Adjudication and certification:  A new direction?

Adjudication and certification: A new direction?

While Adjudication can be defined as a contractual or statutory procedure to provide swift interim dispute resolution, it is also important to note that it also provides the parties with tangible results as the decisions made during such proceeding are binding – unless and until they are revised by an arbitration or litigation procedure.

A third-party adjudicator as selected by the parties in the dispute provides a neutral and balanced opinion on how best to resolve the dispute.

Dispute Boards also play a vital role in this respect. In the context of construction contracts, the Dispute Board would comprise of one or three persons, acting as independent party/parties to the contracting parties. Their primary function is to aid the parties to avoid disputes, as well as potentially, as applicable, assist them in reaching a timely and cost-effective resolution to their dispute which would be acceptable to both parties. Part and parcel of this would also be to help avoid the dispute escalating into an international construction arbitration case, or worse yet, leading to a more costly litigation procedure.  

Given the high stakes, it is understandable why the designated members of the Dispute Board need to be experienced in the type of project under construction and have a thorough grasp and understanding of contractual issues. The requirement of impartiality is another essential element for this procedure to be successful.

Why certification? The need to ensure that there are qualified specialists able to provide adjudication services is by no means a new phenomenon. The added bonus of being vouched for by an international organisation with a solid reputation in the engineering and construction industry is not to be understated.   

In addition, FIDIC has a long history of producing and publishing standard forms of contract for works, which are most the commonly used for international construction contracts and are respected globally by those working in the industry.

For several years, FIDIC has also been providing an adjudication service for the engineering and construction industry. Through its President’s List of Approved Dispute Adjudicators, the President of FIDIC can make an appointment is the Parties to the dispute have agreed to delegate this authority to the FIDIC President. It should be noted that any pre-condition and requirements must first be complied with in order for such an appointment to be made from the listing.

FIDIC also reserves the right to reject appointment requests if such a request cannot be accommodated and this decision is final.

For more information about the President’s List and related procedures, visit the FIDIC website page

FCL offers professional certification to individuals working in the engineering, construction and infrastructure industries. The expertise which is certified is specific to the person rather than to the company where they work or consult for.

The admission procedures include registration and enrolment, as well as the requirement to meet certain educational and professional criteria in order to be considered for this programme. This includes having 10 years of experience in dispute management or resolution and an acute understanding of FIDIC standard forms of contracts.

Our certifications are also exam or assessment based. This means that the adjudicator must pass our professional exams and assessments to become certified.

It is fair to say that the Adjudicators who are certified by FCL go through a fairly rigorous testing and assessment process. However, we believe that this helps to ensure that the certification, once successfully attained, serves as a validation of their expertise in dispute resolution and dispute avoidance.

Currently, the 3rd annual session of this Certified Adjudicator programme is up and running. Applications will close on 22 October 2021. The next available session will likely open up in early 2022.

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