Sometimes business relationships end poorly, even when the participants have nothing but the best of intentions.
Two parties might find themselves on opposing sides of a disagreement without any clear fault standing out on either side.
It’s an accepted principle of the law that disagreements are possible even between reasonable minds. When opposing parties grow certain of their rightness and refuse to compromise, a serious dispute becomes unavoidable and a solicitor in Surrey maybe required.
Filing a lawsuit is an option that’s always available. The civil court system is, fundamentally, a machine designed for resolving disputes.
Legal action is a possibility that any professional might consider, especially when less formal dispute resolution strategies prove to be unsuccessful. The important thing to always bear in mind is that lawsuits represent a very costly and inefficient way to resolve a business dispute.
One of the biggest problems with taking a business dispute to court is that both parties – even the one filing suit – loses control over the outcome of the case.
The final disposition of the dispute will be entrusted to a jury or a judge. Because of the adversarial nature of civil court, there will inevitably be a winner and a loser.
Obviously, losing is not a prospect any professional in a business dispute looks forward to. Even winning a civil suit can end up hurting one’s career because of the money, time and attention it draws away from one’s business.
Legal resolution may also upset disputing parties by imposing outcomes that they had never considered as realistic possibilities.
There is virtually no way to control or predict with any certainty the outcome of a civil suit.
This is why even solicitors who devote their entire careers to business law regularly settle cases instead of taking them to trial. The risk involved is simply unacceptable to their clients.
Turning a business dispute into a lawsuit is also an inherently tiring process.
The possibilities of compromise and/or reconciliation decline considerably once a dispute heads into the courtroom.
Additionally, regardless of its outcome, a lawsuit is almost always the end of a business relationship.
Terminating these sorts of relationships can have long-term negative impacts on both parties.
Legal fees are another serious matter that can turn a lawsuit from a positive into a negative regardless of the outcome.
Prior to entering the legal profession, I felt – as many people do – that legal services were priced too high. Now that I’ve seen firsthand just how much effort and stress go into providing clients with the best possible representation in a lawsuit, I can understand why a solicitor’s services come with a high pricetag.
The fact that legal expenses are usually justified doesn’t make them any more affordable for a small business owner, though!
This presents professionals with a serious dispute with a tough puzzle to solve entirely separate from the conflict itself: How to resolve the dispute with a minimum of time, effort, and expense.
There is a faster and cheaper alternative to litigation: mediation.
Mediation can be launched at any time, and it can proceed to a satisfactory conclusion with or without the input of a solicitor.
Mediation is an informal process for dispute resolution where the parties in disagreement turn to a neutral third party to help them find a workable solution.
The mediator’s role is primarily to set ground rules which keep the discussion fair and productive. After each party has an opportunity to fully articulate his or her concerns, the mediator separates the parties to speak with them individually.
After consulting with all of the parties, the mediator will start searching for a successful resolution. The good news is that professional mediators are highly effective, helping to resolve up to 90 percent of the conflicts they mediate.
Mediators typically do not arbitrate disputes by providing their own decisions. Instead, they help the affected parties communicate better and guide them toward their own resolutions.
Mediation has the advantage of being significantly cheaper than litigation. Fees vary based on the provider, but a day of mediation service will typically be affordable to most businesses.
If you need outside help to resolve a business dispute, talk to your solicitor about mediation as a workable solution.