General Terms and Conditions, frequently referred to as “Boilerplate,” defines how the Client and Consultant will relate to each other in a business relationship without regard to a specific project. The following is a critical “Boilerplate” item that if not clearly and equitably stated will likely result in misunderstandings and confrontational situations:
Dispute Resolution – As with managing change, agreement as to how disputes are to be resolved is necessary to have been established in the contract to avoid delays and further conflict while determining how the dispute will be resolved. The primary goal of the dispute resolution process is for the dispute to be resolved at the lowest level of stress, delay, and cost to all parties. Common methods of dispute resolution, listed in ascending order of difficulty and cost, are negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and litigation. Mediation and arbitration may be either binding or non-binding. Due to the rules of discovery related to some arbitration, the costs are frequently very similar to those of litigation. However, damage to Client/Consultant relations is generally much higher with litigation.