Commercial mediation is a voluntary and flexible process whereby an independent mediator helps parties reach an agreement through discussions and negotiations. It can be a faster, cheaper and more satisfactory resolution than court litigation. It also preserves business relationships.
Commercial dispute mediation can be used by individuals, businesses, insurance companies, trusts, financial institutions, and governmental bodies. It is an effective alternative to lengthy, costly legal proceedings, especially when the dispute involves complex contractual issues, employment disputes, insolvency or business-to-business dealings.
The commercial litigation team at SSAM has extensive experience in helping clients resolve complex disputes through negotiation and mediation. We understand the unique concerns and needs of our corporate clients, which allows us to work with them to find creative solutions that meet their goals. This includes cost savings, flexibility, relationship preservation and confidentiality.
In a commercial dispute, there are typically two sides to a story and each side is defending their own interests. This can make it difficult to find common ground and a solution that everyone is happy with. However, a commercial mediator is trained to encourage productive discussion between the opposing parties and to help them find areas of agreement.
Unlike a judge or arbitrator, the role of a mediator is not to make decisions or assess and judge the strength of each party’s case. Instead, the mediator aims to facilitate discussions between the parties and provide a platform for them to explore options to find a solution. This can include joint sessions where all parties are present, as well as private meetings to help each side better understand the other’s underlying concerns and interests.
While commercial mediation can be useful in a number of situations, it is not right for all cases. Some instances where commercial mediation would not be appropriate include when the dispute has a clear and obvious legal point that requires the input of a specialist court or if it involves a criminal element. In addition, the legal costs involved in commercial litigation are often prohibitive and are often disproportionate to the value of the dispute at stake.
One important factor to consider is whether the issue in dispute has a strong emotional component. While this can make mediation more challenging, it is important for a mediator to recognise and address these factors where possible. The mediator may use a variety of techniques to help ease tensions, such as encouraging the parties to take breaks from the proceedings and exploring creative ideas to solve the issue.
Before a commercial mediation starts, it is advisable for both sides to prepare a summary of their story about the dispute. This can be prepared by lawyers or the parties themselves and it should outline their main points of disagreement. A summary of what they are willing to compromise on can also be helpful, as the mediator will aim to get them to a place where this is possible. The final draft of the settlement agreement should then be reviewed by each party’s legal counsel. commercial mediation