Dispute avoidance gets a boost with publication of new FIDIC guidance

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New practice note to increase awareness of the dispute avoidance function of dispute boards for FIDIC contract users and adjudicators.

International engineering federation FIDIC has published a new practice note on the topical issue of dispute avoidance. The note, Dispute Avoidance – focusing on dispute boards, was launched during the Official FIDIC International Contract Users’ Conference 2023 being held in London this week.

The new practice note highlights awareness of the dispute avoidance function of dispute boards for FIDIC contract users and adjudicators and ensures that best practice is adopted. Given that dispute avoidance is seen as critical when it comes to successful project delivery, the note has been welcomed by the industry and is set to be used widely.

The note was produced following work undertaken by a FIDIC working group to prepare practical guidance on dispute avoidance. The working group consisted of Daduna Kokhreidze, general counsel at FIDIC and members of the FIDIC President’s List of Approved Dispute Adjudicators, Yann Schneller, lawyer and partner at Cartier Meyniel Schneller and Taner Dedezade, barrister and partner at Howard Kennedy LLP.

Members of FIDIC’s Dispute Avoidance and Adjudication Forum meeting in London on 28 November 2023. Most of those pictured played a key role in the development of the new practice note.

In gathering feedback for inclusion in the practice note, a number of key questions were put to all members of the FIDIC President’s List to canvass views on how dispute avoidance works in practice. The key questions posed were How/when does the dispute board make the parties aware of its dispute avoidance role? When should dispute avoidance ideally take place? Where should dispute avoidance take place? What matters most lend themselves to dispute avoidance? What are the most effective techniques for dispute avoidance?

The working group considered the answers given to the questions and compiled the practice note based on the information received.

Commenting on the launch of the practice note, FIDIC CEO Dr Nelson Ogunshakin said: “Avoiding disputes as early and as quickly as possible is in the best interests of all parties to construction projects and FIDIC strongly recommends that all project stakeholders take on board and act on the content of the new practice note.

“FIDIC is grateful for the important work of the FIDIC Dispute Avoidance and Adjudication Forum working group in preparing this practice note. Members of the forum are helping to ensure that FIDIC is able to keep abreast of the latest legal and contractual developments to keep the information we provide in this area as up to date and relevant as it can possibly be.”

Click here to download the new FIDIC dispute avoidance practice note.