Prisoner’s dilemma, PPPs and DBs

prisonerI have just got back to base after an interesting and worthwhile Dispute Review Board Foundation International conference in Santiago, Chile. A topic of particular interest was the use of Dispute Boards in PPP projects.

Most readers of this post will know what a PPP project is, but for those who don’t, I have included a rough guide below[1]. Likewise for those who might like a quick guide to dispute boards[2]. But what has this got to do with game theory, and in particular, prisoner’s dilemma?

I was first introduced to prisoner’s dilemma by the revised version of Richard Dawkins The Selfish Gene. It is all to do with iteration, and why, when only the fittest survive, so many organisms, including homo sapiens, will often do selfless things for the benefit of their own kind.

Roughly, it goes like this. A couple of likely lads are engaged in a Continue reading

Back home

debateJust back from the Society of Construction Law’s 2015 Conference in Melbourne. Brilliant.

There were some excellent papers. Everyone will have learned some really useful stuff; I certainly did.  But we also had some good fun.

Yesterday evening, I participated in the dinner debate at the Fox Car Museum. Who is more useful, lawyers or experts? Never have I been involved in such a rigged Continue reading

Congress on Board

kon gres 2015Just back from a brief break on Kangaroo Island.

Tomorrow Patrick O’Sullivan and I will be talking at LEADR/IAMA ‘Kon gres tomorrow at the Playford in Adelaide.

This is what the blurb has to say about it:

Patrick O’Sullivan QC & Robert Fenwick Elliott

1.30 in Adelaide 2

Internationally, dispute boards have for some time had a major role in avoiding and resolving disputes, particularly in the context of major projects. What impact of these boards have in Australia, and what is the future likely to hold for them?

The use of boards has been increasing in Australia at an exponential rate, particularly Continue reading

DRBF Advanced Workshop

drbf logo260

The DRBF website is at

Just back from the Dispute Resolution Board Federation Advanced Workshop in Brisbane which was held this past weekend.

Brilliant. A really good day, with absolutely practical guidance from people who know exactly what they are doing.

For someone like me, who has gone to the bar rather late in life, Dispute Review Boards (or Dispute Avoidance Boards as they are often called here in Australia) are a breath of fresh air. The bar makes most of its income from trials, and so it is perhaps inevitable Continue reading