Law & Business Disputes

Disputes Law
Most people in business will have disputes either between their business and customers or their business and suppliers. If your dispute cannot be resolved between the parties in a fair and agreeable manner, then it has to be referred to the courts.

It can also be referred to mediation or arbitration and before that, may be taken to the Disputes Tribunal. The Tribunal will hear claims from consumers and can make an order after assessing the information put forward by the two parties.

Anyone can make a claim through the ADR.

The other method is by putting your dispute to mediation. The mediator is a referee who hears both sides of the argument and he/she will attempt to facilitate an agreement between the two parties.

The decision of the mediator is not binding to the parties, so if either or both parties disagree with the decision it can be passed on to a process known as arbitration.

Under arbitration an independent person known as an arbitrator will hear both sides and make a formal determination. That determination will be binding.


What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a process designed to resolve disputes and hopefully improve relationships. It is a process in which an independent and impartial person, known as the mediator, will work with the disputing parties to help them explore, and hopefully reach, a mutually acceptable resolution to their dispute.

The Authority of Mediation
The mediator has no authority regarding the outcome. The mediator therefore has no power to impose a settlement and should not attempt to do so.

Mediation is different from arbitration and litigation, in that mediation need not worry about what is legally right or the rules of evidence, and the parties are free to accept or reject the terms of settlement, which the mediator suggests.

By contrast, arbitrators and the courts (in litigation) are obliged to decide the dispute if they cannot find a solution elsewhere. That is, they are bound to apply the relevant law and rules of evidence and procedure. If it is litigation, the arbitrator’s award, judgement of the cost, or the decision of the court will legally bind the parties.

Do You Need A Lawyer?
You don’t need a lawyer in mediation - even if the other side has one. It is a good idea however, to get legal advice before the mediation commences. Sometimes it’s good to bring your lawyer to the mediation meeting, to explain the legal issues involved and provide input on the legal rights, as well as checking the final agreement.

Mediation is not an adversarial process, so lawyers do not have to be involved at all, and they certainly should not be present as advocates.

The parties have to make their own decision as to whether their lawyers need to be present, but the parties need to be aware that the final outcome does not have to be legally right – it has to be an outcome that the parties are happy with.