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Dispute Resolution Planning and Pitfalls For Energy and Natural Resources Disputes

John P. Bowman, Proceedings of 50th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (2004)

Each commercial relationship and investment project possesses the potential for a dispute--costly, disruptive, contentious, and uncertain of outcome. Each dispute can be resolved in several possible ways: generally, through negotiation, mediation, expert determination, arbitration, or the courts. These methods of dispute resolution are not mutually exclusive but can be linked, creating an increasingly rigorous process leading to a binding determination by a third party (a judge, a jury, an arbitrator, an expert) instead of by the parties themselves. This procedural path should be followed by design, to take full advantage of the many different methods for resolving disputes. The parties should present their case to the courts, not by default, with nowhere else to go, but because they planned it that way.