Traditionally most disagreements resulted in Court proceedings or Arbitration. Although we provide a comprehensive range of advice and representation, we pride ourselves on having an up to date knowledge of the various alternative methods of resolving disputes. This may enable parties to avoid the costs, disruption and reputational damage which sometimes result from litigation.
We can advise parties on appropriate forms of dispute resolution, draft the necessary documents, and provide representation.
Arbitration as a means of resolving construction disputes is recognised in most of the industry standard agreements. It may also be used by parties on an ad hoc basis and its great advantage is that it is conducted in private before an Arbitrator, who can if the parties wish, be from a technical background such as engineering.
Arbitration may also be used to resolve employment disputes, and has the advantage of enabling disputes to remain private.
Adjudication is compulsory in the United Kingdom for certain types of construction disputes, but it is also recognised in the industry standard agreements. Its advantage is that it can result in a decision being reached within as short a period as 28 days from commencement, and often a formal hearing is not required. Adjudication does not prevent the parties from exercising their rights in Court or in Arbitration if they remain dissatisfied.
Christopher Wright is an experienced Adjudicator. He is a member of the Technology and Construction Court Solicitors Association (TeCSA) panel of Adjudicators, and is able to act as either a sole Adjudicator or as a panel member. He is also a FCI Arb and a CEDR Accredited Mediator and is able to act as either an Arbitrator or Mediator in a wide variety of construction and infrastructure disputes.
Expert Determination is usually appropriate for deciding discrete issues within a commercial relationship. Generally the expert’s decision will be final, with no further recourse to a Court or Arbitrator. Often the mechanism for Expert Determination will be set out in an agreement between the parties at the outset, but it can also be used on an ad hoc basis.
Mediation is widely recognised as an effective means of resolving disputes in their entirety, or narrowing the dispute to save time and cost in future proceedings. The process is not adversarial, and therefore parties can resolve their dispute and preserve their commercial relationship. Mediators cannot compel the parties to reach an agreement, but experience shows that very often agreement is reached.
Workplace Mediation is a relatively new concept, and has come about following the success of mediation in other areas. The potential advantages are that matters can be handled swiftly, privately and at less cost than in the Employment Tribunal.