Does your contract contain a dispute resolution clause where an independent expert can be appointed?  Is the expert to be appointed by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) (or the previous New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants)?   If so, it’s time to get that contract reviewed and possibly amended. 

In 2015, CAANZ stopped providing an independent expert nomination service to resolve contractual disputes.  So commercial contracts post-2015 are unlikely to be affected.  But older commercial contracts with clauses referring to nominations by the President of CAANZ or NZICA may no longer have an agreed third party to go to.  

In a recent media statement (19 July 2017), CCANZ said “It has come to our attention that some contracts still contain dispute resolution clauses referring to appointment of an independent expert by the President of [CAANZ] in instances where parties cannot agree upon an independent expert to resolve the dispute and/or provide valuation services”. 

With a number of parties that provide expert determination services (such as Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand Inc. and New Zealand Dispute Resolution Centre) there may be an easy fix.   But better to check your contracts now before you need to rely on that alternative dispute resolution clause that could just result in another dispute.