If you find yourself in a business dispute with a partner, customer or supplier, you may want to do everything in your power to avoid going to court.
There are several methods of dispute resolution that enable both parties to attempt to come to an agreement before filing a lawsuit. A description of three approaches appears below.
Negotiation means any method of communication two parties with opposing interests utilize to attempt to resolve a conflict. This normally involves only the two interested parties and no additional players. With this means of alternative dispute resolution, neither party can force the other into accepting the results of the negotiation.
Mediation entails the parties in conflict working with a neutral party in an attempt to resolve a disagreement. The impartial party, or mediator, facilitates the discussion between the opposing groups. He or she accomplishes this by overseeing the discussions. The unbiased mediator can enable both parties to set aside preconceived notions and can even offer solutions to the conflict.
Not all mediation results in a productive agreement. The parties may still decide that moving forward with litigation is the only way to resolve the conflict.
In arbitration, the result binds both parties to the decision made and often prevents subsequent legal action from taking place. Similar to mediation, a third party assists the parties in dispute to come to a resolution.
If you seek to save your time and money by avoiding lengthy lawsuits, a form of alternative dispute resolution could serve as a useful option.