What's unique about CDMC?

Many lawyers hold the view that you litigate first to get the upper hand and demonstrate your strength and only go to mediation once the legal case has been fully developed and the evidence of the other party fully tested and evaluated.

CDMC strongly deviates from this mainstream approach. CDMC recognises that the law and legal analysis has its place, but in the vast majority of commercial disputes it is possible to help the parties find a workable commercial outcome that they can both live with.

People in business want to get rid of disputes as quickly and as inexpensively as possible and get back to business with minimum disruption and without harming important commercial relationships.

CDMC is committed to litigation being the last resort, not the first.

CDMC was founded and developed to cater to the SME market – small to medium sized businesses. There are over 2 million SMEs in Australia employing over 7 million people.

For many SMEs cash flow is tight and being dragged into expensive litigation to resolve disputes has the potential to seriously harm a SME and even close it down.

Litigation affects businesses in two ways:

  • The cost of paying solicitors – a direct drain on cash flow.
  • The distraction to business owners – causing their business to suffer.

CDMC was founded by Christopher Whitelaw, an experienced barrister, arbitrator and mediator.

Through its network of strategic alliance partners offers a suite of services to SMEs to ensure that they have the means to bullet proof themselves against the risks of litigation by introducing certain essential clauses into their business contracts and the ability to identify, manage and resolve commercial disputes early, cheaply (relative to litigation) and without destroying vital commercial relationships.

Through CDMC our clients can access a full range of essential services – legal, persons trained in dispute diagnostics, negotiation, arbitral, mediation and above all people trained to a high degree in the science of early dispute management and resolution.

When a dispute is brought to CDMC to manage our approach is always to contain the dispute, de-escalate it and then effectively manage it and the parties involved in a way that achieves early resolution and exit on commercial terms each party can live with.

What types of disagreements do we handle?

The vast majority of commercial disputes can, if handled and managed the right way, be resolved and settled without recourse to litigation and court verdicts.

Commercial disputes that might benefit from this process would include

  • Contract disputes
  • IT disputes
  • Intellectual property disputes
  • Property disputes (family law and de-facto)
  • Building disputesFranchise disputes
  • Partnership and Joint Venture disputes

What could CDMC save me?

CDMC services have the potential to save you a great deal of savings in time, money and stress. Business owners hate disputes that will distract them from their focus on their core business and the needs of their business and place an unwelcome strain on their cash flow. CDMC strives to help them avoid this. Litigation has the potential to wreck and destroy important business/commercial relationships. CDMC strives to safeguard and protect them.

Applying CDMC methods and strategies can see disputes that might otherwise last for 12-18 months or more and costing each party $50,000 to $100,000 or more in legal fees being resolved within 8 weeks at a cost of around $3,000 to $6,000 per party.

Keep in mind that the out of pocket cost is just one factor. A faster resolution means everyone gets back to business sooner. Cases that take up months or years to resolve drain the energy of the business owners and can have a disastrous impact apart from the direct financial outlay.

How do we charge?

Our starting point is to help your cash flow not strain it.

This means that we try to make our services work for you as efficiently and effectively as possible.

There is no wasted time, no padding, no fluffiness is how we set about to work with our clients and achieve their key objectives.

So how do we do this?

Step 1: Apply effective triage to the case at hand. Triage helps us identify the core issues and eliminate non-core issues and “red herrings”.

Step 2: Match the dispute and clients up with the best people (professional and/or expert or experts) to manage it and resolve it quickly and at minimum cost possible.

Step 3: Apply a charge out rate that is suitable for that dispute and the parties involved so that it can be said that what you pay for the service is fair exchange for the value delivered to you. The precise fees and charges will be worked out with you during the triage process.

PLEASE NOTE: We never commence to charge you a single cent until such time as you tell us you are satisfied that we can provide a valuable service to you and have reviewed and accepted the terms and conditions that will apply to the work to be done for you.

CDMC aims to bring certainty to your business. It does this through two methods:

After review of your case, CDMC can offer you a fixed price for the handling of your dispute. No open ended time sheets costing you an unknown amount – we can offer a fixed price service.

CDMC can also offer you a “no resolution: no fee” service. Call to find out how this will work for you.

What constitutes a commercial dispute?

A commercial dispute is any dispute that is about anything to do with a business, property or money.

Commercial disputes can be about alleged breach of contract, disputes between joint venture partners, partnership disputes, disputes about property (including divorce disputes), franchise disputes, mortgage disputes and much more.

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

ADR means “Assisted Dispute Resolution” or “Alternative Dispute Resolution”

It is a set of strategies, methods and technologies designed to assist parties to a dispute to manage and resolve their dispute without any need to resort to litigation.

Unfortunately, over the last decade or so, as more and more lawyers have become accredited mediators and ADR practitioners, they have more or less hijacked the original concept of ADR to mean something different to its original intent (resolving disputes without litigation).

For most lawyers ADR now means Mediation before Trial. It means trying to resolve the dispute before the final trial/hearing date. The emphasis has been taken off avoiding the need to litigate to avoiding going to final hearing or trial.

ADR encompasses the following methods:

  • Negotiation
  • Conciliation
  • Mediation
  • Neutral Expert Opinion
  • Neutral Expert Determination
  • Arbitration
  • Hybrids of the above such as “Mediation/Arbitration”.

When a dispute is brought to CDMC we use our triage service to determine what ADR methods, techniques and strategies, or combination of methods, techniques and strategies, will best suit your dispute.

Mediation is just one of the tools in the ADR toolkit for managing and resolving disputes.

We often find that if we can get to work on a commercial dispute early, applying the approach of “contain, de-escalate, manage and resolve” that mediation is not even required to resolve the dispute.

The dispute resolves on the way towards mediation. Many times the mediation is simply the place where any loose ends and final knotty issues are dealt with so that a final binding agreement can be drawn up and signed by the parties to put an end to the dispute and restore a harmonious working relationship.

What's the full set of services CDMR provides?

The CDMC range of services includes:

  • Reviewing your business contracts and advising on how they can be tightened up to give you maximum protection against the risk of unwanted litigation and ensuring that you have maximum control over management and resolution of disputes when they occur.
  • Managing any commercial dispute that both parties to the dispute agree to bring to CDMC to achieve early resolution.
  • Providing a unique triage service that ensures that each dispute is allocated to the right expert or experts to manage it and assist the parties to achieve early and cost effective resolution.
  • Giving SMEs access to a range of useful templates to use in their businesses to help bullet proof the business against litigation risks and to enhance early management and resolution of disputes.
  • Providing access to legal expertise in all areas of commercial/business law.
  • Providing experts to run in-house training, workshops and seminar.
  • Subscription to CDMC webinars and other events.

Isn't mediation available anyway through the courts?

It is, but not as a serious alternative to what CDMC offers you.

Lawyers make more money from disagreements than agreements. CDMC’s primary purpose is to employ ADR Strategies to help businesses manage and resolve disputes early and without the need to litigate. But for many lawyers, ADR means attending mediation about 2 months out from a final court hearing or trial.

The mediation event is merely a pit stop before litigation. Many lawyers hold the belief that they must fully prepare a client’s case for trial, and be able to test and evaluate their client’s evidence against the opponents evidence before they can recommend mediation and possible pre-trial settlement to their client.

CDMC’s view is that incurring large legal expenses preparing for a court hearing often becomes an impediment to negotiating an out of court resolution of the dispute.

These days mediation before trial is an integral part of the Australian justice system. Court and Tribunal Practice Rules all allow for and encourage mediation before trial. However these Court and Tribunal Case Management Rules only apply to disputes that are already being litigated. They have no jurisdiction over disputes before they enter the court or tribunal system.

Over the last few years Federal and State Governments have become increasingly concerned about the number of disputes being litigated in the courts and tribunals and the costs associated with this. They are strongly in favour of more being done to assist parties to resolve their disputes without litigation. They continually stress that Litigation is always the last resort to resolve disputes, not the first.

CDMCs approach with commercial disputes aligns with government policy. CDMC focuses on capturing disputes early and using a range of ADR strategies and methods to achieve early out of court settlement of disputes and avoiding litigation wherever possible.