This is a discussion on For self-employed - how to settle contract disputes within the Mummy Cafe forum, part of the Community Lounge category; To mumpreneurs and freelancers, this may be useful for your business if your client for some reason doesn't want to ...
To mumpreneurs and freelancers, this may be useful for your business if your client for some reason doesn't want to honour the payment of contract:
In many cases, it is best to try to resolve a dispute by negotiation rather than involving outside parties, or resorting to the Courts. Any agreements to resolve the matter should be stated in the contract.
Parties can agree to go for mediation. A mediator acts as a neutral third party to assist parties to resolve the matter. The mediator does not issue any decision, and parties are free to decide whether to agree on a resolution of the matter.
Parties can agree, whether as part of the contract or after the dispute has arisen, to refer the matter to one or more adjudicators (also known as the arbitrator(s)) by whose decision they agree to be bound. By agreeing to arbitration, parties limit their rights of recourse to the Courts, as well as limit rights of review and appeals of the arbitrator(s)’ decision.
Tip: It is advisable to set out in the contract what person or organisation will act as a mediator or appoint an arbitrator (e.g. Singapore Mediation Centre, Singapore International Arbitration Centre, etc) if there is a dispute. The organisations have clear procedural rules to guide parties in the event of dispute. This also avoids conﬂict over who will mediate a dispute or appoint an arbitrator for the dispute.
The court process can be time consuming and costly and in most situations should be the last resort. But if you feel that the other party is not doing what they are supposed to under the contract and they are not prepared to negotiate or participate in ADR, you could go to court to seek damages or speciﬁc performance for breach of contract.
Small Claims Tribunals (SCT):
You may seek recourse at the SCT for contracts for services that involve amounts not exceeding S$10,000, or if both parties agree, not exceeding S$20,000. Disputes cannot be brought to the SCT more than a year after it has happened.
The Subordinate Courts
This comprises the Magistrate’s Court and District Court in which lawsuits below S$60,000 and S$250,000 are respectively ﬁled. The High Court Lawsuits for claims above S$250,000 can be ﬁled in the High Court.