Resolving Business Disputes: Mediation vs Litigation

If you find yourself facing a legal dispute of any kind, then you’re sure to want to have it resolved as quickly and positively as possible.

A drawn out legal battle would first distract you from running your business and then your business collapses. The financial string will be unbearable.

A drawn out legal battle would first distract you from running your business and then your business collapses. The financial string will be unbearable.

Unfortunately, there are many reasons why a legal dispute can go nowhere fast, turning more adversarial and more expensive by the day. Many people don’t know that there are several different conflict resolution options available to you in a legal dispute. Mediation and litigation are two of the most common forms of conflict resolution, and each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Below we briefly discuss the differences between the two.

Mediation. Mediation is a type of conflict resolution that can help keep your case out of court. Its main purpose is to find a common ground between the parties and come up with a resolution to avoid having to go to court, which can be incredibly time consuming and expensive.

Cases in mediation are overseen by a mediator who remains neutral. The mediator seeks to work with both parties to try to keep the peace and find the best solution for everyone. Other benefits of mediation are that it is generally much quicker and costs a lot less than going to court. It also is less adversarial, meaning that it tries not to pit one party against the other. Many parties with a legal issue, particularly those that are business-related, will try mediation first and only use litigation as a last resort.

The parties are not obligated to settle a case at mediation, but if they do resolve the dispute, generally the parties will sign an agreement to not go to court and to resolve all other pending disputes. However, if for any reason one party does not comply with the settlement agreement, then the parties may end up having to go to court to enforce the terms of the agreement. Dispute resolution clauses now have mediation as the first point of call in the event of a dispute.

Litigation. Litigation is the process by which a court of law hears and decides a case. In general, it is a much more expensive and drawn out process compared to mediation.

There will be many additional (and potentially unforeseen) costs when you file your case with the court and you cannot set court dates on your own terms. Courts are typically busy and overwhelmed with cases, and it can sometimes take months to set a date even for your first hearing. And even so, there’s no guarantee that your case will be heard on that day as it can sometimes be pushed even further if the other party asks for it. However, there are still a lot of benefits to litigation that make it a smart choice to resolve your case.

When a case goes through litigation the parties have the opportunity to gather and exchange evidence and prove their case before a judge or jury. Although some might see that as a disadvantage due to it being a time consuming and more expensive process, it could be the best course of action to protect your business. You also have the benefit of receiving a final and binding decision that takes effect immediately. This means that if one party doesn’t follow the decision, then the other party can ask the court to legally enforce the order. Although there is an appeals process that could later change or delay this decision, it’s still beneficial if your goal is to obtain a final result.

Speak with an business savvy lawyer

Whenever you are presented with a legal issue, speaking with a business savvy lawyer should be your first move. He or she can review your case and help you determine if keeping it out of the courts is the best course of action.

If you have any questions about dispute resolution send us and email to

At Wingman Legal, our philosophy is to find solutions before disagreements get out of hand and mediation and/or litigation is required. But, if and when the issue cannot be resolved amicably, we are the experienced lawyer you need on your team.

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