Law&Business: Conflict Resolutions Through Mediation
Conflict is a definite part of everyday business and its impacts can be devastating if not properly handled. Bracing yourself against it doesn’t always promise to make it go away. On the other hand, one can manage it in a way that everyone goes home happy and with little or no regrets.
Litigation in dispute resolution is usually the first attempt to dispute resolution especially on occasions of conflict and breach of contract. Given the slow process of litigation in settling disputes and the financial constraints in doing so, the demand and appreciation for out court settlement are growing in popularity.
A friendly and favorable channel such as mediation is more suitable for dispute resolution for both entrepreneurs and corporate firms.
The role of a mediator is to help parties make discover a solution to their problem and arrive at an outcome that both parties are happy to accept. Mediators avoid taking sides, and bring out the possibility of alternative avenues of solving the dispute. The mediator has no authority to make binding decisions on the parties; he only uses certain procedures and skills to help negotiate a resolution of the disputes without recourse to adjudication.
In the process of conflict resolution, the mediator engages the two parties separately to discuss the case and the settlement thereof. The information shared to the mediator is confidential and hence the discussions of the meeting are not discussed with the other group. The mediator after a thorough evaluation of the two settlement option encourages both parties to openly discuss their settlement proposals. The mediator facilitates the negotiations, while encouraging the two parties to reach a win-win settlement.
Seeing that mediation works towards the future harmony of the parties in a business and that it also saves time and money, here are some crucial elements you should consider.
(a) While signing a contract, ensure that a dispute resolution clause is included in that contract. This should include
(i) what channels the parties should make use of.
(ii) What process should the dispute resolution follow?
(b) In the event that the two parties choose to settle by mediation, it is important to establish the criteria of appointing the mediator. Thereafter, the mediation will form the ground rules in which the parties shall engage.
Mediation as a means of dispute resolution is therefore encouraged as it ensures confidentiality of all discussions and documents presented. The procedure is fast and charges for it are much lower than the judicial ones. And finally, it is one of the most effective alternative means of dispute resolution that allows both parties to win and preserve the relationship of mutual interest.