ODA prepares for 2012 claims onslaught

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has started talks to devise a dispute resolution process in anticipation of a flood of legal challenges over the infrastructure for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) is in discussions with the ODA, which is responsible for the infrastructure of the Olympics, to find the best procedure.

Hew Dundas, the new president of CIArb, said the consultation will continue for much of 2007, adding: “The 2012 Olympics will probably need a dispute resolution system similar to that placed during the Hong Kong Airport dispute.”

The Hong Kong International Airport quarrel surrounded a corruption claim in 1998 as the construction of the airport neared completion. The model was for a convenor to select a panel of one or three independent experts to hear the dispute. Strict time limits were put in place, such as 90 days to hear and resolve a dispute.

The panel decision was final and binding on the parties until the issue of the Completion Certificate, following which either party could refer the panel decision to arbitration.

Dundas, who assumed the CIArb presidency from mediator Colin Wall this month (January), said: “Using such alternative dispute resolutions means that arbitration decisions can be kept to a minimum and also ensures the process is speedy and cost-effective for businesses.”