[Guest Book Review] Resolving business disputes - how to get better outcomes from commercial disputes

Resolving Business Disputes - How to Get Better Outcomes From Commercial Disputes is a recent book by Stephen Bate. Stephen Bate practised as a barrister for many years in civil and commercial disputes, specialising in entertainment law at 5RB chambers. He is now a full-time mediator and chartered arbitrator.

The book is kindly reviewed by Jane Player, Mediator and LCAM board member. Here is what Jane says about the book:

Resolving Business Disputes

If you are not a lawyer and yet need to understand the basics of the law for your business and in particular the options when in a dispute, then this is the book for you. The book takes you through decision making paths for deciding where to go to resolve your issues with business partners. With a commendable simplicity of explanation of perhaps purposefully opaque legal terminology, the aim of the book is to guide you through the options available so that you can make informed choices as to whether you want to engage in a dispute or not. Terminology such as causation, quantum and limitations of liability are explored in a user-friendly format.
Stephen uses the analogy of a train journey in his book to demonstrate that once onboard we are not necessarily committed to the journey and at any stage, we can jump off the train and take back control of our destination. Businesses are very adept at managing operational and commercial risk as their tools in trade and this guide helps parties also manage litigation risk. The old adage “no gain without risk” is of course true in many business sectors. Inevitably businesses will encounter issues in their commercial relationships and contracts. This 200 page book recognises that most businesses would rather deal quickly and pragmatically with a dispute and get on with what they are good at rather than engage in costly and lengthy litigation.
But it also recognises that sometimes a binding court decision is necessary, e.g. to vindicate IP rights publicly.

Back to business
Image: Lucie Provencher
Reference is made to  the experiences of judges such as the late and much loved Tom Bingham who noted that in all his years of observing the giving of evidence he never ceased to be surprised at the fallibility of memory and perceptions which, as he comments cloud facts and reality . Both parties in a dispute will honestly believe their own version of a story, their own version of the facts. Those entrenched beliefs combined with over confidence by lawyers advising on likelihood of success can result in disappointed clients committed to a fight they might not win.

Stephen explains what forecasts can best help clients to understand the likely outcomes in court and so manage the risks they face. Businesses, proficient at risk management, are much more likely to compromise once they have entered into a mediation in good faith, listened to the other side of the story and had their own preconceptions challenged in a safe and confidential environment. Workable solutions can be explored that end the fight and allow businesses to get back to work.  This book is a guide referencing objective criteria to show what offers to make, how and when to make them and whether to settle the dispute at all. Armed with this, Business is certainly better placed to make sound judgments about how to handle disputes in the future.

Pubished: 1 June 2020
Publisher: Spiramus Press
Price: £39.95
Extent: 194 pages
[Guest Book Review] Resolving business disputes - how to get better outcomes from commercial disputes [Guest Book Review] Resolving business disputes - how to get better outcomes from commercial disputes Reviewed by Hayleigh Bosher on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 Rating: 5

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