The global expansion of commerce, differing jurisdictions and increased pressure from the challenges that arose from the pandemic, have resulted in an increase in legal disputes, especially related to cross-border issues.  Giambrone & Partners is well-positioned to handle such disagreements, offering an integrated seamless service across our European offices.

Mediation is a highly popular and valid method of resolving commercial disputes and offers the parties the opportunity to stay in control and resolve the situation in a speedier and often less agitated manner.  The most recent statistics relating to the success rate of mediation suggest that the mediation process reaches a solution in 60-80 per cent of cases.

Khizar Arif, a partner in the litigation and dispute resolution team, points out "mediation provides a supportive and most importantly private environment to thrash out an acceptable solution agreeable to both parties. Focussing on communication and avoiding negativity." Khizar also remarked, "any decisions made in a mediation are not always binding and can be rejected."

When commercial disputes arise between businesses that have a trading relationship there is a strong possibility that the relationship becomes fractured.  Mediation conducted in a calm positive manner can go some way to repairing the damage and restoring the opportunity for the parties to continue to do business together.  The mediation process can begin at any time, even if some steps have been taken to litigate in court.  Even if the court process has begun, the proceedings can be paused to provide the parties with the opportunity to settle the matter without the involvement of the court.  If the opportunity to mediate in a dispute is suggested and rejected by one party, it is often not looked on favourably if the matter eventually is heard before a court.  Demonstrating a willingness to reach a resolution as opposed to being closed to such a suggestion is a considerably more advantageous stance.

Once the decision is made to attempt to resolve the dispute by means of mediation a mediator is appointed.  A mediator is a neutral third party trained in negotiation and capable of controlling an intense situation where feelings may run high and to avoid inflammatory behaviour escalating.  Mediators are drawn from many disciplines and have a wide range of experience and skills. The brief of a mediator is to avoid allocating blame and to find a way that both parties can accept which enables the matter to be resolved. 

It is strongly advised to have a legal advisor available for the duration of a mediation to guide and advise you, particularly when it comes to the terms of a potential settlement.  Giambrone's litigation and dispute resolution lawyers have considerable experience in advising in mediations of all types, especially complex cross-border matters and can bring years of experience to the process.  It is almost certain that each party will have to give ground and your legal advisor can provide an overall picture of the risks and advantages of the situation including, in certain circumstances, the potential reputational damage if the matter is heard in a public arena such as open court.  Should the matter attract the attention of the press, neither party can control the prospective press comment.

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.