The Sun in a Box – The ITER Dispute Board
The Structure of Dispute Boards
A dispute board is a tribunal of experts that is independent, impartial, proactive and judicial. The real success of DBs is the way they can proactively assist the parties in avoiding disputes, saving the time and cost of arbitration or litigation and allowing the project to proceed in a collaborative manner. The standing DB, which is appointed at the commencement of the contract, does that by carrying out regular site visits and holding meetings to enable difficulties to be discussed or by proactively making enquiries if the parties are reluctant to discuss them. The board may help in finding solutions and if that cannot be done may, if the procedural rules permit, and both parties agree, give a non-binding recommendation to guide the parties to a solution. If still unresolved the matter can be formally referred to the DB for a decision under the contract.
Most procedural rules provide for a DB of one, three, or an odd number of larger members. An odd number is important to prevent split decisions. Single member boards are frequently used for smaller projects (and some very large ones) because they are more economical. In the case of the three member board, the procedure is normally that one party will select a member, the other party will do the same and the two members will nominate the chairperson2. Although a three person board is more expensive, the advantage is the greater diversity and expertise of the board…