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Dispute Resolution – Hot tips for successful negotiation

Litigation can be very costly and stressful. Sometimes there is no alternative but to fight a case in court. In most cases it is sensible to explore the possibility of negotiating a settlement. Here are some tips to improve your chances of success:

  • Decide whether you’re willing to compromise and what your bottom line is.
  • Approach the negotiation as a mutual attempt to solve a problem and make that known to your opposite number.
  • Set up a meeting to discuss the problem face to face whenever possible. It’s helpful to find a neutral location where you can both explain your case and work out an agreement.
  • When negotiating you should always listen to everything your opposite number has to say and don’t interrupt, even if some points are not true or some opinions are inflammatory. Letting them express their feelings shows you are willing to listen and is an essential first step toward an eventual understanding.
  • State that you understand and respect the your opposite number’s key points, even if you strongly disagree with their position.
  • Avoid personal attacks. Even if true, it will only raise the level of hostility and make settlement more difficult.
  • During negotiations you should never react impulsively or emotionally. This is a golden rule of all negotiations.
  • Be courteous, but not weak. If you have robust evidence to use in a potential court claim then let them know. Make it clear that you prefer negotiating an agreement but, if necessary, you have quality evidence to resolve the issue.
  • If you reach an understanding, promptly write it down and ensure that you both sign in agreement. You should volunteer to prepare the first draft explaining the position, your discussions, details of the negotiation and the agreed settlement.
  • If unsure, take legal advice before signing the agreement to make sure all key points are covered and that it will be legally binding.

If you need help resolving a dispute, please contact Chris Sykes  to discuss whether litigation is the best next step.