Technology-related disputes: Arbitration and mediation

technology
16 Jan 2024

Introduction

Technology-related disputes are becoming increasingly common in South Africa, and traditional court-based dispute resolution mechanisms may not always be the most efficient or effective way to resolve them. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, such as arbitration and mediation, offer a way to resolve disputes outside of the court system. In this article, we will examine the options for resolving technology-related disputes through ADR methods, highlighting the advantages of these methods in preserving business relationships.

Technology and dispute resolution

The use of technology in dispute resolution has become the new norm. Technology can assist in the resolution of disputes and can be leveraged in terms of promptness and efficiency. There is a risk of a growing disconnect with the people that dispute resolution mechanisms are trying to help if these same mechanisms do not embrace technology. Parties and witnesses to a dispute can participate in the resolution process from anywhere in the world, thanks to technology. The COVID-19 pandemic, with its subsequent lockdowns, has been a catalyst, unleashing the true potential of technology in dispute resolution.

Alternative dispute resolution methods

ADR methods, such as arbitration and mediation, offer a way to resolve disputes outside of the court system. For the business community, ADR is no longer an alternative but rather the norm because maintaining business relationships is critical.

1. Arbitration

Arbitration is a private process where the parties agree to have their dispute resolved by one or more arbitrators rather than by a court. The arbitrator’s decision is binding on the parties, and there is usually no right of appeal. Arbitration is often faster and less expensive than litigation, and it allows the parties to choose an arbitrator with expertise in the relevant area of law or industry.

2. Mediation

Mediation is a voluntary process where a neutral third party, the mediator, helps the parties to reach a mutually acceptable resolution to their dispute. The mediator does not make a decision but rather facilitates communication and negotiation between the parties. Mediation is often less formal and less expensive than arbitration or litigation, and it allows the parties to preserve their business relationship by working together to find a solution that works for both parties.

Advantages of ADR methods in preserving business relationships

The advantages of ADR methods in preserving business relationships are numerous. Here are some of the key benefits:

1. Confidentiality

ADR methods, such as arbitration and mediation, are confidential, which means that the details of the dispute and the resolution are not made public. This can be particularly important for businesses that want to avoid negative publicity or damage to their reputation.

2. Flexibility

ADR methods are often more flexible than traditional court-based dispute resolution mechanisms. The parties can choose the arbitrator or mediator, the location, and the language of the proceedings. This can be particularly important for businesses that operate in multiple jurisdictions or that have complex disputes that require specialised expertise.

3. Cost-effective

ADR methods are often less expensive than traditional court-based dispute resolution mechanisms. The parties can avoid the costs associated with court fees, expert witnesses, and lengthy litigation. This can be particularly important for small businesses or startups that may not have the resources to engage in protracted litigation.

4. Preserving business relationships

ADR methods, such as mediation, allow the parties to work together to find a solution that works for both parties. This can be particularly important for businesses that want to preserve their business relationship with the other party rather than engaging in a lengthy and adversarial court battle.

Conclusion

Technology-related disputes are becoming increasingly common in South Africa, and ADR methods, such as arbitration and mediation, offer a way to resolve these disputes outside of the court system. ADR methods are often faster, less expensive, and less formal than litigation, and they allow the parties to preserve their business relationship by working together to find a solution that works for both parties. The advantages of ADR methods in maintaining business relationships are numerous, including confidentiality, flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and the ability to work together to find a solution that works for both parties.

For any assistance, contact an attorney at SchoemanLaw.

See also:

(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
Annelise Petzer

Annelise Petzer studied through the University of South Africa and obtained her Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB) in 2019 before completing her LEAD Practical Legal Training at UCT and commencing... Read more about Annelise Petzer

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