Why businesses should consider mediation instead of litigation (Part 1)

Businesses, irrespective of their scale or size, get into disputes of all kinds. Businesses, big and small alike, can find themselves in some sort of dispute with their staff members, suppliers, customers, business partners and, of course, other businesses.

Big businesses usually can afford to settle these disputes by taking legal action since most of them boast of a robust legal contingency portfolio and human resources but such is not the case for small companies.

Small companies often lack the human resources and funds to handle their conflicts and in truth, the possibility of a small business going completely out of business because of one extensive legal case is high. These business owners must, therefore, for their own good avoid the cost, deferral, aggravation, lack of control and insecurity typical of going to court.

Mediation as a means of resolving disputes is effective, efficient and very economical and as such, it’s no surprise that businesses are now favouring this alternative dispute resolution route over going to court. An expert mediator who is unbiased can against the background of the real practical concerns and business interests of the disputing parties come up with a resolution process that will focus on their mutual benefits and accord options.

For businesses, regardless of their scale and financial power, there are quite a number of advantages that come with choosing mediation over litigation. Some of them are discussed in this article.

A Mediator’s Unique Nature

An unassisted negotiation is rarely as effective as one handled by a mediator and this is because of special skills possessed by the mediator – a skill set the average business owner, even though they are adept at negotiating their own deals, doesn’t have. Mediators have a special and unbiased role which enables them to craft solutions the disputing parties might not be able to develop on their own. The reason being that s/he doesn’t determine who is wrong or right. A mediator job is not to takes sides but rather to initiate an effectual procedure, collect information and help to resolve the existing dispute.

A mediator assists the parties in coming to terms with a lot of things in a bid to resolve the existing dispute. The mediator achieves this by showing the parties, in relations to their dispute, where they were, where they are, where they want to be and how they can get there.

Emotions have a substantial influence on the attitudes of disputing parties towards resolution. This is a fundamental truth. So, a mediator’s roles include bringing together the parties in an environment that lets them express their emotions freely. This is to enable the parties to, for their own benefits, build novel and more productive methods of interrelating.

Power to Direct and Determine

The moment a case gets to court, the involved parties forfeit their power over the outcome. That is the reality for business owners when they choose to settle their disputes by litigation. They accept to lose power over the procedure and its result; they lose the power to a judge/jury. Mediation, however, is a wilful accord between the involved parties and it affords a structure that braces businesspersons’ ability to modify relations and straighten out their differences in an effective and efficient manner without forfeiting power over the outcome. The disputing parties get to jointly pick the mediator, issues to be mediated upon and convenient times for the process to take place. These are not all possible in litigation where the court is in full control.

A court of law imposes while mediators only propose solutions. In a lawsuit, the ruling is almost always a winner-takes-all one but mediation aims to provide a win-win solution for the parties involved. Furthermore, mediation helps to avoid, apart from being on the losing side of a monetary ruling, other attendant litigation risks such as loss of reputation, bad publicity, diversion of human resources and precious employee time, aggravation, etc.


The average business owner is constantly looking for ways to save cost and time and rightly so, because, in business, it’s a fundamental truth that time is money and money is time. And when it comes to dispute resolution, the economical path to follow is to choose mediation and by so doing avoid litigation. Resolving business disputes with mediation saves a business a whole lot of money and time as resolution can be attained within a few hours or days. Litigation can go on for years and that’s not good for any business. Similarly, mediation will only cost a small portion of the attendant cost of litigation which includes but not limited to attorney fees, discovery costs, and even probable appeal costs. Owners of business and their staff can quickly focus again on going about their business and making money when a successful mediation is achieved.

Other advantages of mediating business disputes have been highlighted in a subsequent article.

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