Dispute Resolution – Avoiding the Courts

Advice on the best form of dispute resolution will depend on a variety of factors including the contract, the type of dispute, how much a claim is worth, the attitude and financial resources of the parties and continuity of relationships. We have a proven track record in helping parties to resolve their disputes in a way that enables them to continue their relationship.

There are many different types of dispute resolution available.


A third party is instructed as an Adjudicator who makes a binding decision unless and until that decision is changed by either arbitration or litigation.

The Adjudicator can be agreed and named by the parties in a contract, can be agreed by the parties or can be appointed by a nominating body which is usually named in the contract.

Adjudication is a speedy process and runs to very strict timetables.

Adjudication is frequently written into contracts as a form of dispute resolution.

If Adjudication is not written into a contract then (with some exceptions) there is a statutory right to adjudication.

Early neutral evaluation
This is where a professional (often a lawyer) who is neutral will review a summary of each party’s case and provide a non-binding view of the merits. That non-binding view can then be used as a basis for any further negotiation to try to achieve a settlement.
Expert determination

In expert determination an independent third party who is an expert in the subject matter of the dispute, e.g a surveyor, a ground works specialist, an engineer, is appointed to made a decision on a dispute. Any decision is binding on the parties.


In mediation a third party facilitates both parties in reaching a settlement by giving an assessment of the strength of each party’s case. If the mediation works a settlement document will be drawn up at the end of the mediation which then forms a legally binding agreement.


This is similar to mediation in that it relies on an independent third party but in conciliation the third party takes a bigger role in suggesting how agreement should be realised.


This is where the parties agree ( by contract or subsequently) to a third party acting as an arbitrator to decide the dispute. The arbitrator may be a lawyer or an expert in the subject of the dispute. The arbitrator’s decision is called an ‘award’ and is legally binding and the courts will enforce any decision if a party does not comply with the ‘award’ made.

Bespoke Procedures

Some larger contracts and public body contracts provide for bespoke dispute resolution procedures with all steps specified in the contract at the outset. For example DRB’s (dispute resolution boards)

We are highly experienced in all aspects of dispute resolution. We have been involved in multiple adjudications, achieving excellent results for our clients.

How can we help?

We can:

  • Advise clients on dispute resolution procedures available to them having regard to the contractual requirements, nature of the dispute and the value in question.

  • Act as legal representative in all dispute resolution procedures with the exception of court proceedings.

Please contact us for any information and advice in connection with any aspects of dispute resolution.