Dispute Review Board


A Dispute Resolution Board (DRB) is a board comprised of usually three impartial and independent subject matter experts or professionals. These boards are formed at the beginning of a project in order to follow construction progress, encourage dispute avoidance, and assist in the resolution of disputes during the duration of the project.

The DRB makes recommendations. It does not decide issues. The Dispute Review Board Foundation is a tremendous resource for those interested in the uses and benefits of dispute review boards generally.

Variants on the Dispute Review Board theme include Dispute Adjudication Board (DABs), similarly constituted but able to make interim binding decisions.

Duncan Glaholt has chaired a number of Dispute Review Boards on Canadian infrastructure projects, on boards comprised of two engineers with relevant technical expertise.



It occasionally happens that emergency relief is needed before an entire arbitration or mediation can be organized. This is rare but it does happen, particularly in the weeks and days leading up to a disputed contract termination for cause.

In such circumstances the parties can turn to a "Referee" and empower that Referee to make interim decisions aimed at stabilizing their situation, and getting them on a path to resolution via litigation, arbitration, or mediation, for example.


This Referee procedure is not to be confused with arbitration on the merits. Rather, it is an emergency, temporary arrangement to get the parties to the point that they can conduct a meaningful litigation or arbitration on the merits.

There are readily available (and excellent) Referee procedural rules from institutional arbitration organizations, such as the International Chamber of Commerce and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Additionally, the parties can consult directly with Mr. Glaholt to devise a procedure that fits their needs and dispute.