Negotiation is the most popular way of resolving commercial disputes on both sides of the Atlantic, but arbitration and mediation are also often being used in preference to litigation says a new report.

The UK headquartered Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) and the US-based International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR) collaborated to produce an insight report which examines the status of modern-day dispute resolution in business.

The CPR’s research among corporate counsel at large businesses revealed that all had been involved in disputes over the last five years. 88% had used litigation to settle some of these disputes – most had also used other forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).  86% reported using negotiation, 82% mediation and 82% arbitration.  The study reported that corporate counsel preferred some form of ADR over litigation, with negotiation the most popular.

CEDR undertook an audit to assess the experience and attitudes of commercial mediators in both the UK and US.  It showed that success rates in mediation are high.  UK mediators achieved settlement rates of 89% with nearly three quarters (74%) of disputes being settled on the same day.

James South, Managing Director of CEDR said:  “Whilst ADR might once have been regarded as a disrupter it is now very much mainstream in the US and most of the European jurisdictions where it is used.”

James Burgoyne, Director – Claims & Technical, Brunel Professions believes that ADR is nearly always the best way to settle a dispute between professional firms and their clients.  “Litigation is very costly and time consuming.  It can significantly disrupt a business and usually leads to higher professional indemnity insurance premiums for the firm involved in the future. Worst of all, the sheer length of time involved from start to finish, often means that commercial relationships are irreparably damaged.

The joint research has been published on the CEDR website. Commentary has been published by Global Legal Post and Dentons.

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