Disputes with other businesses, or within businesses, can mean missed opportunities. In the fast-moving commercial world, it is in everyone’s interests to move quickly and find a resolution.
Mediation is a speedier, usually cheaper and generally a more satisfactory way to find individual solutions to commercial disputes than traditional routes like litigation or arbitration. As an independent neutral, the mediator works with both parties to find solutions that meet everyone’s needs. Most commercial mediations can be set up in a couple of weeks, and last for just one (sometimes long) day of meetings. The format is usually a mixture of meetings between the mediator and the individual parties, and meetings between all the parties together with the mediator but this will vary depending on the situation. The mediator will guide the proceedings in the way they feel most appropriate to reach a settlement.
The process works around 80% of the time, so you can usually settle problems without spending vast amounts on protracted informal negotiation or court action. You can also save considerable expense in terms of disruption to your business. Throughout the process you remain in control – you only have to discuss the matters you choose and do not have to accept any of the proposals put forward; the mediator has no power to impose a settlement on the parties.
One of the reasons that mediation is often more satisfactory than going to court is the flexibility of the solutions available. Courts can really only award money or in more limited cases order a party to do or not to do something. In mediation the parties can come up with a commercial solution that meets both their needs which may be cross licensing of intellectual property, renegotiation of contract clauses or an agreement for one party to buy another out – there are few limits on what can be agreed.
Parties are free to cover in a single mediation a range of issues that the court system would require to be heard in a variety of different courts or even countries. This means it is a very powerful tool for complex disputes which allows the parties to avoid potential language problems in foreign courts or the risk of different courts producing different judgements.
You can find out more about the mediation process in our Frequently Asked Questions section.
At Bonaccord, we’re honoured to have won a number of awards including as UK Commercial Mediation Firm of the Year. We have also won awards that specifically recognise our expertise in resolving disputes in the life science sector. Bonaccord’s founder Patricia Barclay has extensive global experience of managing substantial departments and projects, and has sat on multiple boards and senior management committees in very different organisations. Accordingly she has a practical understanding of how business works and a sensitivity to different cultures – she’s ideally placed as a business-to-business commercial mediator. She has a wide international network of well qualified mediators from a variety of backgrounds from which the most appropriate mediator can be selected where Bonaccord is acting for one of the parties or where joint mediators are preferred.
We can help you prepare for mediation, attend the sessions with you as an advocate or act as your mediator. Additionally we also offer training in mediation and a number of related topics such as negotiation techniques, holding effective meetings and having difficult conversations. You can find out more about our training services here.
We also offer facilitation services. A neutral facilitator can help if you need to have a difficult discussion over strategic change. Examples of this could be mergers, realignment of shareholdings or generational handover within family businesses.
Sign up here for Bonresolve, the Bonaccord Newsletter for those involved in managing conflict.