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Is Court the only way? Dispute Resolution

20 October 2017

Dispute Resolution

When people receive legal correspondence as a pre-cursor to litigation, they may believe that Court is the only answer. That is far from the truth. Court is, now as ever, to be seen as an absolute last resort if the parties are unable to resolve the dispute between themselves or by finding that resolution through an alternative method. At Poole Alcock LLP, we are experienced to deal with all types of dispute resolution. We are ready to assist you and support you whichever turn your case may take.

Exchange of correspondence

A lot of the time, matters can be resolved simply by addressing initial correspondence sent to you. Most disputes can be resolved between the parties provided that correspondence is dealt with. Sometimes, Solicitors are appointed at a stage when the parties have, between themselves, attempted to resolve the matter with exchange of emails and letters and, as such, this avenue may have already been exhausted by the time we are instructed. However, the power of a Solicitors’ letterhead may be all it takes to bring a swift resolution to a matter.

Round table meeting

If letters and emails do not work, it may be appropriate to meet face to face with the other party. This can be undertaken with the support of your Solicitor. Both parties can then seek to resolve a dispute between themselves. If a resolution cannot be sought, then round table meetings are often useful. The purpose is to try and establish the real issues in a case and to understand what a party is particularly upset about. This can assist in not only narrowing the issues of a dispute but also in understanding what makes the other side “tick” when it comes to sending future correspondence in trying to bring the matter to a conclusion.

Arbitration

Like a Judge, an arbitrator can decide a dispute when both parties agree to enter into an arbitration process. The parties must agree to the process in order for the arbitrator’s decision to be binding on all parties. One benefit of arbitration is that the matter remains confidential, unlike Court proceedings which are of public record. This may be particularly appealing to larger corporate clients who may wish to resolve a dispute without having the scrutiny of independent third parties.

Adjudication

Sometimes an alternative dispute resolution procedure may be detailed within a contract between the parties. This is particularly prevalent in the construction industry where parties will agree to undertake adjudication should a dispute arise. The procedure is also detailed within legislation in certain circumstances. Adjudication is a particularly swift method of resolving disputes. The basis behind it is to allow construction projects to continue. It allows them to not get bogged down in lengthy litigation, thus halting construction works.

Expert determination

Sometimes the key point in a dispute will rest upon the opinion of an expert. Rather than proceeding through a lengthy litigation case, parties may agree to refer a matter to an independent expert. Similar to an arbitration, they agree that the decision of the expert will be binding. A swift resolution can be found in such circumstances where the general facts of the case are agreed and the only issue to be decided would rest upon the opinion of an expert in litigation proceedings in any event.

Mediation

Probably the most well known method of alternative dispute resolution, mediation is a voluntary process entered into by the parties. An independent mediator will assist the parties in reaching their own settlement agreement. A mediator does not have the power to impose a decision upon the parties unlike some options discussed above. In a mediation, as with a round table meeting or exchange of correspondence, any settlement that is reached is down to the parties reaching that settlement through discussion and, more often than not, an element of concession. Undoubtedly cheaper than proceeding through a lengthy litigation battle, mediation is becoming more and more prevalent.

Dispute Resolution – Summary

Whichever route your dispute proceeds down, be it through to litigation at the Court’s door or by one of the alternative methods of dispute resolution, we assure you that the Solicitors at Poole Alcock LLP have a wealth of experience in dealing with bringing disputes to a swift resolution that meets our clients expectations.

To discuss your requirements, and to book an initial consultation, contact one of our expert solicitors in our Litigation team on 01270 762325. Alternatively you can visit our litigation services page here or complete the form linked here and we will call you back.

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