The Dispute Arises -- What Next? - Chapter 1 - International Arbitration Checklists - 3rd Edition
Originally from International Arbitration Checklists - Third Edition
When a dispute arises between or among contracting parties, there are at once a number of legal/procedural questions and possible courses of action that should be carefully reviewed and decided. The checklist begins here, and it is a most important checklist.
The Terms of the Contract
The first step, of course, is to review the terms of the contract or contracts under which the parties are operating. These terms may or may not include dispute resolution clauses which, in turn, may or may not call for arbitration. If they do, such arbitration may be after a period of negotiation or other form of alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”), such as mediation or mini-trial. The contract clauses on dispute resolution, if any, must be thoroughly understood. Do they require a particular institution to administer an arbitration? Do they call for discovery? To what extent? What are the time limits, if any, for particular steps to be taken? This is the point at which one must review the clause that may or may not have been carefully drafted when the contractual relationship was getting under way.
The parties may attempt to resolve the dispute either directly, through a process of negotiation with the other party or parties, or with the assistance or intervention of a third party, judicial or arbitral or other neutral, or by some combination of these. In any event, it is critical to build a written record that might be helpful in case of third-party assistance or intervention, as discussed in Chapter 2, and to take care not to make statements or take actions of any kind that might assist your opposing party.