Dispute Boards (DB, DRB, DAB)
Geoffrey Hartwell has experience both as Member and as Chairman of Dispute Boards
A Dispute Board can be retained from the beginning of a project or, alternatively, appointed on an ad hoc basis when a problem arises. The contract or the standard form normally will prescribe which. Members may be lawyers but the scheme lends itself to the use of technical or mixed boards. Typically, each party - Buyer and Seller or Employer and Contractor - will select a member and the two members then select a chairman. They need not be of nationality different from those of the parties but the Chairman is often so selected. Experienced DB Members will have an understanding of Law sufficient for the task but projects may involve many different aspects of several national laws.
When the Board is formed from the outset, it will meet, on site or wherever work is developing at agreed regular intervals. In between these site meetings, the Project Manager will keep the Board informed of progess (by including the members on the circulation list of site minutes and important communications).
The board may convene at any time when it appears that they are needed to advise or give an opinion or decision.
An ad hoc Board is convened as soon as the Charman is appointed. It may then stay in being after making its decision if required.
A Dispute Adjudication Board will convene to give a decsion or decisions. In some statutory arragements these decisions are immediately binding but remain open to review by arbitration or in court. FIDIC adjudication is final and binding unless a Notice of Dissatisfaction is given within a prescribed period after the decision is communicated.
A Dispute Review Board makes recomendations that are advisory but not binding. Very similar in practice is the Dispute Advisory Board which gives informal advice. Unhepfully, both the Adjudication and the Advisory Boards share the acronym "DAB". (There are also Dispute Advisors, who advise on the choice of appropriate resolution techniques but that is another topic.)