If you cannot resolve a dispute by Mediation then consider Arbitration.
Arbitration is a process where the Arbitrator hears both parties who always present their arguements in front of the other party and reaches a decision on the costs to be awarded to one or other party.
The Arbitration process is intended to be shorter and quicker to reach a resolution than a court case.
A court case typically requires a “discovery” process where all relevant documents from both parties are gathered together and made available to the other party. This exercise is very time consuming and demanding on your key staff or contractors.
You then may wait 18 months for the actual hearing. Then your legal costs may well exceed the minimum of about $180,000 and even if you “win” you may have to carry a significant portion of them.
Meanwhile you are not getting on with your job!
If a dispute reaches Arbitration then it is unlikely the parties will have on ongoing relationship, at least on this issue. An Arbitration award is strictly by law rather than negotiation – although the arbitration process can always be terminated by the parties reaching a mutual agreement.
A judge may require you to try Mediation first.
You may try Arbitration following on from Mediation.
In Arbitration the discovery process may be dramatically reduced.
During the hearing there is limited cross-examination.
Emphasis is on surfacing facts relevant to the costs – the process is “inquisitorial” and not “adversorial”.
The process may be cut short by the parties reaching their own agreement and informing the Arbitrator accordingly.
If you need advice ring Ian.
In drafting an agreement ring Ian about clauses on dispute resolution for your contract.
Typically you may require Mediation and if that fails Arbitration.
The Arbitration clause may require the sole Arbitrator to be appointed by the President of the New Zealand Computer Society, Inc.