SCC Forecast: What if?

“For years, commercial disputes have become increasingly more complex, yet all the while the business community is becoming more vocal in calling for assistance in keeping time and costs down. What if there was a way you could just have it settled and get on with it?” Read SCC Acting Secretary General Kristin Campbell-Wilson chronicle, including a cliff-hanger.

A few days ago, my four-year-old’s preschool teacher told me there had been a scuffle between my son and his best friend. They had been playing happily outside when suddenly they came to a disagreement as to whether the pile of buckets they had organized was in the shape of a plane or a dragon. The argument got so heated that the best friend kicked my son in the shins. My son retaliated by biting his friend in the arm. Hard. They both cried, but then apologized to each other and three minutes later continued playing happily together for the remainder of the day.

This was refreshing to hear. A good resolution and no time and no money spent at all (if only commercial dispute resolution was that simple).

During the past year the coronavirus has triggered a sharp rise in the number of commercial disputes globally. In 2020, the SCC recorded its second highest number of cases ever, second to 2009 which followed the financial crisis in 2008. The driving force behind this surge in numbers seems clear. There is not enough time (or money) to spend on the multiple exchanges of briefs between counsel (before finally coming to a decision to bite). Time is of the essence. Time is money. Time can be the difference between a successful venture, or the closing down of a business. However, it also takes time to resolve these disputes.

The benefits of arbitration and mediation as alternative forms of dispute resolution are usually held to be time and cost efficiency when compared to national court proceedings. For years, commercial disputes have become increasingly more complex, yet all the while the business community is becoming more vocal in calling for assistance in keeping time and costs down. Rules have been tweaked, digital management tools have been put in place, but it still takes a lot more time that than the three minutes it took my son and his friend to resolve their issue.  

Everyone knows how energy draining it is to argue, how much better it is – and feels - to use the time, energy and resources for something productive instead, to innovate, to create, to collaborate.

What if there was a quicker way?

What if there was a way to save on both time and costs?

What if there was a way you could just have it settled and get on with it?

What if there was a way…

The good news is that there is a way…

…and we will tell you more about it in May.

 

Kristin Campbell-Wilson
Acting Secretary General

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