Jon Aikman | Commercial Mediator
Commercial disputes can be costly, stressful, time consuming and damaging to business if not resolved quickly and satisfactorily for all parties involved. The results of long term disputes can be months or years of costly litigation and/or a breakdown in potentially profitable business relations.
Mediation is one of the fastest and most cost effective methods of achieving a satisfactory result to a dispute for all parties involved. It is the most popular form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and is being increasingly encouraged by the courts to be considered as an option.
The objective to mediation is to allow the parties to find their own workable solution which they can agree on. The Mediator is jointly selected and appointed and remains neutral and non-judgemental. The role of the Mediator is to facilitate the process of parties reaching their own agreement.
Mediation is a voluntary process and non-binding, but once a solution is reached it is advisable for the parties to prepare a signed written agreement which will form a binding and enforceable outcome to the process.
The mediation process is confidential and can help prevent unwelcome publicity surrounding a dispute. In the unlikely event that a solution is not found during mediation any concessions made during the process can not be taken into account in any further proceedings, whether other forms of ADR or litigation. The mediation is a safe place where the parties can discuss and negotiate possible solutions without prejudice to their position if they fail to reach an agreement and a court process is necessary.
Commercial disputes are not limited to those that may potentially result in litigation. Mediation can assist in improving working relationships between joint venture partners, project teams drawn from different commercial organisations or long term strategic partners.
Benefits of Mediation include:
- Fast – Mediation is usually carried out over 1 day at a date to suit all parties involved
- Cheap – Mediation doesn’t involve large legal fees and court costs
- No imposed decision – parties decide on a commercial resolution to their dispute
- Flexibility of outcome – parties are able to invent their own solutions to problems rather than judgements courts are empowered to provide.
- Preserve commercial relationships – a settlement reached by mediation will preserve and can sometimes improve the relationship between parties.