Before Dispute Resolution

Before dispute resolution, parties should attempt compromise among themselves. The bargaining may take any form. There are generally three ways in which compromise at an early stage of disagreement may progress:

  1. A “Letter of Offer” is sent seeking to resolve the disagreement.
  2. An informal and without bias conference is organized between the parties to see if there is a way to resolve the disagreement.
  3. Negotiations takes place that is rather more formalized bargaining in which a peacemaker assists the parties in bringing them together to resolution.

Benefits of an Early Compromise

  1. You open a dialogue with the other side at the outset that may cause them to think of you as a reasonable person and therefore they are more receptive to an amicable resolution of the disagreement.
  2. You take the opportunity up-front to try to resolve the matters in question without committing significant resources to a course of action in court, tribunal, or arbitration proceedings.
  3. If successful, you have resolved the disagreement generally on far more advantageous terms and with a great deal more amity in the relationship between you and your and your counterparty. This is particularly important if the contract is an ongoing one in that neither party has sought to terminate for breach because of the conduct of the alleged breached party.

Disadvantages of an Early Compromise

  1. The resolution is unsuccessful, and you have wasted time delaying in the commencement of court, tribunal, or arbitration proceedings to have the matter finally determined.
  2. You may feel you have compromised your position by disclosing your hand to the other side in bargaining.
  3. The other side may form a view that you have no honest belief in your case given that you are eager to try to resolve it rather than drive it forward with gusto and advance your position asserting the case in a strong, decisive and powerful manner.

An attempt to work out who is right or wrong morally and legally will usually be counterproductive and possibly cause the parties to be further away from resolving the disagreement during the bargaining than you were when you first sat down around the table.