Dispute Boards > Impartiality of DBs

Despite the fact that a party may have proposed or nominated a member it must be remembered that the member will be appointed by both parties and consequently, the member will not become an advocate for either party.

The members must attest that they are and shall remain impartial and independent of the employer, contractor and engineer and a member is required to promptly disclose anything which may affect such impartiality. The FIDIC conditions, for example, stipulate that a member shall:

  • Have no financial interest in the employer, the contractor or the engineer
  • Not previously have been employed as a consultant or otherwise by the employer, the contractor or the engineer
  • Disclose in writing any past or present professional or personal relationship with the employer, the contractor or the engineer
  • Not be employed by the employer, the contractor or the engineer during the duration of the dispute board and not enter into discussions with regard to future employment
  • Not to give advice to either party concerning the contract, except by prior agreement with the other party

If a potential member is employed by a company, the prospective member should declare any potential conflicts of interest between the company, as well as declaring any personal interests.


Codes of Conduct

Additionally, professional dispute board institutes such as the Dispute Resolution Board Foundation and the Dispute Board Federation have strict guidelines and codes of conduct for their members which, if breached, could result in the expulsion of the member from the institute.

It is of course entirely probable that a person’s professional integrity could ensure impartiality when acting as a board member, even with some sort of relationship with one of the parties. The test however, should not be the person’s ability to do so, but the perception of such impartiality by others. For this reason, such a situation should be avoided.


Tri-partite Agreement

Finally, each member is required to enter into a tri-partite agreement with the employer and the contractor and both parties pay the fees of the dispute board equally.