Michael Erdle’s Slaw column this month looks at the use of dispute boards, project umpires and other dispute resolution models in large IT projects. This is part of a broader research project on dispute resolution boards for the International Technology Law Association (ITechLaw).
A dispute board – or individual umpire – is appointed at the beginning of a project and is available, on call, if a dispute arises. The process is extremely flexible. Some disputes may be resolved informally, through negotiation and mediation. If the parties can’t agree, hearings typically proceed quickly and and with minimal procedural formality. Each party has the opportunity to explain its position, present relevant information and documents, and respond to the other party’s position. The board or umpire may be mandated to provide a non-binding recommendation, or a binding decision (e.g. in the form of an arbitration award).
We want to find out:
- What kinds of dispute resolution clauses are commonly used in large IT contracts?
- Examples of IT projects that have used a DRB, single umpire, or similar project neutral (i.e. named for the duration of the project, in advance of a dispute arising).
- Examples of med-arb or other hybrid processes.
- What is the experience using the process when a dispute actually arises?
- Does it work as intended? If not, why?
- How was the dispute finally resolved?
Any assistance with this research would be most appreciated!
Please contact Michael Erdle – firstname.lastname@example.org – if you have any examples or case studies you can share.