The settlement of civil disputes without recourse to state courts is an important feature of the domestic legal landscape.
On 1 April 2003, the Construction Contracts Act 2002 came into force and in doing so dramatically changed the face of dispute resolution in the construction industry in New Zealand with the introduction of adjudication as a statutory process for resolving disputes arising under construction contracts.
So successful has adjudication been, that it has become the dispute resolution process of choice for the industry and has effectively sidelined all other dispute resolution processes due to speed, procedural simplicity and cost.
The primary objective of contractual adjudication is the interim but binding determination of any dispute in a manner that is fair, prompt and cost effective.
To ensure that objective is met in the context of all civil disputes, the New Zealand Dispute Resolution Centre (NZDRC) has developed Rules for contractual Adjudication that are robust and certain, yet innovative in their commonsense approach to issues such as appointment, procedure, confidentiality, representation, expert evidence, enforcement and costs.
The Rules provide both a framework and detailed provisions to ensure the efficient and cost-effective resolution of disputes. The Rules are set out in a manner designed to facilitate ease of use and may be adopted by agreement in writing at any time before or after a dispute has arisen.
The Rules are intended to give parties the widest choice and the capacity to adopt fully administered procedures which are fair, prompt and cost-effective, and that provide a proportionate response to the amounts in dispute and the complexity of the issues involved.