How Commercial Construction Disputes May Be Resolved
While commencement of commercial construction projects is typically (or, at the very least, should be) preceded by the execution of a well-drafted contract, even this is no guarantee that a dispute will not arise between your business and the construction company with which you are doing business. When such a dispute arises, there may be one of several ways that the dispute may be resolved. The options available to you will depend on the terms of your contract, your goals and objectives in resolving the dispute, and the amount of resources (including time and monetary resources) you have available to you.
Methods of Resolving a Commercial Construction Dispute
Your commercial construction dispute may be resolved using one or more of the following methods. Note that, depending on the terms of your commercial construction contract, you may be required to use a certain method and/or prohibited from using other methods:
Informal settlement negotiations: This method is what some may refer to as simply “working out your differences” with the other party. In this method, you and the other party formulate a plan or method whereby the dispute will be resolved. Because this does not involve the courts, you are free to fashion the agreement in nearly any manner you choose.
Mediation: Mediation is one form of alternate dispute resolution (arbitration being the other main form of ADR). In mediation, you and the other party meet with a neutral mediator whose role it is to help the two of you come to a mutually-agreeable solution to your dispute. If such an agreement is reached, the agreement is typically announced to and adopted by the court.Arbitration: In arbitration, you and the other party present the essential facts and evidence in your case to a third-party arbitrator in a sort of abbreviated trial. Many of the rules of evidence applicable in a traditional trial are not followed in arbitration. At the conclusion of the presentation of evidence, the arbitrator will render a decision much like a judge in a traditional lawsuit. In certain circumstances, a party who is displeased with the decision of the arbitrator can “appeal” this decision by filing a traditional lawsuit.
Litigation: Litigation involves formally filing a complaint against the other party and then resolving your dispute through the formal legal process. A case that is filed in court may still be resolved through settlement or ADR, or it may proceed to trial where formal rules of evidence and trial practice will apply.
This article was originally published on jgpc.com.