Resolving business disputes can be a tedious matter when one party is seriously interested in filing a lawsuit. Lawsuits in Georgia are typically fought out in a public forum that many business managers would rather avoid, including the plaintiffs claiming wrongdoing against the other parties. This is especially true with breach of contract issues. It is usually best to find an alternate dispute resolution path as opposed to going to court, which will either be mediation or arbitration if no agreement can be reached beforehand. There are distinct differences between the two, and knowing what to expect is important for all Georgia business managers.
The best method of ADR in most situations is mediation. Mediation is an informal dispute resolution legal process where each party presents their argument to a neutral third party who will weigh the issues and offer a resolution by applying the law and possible points where an agreement can be reached. Different from a public court hearing, all information disclosed in a mediation process remains private. Mediation is actually a negotiation process for the most part, and it is the preferred ADR in most business disputes.
Some business contracts actually state that all disputes will be settled by arbitration as opposed to mediation or an open court hearing. This can be good for some and bad for others, but there are cases where there is actually no choice. Arbitration is a formal legal process where each side presents an argument to a person who evaluates all legal aspects of the dispute and then issues a ruling according to existing law. There are some other differences from mediation as well, especially the inability to withdraw from the process once it has begun. The final ruling settles all submitted business disputes with no opportunity for appeal from either side after the fact.
It is always best to resolve business disputes as informally as possible, and in many cases negotiations work best. It can be very important for many businesses to protect company information, and many times valuable intellectual property can be exposed in an open court hearing.