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The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is making face-to-face meetings if not impossible then highly unrealistic. This can result in misunderstandings, and misunderstandings are likely to escalate into disputes. Resolving disputes in various industries amid the COVID-19 pandemic has its own specifics; it’s unclear which laws or contractual clauses should be applied during a video conference meeting. Hence the need for professional advice on the settlement of international commercial disputes arises.

Settling an International Commercial Dispute: Which Contractual Clauses are Worth Paying Attention to?

Of course, there’s many questions to be answered. In fact, how you answer them depends on contractual terms, (e.g. whether COVID-19 is a force majeure circumstance) and a specific industry. In the construction industry, for example, the typical questions one has to deal with are: Will developers have to pay a forfeit, or will contractors have to extend a deadline? Will a facility be closed or can employees continue to work, provided health & safety regulations are observed? Other industries are no exception, either.

Take, for example, airlines: Can an airline renegotiate a contract to buy a new plane, if it’s impossible to predict how a long period of non-use will affect it? Each dispute should, therefore, be considered on an individual basis & advice on contract renegotiation during the coronavirus pandemic sought.

Negotiation as a Method of Dispute Resolution

Contracting parties must act responsibly to peacefully resolve an international dispute amid the coronavirus pandemic. In their turn, governments of their respective countries should urge them to seek amicable settlement of international disputes (e.g. by negotiation, mediation or other ADR methods) before they’re referred to court.

Now is not the time for ultimatums and threats. If one of the parties demands that contractual terms be fulfilled the same way they were before the outbreak of the pandemic, both of them may end up being on the losing side. Therefore, resolving an international dispute by mediation may be, if not the only, then the most viable solution to all their disagreements.

Take a major construction project, for example. All stakeholders expect things to happen the way they usually do. However, taking that approach may make meeting deadlines problematic. That is why resolving a dispute through negotiation or mediation will help maintain partnership relations and ensure timely execution of contracts.

Resolving International Disputes Online

Mediators can help conflicting parties resolve misunderstandings even during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, their dispute can be resolved online, even when face-to-face meetings aren’t possible. A number of mediators are now adept at holding meetings via video conferencing platforms that allow for both face-to-face meetings and negotiations. In some cases, resolving an international dispute online may require a mediator to set aside a day for interaction with both parties. In all others, it may make sense to hold a series of shorter meetings spanned over several days.

Some disputes cannot be postponed as they may escalate into full-scale litigation unless immediately resolved. Dispute resolution through online mediation is a process that many companies resort to during the coronavirus era. Please keep in mind that IQ Decision UK experts can provide advice on initiating an international dispute resolution in Great Britain or any other country of the world.