Commercial mediation is a process in which an independent person (the mediator) helps disputing parties reach a settlement that brings the dispute to an end. This form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is usually voluntary and flexible, and it is often much quicker than court proceedings. The process can also be more cost-effective than litigation.
In many cases, commercial mediation is the most effective way to resolve a business dispute. Not only does it save time and money, but it also enables the parties to come up with their own solution and avoid having an outside decision imposed on them by a judge or other third party. In addition, it allows the parties to maintain good business relationships by working together to find a solution.
As experienced lawyers and certified mediators, the members of SSAM’s commercial mediation team have a unique perspective on complex disputes. Their skills and knowledge of a wide range of legal issues and practices bring modern, state-of-the-art strategies to commercial mediation. They understand the cross-disciplinary complexities, heightened priorities and risks that face today’s C-suites and boardrooms and are well-versed in commercial mediation procedures and protocols.
The mediation process starts with the mediator receiving information about each dispute from both parties in confidence, before organising an initial plenary session at which the disputing parties meet and discuss their positions. Generally, only the disputing parties attend the sessions (although they may be accompanied by their legal representatives). The mediator is not a judge and does not make a ruling, but rather enables and enables discussion to help the parties find areas of agreement.
During mediation sessions, the mediator will work with each side to create an agenda of topics for discussion and brainstorm possible solutions. This can be a difficult and delicate exercise, but it is vital to the success of the mediation. The mediator is neutral and will try to keep conversations calm and focused, allowing each side to voice their position without interruption. However, if one side is unreasonable and does not genuinely want to reach an agreement, the mediation is unlikely to succeed.
Once the mediator has helped the parties to identify potential solution paths, they will begin exploring those options in detail. This can include looking at options for compromise, reaching joint agreements and looking at the costs of different resolutions. It is important that the parties do not move forward with any resolution options that they are not happy with, as this can lead to further dispute. At the same time, it is important that they remain open to suggestions from the mediator and are willing to listen to what the other party has to say. This can be an incredibly useful and productive process and is a key part of the mediation process. It is also helpful if the parties take time to reflect on their progress after the mediation is completed. This will help them to consider their approach and how they might change it in future if the need arises.