For many small-business owners, disputes can be an unfortunate feature of business life. Even small disagreements can create added costs and require the advice of a commercial lawyer.
While Court action is one avenue that parties can pursue, there are a whole range of dispute resolution services that a small-business owner can rely on and that might be more appropriate for their situation.
Within alternative dispute resolution, there are a number of different services, including mediation, collaborative law, arbitration, adjudication and conciliation.
Each of these will employ a different dispute resolution process, without forcing the parties involved to undertake litigation through the Court system. Each of these will result in a binding agreement that binds all the parties. Working with a commercial lawyer will also ensure you choose the correct dispute resolution avenue for the type of dispute you have encountered.
It's also important to note there are a number of different services that are designed to help resolve issues that arise outside of trading activities. This might involve a dispute with a landlord, for example, or a disagreement over financial services.
Any dispute that arises in this setting will instead require companies to undertake resolution through a dedicated service like an Ombudsman.
Of course, there will also be some situations where the only option is to pursue legal action through the Courts, especially if the case is complex or a suitable outcome cannot be reached with alternative dispute resolution.
Regardless of the avenue they pursue, small-business owners will need to be sure they consult with a legal expert to ensure they have the right advice. Consulting with a specialised commercial lawyer before entering into a commercial contract, and again as soon as a dispute arises, will give you the best chance of achieving a satisfactory outcome.