Where a dispute arises, sometimes there is no acceptable compromise. The litigants’ positions are irreconcilable and it is necessary that a third party will resolve the dispute. Most of the time, however, compromise is possible and preferable to litigation. Most litigants eventually conclude that a negotiated resolution better serves their interests than the cost and risks of litigation. Mediation is undoubtedly the leading alternative method of dispute resolution, both domestically and internationally as a means of resolving all manner of commercial and business disputes.
The benefits of mediation lie in its flexibility, especially in international disputes, which could be complicated by long distances, cultural misunderstanding, political effect and shifting commercial agendas. The flexibility extends to timing, duration, venue and agenda, all items are especially significant in international disputes. Mediation allows the parties to retain control of the dispute’s outcome, enables them to custom their own commercial business solutions and is ideally suited for maintaining a business relationship following the mediation process. Furthermore and perhaps most important, is the confidential nature of mediation which provides a secure environment for the parties.
International lawyers are able to bridge the cultural expectations of the parties and advise their clients of the potential differences to be expected in the mediation, but it is the sophisticated mediator who makes the difference between success and failure in complex international disputes, especially those involving multiple parties or joint ventures of different nationalities. By their very nature, international mediations introduce the complexity of cross-cultural and linguistic issues, which are usually absent in purely domestic mediations.
Based on my experience as mediator in general and especially in a recent complex dispute regarding a multi-million dollar case in the Israeli Court, between two renowned and leading parties, a US based infrastructure company and an Israeli construction company, I have once again concluded that by conducting thorough inquires and comprehensive transatlantic conference calls and discussions, coupled with targeted face to face sessions, complicated claims may ultimately be resolved out of court, with minimal costs or damages to the parties, their business relations and interests.
Yossi Ben-Dror is a corporate and commercial lawyer and a member of the New-York and Israel Bars. He is a Board member of the Chamber and Head of the Committee for Cooperation with the US Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, Mr. Ben-Dror is a member of the Arbitrators and Mediators’ team at the Israel Center of Arbitration and Dispute Resolution in Tel-Aviv.