Guide

Commercial dispute resolution

Introduction

A commercial dispute is a disagreement between two or more businesses regarding the supply of goods or services. These disputes may relate to quality, conformance, performance, delay or pricing. There are a number of ways to resolve a dispute. 

The most common methods of resolving a commercial dispute in Northern Ireland are:

  • mediation (using a neutral third party to help the parties resolve the dispute themselves)
  • arbitration (using an appointed individual or panel to produce a binding decision)
  • adjudication (a temporary decision, made before litigation, to allow matters to continue in the meantime)
  • litigation (using the courts to produce a legally binding decision delivered by a judge)

Usually alternative methods of dispute resolution (mediation, arbitration, adjudication) are encouraged, with ligation being a final resort when these methods fail. The most suitable alternative method will depend on factors such as time, confidentiality, cost and enforcement.

This guide outlines the advantages and disadvantages of each resolution method.