Commercial mediation is a way of resolving disputes without going to court. The process is a voluntary alternative to traditional litigation and offers several benefits to businesses, including flexibility, confidentiality, and the ability to preserve valuable business relationships. The aim of commercial mediation is to reach a solution that is acceptable to both parties.
The process begins with both parties sending relevant information to the mediator in confidence and the mediator then organises a meeting for all parties to meet, usually at the offices of the mediator or another venue. Generally, the mediation will begin with a plenary session where both sides will present their positions in the dispute to the mediator and each other. During the presentation, the mediator will ask questions and shape discussion, but will not take sides.
Once all parties have presented their positions, the mediator will then allow each party to put forward a proposal of settlement. The mediator will then discuss these proposals with each party in private sessions or jointly, depending on the circumstances. The parties may decide to agree on terms of settlement, ideally reflecting the needs and priorities of each party. The final decision lies with the mediator, who will write up an agreement that is binding on both parties.
Unlike judges, mediators are not required to make any determination of conflicting evidence or legal principles, and instead have a purely facilitative role. As such, they are able to be creative and suggest options that may have been previously unconsidered. Often, these ingenious solutions can help the parties find common ground and arrive at a resolution that is unique to their case.
Mediation also gives parties the chance to explore alternative options that may be more cost-effective than taking their claim all the way to a full court trial. In a world where court fees are constantly rising, this can prove to be the key to unlocking a mutually acceptable resolution for both parties.
A further benefit of mediation is that it allows parties to preserve important business relationships and maintain business continuity, even in cases where there has been a breach of contract. In many cases, this is more important than any financial costs involved in reaching a commercial dispute resolution and the sooner the matter can be resolved, the better for all parties.
It is worth noting that whilst the success rate of commercial mediation is high, it is not a foolproof process and some disputes do not settle at mediation. It is therefore crucial to consider all options and consult with legal representatives before making any decisions on whether commercial mediation is the best route for your dispute.
At Upchurch Watson White & Max, we have a team of highly experienced mediators who can help to resolve your commercial dispute. Using their problem-solving philosophy, they can guide discussions between you and your opponent towards an ingenious solution that is uniquely suited to your case. Contact us today to see how we can help you reach a negotiated resolution to your dispute. commercial mediation