Disputes can happen in business for many different reasons, but the important thing to consider is how you are going to bring the dispute to an end in the fastest and most cost effective way.

Litigation is one way of dealing with a commercial dispute, but has its drawbacks due to cost, negative publicity and the length of time it takes. If you want to find a smarter way to resolve your commercial dispute, then you need look no further than Alternative Dispute Resolution, also known as ADR.

ADR is a collection of alternative ways in which you can end a dispute without the need for litigation and two of these methods are mediation and arbitration.

Mediation And Arbitration

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Image by F Delventhal

Both mediation and arbitration address all of the drawbacks that litigation has. Both of them are faster than litigation, are more cost effective and also offer you the privacy you deserve when trying to resolve a dispute. They do have some differences though and one may suit you better than the other as a result.

Firstly mediation – the process is simple really. You will agree with the other party that you both wish to undergo the process of mediation for your dispute. You will then meet on a set date along with an independent and specially trained mediator.

The mediator will hear from both parties and then guide you both towards a mutually agreeable solution. This may not be achieved at the first meeting though and you may need several sessions in order to get to a resolution. What is helpful in mediation is that both parties have the opportunity to influence the resolution and you will hopefully be able to reach a win-win for both sides.

Arbitration is slightly different. An independent and specially trained arbitrator will attend a meeting with you both and hear about the dispute from both sides. After this has happened, the arbitrator will actually decide the outcome for both parties and his or her decision is final and legally binding too. The difference with arbitration is that you have no control or input into the final outcome.

However if you decide that neither mediation nor arbitration are suitable for you and your dispute, you can always look to litigation to put an end to your commercial dispute.

For more information about this article or any aspect of our disputes and litigation services, please call us on 0800 142 2775 or reply to this email and we will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for initial telephone discussions).