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News & opinion

22 MAY 2018

RICS Presidents Panel: fostering impartiality and enabling best practice

Around the region continued low oil prices, as well as the introduction of austerity measures, has led to a reduction in public sector spending. This has caused numerous project deferrals and cancellations, ultimately leading to an increase in the number of claims submitted.

According to the 2017 Middle East Construction Disputes Report by Arcadis, $56 million were tied up in disputes last year in the region, primarily in the social infrastructure and public sectors, presenting a significant risk to the capability of the project and the financial survival of the business.

RICS’ Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) in the Middle East

DRS, which began in the UK in 1976, is now the largest built environment-specific Dispute Resolution and Avoidance service provider in the world. The service offers a range of alternative dispute resolution training and advisory services, along with accredited panels of certified dispute resolution practitioners in the built environment, providing a professional, independent, and quality assured system appointment system to stakeholders.

The RICS President’s Panel of Dispute Resolvers & Expert Witnesses in MENA is the only panel of its kind where clients can approach a truly independent body for appointments with certified panel members who have both; the dispute resolution skills and the professional knowledge and experience needed to provide impartial services.

We spoke to three newly elected Panel members, to understand why they wanted to be part of the RICS President’s Panel of Dispute Resolvers & Expert Witnesses, and what their views are on the current state of the market in the region.

Robert Kidd

With extensive experience, Robert, an Associate at AECOM provides his thoughts on becoming part of the DRS Panel and advice for future candidates.

Why did you decide to join the RICS President’s Panel of Dispute Resolvers and Expert Witnesses?

The panel provides recognition in the industry and reinforces a skill set to the high standards RICS adheres. Organisations commencing a dispute using ADR want to know the practitioner has the required skill and maintains the highest standard including ethics. Being a member of the President’s Panel provides that comfort prior to appointment.

Do you have any tips for those interested in joining the panel?

Immerse yourself in disputes wherever possible in your current role. Understanding the cause, effects and sometimes the political constraint around disputes, can assist in moving forward in your career. Education is part of the requirement, as is keeping up to date with current practice, however, practical experience is vital to show you can assist in the resolution of the issue at hand.

Maali Khader

Case Manager at Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre, Maali shares her thoughts on becoming part of the panel, and why ADR methods are popular in the region.

What made you want to join the RICS Presidents Panel and how does it add value to your career?

As an accredited mediator, bilingual in English and Arabic, I wanted to be part of a distinguished and recognised body working to further and support dispute resolution in the Middle East. The RICS Presidents Panel is an independent body that not only provides a set of internationally recognised standards but also the opportunity to engage with industry leaders, enabling the exchange of ideas and best practices.

How beneficial are ADR mechanisms in resolving environment or governance disputes?   

I believe arbitration and mediation as ADR mechanisms are very effective in resolving environmental or governance disputes. With environmental issues, time is often of the essence to minimize further damage. Mediation would enable the parties to efficiently and effectively address the issue at hand, avoiding challenges of more formal venues such as courts.

Regarding ADR for governance disputes; arbitration and mediation would be very beneficial. ADR mechanisms offer a confidential setting to discuss key issues openly and, where relevant, without prejudice to alternative options allowing the parties an opportunity to resolve their disputes and protect their interests.

Michael Hughes

Working as an associate for programme, cost and consultancy at AECOM, Michael shares his thoughts on becoming part of the panel.

Why did you want to join the RICS President’s Panel? 

The RICS has long been the benchmark for professional standards worldwide, and so for me, the President’s Panel represented a shortlist of the very best in a competitive field of expertise. Being part of the President’s Panel has been a professional goal for me.

How does becoming a part of the panel add value to your career?

In my experience, clients within the region expect their project leaders to have a degree of knowledge and understanding around dispute processes and the potential implications when faced with an issue. I believe, to be successful in today’s market surveyor’s must appreciate the implications of looking to the courts to solve a project based dispute, especially in a market that is very blame orientated. I think for most surveyors in the industry ADR is a natural choice considering our exposure to disputes and our role as project leaders.

To find out more about appointing a dispute resolver or how to apply to be on the RICS President’s Panel, please contact our Dispute Resolution Service.