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Read more articles in: Lorraine Walker, News

Handling commercial disputes – your options explained

Disputes between businesses can arise for a number of reasons but amongst the most common are issues relating to business partners, performance of contract and non-payment of goods or services.

Chasing unpaid invoices or dealing with disputes relating to contracts can be stressful, tying up valuable resources and often putting significant financial pressures on a company.

Furthermore, if not handled correctly they can often damage a party’s reputation or an ongoing commercial relationship, so it is wise to seek early legal advice.

There are a number of ways to resolve commercial disputes including:

  • Negotiation
  • Mediation
  • Arbitration
  • Court proceedings

When a dispute arises then your first and most preferable option is to contact the other party and come to an informal agreement. It is important to ensure the conversation does not become heated as this will be counter-productive to your goal of seeking to find common ground so that a resolution can be agreed upon. If this is not fruitful your next option is to consider mediation.

This option has a number of advantages. Not only is it far less costly and drawn out than litigation. it is also far less damaging to commercial relationships.

A mediator is an independent, impartial, and professional third-party whose role is to assist those involved in a dispute to reach a mutually acceptable settlement. Because a mediator is neutral, they will not judge the rights and wrongs of the case or give legal advice.

The process is voluntary and relies upon finding a successful compromise that allows all parties to conclude the dispute and draw a line under the matter.

With the dispute successfully resolved, without acrimony to the satisfaction of both parties, it is possible to move forward and rebuild a professional working relationship.

Another form of alternative dispute resolution is arbitration. Both parties agree to an impartial and independent third party to act as an arbitrator to determine the outcome of a dispute based on the issues outlined by each.

It is important to understand that, although often speedier and less costly that going to court, the arbitrator’s decision is final and binding so if the decision does not go your way there is no right to appeal.

If other forms of informal negotiation and alternative dispute resolution have been exhausted or are felt to be inappropriate, the matter can be brought before the courts.

Whichever option you choose, it is important to seek legal advice as early as possible. The Commercial Disputes Team at Mander Hadley have experience of resolving a wide range of disputes and, using our in-depth knowledge to achieve your desired commercial outcome, we will work with you to ensure minimum disruption and cost to your business.

Lorraine Walker, A Solicitor with Mander Hadley, who specialises in civil litigation and dispute resolution has recently recorded a podcast on a range of issues relating to commercial disputes, which is available to listen to here.

For more information on commercial disputes, please get in touch with us now.

Mander Hadley

Mander Hadley Solicitors is not only a long established firm, but is vibrant and successful, with a forward thinking approach.