The Four Levels of Dispute Resolution

When involved in a conflict, parties have a number of resolution options at their disposal. Starting from the least costly in terms of resources to the lengthiest and most expensive, these options are prevention, mediation, arbitration and litigation.

Prevention

Before embarking on a business relationship with any party, it is important to anticipate the potential conflicts that may occur and favorably resolve those issues clearly and completely in the terms and conditions of your business agreement.  This is, by far, the most favorable way to resolve business disagreements – before they occur.  For best results, each party should draft and review the agreement with an experienced Florida business attorney.  An attorney can ensure that each party’s best interests are taken into consideration and that specific issues are anticipated and remedied in the text. It is also essential that an attorney work with those parties to determine the jurisdiction that would be used to resolve any conflicts.  This is important in case mediation, arbitration, or litigation are to be used in the future to resolve disputes.

Mediation

Mediation is an informal and confidential way for two parties to negotiate their differences in the presence of a neutral, third-party mediator. The third-party mediator is a trained individual who works with both parties to come up with a solution. It’s important to note that the mediator does not make any decisions or issue any orders. In most cases, mediation has the advantage of also costing us and being less contentious. Since there is less contention and cost it’s very likely that after mediation both parties can continue to do business. However, if parties are unable to resolve their differences with mediation they could escalate their method of resolution to arbitration or litigation.

Arbitration

Arbitration is a structured resolution process that is done in front of an arbitrator, or person that has been designated as the decision-maker in a conflict. In some cases, a board of arbitrators can be used in arbitration rather than a single arbitrator. Arbitration is formal and its structure, though often less costly and more confidential than litigation. On the other hand, there are fewer options to appeal a decision than there are in litigation.

“Mediation is an informal and confidential way for two parties to negotiate their differences in the presence of a neutral, third-party mediator.”

Litigation

In litigation, parties use the public courts of a county state or the federal government to resolve a conflict. During litigation parties and their legal Representatives present evidence and make a case before a county state or federal judge. Depending on the size of the case and the type of the case litigation may also include a jury. In most cases, litigation is not the preferred method of resolution because it is very costly, very time-consuming, and is done in the public domain in terms of information. In other words litigation is a public process and not confidential. However, litigation has the advantage of a hierarchy of public courts, meaning that if a party is displeased with the decision in a lower court they can appeal the decision with a higher court at a different time.

The Importance of Legal Counsel

It is very important that when parties use prevention, mediation, arbitration or litigation that they do so with the assistance of an experienced business attorney. Are you in the process of embarking on a new business relationship and would like to prevent future business conflicts?  Is there a business dispute that may end up in mediation, arbitration or even litigation?  If so, call the attorneys of South Florida Law PLLC today on (954) 900-8885 or reach out to us via our contact form by clicking here.

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