Business mediators can help you settle disputes without litigation. Litigation can cost time, divert resources and cause distraction. Mediation offers a more commercial, imaginative and flexible settlement process. It is a suitable solution for all types of business disputes and is particularly suited to SMEs who can find it difficult to absorb the costs of pursuing legal action.
Business conflict is a normal and unavoidable part of running any business. Whether it is a dispute with a customer, supplier, staff member or other business partner, disputes can become complicated and costly. Business disputes also put a strain on relationships and, if not resolved quickly, can damage business relationships to the point of breaking apart entirely.
Managing business relationships is vitally important, and resolving conflicts in a productive and harmonious way can make all the difference to your bottom line. This is why many business owners choose to use mediation as an alternative dispute resolution process rather than taking their disputes to court. The Government is consulting on making ADR compulsory for certain types of litigation, but even in the absence of such a requirement, the courts encourage parties to try and resolve their disputes outside of court where possible.
The role of the business mediator is to act as an impartial third party who helps the parties to identify their interests and goals and work constructively together to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution to their dispute. The mediator will not take sides and will be neutral and respectful to all parties, enabling them to express their feelings openly in a safe environment.
A good business mediator will have a strong understanding of the commercial and industrial world and its issues, laws and regulations. They will be familiar with the wide range of issues that may arise in a business dispute, including:
The right mediator will understand the importance of having a high level of emotional intelligence (EQ). This is essential to the mediation process, as it is important for the mediator to be able to regulate their relationship with the mediating parties and their lawyers in order not to alienate them from reaching a solution. They will also be able to assist the mediating parties to recognise and deal with the underlying and often hidden emotions that can drive the conflict. This will enable them to build trust and move forward together. The business mediation process will require the mediator to collect background information from all parties and facilitate discussions between them. This can be done in face to face meetings or via video conferencing. The mediator will also provide feedback on the legal and factual issues from a neutral perspective, helping the parties to see the bigger picture. They will then guide the parties through the steps needed to reach a mutually satisfactory outcome. The aim is for the parties to walk away from the mediation with a comprehensive, tailored agreement which can then be enforced through the courts should they need to do so.