The current COVID-19 situation has disrupted much of our life including the functioning of the court system. It is unlikely the courts will quickly deal with matters that do not affect life or liberty in the immediate future.

However, while the courts might stand still, that does not mean disputes do. Now, more than ever, it is worth looking at the alternative ways to resolving disputes.

If you're in a position – from a custody dispute to a commercial dispute – that needs quick resolution, it's worth exploring these options.

Wynn Williams has specialists in all areas willing and able to assist.


Arbitration is a private court process, where an arbitrator makes the decision, governed by the Arbitration Act 1996. That means the requirements are less formal and less strict.

In a crisis situation, it provides lots of flexibility and speed – for example the arbitrator can work to the timetable agreed between the parties and hearings can easily take place online. In some cases, the matter can even be determined without the need for a formal hearing but simply on the papers.


Mediation is a process where the parties try and agree a resolution through a facilitated discussion. The mediator is a neutral person in the room there to help guide the parties and their lawyers (if attending).

As with arbitration, mediations can happen quickly and can happen remotely.


Direct negotiation is often an easy way to resolve disputes and it is also often over-looked. In times of crisis there are huge benefits to all parties in settlement. Picking up the phone, or making the first offer, is a good way to get the ball rolling.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.