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Independent Evaluation Service




JUNE 2024


The CAAV offers this service to help avoid unnecessary disputes

Disputes bring stress, uncertainty, delay and cost.

These are the enemies of business life and progress.

Overcoming these frustrations is fundamentally important for business and society.


  1. The Reasons for the Service
  2. Good Ways to Resolve Disagreements Early – to Just Avoid Them
  3. The Answer – Take Third Party View
  4. Letting Daylight In – A Third Party View
  5. The CAAV Service
  6. The CAAV’s Independent Evaluation Service as a Dispute Avoidance Service
  7. Disputes do not Need to go their Full Course
  8. Using the CAAV Independent Evaluation Service

The application form for the CAAV Service can be opened here.


The Need for Good Ways to Resolving Disagreements Early – or Just Avoid Them

The Challenge - Reasonable people in a business or other arrangement can have genuine difference of opinion between them. They have different interests, perspectives and histories. They may find an issue difficult to settle between them, either because it is genuinely difficult or with misunderstandings or uncertainties. Yet the need to continue with business and personal lives, to be able to make decisions, makes it important to find early respected answers.

Parties can become entrenched with positions that are weaker than they think, become focused on matters of little overall relevance or miss key points. Perhaps neither party properly understands the other party’s issues, their understanding of the facts may differ or simply be wrong. Other pressures or a failure of attention may mean they have not properly considered a matter that is now becoming an additional problem. Such situations can lead to lengthy ill-advised disputes and costly failure and delay, sometimes just by drifting into them, sometimes by not re-appraising a firmly held position. It can be all too easy to lose perspective.

It should be possible to resolve such matters effectively, economically, quickly and fairly.

The Formal Answers - There are several formal ways for parties to achieve answers, each appropriate to particular types of dispute, if the parties cannot find their own answer unaided or by negotiation:

  • from a third party:
    • a court or tribunal
    • arbitration
    • expert determination
  • with help from a third party to find their own answer using mediation.

However, there is often no need to go that far and awareness that these routes exist can encourage parties to find their answer. Effective and informed negotiation is part of normal business life but sometimes it needs a little more.


Letting Daylight In – A Third Party View

These situations are where taking an early external independent view can be worth its weight in gold. This might see either both partes jointly asking a third party for an outside opinion or just one party doing so.

Asking a respected and relevant professional for a non-binding opinion on part or all of an issue can variously:

  • confirm the initial view, giving more confidence in it
  • suggest further points that assist in that
  • suggest weaknesses or other issues to be considered
  • suggest that the argument is largely ill-founded, showing how and where.

It can help give an objective perspective where one or both parties (with or without their advisers) has become entrenched with a posture on the issue, rather than a reasoned position. Using the CAAV Independent Evaluation Service can help a professional to advise such a client.

The act of preparing papers for that third party itself can often be a useful moment for reflection and review, clarifying issues early. That external view brings a wider perspective that can then inform continued negotiation and decisions and can:

  • bring order to issues that have become jumbled
  • help a professional in managing an unrealistic or unfocused client
  • help in making an offer to the other party and in reviewing such an offer. Is this what an arbitrator or other dispute resolver might be likely to award anyway?

That advice can help a party know:

  • whether it would be wiser to settle rather than pursue a potentially hopeless case
  • how to strengthen and sharpen an already good argument.
  • how to avoid unproductive arguments or points that are not relevant
  • possible new angles and issues to explore further.


The CAAV’s Independent Evaluation Service as a Dispute Avoidance Service

The CAAV’s Independent Evaluation Service is exactly that, a means for one or both parties to a negotiation or issue to have the benefit of an early and objective view of all or part of what seems at stake. Technically, this type of approach is often called “Early Neutral Evaluation” – the CAAV offers it as its Independent Evaluation Service.

Of course, parties can arrange this themselves, approaching a professional they respect, but it can help to involve an independent body. The CAAV can appoint or nominate a person for just this role on request, whether just one person or offer a choice of names.

This is a very flexible service:

  • both parties can jointly ask the CAAV for a name
  • one party can ask for a name to advise them
  • it could be that one party would assist the other party to take advice
  • the request could be in terms of the whole of the issue(s) between the parties
  • the request could be in respect of one point seen as critical to the issue.

The object here is simple. It is to offer a means for one or both parties to have a fresh clear view of an issue so that they can either manage the dispute better or see the way to an early practical settlement. In either case, this is support for more effective, economical and earlier resolution, helping avoid later unnecessary cost, risk and delay.

Knowing what one independent knowledgeable and experienced professional thinks of the matter will illuminate what a judge, arbitrator or expert might also think or point to where a mediation might naturally reach, when all the arguments have been fought over at greater length, months later. This can offer a cost effective and early solution.

Disputes Do Not Need to Go their Full Possible Course

Dispute resolution is a practical matter to be done as effectively as anything else in business life. While some disputes may properly need to reach a formal procedure, much more often they can be settled effectively by negotiations. Where negotiations hit an impasse, then the CAAV’s Independent Evaluation Service can help overcome that so that parties achieve more realistic answers faster for the good of their own businesses.

That fresh view can remove blinkers, give new insights and bring perspective, saving cost, risk and delay.

Using the CAAV Independent Evaluation Service

Apply to the Secretariat on the form on the CAAV website’s Dispute Resolution area with the fee of £195 (plus VAT).

This application could be made by:

  • one party for itself
  • both parties
  • one party with the confirmed assent of the other party.

The application should give or be accompanied by:

  • sufficient detail to assist in identifying useful names
  • be clear if the application is for:
    • an appointment or
    • the nomination/suggestion of one or more names
  • a list of parties who should not be approached for conflict of interest or other reasons
  • information as to any constraints on timescale or other matters.

The CAAV will then act on the application, typically with the name of a relevant Fellow but, on occasion, as where the issue is a legal or accounting point, with someone else best suited to that.