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MEDIATION FOR COMMERCIAL DISPUTES

A commercial dispute is not good for business. It distracts key management, wastes valuable time, drains business resources, disrupts ongoing activities and prospective deals and sometimes draws adverse publicity and attention. If a dispute becomes prolonged as with legal action through the courts, the costs involved can threaten the economic viability of the business, regardless of the merits of any claim.

The process of mediation is ideally suited to resolving commercial disputes for a variety of reasons.

First, such disputes often arise in the course of an ongoing commercial relationship and the parties usually have a vested business interest in preserving that relationship while their dispute is resolved. A good mediator can ensure that difficult personalities and antagonistic arguments are managed into constructive discussions that allow common interests to assist resolution of the dispute.

Second, mediation offers the parties the opportunity to find creative solutions to resolving their dispute when otherwise their conflicting positions provide an impasse to any solution. Thus, unlike a court whose power is typically limited to making a monetary award, mediation can find alternative ways to providing a just solution that serves the interests of all disputing parties.

Third, because mediation allows the parties a significant degree of control over their approach to resolving their dispute, good mediators can manage negotiations to allow different approaches to be used. During the course of a mediation, negotiations may be managed by keeping the parties separate, or by having the parties come together or by having key people, whether legal or management, lead negotiations at key times.

Finally, a good mediator will have or acquire the trust of the parties and, by providing his or her independent judgment, assist them to find a realistic solution. Such a solution invariably has the advantages of saving the parties the expense of litigation and allowing those involved to get on with their business and lives free of stress and distraction.

Juris mediators have the training, experience and independence to be able to exploit all of the advantages of mediation for the benefit of the parties and to allow, not to force, the parties to find a fair resolution to their dispute.