Your employees have the legal right to have any grievances they may have dealt with quickly and efficiently. Commercial mediation is often necessary to ensure that your employees’ rights are maintained, and that your business receives a speedy resolution to the dispute.
Using commercial mediation can sometimes resolve a dispute much faster than via your business’s internal procedures.
What is commercial mediation?
Mediation involves using an independent third-party mediator to guide the parties towards reaching an agreement. A mediator does not impose a solution on the parties as the process is voluntary and the outcome of mediation is not enforceable unless subsequently drawn up into a legally binding agreement.
Commercial mediators are specialists in resolving commercial matters through mediation. The major benefits include:
- Helping to preserve the business relationship between the parties which is particularly important if they wish to continue that relationship
- It is much more cost-effective than protracted legal disputes through the court system
Commercial mediators can assist businesses of all sizes and on a broad range of commercial matters. Common commercial matters that mediation is used for are:
- Employment disputes
- Contractual disputes
Mediation may also be useful when disputes arise during mergers and acquisitions, where negotiations are required on several issues and the maintenance of the business relationship is important. If your matter is particularly complex, such as an aviation-law dispute or a cross-border commercial dispute, you should look for commercial mediators who have experience with such matters.
If you want to ensure that a commercial mediator is properly trained and experienced in commercial mediation you can select one that is accredited under the Law Society Commercial and Civil Mediation Accreditation Scheme.
Mediators must apply for accreditation and demonstrate that they have completed approved training. All accredited members must agree to abide by the code of practice for civil and commercial mediators which cover aspects such as:
- Their impartiality
- What to do in the event of a conflict of interest
When should you consider mediation?
The use of an employment law solicitor can be advantageous if the grievance is serious. Your employee or their union representative may bring legal representatives with them to your meetings. It makes, sense, therefore, that you should also have your own legal representation as well.
If your attempts to resolve the dispute are not successful, commercial mediation using an outside agency will be your next step. Organisations like ACAS can offer your business commercial-mediation services. You should be aware that commercial mediation services offer a number of potential outcomes to your dispute.
Your business can use commercial mediation to arrive at conciliation. Conciliation is a form of commercial mediation, but the mediator will not impose any settlement on you or your employee. Commercial mediation can also mean that the third party mediator (ACAS) representatives for instance) can make recommendations to solve the dispute. You or your employee does not have to accept these recommendations.
The third type of commercial mediation is called arbitration. With this form of commercial mediation, all parties in the dispute agree to be bound by the decisions made by the mediator.
It is critical to ensure you have qualified legal representation when dealing with disputes within your business. Solicitors that have experience and training in employment law are essential. Disputes can badly disrupt your business. Use your solicitor to help you resolve your dispute quickly and efficiently. For further information, see our page on what sort of disputes is mediation suitable for.
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