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Dispute Resolution Post-Brexit: Your Guide

This is a time of great change as the UK resets its relationship with the EU. We hope the following help deal with any questions you may have as to how you can prepare for and resolve disputes in Europe.


What is ADR and how is it different to going to court?

 Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is an umbrella term for a range of processes and techniques that help parties resolve disputes without going to court.


ADR usually involves the assistance of a neutral third party, and is often less formal, cheaper and quicker than litigation. ADR procedures are also usually confidential.


ADR is often more simple than court and can provide a specialised solution for your sector.


Indeed, one of the major benefits of ADR over litigation is that an expert dispute resolver can be appointed, with specialist knowledge of the area in dispute.  


The dispute resolver may be a lawyer, but does not have to be, and can be, for example, an engineer, accountant, architect, or surveyor by profession.


ADR mechanisms include:


  • Arbitration
  • Mediation,
  • Adjudication,
  • Expert determination,
  • Dispute Boards (DBs) also known as Conflict Avoidance Boards
  • Online Dispute Resolution (ODR). 

If my contract with a European supplier falls into dispute, where should I go for help?

ADR can provide a cost-effective and faster alternative to costly and time-consuming court processes.

In being, on the whole, less adversarial than court, it will help businesses preserve commercial relationships despite contractual difficulties.

Our Dispute Appointment Service provides quick, confidential and cost effective methods of dispute resolution and dispute avoidance for civil and commercial cases. It utilises highly trained and suitably qualified ADR practitioners selected from the CIArb membership to assist in resolving disputes.

How can I avoid disputes with European partners? Do you have recommended contractual clauses?

No one wants to think about things going wrong but it is important you consider appropriate wording for a dispute resolution clause when you enter into a contract.

We have some recommended dispute resolution clauses available to which parties can refer.

With a period of renegotiation set to commence once Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon is triggered by the UK Government, will the resulting uncertainty have an impact on how I should prepare for disputes in the EU?

ADR forms such as arbitration are underpinned by an international framework of institutions and guidelines which facilitate the resolution of cross-border disputes.

The New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958), underpins international arbitration by ensuring that the courts of contracting states give effect to arbitration agreements and enforce arbitration awards made in other contracting states.

This United Nations convention will continue to be in place throughout the UK’s negotiations to leave the EU and beyond. With over 150 countries signed up to the convention, it also applies to markets across the globe.

We have Arbitration Rules designed for use in both domestic and international ad hoc arbitrations

I want to maintain the relationship with my European supplier but need to resolve a dispute. What should I do?

All forms of ADR require the agreement of both sides which is often easier to secure in advance of any dispute, so you need to be proactive in your approach to dispute management.


For example, if you are a party within a complex supply chain and want to maintain business relationships beyond any dispute, mediation may be the most appropriate mechanism. 


Mediation is an effective and popular way of resolving disputes without the need to go to court. A core principle of mediation is that the parties 'control' the outcome, rather than it being imposed upon them.


The mediator will facilitate dialogue and communication between the parties in a structured way, assisting them to reach a voluntary settlement.


The mediator has no decision making power so the dispute is resolved on the parties’ own terms.


We can find Mediators to deal with your dispute, either via the Presidential Appointments Process or the 3-Name Suggestion Service.


Our Mediation Rules also reflect our international mandate and related activities in the field of private dispute resolution. 

My business is in a technical or specialist field. If a dispute with a European partner arises, what may be the best option?

ADR is often more simple than court and can provide a specialised solution for your sector.


For example, construction adjudication can be commenced during the course of works to resolve interim disputes quickly, assist cash flow and ensure progress of works continue.


The process involves an adjudicator who uses their own knowledge and investigations, while weighing the evidence presented by the parties, in order to reach a decision.


Adjudicators can be chosen from all backgrounds and disciplines as well as for their technical expertise.


Expert determination, a process in which an independent third party acts as an expert in the field, rather than as a judge or arbitrator, to settle a dispute could also be appropriate. 


Still have questions?

 If you have further questions about ADR, its processes and the services which we offer, we have a helpful set of FAQs.