in business activities with one another is so important. Not only does it allow for parties to iron out issues before they even begin working with one another, but it also acts to protect either party in the event of a breach.

It is also important that as a business develops, so do its written contracts. Contracts should be reviewed and negotiated (if applicable) throughout the entire lifetime of a business relationship.

The Arbitration Clause

There is generally always provision for Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) in a written contract. The purpose of this is to allow the parties to agree an outcome to any dispute – without the need to involve the court and/or in this case, garner attention from the public.

There are many forms of arbitration available to parties which include but are not limited to:

  • Independent Negotiation
  • Mediation
  • Arbitration
  • Conciliation

Building-in a provision for settlement at an early stage in a dispute can save both time and cost to all parties involved. It potentially avoids the need for formal litigation, and instead allows the parties to come to a mutual agreement. There are, as with all strategies, positives and negatives regarding ADR.

As a client of Griffin Law we would review the contract in dispute (and any other associated agreements/contracts) to clearly outline the options available to you to achieve a swift conclusion and commercially sensible outcome to the dispute.


Griffin Law is a niche firm of innovative, proactive, tenacious and commercially-minded lawyers. We pride ourselves on our close client relationships, which are uniquely enhanced by our transparent fee guarantee and a commitment to share the risks of litigation.  If you have any specific questions regarding contracts, please email  justice@griffin.law or call 01732 52 59 23.

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