Alternative Dispute Resolution Techniques

Expert determination is a dispute resolution process in which an independent expert in the subject matter of the dispute, is appointed to assist the parties to resolve a disputed matter.

The expert’s decision is - by prior agreement of the parties - legally binding on the parties. Like all ADR processes it is entirely confidential.

Expert Determination is ideally suited to disputes and matters of valuation and/or which are primarily dependent on technical issues eg does the computer match the specification; is the malfunction due to a design or a manufacturing fault; valuations of shares; rent reviews and contract performance matters. It can also easily be used in many other areas such as insurance wording disputes, sale of goods disputes, fitness for purpose and boundary disputes.

Although Expert Determination is an Alternative Dispute Resolution process, it can also be used when there is no dispute, but a difference which needs to be resolved for example the valuation of a private business. Because of its flexibility, Expert Determination is ideally suited to multi-party disputes.

The DRC is able to provide help and advice in appointing an Expert Determiner. The DRC also acts as an appointing body for Expert Determination and may be named in Dispute Resolution Clauses.

A dispute board or dispute review board (DRB) or dispute adjudication board (DAB) is a 'job-site' dispute adjudication process, typically comprising three independent and impartial persons selected by the contracting parties.

The significant difference between DABs and most other ADR techniques is that the DAB is appointed at the commencement of a project before any disputes arise and, by undertaking regular visits to the site, is actively involved throughout the project (and possibly any agreed period thereafter).

A DAB becomes a part of the project administration and thereby can influence, during the contract period, the performance of the contracting parties. It has 'real-time' value. The idea behind a standing DAB is that it may be called upon early in the evolution of any dispute which cannot be resolved by the parties and be asked to publish decisions or recommendations on how the matters in issue should be settled.

It is usual (but not compulsory) that an opportunity remains for the matter to be referred to arbitration or to the courts if the DAB’s decision does not find acceptance by the parties.

A DAB provides a regular and continuing forum for discussion of difficult or contentious matters, to identify ways forward by acting in an informal capacity and to create valuable opportunities for the parties to avoid disputes by keeping proactive communication alive. The DAB members become part of the project team and because of their "hands on" approach can be trusted to be fair and impartial and their advice respected and taken more readily than would a third party or stranger to the project.