The timeline of the coronavirus (COVID-19) sees businesses across the globe both at the beginning and in the wake of its path. Some have already collapsed, others fear collapse. Governments have promised to dig deep to support them, and while money for struggling sectors will assist to a certain extent, it is not a complete fix. Businesses rely upon other businesses to survive and it will take the business community working together and resolving the many disputes arising amicably to get the global economy back on track.
This means carefully considering the appropriate means of dispute resolution. One of the most amicable ways of resolving a dispute is, of course, through settlement. Where this is achieved, both parties walk away from a dispute having compromised, but securing an outcome that they can both live with. Settlement also provides the best chance of preserving future business relations (which, where appropriate, can be expressly provided for in the settlement agreement) and saving upon the future heavy legal expense.
Settlement discussions can take place informally or by mediation. Normally, they are conducted in person with multiple participants, including the parties, their counsel, the mediator (in mediations) and occasionally in more complex cases, the experts and witnesses. But as travel restrictions have been imposed across the globe and airplanes are grounded, parties are turning to the remote solutions. Platforms such as Zoom, GoToMeeting and Skype are being explored and are working successfully (some better than others) in these contexts.
But what about achieving a settlement without in-person contact and without the cost of the lawyers? Kennedys IQ Platform can assist. Our Settlement Negotiator tool (powered by the independent CyberSettle software) is an online, automated, unbiased and confidential solution that can cut out either all or at least some of the legal and procedural cost.
To explain how it works, simply log in, enter three different levels of offers (including specifying any costs or other terms that you wish to attach to your offers), and Settlement Negotiator will alert the other side, asking them to submit their three offers. It will then compare the offers and, if there is overlap, it will split the difference to reach a settlement. An abundance of time and cost can be saved (the solution itself being low cost), and hopefully a fair settlement achieved. Find more details here.
Coronavirus is having a devastating impact across the globe, but all businesses are encountering the same or similar challenges. Many disputes are arising and many more are on the horizon. But is arguing over them the right solution? If there is ever a time to think about amicably settling a dispute to preserve commercial relations and to save significant cost, now is it. Indeed, following the recent adjournment of a number of hearings as a result of COVID-19, the UK’s Lord Chief Justice urged everyone “…to use available time to explore with the parties the possibility for compromise.”
Businesses would be well advised to consider remotely attending mediation and informal settlement discussions, as well as interacting with low cost online settlement platforms that save some of the legal and procedural cost (such as the Kennedys Settlement Negotiator). Get in touch if you want to know more.