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Despite what many may think, going to court is not the only path to resolving a dispute… Through negotiation, compromise and communication, a win-win solution is achievable... Keeping you out of court and in your business.

Gloves off: effective commercial dispute resolution

Despite what many may think, going to court is not the only path to resolving a dispute… Through negotiation, compromise and communication, a win-win solution is achievable... Keeping you out of court and in your business.

No business owner wants to be involved in a dispute. Commercial disputes are stressful and deplete valuable resources such as time and money. However they happen from time to time and are part and parcel of being in business. Disputes are common when interacting with customers, suppliers and contractors on a day to day basis and can even occur with a business partner, adviser or landlord.

Whether large or small, a dispute can disrupt business operations, compromise relationships, impact performance and harm your bottom line. To top it all off, it can create a stressful work environment for both you and your employees.

What’s important is how you handle a commercial dispute. Savvy business owners use constructive ways to resolve disputes quickly, cost efficiently and in a manner which minimises interruption and preserves valuable business relationships.

Litigation is not the only way to resolve a commercial dispute…

Despite what many may think, going to court is not the only path to resolving a dispute… And considering the risks involved, escalating a dispute to litigation should often be a last resort. Litigation can be complex, stressful, and inflexible. It can destroy relationships, muddy reputations and cost your business huge amounts of time and money, not to mention the uncertainty of the court process makes the outcome difficult to predict. Therefore, it’s important to explore alternative options before immersing yourself into litigation.

If not by litigation, then how?

Luckily, there are alternative approaches to resolving commercial disputes without involving the courts. These methods offer simpler, less expensive and more practical solutions.

Negotiation

Typically, negotiation should be the first approach to resolving a commercial dispute. In fact, most contracts and agreements specify that if a dispute arises, parties must first negotiate before commencing any court proceedings.

Communication is key when it comes to negotiation. It requires the skill to explain and discuss issues and concerns diplomatically, cordially and objectively, and then canvas solutions. When negotiation is navigated with a level of professionalism, an amicable solution can be achieved, saving time, money and many sleepless nights. That’s why engaging a lawyer specialising in commercial dispute resolution is essential.

A dispute resolution lawyer will represent your best interests, advise you on the best course of action and communicate with the other parties on your behalf. Once a solution is reached, a dispute resolution lawyer will ensure the settlement is accurately documented in writing and signed by the parties.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Where negotiation is not fruitful, ADR is another pragmatic solution. ADR is an umbrella term for dispute resolution processes where an independent practitioner helps parties in dispute sort out the issues between them and negotiate a settlement without litigation. There are many ADR methods, some are facilitative like mediation and conciliation, while others are determinative like arbitration.

Mediation

In meditation, a mediator helps parties identify issues in dispute, develop options, consider alternatives, and reach agreed resolutions. The mediator does not give advice or make a decision about the dispute.

Conciliation

Conciliation is similar to mediation but the conciliator may provide parties with advice and resolution options. The conciliator might have specialist knowledge and give some direction and advice but does not make a decision about the dispute.

Arbitration

In arbitration, the parties in dispute present arguments and evidence to the arbitrator. The arbitrator listens to all sides and makes a binding decision, similar to a court.

Advantages of negotiation and ADR

Overall, resolving disputes using negotiation or ADR is preferable. More specifically, some of the advantages are:

  • Cost-efficient compared to litigation.
  • Informal and simple, no need to schedule around court dates.
  • Less time-consuming, especially if the dispute needs to be resolved quickly. The quicker process also means less disruption to business.
  • Preserve important commercial relationships.
  • Flexible to suit the dispute.
  • Offer greater settlement options.
  • Allow greater control over the process and the outcome.
  • Private and confidential.
  • Encourage cooperation and openness.

Through negotiation, compromise and communication, a win-win solution is achievable… Keeping you out of court and in your business.

At Lawthentic, we are experienced in helping our clients resolve disputes effectively and efficiently. So, if you are faced with a commercial dispute, get in touch for a free initial consultation.

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