Can I really design my own dispute resolution system?

Douglas Beckwith
Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Straight to the point

  • Executive Dispute Resolution (EDR) is a new, structured, approach to resolving business conflict at the project level by harnessing the commercial acumen of senior managers.
  • Successful EDR leads to a commercially realistic, robust and legally binding settlement without the disadvantages that traditional mediation and adjudication procedures provide.
  • EDR allows you to control the outcome (and the costs) of negotiations rather than have decisions imposed upon you by a Judge or an Adjudicator.

Is there a better way of doing business better?

Although adjudication is now the construction and engineering industry’s way of resolving disputes and it is quick and cheap when compared to litigation, it still brings with it a certain level of cost, stress and business downtime.  Worse still, it promotes those adversarial attitudes that we have all worked so hard to resist for two decades or more.  To add salt to the wound, the final decision is made by a third party with no particular interest in the parties continuing business relationship.

Mediation, too, is a useful method of alternative dispute resolution which is actively supported by the courts and which is often required to be considered prior to litigation.  But, have you ever felt that you had a good case that was lost in a “horse-trade” just to reach a settlement?  Your lawyers certainly have!  Ask them.

Construction and engineering disputes are among the most complex and time consuming in the civil justice field.  Fortunately Executive Dispute Resolution (EDR) is particularly suitable for their resolution.  The key to success lies in each party having a genuine desire to collaborate in designing their own dispute resolution process and then applying it with a view to achieving a commercially realistic, robust and legally binding settlement.

All the benefits, none of the cost

Well almost.  Some cost is inevitable.  The EDR structured negotiation method offers senior managers an opportunity to better understand the issues at hand and each Party’s position in the dispute.  EDR can be used after a dispute arisen or before a dispute crystallises; that is when the Parties are aware that a matter is starting to get out of hand but before any precipitate steps are taken.  Don’t waste your money on a dispute board!  Make EDR your primary method of reducing conflict and diffusing tension over issues.  Benefits include:

1.   Provision for a hearing of the dispute whilst avoiding the delays traditionally associated with court procedures;
2.   Control of the dispute resolution process remains in the hands of the parties;
3.   EDR is cathartic and allows the people involved at the project level to feel that they have been heard – and to actually hear them, something frequently not achieved in other forums;
4.   Emphasis is placed on senior managers working together to produce commercially acceptable business outcomes;
5.   EDR saves on costs when compared to litigation and adjudication and is generally no more expensive than other forms of mediation.
Contact us to see how EDR can help resolve your current project issues. or download our Blue Touch Paper.


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