When it comes to settling disputes, a few options are as effective as mediation. That is why, before allowing a case to go to trial, most courts encourage or order mediation for the disputing parties. The goal is to reach a settlement in the most efficient manner possible and in a way that satisfies both sides involved in the dispute. This type of alternative dispute resolution is effective for a variety of disputes, but it may be most advantageous in commercial disputes. When agreeing disputing businesses agree to undergo mediation, they are given an opportunity not only to preserve a valuable business relationship that might otherwise be destroyed but also to settle a disagreement outside of the courtroom.
Mediation is effective in commercial disputes because:
1. It allows disputing parties to design a resolution that is all-encompassing. Instead of addressing a single contractual issue with a court resolution, it may resolve the entirety of the problem.
2. It focuses on communication and compromise. Both disputing parties have a say in the outcome and the process enables everyone to speak his or her mind. Negotiations during the process dig into issues that caused the dispute, so discussion is cathartic. By allowing the disputing parties to work their way through an issue and design a solution that works for everyone involved, there is a better chance the relationship will be preserved.
In addition to the resolution benefits of mediation, the process is also faster and less expensive than traditional court proceedings. Successful mediations are often accomplished in just a few hours. Furthermore, until both sides agree, the outcome does not need to, and will not, be final. Aside from the appeals process, all resolutions that are generated from the process are final and legally binding because they are approved by the court. Finally, unlike court proceedings which are a matter of public records, discussions held during this type of alternative dispute resolution are private. This aspect of mediation appeals most to businesses because it shields the disputing parties from the public’s judging eyes. When a dispute is about something that can damage public perception of the company, it makes great business sense only to resolve the issue as quickly as possible but also to resolve it in a private and confidential forum.
If you are involved in a commercial dispute, it is important you resolve the matter as reasonably and amicably as possible. This protects business matters and leaves open the possibility of working with those involved in the dispute again if you share value for one another.