No matter how careful you are in business, you may find that from time to time, disagreements arise and you need to resolve them – for example, defending your intellectual property or perhaps chasing unpaid invoices or complaining about faulty goods.
Disputes are far from ideal, but there are a number of options to help you and your counterparty come to a hopefully mutually acceptable solution and ideally, in a manner that will support a positive continuing relationship (if this is a status quo that you want to preserve).
In this guide, we’ll talk you through each one, so that you can feel confident you’re taking the most appropriate action at the most appropriate time.
This is where dispute resolution should begin. If you and the other party are in disagreement, you can start off by seeing if there’s a way you can come to a compromise together. To ensure you’re conversing in the best way (and to reduce the impact on your day-to-day schedule), you could enlist the help of a lawyer to correspond on your behalf.
Keep conversations factual and unemotional. You might be feeling angry, disappointed, maybe defensive and even stressed, but allowing these emotions to penetrate the tone of the conversation can rapidly escalate the situation into a much more inflamed situation, that might otherwise have been avoided.
If self-managed negotiation hasn’t worked, you and the other party could appoint a mediator to help you both negotiate a reasonable outcome.
A mediator is an unbiased third party who will listen to both sides and find solutions based on each party’s point of view. Read more about this in our guide to mediation.
This is like mediation in the way that it involves enlisting a third party to listen to both sides and help you to reach an agreement.
But unlike mediation, the resolution agreed to here is legally binding, in the form of a contract. You may need to show evidence and documents to assist the decision-making process, and most arbitration hearings last for about half a day. Before you commence arbitration, both you and the other party must agree that the arbitrator’s decision will be accepted and abided by.
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