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Website reviews

13 March 06

The third review of websites with an ADR theme focuses on arbitration

by Iain Nisbet


Arbitration is ADR at its most hard nosed – the arbiter not only helps to resolve a dispute but decides the outcome too. It is increasingly used in, for example construction disputes. These are the essential sites on the topic.

Chartered Institute of Arbitrators

www.scottish-arbitrators.org

The Scottish Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) keeps a separate website from the international body (www.arbitrators.org) as, indeed, do all of its regional branches. However, the site is much more than just an explanation of who to contact north of the border. The law relating to arbitration is significantly different in Scotland and the website reflects those differences. This allows CIArb (Scotland) to offer for download such industry standards as the Scottish Arbitration Code, the Scottish Construction Arbitration Code and even an application form for the appointment of an arbitrator. There are also similar goodies for the sub-species of arbitration for interim use in construction disputes: adjudication.

The layout is basic, but perfectly effective, and all the information is fairly easy to find. If you want to become an arbitrator or adjudicator, this site would be the place to start, as it has all the information you need on membership criteria and exams. Oh, and there are contact details north of the border.

The Adjudication Society

www.adjudication.org

The Adjudication Society (no acronym) is a not-for-profit organisation which promotes the resolution of construction disputes by adjudication (a specific form of arbitration used on an interim basis in construction disputes). Regrettably, much of the website’s most enticing content is restricted to members only. This includes the cases from New Zealand, Australia and the UK and the papers and articles. Worse, the link to the PDF of Scots procedure terms was not working!

Assuming that you are not yet a member of the Society, what is there of use to you? Well, the site does allow some access to the cases – i.e. the names and neutral citations. So you could – if you were determined enough – take a note of all of the cases listed and look them up yourself on other, more inclusive, websites. There is also a news section which appears to be updated fairly frequently. Beyond that, and a fairly dry list of links, the main use would be if you were actually looking for an adjudicator.

The site has a search facility which gives instant access to 358 adjudicators. It enables you to search by region or city – and by profession. Thirty six of the 358 listed are based in Scotland.

DRS-CIArb

www.drs-ciarb.com

Dispute Resolution Services (DRS-CIArb) is a division of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and offers arbitration and other forms of ADR across a wide range of subject fields. It’s not really a spin-off from the main CIArb site since, if anything, there is more arbitration on this one.

DRS-CIArb has evidently come to agreements with a number of professional bodies or associations in order to provide some form of independent dispute resolution scheme for clients or consumers. So, here you will find details of such schemes in relation to: communications and internet services, funeral services, home removals and even travel agents. It is useful to have at least a passing knowledge of these schemes since a solicitor’s clients might well benefit from referral to one or more of them at some stage. Some of the schemes, e.g. the arbitration scheme for the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) (www.arbitrators.org/abta/) allow online application.

Moreover, if you are drafting a contract and have been won over to the benefits of ADR, this site has a number of style clauses which commit the parties to the various forms of dispute resolution as an alternative or precursor to litigation.

Once you have figured out the slightly confusing navigation to this site, there are certainly a number of pages you’ll want to visit.

Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution

www.cedr.co.uk

I’m cheating slightly here because although the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) also promotes arbitration, this site really belongs back in January’s review on mediation websites. But, better late than never. Suffice to say that the “Library” section is by far the most useful you’ll find on the site, complete with articles, links, case law and model documents. A real treasure trove of resources!