Business disputes don’t have to involve expensive legal action. Alternative dispute resolution can help to ensure your quarrel doesn’t go to court.
While some commercial disputes can be resolved through informal negotiation, others are more complex and require a resolution procedure to settle the matter. Dispute resolution services were used to settle 21,300 disputes in the UK in 2011, and the annual figures have been declining.
Our commercial litigation specialists at First4lawyers can help you to keep your dispute out of the courts by utilising alternative dispute resolution. Contact us to discuss settling your business dispute.
What is alternative dispute resolution?
Alternative dispute resolution involves working closely with you to identify risks and develop a strategy to manage a disagreement in a way that optimises opportunities for resolution.
Commercial disputes can take many forms, and where possible it is usually preferable to attempt to settle matters through informal negotiation.
However, when informal negotiation isn’t appropriate, or has been unsuccessful in settling the dispute, alternative dispute resolution procedures can be extremely useful in keeping the case from going to court.
The commercial litigation solicitors at First4lawyers have experience in alternative dispute resolution across a broad range of sectors and issues. Some of the most common being:
- Contract disputes
- Banking disputes
- Financial services disputes
- Corporate disputes
- Joint venture disputes
- Intellectual property disputes
- Commercial fraud
- Borrower protection
- Professional negligence
- Regulatory compliance
What are the different types of alternative dispute resolution?
The courts actively encourage businesses and organisations to settle disputes out of court where possible, and alternative dispute resolution is also promoted by the Civil Procedure Rules.
If you are involved in a commercial dispute and you refuse any of the dispute resolution approaches described below when offered to you by the other party involved in the matter, you may be subject to penalties should the case eventually go to court.
As such, it is prudent to acquire the services of an experienced solicitor, who will be able to advise you on a dispute resolution approach that is likely to bring about the result you are hoping for, with the minimum outlay of time or money.
- Solicitor negotiation – If negotiating directly with the other party involved in the dispute doesn’t move the matter towards a resolution, you might consider having your solicitor attempt a negotiation. A skilled commercial litigation solicitor with experience of discussing complex disputes might be able to bring the matter to a close quickly, without you having to be involved.
- Mediation – Another alternative to direct negotiation is mediation, whereby both parties agree upon and appoint a mediator who will help to facilitate a resolution of the issue. Mediators can be extremely useful in commercial disputes that have become fractious, or where you and the other party do not wish to hand over control to a solicitor but are not comfortable negotiating the matter with just the two of you present.
- Arbitration – In more complex disputes that require specialist knowledge for a particular niche, an arbitrator may be required to represent each party and work towards a resolution. In sectors such as construction and insurance, where disputes can rest on highly technical issues, arbitrators are often provided for in contracts of work. This provision saves time and money when disputes arise, as waiting for trials to be listed can be a lengthy process.
- Adjudication – In the construction industry, adjudication is used to resolve disputes through the appointment of an adjudicator, who will listen to both sides of the argument before making a quick decision to bring the matter to a close.
What are the benefits of alternative dispute resolution?
The main benefits are the savings to be made in costs and time. Court cases are invariably more drawn out and far more expensive than negotiation, mediation, arbitration or adjudication.
Also, where disputes are better kept behind closed doors, resolution methods such as arbitration can be extremely useful in ensuring maximum confidentiality. This can help to lessen the impact of the matter on people within your company, and prevent the media and the general public from knowing.
I am involved in a commercial dispute that I wish to resolve out of court – what should I do?
You could attempt to negotiate the matter directly and attempt to bring about a resolution informally, but we suggest that you may feel more confident doing so once you have spoken to the team of commercial litigation experts via First4lawyers.
Our solicitors will provide you with advice on the dispute resolution options that will help you to preserve on-going business relationships and give you the best chance for a positive outcome to the dispute.