As a Georgia business owner, you know the importance of contracts. Many aspects of running your business involve contracts with clients, customers, vendors, suppliers or other businesses.
The success of a contract requires both sides to perform their contractual duties and obligations. Having contractual language that clearly spells out each party’s responsibilities is essential.
No matter how strong your contracts are, there is likely to come a time when you find yourself involved in a contract dispute. There may be a misunderstanding about the terms of the contract or changed circumstances could make it difficult or impossible for one party to fulfill their obligations.
Mediation and arbitration
There are various options available to you when you are faced with a contract dispute. Before rushing to court, you may choose to use an alternative dispute resolution method, such as mediation or arbitration, to resolve the dispute.
Some contracts even have language requiring parties to use one of these methods before resorting to traditional litigation. You may have an attorney at a mediation or arbitration, just like you can in a courtroom hearing.
Mediation involves a third-party who acts in an objective, neutral manner to help you and the other side find a solution to the dispute. A mediator does not decide the outcome or make a ruling like a judge but listens to each side and helps guide the conversation to a resolution.
Arbitration is like mediation, with the only difference being that an arbitrator has the power to decide on the outcome. If you do not resolve your dispute at mediation, nothing changes, but if you do not resolve it at an arbitration, you must adhere to the arbitrator’s decision.
You always have the option of traditional litigation if the dispute is not resolved through mediation or arbitration, or if you do not want to use those options. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option and discussing them with an experienced business attorney can you decide which course of option is best for you.