All notes/news on this site are not to be taken as complete answers or as legal advice. They are intended to be generally informative but are not intended to be full considerations of the respective matters. Legal advice will differ, depending on the individual circumstances of the people or entities involved, and all notes/news may be out of date or inaccurate at any given time.

What are the most common methods of settling contract-based disputes?

Generally, the most common methods of settling contract-based disputes are Mediation, Litigtion and Arbitration (listed in arbitrary order), as futher outlined in the following:


  • Mediation

Mediation involves a usually voluntary arrangement whereby a third party (a mediator) chosen by the parties or by a method approved by the parties listens to the argument of each side, discusses the case with them separately or together, and tries to help them reach a settlement.  Typically the mediator has no authority but assists them in recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of their arguments and looks for a solution on which they can agree, usually an agreement on common ground.  Mark McNeil is an experienced mediator.  

  • Litigation

Litigation is the process of taking a case through the courts for an enforceable settlement, although a potential problem is how enforceable the order from a court of one country will be in a different country.  The enforceability depends on a number of factors that will be considered in a later note.

  • Arbitration

Arbitration involves placing the dispute before one or more arbitrators, who are much like private judges.  Several well-known international organizations are available for dispute settlement of this sort, following their respective methods of qualifying and selecting arbitrators and following their own procedural rules or other rules that the parties choose.  Typical costs include fees for the organization as well as hourly fees for the arbitrators, in addition of course to the fees of the attorneys that represent the parties in the arbitration.  The most reliable are those that have published their fees and rules and that have high ratings of fairness, transparency, and consistency from parties whose cases they have heard.