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CommercialApril 27, 2017

The Insider’s Guide to Resolving Commercial Disputes Effectively

Despite business’ best efforts, commercial disputes often arise at the most unexpected and inconvenient time. Preparing and proceeding to trial is an expensive, time-consuming and emotionally draining exercise. This is why resolving your dispute in a fast and effective manner should remain a top priority. Whilst a stress-free resolution of a dispute may seem ambitious, the following tips are likely to alleviate some of the strain associated with commercial disputes.

1. Determine Why You Are in Dispute

Each commercial dispute is different, so it is essential that you take the time to identify why you are in dispute and to map out each party’s interests. Determine what category of dispute you are involved in. These may include:

  1. workplace disputes;
  2. partnership disputes;
  3. contractual disputes;
  4. shareholder disputes; or
  5. professional and negligence claims.

2. How Significant is the Dispute?

Some commercial disputes will involve minimal issues, such as a disagreement over the terms of a small goods and services contract, whilst other disputes may comprise of a range of complex issues that are related to complex laws.

3. Attempt to Maintain a Good Relationship

Maintaining professional relationships with other businesses has real commercial value and can improve the business’ ability to function in the marketplace. So, how can a business resolve a commercial dispute with another business without permanently damaging the commercial relationship?

4. Resolve Your Dispute Early

Resolving the dispute at the earliest possible opportunity will contribute to preserving business relationships. Be prepared to have realistic expectations and remain open to suggestions as this will contribute to finding common ground. Flexibility is key. Even if only one minor issue can be agreed upon, this can vastly decrease the costs and stress for all involved.

5. Consider Alternatives to Court-Based Litigation

Staying out of the court system by utilising an alternative dispute resolution process has multitudes of benefits. The legal costs associated with commercial disputes can accumulate rapidly and relationships can become fractured as time proceeds. Reaching a negotiated agreement is almost always preferable to commencing action in court.

There are various options available, such as:

  1. mediation;
  2. negotiation;
  3. early neutral evaluation; and
  4. arbitration

These alternatives can allow for creative solutions whilst increasing privacy and preserving commercial relationships going forward. If your dispute is complex or you are unsure what mechanism is appropriate for your business, it is often sensible to pursue dispute resolution with the assistance of commercial lawyers in Perth who are experienced in alternative dispute resolution processes.

7. Litigation Should be a Last Resort

Litigation can have a significant toll on your business’ ability to achieve its goals. Resolving your dispute in a fast and effective manner should remain a top priority, and litigation should be considered a last resort. This short article provides a general information about the subject matter. We recommend seeking professional legal advice from an experienced commercial lawyer about your specific circumstances.

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