Commercial mediation is a flexible form of alternative dispute resolution that enables parties in business disputes to resolve their differences without going to court. It’s often less expensive than traditional legal proceedings and more effective at resolving complex issues. It also offers a faster resolution timeframe and the potential to preserve relationships. The flexibility of commercial mediation also helps both parties to craft solutions that meet their needs and interests, fostering satisfactory resolutions that are mutually acceptable and enforceable in court.
The most common disputes that businesses face are contract disputes, shareholder issues, employment matters and landlord/tenant conflicts. Commercial mediation aims to resolve these issues while protecting ongoing business relationships, which is an important consideration in industries that rely on partnerships or client relationships. However, business disputes often include a deeply personal component that can be difficult to address. This is why it’s important to work with experienced, professional commercial mediators.
Whether the dispute is between two companies or one party and their legal representatives, it’s crucial that both parties come to the mediation session prepared to discuss all of the issues involved. It’s also recommended that both parties consider which areas they are willing to compromise and which aspects of the dispute are non-negotiable. It’s helpful to draft a summary of the dispute in advance of the mediation to help prepare for discussions.
Once the initial intake is completed, the mediator will schedule a mediation session with both parties. This is typically done through email, and both parties will receive an email confirmation. During the mediation session, the mediator will help both parties to identify all of the issues that need to be discussed and to brainstorm possible solutions. The mediator will keep the sessions structured and encourage both parties to participate in good faith and focus on reaching mutually agreeable outcomes.
At the end of the mediation process, if the mediator believes that the parties are ready to reach a settlement, they will write up the terms of a settlement agreement for both parties to review and sign. The parties will then have a provisional agreement to review with their own lawyers, who may be called in to provide advice or to negotiate any final details of the settlement.
In some cases, commercial mediation may not be the right choice. For instance, if the case hinges on a technical legal point or involves a criminal element, it’s often more appropriate to have the matter decided by a judge in a court of law. In addition, the cost and complexity of the case can often make commercial mediation an inefficient option for large or complex disputes.