For every business owner there is the possibility that they may be a party to a commercial dispute with another individual or business, and then need to seek guidance and ultimately representation from a commercial law firm. That representation may manifest itself in a court which will rule upon the dispute.

Court hearings are never desirable, firstly, because they are so costly. Second, no matter how strong you believe your case is, and how well your commercial lawyers argue that case in court, you are never certain as to whether the court will come down in your favour or that of the other party. For these reasons and others, having to go to court to decide upon a commercial dispute can be extremely stressful for all concerned.

Thankfully, there are alternatives to going to court, and one which many business owners and commercial lawyers will vouch for is mediation. In effect, mediation is a means of settling commercial disputes informally, and the process is presided over by a third party who is both neutral and independent.

Mediation is a voluntary process, so it relies on both parties who are in dispute agreeing to it. Unfortunately, this means if the other party is determined to have their day in court, mediation will not be possible. However, when mediation is possible it has several advantages over going to court to settle a commercial dispute, and here are seven of those advantages.

Faster Than Court: Taking a commercial dispute to court can take years and all that time it is hanging over you. Mediation, on the other hand, is a much quicker process that can take weeks, days or even hours to conclude, allowing you to move on.

Costs Less Than Court: No matter what reason you go to court, you know it is going to cost us a lot. Worse, in a commercial dispute, the financial benefit from winning your case can be wiped out by the costs. Mediation costs much less than court.

More Privacy: If you take a commercial dispute to court, the case and many of the details concerning it will be a matter of public record which may not be desirable. Mediations are a private process, and all details are kept confidential.

Greater Informality: Courts can seem intimidating and follow strict and somewhat confusing procedures. The environment within mediation is much more informal and thus likely to seem less confrontational and inflexible.

The Two Parties Decide The Outcome: One of the advantages of mediation most cited is that the outcome is agreed upon by the two parties that are in dispute rather than a judgement handed down in the form of a court order. This usually results in a more satisfactory settlement for both sides.

Can Continue/Strengthen Business Relationships: Commercial disputes can occur between two individuals or businesses that previously had an excellent relationship. Whilst the court turns them into adversaries, mediation is a joint effort and has a process with an outcome more conducive to enabling their previous good relationship to continue.

Higher Satisfaction Rates: It is on record that those who have used a mediation process have a far higher satisfaction rate concerning the outcome than those who have gone to court. There is also a greater commitment to fulfilling what was agreed by those using mediation.

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