Dispute Resolution and Mediation
The most appropriate and cost effective way to resolve disputes will often be by using alternatives to litigation, such as Alternative Dispute Resolution.
We focus on solutions, not problems. If it is important to preserve the relationship litigation is rarely the ideal way forward.
Mediation is certainly worth trying because when it works it has the added bonus of helping preserve the relationship between you.
Ideally disputes should be resolved as speedily as possible. If allowed to fester they tend to grow out of all proportion and waste valuable management time and resources.
The other key to achieving settlement of disputes is effective communication.
Tips for reducing the likelihood of disputes
To reduce the risk of litigation record the important terms of your business contracts in writing, so there is clarity about duties and obligations.
A verbal agreement is no less binding than a written one, but is more likely to lead to misunderstandings, mistaken assumptions or inappropriate expectations. Often this is what happens before full-scale dispute blows up. Such disagreements can be disproportionately costly and time consuming to unravel because of the need to first work out what each party agreed to do under the contract - that is what was actually said and agreed.
If a contract is oral rather than written, advising on the dispute is more time intensive because it is necessary to work out what terms the parties discussed and agreed. Remembering what was said and done at the time the contract was formed is burdensome for you. Ultimately it is for a court of law to decide what the oral contract actually said. The court would do this by hearing evidence, and reaching its own conclusions as to whose version of events to believe.
So to avoid the expense, stress and time involved in unravelling oral agreements, be sure to document your contracts.
There is the risk that by attempting to record your agreement in writing the very process of discussing minutiae will result in a serious disagreement. It is actually far better to risk a fall out, than to tiptoe into the relationship only to discover later on that you are totally at odds in your thinking, and therefore incompatible.
However disappointing it may be to see a hoped for business relationship founder before it has even begun, you are far better off to flush out problems at an early stage, and avoid taking the relationship further, than proceeding with an unsuitable business relationship.
If you need legal work please call us on +44 (0)20 7700 1414 or if you prefer send us an enquiry using the form below. Depending on your requirements we may suggest a free meeting. This is often the best way to assess whether we would be the right firm for you, and to understand the work involved, your priorities, attitude to risk, and desired timescales.