Reputation is a very valuable asset to a business. Businesses reputation is the public's or traders perception of the business, how it operates in the market place - the quality of its products and service, how it treats its employees, how it deals with problems when they arise. It is important to realise that reputation is controlled by consumers' perceptions, and not how a business operates.
Mediation is a quick and effective method of resolving business disputes which can adversely affect your business reputation. Solicitor and Court proceedings can take a long time, be very expensive and cause long lasting damage to your business by media report, social media posts, bad reviews and loss of standing in the trade or profession. Mediation offers a different route to resolving these business disputes. Mediation; us a much softer approach than traditional solicitor letters and court litigation. This latter approach tends to fix parties positions and damages relationships. Mediation allows parties to talk about their grievances whilst maintaining relationships. Mediation is a much quicker and easier process to achieving a settlement.
There is a growing trend towards resolving disputes through mediation compared to litigation. In part this is due to the increased availability of mediation and the recognised value of mediation in solving disputes.
When a compliant is made and left unresolved, this can increase the chance that business reputation can suffer. We at Alexander Christian Mediation can help parties in a dispute to find a mutually agreeable solution. Allowing both parties to move on.
One of the most useful features of mediation and alternative dispute resolution. The ability to stop complaints escalating and getting out of hand, cannot be underestimated. The quicker and earlier that you start engaging with the party making a complaint the better.
By contacting Alexander Christian Mediation at the start of a complaint, we can assist both parties to come to a mutually acceptable resolution. It is important to understand that all mediation is private and confidential. This can be written into the settlement agreement.
This can prevent damage to a business brand and professional reputation.
When communication has broken down. Reputation and service have been called into question. Alexander Christian Mediation can help both parties to come to a mutually acceptable agreement, before a compliant is made public by a client. Mediation can help to stop damage happening to a business's reputation on review sites, social media platforms, trading standards investigations and with professional and trade bodies.
A hidden benefit of mediation is that mediation allows you to learn from past events. Mediation allows you to speak to your client unfettered. Both parties in mediation are allowed to speak freely about their dispute and to express their concerns and frustrations. This can be very enlightening, helping to build customer relationship procedures that can help reduce the chance of other disputes arising.
Mediation reduces risks of damage to your reputation, your business or organisation's reputation. Court litigation is very public and is very newsworthy. Even small businesses, sole traders, shops, larger local businesses, and national businesses can find themselves caught up in disputes which get reported. Once these are reported in the press, trade and professional journals, the internet and on social media, this can result in negative publicity that can damage your reputation.
Bad reviews on review sites and search engines can be difficult if not impossible to remove once they have been posted. Claims of performing business services in bad faith, deliberate lies about you or your business, can be extremely damaging to a business. They maybe unfair, untrue, fair or true. Bad online reviews create the perception that your business is unreliable, while bad press articles can make it seem your business cuts corners. This can tarnish your brand and deter customers. The propensity for news to 'go viral' has highlighted the need to protect business reputations.
Your reputation is something that have spent many years building up and needs to be protected. Your brand is vulnerable to attack from different sources: competitors, dissatisfied customers, disgruntled staff, the media and protesters.
For a business, unresolved disputes can have an effect on business performance, disillusioned staff, wasted man hours, and an inability to move forward.
Disputes involve worry, expense and time.
Any process which publicises negative information about a business may cause irreparable damage to your business. Information about a dispute may become public through social media in a matter of minutes. Trust built up over many years maybe destroyed - amongst consumers, employees, and suppliers. Repairing the damage is a long time consuming and expensive process.
Falling out with another company or with a customer can put your business at risk.
Federation of Small Business (FSB) :-
2016 research by the FSB "found that an average valve of the most recent dispute for a small business is £18,000 and the average cost to resolve it is £17,000, comprising both direct and indirect costs, meaning that the cost of resolving disputes are disproportionately high....It is not surprising that [the FSB] research shows that 17% of small businesses have said that their most recent dispute has been left unresolved. In many of these cases, this would involve not being able to recover money that they are owed. as nearly three-quaters (72%) of small businesses reported that their disputes were in relation to late and non-payment, that is significant economic damage."
Mediators help parties in a dispute to communicate about the issues of concern to them and help participants to negotiate and find solutions that are acceptable to everyone involved. At the end of the mediation process, it is hoped the parties can come to a mutually agreed solution. Mediators are neutral and have no interest in the outcome of the dispute and cannot impose an outcome on the parties, unlike a Judge at court.
Mediators will help you to manage your emotions and communicate with the other party. The mediator will help you to make your points calmly, clearly, listen to the other side without interrupting and getting angry. The mediator will help you identify what is important, what is problematic, and what solutions can be explored and agreed. The Mediator will help you if your finding the process stressful.
Mediators do not give legal advice. The mediator will not suggest possible solutions or advise you on whether any proposed solution is in your interests or not. The mediator will remain completely impartial.
Generally, mediation is much quicker than the traditional court route. You book an appointment with a mediator and mediation can take place. With the court route you might have to wait many months for a court hearing date which may be cancelled at short notice, even on the day. This can result in many months of delays, whilst you wait on a new hearing date that all parties can attend. If a court hearing is cancelled, you will be charged a deemed fee by the barrister, and a further fee for any future hearing.
Disputes can drag on for a long time before getting to Court. While the dispute rumbles on towards a hearing, you will be expected to commit a huge amount of time, energy, and money to maintain your legal position and prepare for the hearing. So, mediating early can save you huge sums of money.
Mediation is cheaper and quicker.
Mediation has a very high success rate. Why is this important? For a small business, 'time is money'. Anything that takes you away from running your business is costing you money.
Mediation gives parties to a dispute an alternative to the traditional expensive and risky route of litigation. Parties enter into negotiations to find an agreement. Anything can be tried/ offered to make a deal or withdrawn if it is not acceptable without endangering a party's formal position.
When in mediation, you are in control of the process, and you can reach an agreement based on the interests of the parties. When you go to court to resolve an issue, the Judge will make a judgement based on the law, and the interests of each party may not be considered.
Mediation allows you to stay in control. You have greater control over the decisions you make, unlike the court route, where a Judge decides for you. In mediation you can decide how you want to resolve the dispute. You do not have to accept a proposal if you are not happy with it.
Mediation can help to maintain relationships. Going through Court is very polarising and will put pressure on relationships. Mediation focuses on communication and finding solutions that work for everyone.
Disputes can be resolved by considering the parties interests rather than legal rights.
The mediation process:
Parties are not committed to a negotiated deal until a written agreement is drawn up by the parties, and signed by both parties.
Where the Courts feel mediation should been considered and one party unreasonably refuses. The Court might bear this in mind when making a judgement, in relation to costs.
Reputation disputes are generally about getting someone to stop some type of behaviour or to rectify some misunderstanding. That said, it is better to negotiate, as this is exactly what your solicitor and barrister will try to do for you. Trying to settle your matter out of Court is in your interest, as it will save you considerable sums of money on letters, telephone calls, meetings, applications, the production of court bundles and instructing a barrister who will represent you in the Court.
Mediation is a very successful method of resolving disputes and offers a cheaper route to justice than the court system.
The litigation route always carries a risk. This may include a Judge that is 'not with you' in the hearing. The Judge may not be interested in the merits of the argument and instead adopts a pragmatic and subjective approach to the case. The Judge could decide the case on grounds that have not even be pleaded by your barrister - Ali v Dinc (2022).
Mediation can help to reduce the risks of reputation damage. Court litigation and news media coverage can have adverse consequences for your reputation. Regardless of whether you win or lose. This is because,the is press and individuals can report on the matter in social media . However, mediation is private and confidential. It cannot be reported in the press or social media.
Mediation can protect trade secrets and other sensitive business information, because mediation is private and confidential.
Mediation can help you deal with larger more powerful organisation. As mediation can help avoid large legal costs. Mediation can help to level the playing field, as large organisations have financial reserves and other resources held disputes. Small businesses are more vulnerable to the disruption caused by litigation - time and money required to litigate.
Mediation can help to preserve supply chains, resolve issues with buyers, and maintain funding arrangements. This can help prevent problems with profitability and cash flow. Mediation can help to prevent competitors taking over your clients and market.
There is not a wrong time to mediate. Mediation can take place at any time before your case reaches a final hearing.
The best time to mediate is as soon as you can . This will help reduce the amount of time and money spent on the dispute. Before the parties become entrenched in their legal positions and before large sums have been spent on legal expenses.
Both sides may come to an agreement in a couple of hours, or it might take more than a couple of sessions. Most civil mediation meetings are concluded in a day.
The mediator will allow the parties to speak freely about their concerns about their dispute. The parties will be able to talk about their problems and concerns. The mediator will help the parties to communicate and understand the each side's point of view and attempt to to come to a mutually acceptable settlement.
During the course of the day, the dispute mediation process will provide you with the best possible chance of negotiating a mutually agreed solution. Once agreed, you will both draft and sign a legally binding mediation agreement which sets out the terms of the solution you negotiated together. The mediator is not involved in the drafting of this agreement. This is to ensure complete impartiality.
You do not have to be in the same room as the other party you are in dispute with. The Mediator will use private rooms to help you resolve your disagreement without direct contact.
Usually, the parties book three rooms. The larger room, both parties usually attend to state their opening statements. Thereafter parties are in smaller separate rooms. If settlement is achieved both parties will attend the larger room for them or their lawyers to draft the agreement.
When a settlement is reached. The settlement agreement must be recorded in writing in the agreed terms by the parties themselves or their solicitors. The mediator will play no part in the writing of the settlement agreement or signing of the agreement.
The settlement agreement must be signed by all the parties and their lawyers, and must state the agreed outcome of the mediation.
The settlement agreement must state the agreed outcome of the mediation. Where legal documents may be required to be drawn up at a later date. It should be clearly stated in the agreement. The settlement agreement will need to clearly mention if legal documents - draft order, contract, undertaking or other document will need to be drawn up at a later date.
In civil and commercial mediation any written agreement is legally binding.
You might have made good progress in the mediation, but you did quite reach a settlement. In this situation it can be helpful to take a break to think things over, then resume mediation in a couple of days.
Who pays for mediation will depend on the type of dispute. Generally both sides pay an equal share of the mediation fee, room /venue costs, refreshment costs, mediators travels and accomodation costs.
Under Civil Procedure Rules (Pre-Action Protocol), the Courts require parties to have actively engaged in other forms of dispute resolution before preceeding to to issue Court Proceedings. Penalties can be imposed if they win or lose at Court.
There are some circumstances when mediation from the outset may not be suitable.
There is no statutory regulation requiring mediators to be regulated. The Civil Mediation Council (CMC) runs a voluntary system of regulation for Civil and Commercial and Workplace mediators. Mediators registered with the CMC abide by a Code of Conduct having been trained to an acceptable industry standard, have suitable insurance, carry out continuing training and development, and offer a complaints process.
The Firm serves the local areas of Pinner, Pinner Green, Pinner High Street, Harrow, North Harrow, West Harrow, South Harrow, Rayners Lane, Hatch End, Eastcote, Roxeth, Northwood, Northwood Hills, Ruislip, Wembley, Stanmore, Kenton, Kingsbury, Middlesex, Hertfordshire, London and surrounding areas.