BUSINESS AND DISPUTES

It is impossible to do business without the occasional dispute with a business partner, a competitor or within the company. Such a business dispute may, however, also be an opportunity. A chance to cooperate or improve cooperation or a possibility to terminate a disappointing relationship. But when time is of the essence something must be done.

TO LITIGATE OR NOT TO LITIGATE?

In such a situation, parties often elect or threaten to go to court. The conflict is reduced to a legal dispute and submitted to a judge or to arbitrators. They decide who is right and who is wrong. That may be the best option if it concerns a matter of principle, if a precedent is needed or large financial interests are at stake. But the parties can only influence the decision through their lawyers. The outcome may be a disappointment. And legal proceedings can become a costly war of attrition. For these reasons it makes sense to also consider other ways for solving the dispute.

 A business conflict escalates. Everything has been tried and a solution seems further away than ever. 
Welcome to Wefers Bettink | mediation, arbitration, strategic advice.

MEDIATION: a real alternative

Mediation may be an effective and realistic way to solve a business dispute, even after litigation has been initiated. Research shows that in most business disputes where it has been tried, mediation leads to a solution.

It may take only a couple of meetings, and in most cases mediation yields results within a matter of months.

CASE 1

V&D and the unions

The conflict: to stave off bankruptcy in early 2015 high street retailer V&D wanted to structurally lower the salaries of its employees by 5,8%. The unions refused and initiated summary proceedings to stop V&D.

Read further...

The strength of MEDIATION

  • The mediator assists the parties in finding a satisfactory solution. The strength of mediation lies in the fact that the parties themselves come to the solution that best meets each one’s interests.

 

  • During a mediation the parties’ underlying interests become clear. That enables finding a solution which is much broader than just the legal issues.

 

  • A solution developed in mediation is often more durable, since it is developed and thus owned by the parties. It results in a clean slate as a basis for cooperation, or for improving or terminating the relationship or conflict.

CASE 2

A successful failure

The conflict: a small software company had developed customary software for a large utility. After paying for part of the services, the customer rejected the software.

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The role of the MEDIATOR

The mediator does not decide the dispute, nor advises the parties on their positions. He ensures that the process is clear and well managed and that it enables the parties to negotiate on an equal footing. Using his knowledge of conflicts and his expertise, he facilitates the parties to solve the conflict. He can contribute to a solution, but will not impose it. The mediator’s neutrality and independence is essential for the success of the mediation. If the mediation is successful, he mediator ensures that the agreement is laid down in writing. The document it is binding once signed by the parties.

CONFIDENTIALITY is key

Mediation is confidential, in that neither party may use the content of the negotiations and discussions in legal proceedings. This gives the parties the freedom to discuss solutions without affecting their legal position. Likewise, the contents of the caucus meetings the mediator may have with each of the parties are confidential.

MEDIATION is always an option

Mediation may be useful to prevent a simmering business conflict from escalating into full blown litigation. But it may also be an option to solve a dispute already before the court. Experience learns that after proceedings have lasted for some time, the parties may be in a mood to negotiate a solution.

That may be the right moment to go to mediation. It is never too late to mediate.

 

Mediation is not a miracle cure. But it is recognized, both at a national and international business level, to be an effective tool for solving business disputes.  The decision of enterprises to use mediation to solve their conflict is seen as a sign of strength.  They signal that they are able to solve the conflict themselves, without the need for a judge or arbitrator.

MEDIATION a solution for your dispute

As a certified mediator (MfN) and a WIPO neutral I am available  to assist enterprises and organizations in solving internal disputes and conflicts between them.

I also act as a facilitator in cases where the parties entrust me with finding a solution.

If your company is involved in a business dispute and weighing the various options for dispute resolution you may call me for an exploratory talk at +31 653 923 228 or send an email to wolter@wefersbettink.com.

ARBITRATION

In cases where the parties have agreed to arbitration, a dispute will be submitted to arbitrators, appointed by the arbitration institute the parties have chosen.  The arbitrator is usually selected for his specific knowledge and expertise in the relevant legal areas or business sector.

 

My specialty areas are intellectual property, technology related agreements and complex business agreements (see also my cv at the bottom of this page).

I am an arbitrator at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva,

at the Netherlands Arbitration Institute (NAI) and at SGOA, the Dutch institute for solution of IT-related disputes.

 

You may send an email to wolter@wefersbettink.com or call +31 653 923 228 for more information and a possible appointment as arbitrator for your dispute.

STRATEGIC ADVISE

As a practicing attorney (since 1987) I have been involved both in litigation,  alternative dispute resolution and the drafting and negotiating of complex agreements.

 

At request I design and implement process strategies for enterprises, or a strategy to avoid or solve disputes. In addition, I assist companies and institutions in the contracting of long running, high value agreements. In the past three years, I have assisted five Dutch hospitals in the contracting for their new IT systems, to enable them to implement a state of the art electronic health record.

 

You may send an email to wolter@wefersbettink.com or call +31 653 923 228 for more information and an appointment at your company’s or institution’s premises.

 

After 28 years as an attorney with big law firms (of which 22 years as a partner at Houthoff Buruma) in 2015 I started my own practice as an attorney, focusing on mediation, arbitration and strategic advice. Around the same time, I became Legal counsel in residence at Yes!Delft, an incubator of University Delft. In this non-profit position I advise tech start-ups on legal issues they encounter in the first phases of their company life. At Houthoff Buruma, I represented international and Dutch enterprises in disputes concerning intellectual property, failed IT-projects and large commercial contracts. Since 2000 I am a domain name panelist, and since 2005 an arbitrator and mediator at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva.. For many years I have been an arbitrator and mediator at the NAI (Netherlands Arbitration Institute) and since 2015 at SGOA (specialized in solution of IT-related disputes). In addition, I am a MfN (Netherlands mediation federation) certified mediator.
During my years at Houthoff Buruma I also assisted clients in drafting and negotiating complex commercial contracts, such as IT and business process outsourcing, EPD (electronic patient record) and ERP contracts as well as R&D, license and manufacturing agreements. I also have considerable expertise in distribution, agency, franchise and cooperation agreements. I am a board member and one of the incorporators of ZAM – association for business mediation. I teach and write regularly on subjects at the interface of digitization and the law , such as online contracting, domain names and intellectual property, privacy in a digital environment and the digitization of court and arbitration proceedings (here you find a list of recent publications). In the 2015 editions of Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 I am a ‘recommended lawyer’ for the Netherlands in IT (TMT) and intellectual property.

WOLTER WEFERS BETTINK

CONTACT

Wolter Wefers Bettink Advocaat en MfN registermediator Torenlaan 38 1217RW Hilversum
+31 653 923 228 wolter@wefersbettink.com

MEDIATION

ARBITRATION

CONTACT

STRATEGIC ADVICE