Among the various forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), negotiation is the simplest in format. In this process the two parties involved in the conflict work together to negotiate a solution between themselves. Typically, however, both parties choose to negotiate with the assistance of legal counsel. The main advantages to negotiation are that information and the proceedings are completely private and a less expensive and faster process than the other options.
If the parties cannot reach an agreement by themselves, they may ask their attorneys to conduct the negotiation on their behalf. Even if court proceedings have begun, counsel for the parties will usually continue to negotiate, and in many cases, reach an out-of-court settlement. Negotiation works well with many types of disputes and a resolution can generally be arrived at without resorting to litigation.
All other forms of ADR involve a neutral facilitator that is able to render an unbiased option in the resolution process. If a negotiation does reach an impasse, a neutral third party may be brought in, creating a facilitated negotiation process. Even with the introduction of a third party, facilitated negotiation is still more informal than mediation.
Although a client can choose to negotiate directly with the other party in the dispute, many decide to seek the services of a legal advisor.
ADR specialists at Juslaws advise clients on how best to approach the negotiation, when it is appropriate to speak directly with the other party in the dispute as well as many other techniques that will aid in reaching a satisfactory outcome. This includes, of course, what sort of compromise would be acceptable.
Negotiation is not binding, although it is possible for both parties to the dispute to agree that a legally- binding contract be drawn up containing the details of the negotiated agreement. What this means is that if a party to the contract does not perform as stipulated in the contract then the other party has the right to initiate legal proceedings.
Our attorneys recognize that litigation is a real possibility for a client faced with a dispute, but we always point out to our clients that sometimes the most suitable mechanism for resolving a conflict, may not require court action. In addition to negotiation, the Juslaws ADR Practice offers arbitration, mediation and mini-trial alternatives when these methods are suitable.