When facing any sort of business dispute, the parties involved typically want to come to a resolution as easily as possible. The issue often takes time and focus away from the business, so figuring it out quickly is also important.
The good news is that drawn-out court battles are not the only option for dispute resolution. There are other methods that may be more appropriate for the situation, although litigation is sometimes a better choice.
Litigation is the most familiar method, and the American Bar Association discusses the court’s role in the process. Attorneys play a major role in litigation and they present evidence and witness testimony to the judge, jury or both to support their client’s case.
This process can take a while, depending on the circumstances, and there are often numerous hearings and orders along the way. After hearing from both sides, the judge or jury makes the decision as to who wins, although the involved parties may agree to a settlement before that point. The information presented is public record.
According to the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation, mediation is an alternative to litigation in which the parties come to an agreement on their own with the help of a mediator. This neutral third party works with both sides and proposes creative and sustainable solutions. Unlike with litigation, the agreement is confidential and nonbinding.
There is also a neutral third party in arbitration, although this person makes the final decision rather than the disputants. Each side presents evidence and makes arguments for their cases. The arbitrator’s final decision is confidential and binding.
Both mediation and arbitration are typically less expensive and usually quicker than litigation. However, in complex and contested cases, litigation may still be more beneficial.