Dispute resolution

Business disputes

Disagreements between traders are common. Many are amicably resolved and do not become a major hazard to business survival.

Difficulties usually arise when there is a serious and complex dispute over money or contractual obligations.

This is when the parties to the dispute need to step back, take a deep breath and ask themselves the following questions:

Once these questions have been answered, it usually becomes apparent that a negotiated settlement will provide a better result than litigation through the courts. Certainly it may be necessary to swallow a bit of pride, but then the other person may have to do the same.

Mediated settlements

Provided there is a willingness to listen to the other point of view and to give a little ground, the chances of success are good and this is where a trained, independent mediator can help.

Here are some pointers about mediated settlements:

The difference between a court resolved dispute and a mediated settlement can be summarised as follows:

A court finds in favour of one party against the other, who can be described as the loser.

In a mediated settlement it is entirely possible for there to be two winners who, because of the skill of the mediator, may be able to continue in the business relationship often on even better terms than those which existed before the dispute arose.

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What's next...

Your options or next steps may be on this website. For example:

Find out about our Alternative Dispute Resolution Service or contact us about your dispute. Email or call 13 12 49 to get the right help.

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Related Information

Top Tips

  1. This is an SBDC small business brief – a summary of essential information about a popular business topic.

    There is a series of small business briefs and also step-by-step business guides that make it easier to deal with the complexity of running a small business.

  2. Get help with your dispute. Call 13 12 49 or email us to speak with a specialist small business adviser.

  3. Find out about our Alternative Dispute Resolution Service

  4. From free Business Basics workshops to more specialised workshops and one-to-one advisory sessions, we can provide support – directly and through our partner organisations.

  5. Sign up for our monthly e-news, which brings you all the latest from the SBDC and the West Australian small business sector.