Biz dispute resolution

COMPANIES  today have to engage with multiple vendors, franchise partners and clients in the course of their business. In such dealings, there is the probability of a dispute concerning payments, fees, violation of agreements, market development funds spend, information leakage while executing the work, use of publicly available sources to transport information, etc. And when both parties fail to mutually settle, the disputes end up in lawsuits and the matters become sub-judice with neither party agreeing to forego their claims. Hence, there is a need for a methodical way of seeking the truth and an independent investigating agency is often the best bet.

Usually, companies which have international operations or are spread across the nation operating their own branches or those who operate through a franchise model are the main subjects of such disputes. For a company that outsources a part of its work for efficiency and/or cost benefits or companies whose main business is executing such contracts, careful handling of client information gains primary importance. However, when one of the parties discovers that such information has leaked to outsiders who do not have the right to access such information, the potential for dispute surfaces.

When dispute arises, the conventional norm is to employ a legal firm to look into the details of the dispute. With courts that are already heavily overburdened with such cases, the companies end up fighting longwinded battles in the courts. And without any solid tangible evidence in support of their claim, resolution from the courts is often a tedious process that incurs heavy financial costs to both parties in the dispute.

To avoid lengthy litigation and strengthen their case, gathering of relevant evidence in support of a claim is very important. The evidence so gathered should preferably be done by a professional independent agency, to eliminate any bias and for findings that are accepted by the courts as evidence.

The evidence may be in physical form or electronic form, but it needs to be examined properly and supported through documentation to stand the legal test. Most companies think that they have the wherewithal to gather such evidence and to save costs, end up collecting such evidence which supports only their belief and produce in the court, but the courts look at such evidence with a pinch of salt as they think that the evidence so produced is one sided story.

Most correspondence these days are in electronic form, hence, there is a need for imaging and gathering of electronic evidence. The evidence so gathered by the experts will bring in transparency in potential disputes. The evidence so collected by this methodology may either support the beliefs of the disputing party or negate it. However, it will help in making it very clear and transparent as to where one stands and how to go about in the legal battle if there is one.

In addition, it will also help to unearth the intent behind such acts which is very important for the legal fraternity in dealing with the case. Exposing the intent behind such acts will also help the courts arrive at a more decisive and quicker judgment in such cases.

The importance of independent investigation agencies that operate in a transparent manner and can come in as independent witnesses, if need be needs no emphasis. With the onus of producing supporting evidence to their claim lying squarely with the litigants, such independent agencies can play a crucial role in resolution of disputes. They can closely examine every bit of information whether electronic or physical and carry out imaging of systems and gathering relevant evidence keeping in mind the potential issues at hand. The evidence so gathered by such investigating agencies, will either support /negate the potential issues of disputes. This will not only help maintain continuity in relationships but also help bring in transparency in business.

 (The writer is executive director, Netrika Consulting)