It’s a different world today than many of us grew up with because of the proliferation of electronically-oriented commerce. With the increased used of “social media”, which are online methods of mass communication such as Facebook, Google+, and blogging, folks are constantly trying to enlarge their sphere of influence to garner customers and trading partners. Certainly with these options available people are making connections that the world would have never dreamed possible even 20 years ago.
In part, driven by the overall decline in the economies of the Western world, people are taking their financial futures into their own hands and setting up businesses online. It now seems commonplace to do business with companies when you have never met a single person who works for the company. You have never met their salesperson, their distributor, their manufacturer or even their limo driver.
Because the “world wide web” is, well, worldwide, often these potential trading partners are located in other countries or on other continents. There is not necessarily a problem with that as long as things are going well with that trading partner. What happens when there is a dispute though and the parties are not able to solve it by amicable means?
Often a contract dispute occurs. How that dispute is resolved will often hinge on three clauses: the “venue” clause, the “governing law” clause, and the “mediation/arbitration” clause. You may be thinking, “Well, if I have a problem with this trading partner, I will just sue them in small claims court!” Not so fast.
Generally toward the end of the contract, probably on one of the last two pages, you will find a clause governing where the dispute is to be handled. The chances are very great that the location, or venue, for the handling of the dispute is in the town, county, province, state and/or country of the party that drafted the agreement, not where you live. This is therefore something to look for when entering into these Continue reading