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Dispute resolution becoming easier for small businesses

Resolving a contract dispute can be a stressful time for small businesses.

When small-business owners run into problems with other companies over a commercial contract, it can be difficult to know where to turn to. Obviously, contacting a lawyer is a good start. Our lawyers offer personalised advice to suit your needs.

Another option that small-business owners can take is to investigate the various alternative dispute resolution mechanisms that are available for companies looking to solve a disagreement without going to court. To help make this step, the federal government released a new online tool on the 24th of June that can help direct business owners to the right avenues for their disagreement.

The online tool, named Dispute Support, offers users the possibility to select the problems they are experiencing, the type of dispute that has occurred and the state they operate in. Using this information, the website points people to the relevant authority that can mediate their dispute.

Small Business Commissioner Mark Brennan pointed to the value that this new opportunity would bring for companies looking to resolve a commercial dispute. 

"Sometimes problems escalate into a dispute and you need help to resolve them. There are lots of services available, but it can be difficult to know where to go to find them and to work out which is the right service for your dispute," said Mr Brennan.

"Small businesses will also find information to help them to understand and manage their dispute and tips for avoiding disputes in the future."

This service makes it easy for small businesses to find the right alternative dispute resolution service for their situation, without having to resort to more costly legal action. If the alternative dispute resolution service fails, the parties may still apply to a Court for a resolution.

Of course, it is still important to consult with a lawyer while formulating commercial contracts and before beginning any dispute resolution process.

"I encourage small businesses to put agreed work in writing, to get advice before they sign a contract, and to communicate early and often," said Mr Brennan.

If you are looking to undertake a dispute resolution process, make sure you contact a specialised corporate law firm to discuss your options and find the right course of action.