Business Disputes: Mediation, Arbitration, Or Court?

If you run a business and are involved in a dispute with another business, sometimes talking it out between the two of you just won't work. When you need a third party to get involved, you might think court is in the future. However, it's not the only option. Mediation and arbitration are also options. However, not all of these three can work in every circumstance. There's usually one form that stands out from the others depending on the issues surrounding your case.

Trying to Stay Low-Key

Sometimes you and the other party don't want the publicity that can surround a full lawsuit. In that case, mediation or arbitration are better. Arbitration can be private, and mediation doesn't have to be discussed outside the companies at all, either. Mediation is rather informal -- you can't enforce the final agreement and it kind of relies on the honor system. It's better for friendly disputes where both parties are interested in working with each other to find a solution.

Practical Issues

Sometimes you need a legally binding outcome, but you also need it fast or cheap, or both. For that, there's arbitration. Consider it litigation lite: both parties have to abide by the arbiter's final decision, and the arbiter is a neutral party just as a judge would be. But it's a faster process that doesn't require as much money thrown at it from either side. Arbitration would be your best solution if you need this combination of practicality and legal procedure. It's also less of a hassle if you're dealing with an international opponent, too.

No Cooperation

Sometimes, though, one party is just not going to cooperate, and both sides will insist they're right. If the battle has become too complicated and acrimonious for arbitration -- and there are no contractual clauses stating the parties must go to arbitration instead of court -- then plain old litigation is the answer. This is the full lawyer-judge-jury setup that can result in a settlement or verdict. One advantage to litigation is that it requires all evidence be disclosed on both sides. If you think your opponent is hiding evidence, then litigation may be a good path for you.

Of course, this all varies from case to case. Speak with a commercial litigation lawyer to figure out if going to court really is in your best interests or if you should choose another option. Visit websites like for more info.