From disputes amongst directors to misunderstandings in relation to company constitutions and instances of breach of contract, business disputes take all shapes and forms and are almost inevitable in the business world.
Dealing with the issue in a timely and efficient manner is essential to protecting your business from the risks associated with litigation further down the track. The decisions you make early on in attempting to resolve disputes will affect not only the viability of your business and its future success but also your reputation in your area of business.
At Dettmann Phair Lawyers, we know how emotionally taxing this can be. With our help, we can navigate you through all the legalities to keep your business operations afloat.
The following article will discuss how our experienced commercial lawyers can support you through a business dispute.
To learn more about our legal process involving disputes, visit our litigations and dispute page for further information.
Understanding the Nature of the Dispute
From the outset, our commercial litigation lawyers take the time to really understand the issues underpinning the dispute in order to ascertain its root cause.
Business disputes can often arise in various circumstances, such as a breakdown in communication or a misunderstanding between parties. Alternatively, the parties may have different opinions or objectives, or the dispute could involve a breach of contract, breach of duty, fraud or misrepresentation.
Once the cause of the dispute has been identified, our lawyers can develop a strategy for you and your business to move forward in resolving the dispute. This may involve a range of different legal strategies, including negotiation, mediation, arbitration or litigation. It may involve a combination of two or more of these strategies, depending on how the dispute plays out.
Disputes can be resolved early through considered negotiation, whether between the parties themselves or through their lawyers.
Negotiation involves discussions with the other party to reach an agreement. Where parties are negotiating a deal between themselves, it is still beneficial to have an engaged lawyer advising you of your rights and how you should make or respond to offers.
Negotiation is a preferable option in resolving your dispute because it allows both parties to contribute to the resolution of the dispute and can be time and cost-effective compared to other forms of dispute resolution. However, negotiation may only work when there is a significant power imbalance between the parties or when one or both parties are willing to compromise.
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process you may consider when trying to resolve your business dispute. Mediation involves attending to resolving disputes with a mediator, who is a neutral third party, that facilitates communication between both sides for the parties to reach an agreement. The mediator will also assist the parties to focus on the real issues of the dispute and explore various options to resolve them.
Mediation is often a preferable alternative to litigation because each party contributes to the outcome as opposed to a Judge or arbitrator imposing a decision, and the process is completely confidential. Mediation can assist the parties in communicating with each other when communication becomes difficult and helps the parties find a solution that they both can accept. Although meditation itself is non-binding, if an agreement is reached, the parties may make a written agreement and have Orders made by the Court to finalise the dispute. Mediation, however, is not compulsory, and an outcome is not guaranteed.
Arbitration is another alternative dispute resolution process involving an independent third party who assists in resolving the dispute. Unlike mediation, where the mediator facilitates an agreement between the parties, arbitration involves the arbitrator hearing evidence from both parties and making a binding, final decision that is enforceable. Further, unlike mediation, parties cannot withdraw from arbitration once the process has begun, and the process is much more formal and structured.
Arbitration is less formal than litigation and is often more time-efficient and more cost-effective. The parties usually agree on the arbitrator, and the arbitration is usually conducted privately, and the process is confidential. Another benefit of arbitration is that an arbitrator can be selected with expertise in the subject matter for highly technical cases. It is difficult to appeal an arbitrator’s decision, giving finality to the matter once a decision is made.
If the above forms of dispute resolution have failed and the dispute remains unresolved, then litigation can be an effective way to resolve the dispute. Through litigation, the parties will present their arguments and evidence to a Judge at trial, who will give judgment and make orders.
However, litigation is more than just time-consuming and expensive. It can also be emotionally taxing and drain resources away from your business. There is also some risk involved in litigation, in that you may disagree with the decision of the Judge, and you could receive a worse outcome had you not settled the dispute earlier. In some disputes, however, litigation may be the best option to resolve your dispute, given its structure and formality. Further, a good lawyer will be able to apply the law to the facts to predict a range of possible outcomes in litigation.
Dettmann Phair Lawyers: Tailored Solutions for Your Commercial Disputes
At Dettmann Phair Lawyers, we pride ourselves on tailoring our approach to each commercial dispute. By analysing the issues in commercial disputes and circumstances surrounding the dispute in the early stages, we can provide sensible advice on your options for settling or litigating your dispute.
Our commercial lawyers have the experience, business acumen and knowledge of the law to assist you in resolving your dispute as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible, ensuring that you achieve the best possible outcome.
If you are in the midst of a business-related dispute, no matter how small or complex it may be, contact us at (02) 9412 4500 to discuss the best way forward for you and your clients and your business.