1 October 2019

The Benefits of Mediation for a Small Business

In this article we look at how mediation can save time, money and anxiety when faced with a business dispute. Mediation leaves you in control of how the mater is settled and it can be achieved quickly. No expensive court fees and no long waits for the case to be heard.

It is often the way of business that people will disagree. It might be an unhappy customer, it might be a supplier that hasn’t done what you expected. It doesn’t take very long for these disagreements to turn into major issues with parties on both side threatening court action and solicitors.

Once the solicitors get involved, the costs of the dispute can quickly climb and going to court is an expensive way to settle the matter.

It is a good idea to explore mediation as an option as early on as possible. Mediation is much less expensive than a court action and more importantly, takes up far less of your valuable time and can reduce the overall stress of the dispute.

How Does Mediation Work?

Basic mediation involves a meeting of both parties together with the chosen mediator. Each party is given the opportunity to explain the issue from their point of view, how it has affected them and how they would like to see it resolved. All this is done without any interruption from the other sire and with the help of the mediator asking questions. Once both parties have explained the situation as they see it, the mediator will usually meet with each of them privately.

Potential solutions are suggested by the parties, not the mediator, and these suggestions are then explored by the other party. This usually leads to a bit of dialogue between the parties, via the mediator. Once an agreement looks likely, the parties will then meet together to finalise their joint agreement to settle the dispute. The mediator will draw up a settlement agreement and both parties sign it – it is legally binding.

What are the Benefits of Mediating a Dispute?

There are two main benefits to settling a dispute via mediation. Firstly, both parties have some control over what is agreed, no-one has to agree to anything they are not happy with. If the matter were to be decided by the courts, the decision would be handed down by the judge and the parties would have to accept it, even if neither of them liked it.

The second major benefit of mediation is the cost. A typical mediation might cost each party something in the region of £1,000 and they don’t need any legal representation or solicitors involved unless they wish to. There are no court costs or barrister’s fees to pay and the process usually takes a day to complete. Very often, going to court will introduce a long delay into the process as the court service is so busy. Mediation is far less time consuming for the business owners and won’t distract them from the main task of running the business so much.

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