Smarter Contract’s expert determination process has 8 steps that start once a party to an agreement initiates a dispute:
Step 1 is Process Modifications. The max duration is normally 14 days. During this step, the parties can modify certain aspects of the process. The duration of this step can be more than 14 days if activities related to a dispute about the process extend past 14 days.
Step 2 is Document Sharing and Fees. The max duration is 14 days. During this step, the parties pay the expert fee, which is refunded if they settle in step 3. They also share with each other the documentation related to the dispute that they are required to disclose.
Step 3 is Settlement Offers. The max duration is normally 12 days. During this step, after reviewing the shared documentation, the parties can make offers for settling the dispute and respond to those offers. The duration of this step can be more than 12 days if there is a dispute about whether all the required documentation was shared.
Step 4 is Expert Selection. During this step, Smarter Contract selects one or more experts. The higher the rates that the parties offer to the experts, the more quickly this step is completed. If reasonable rates are offered, this step will take only a few days.
Step 5 is Communication. The max duration is typically around 14 days. During this step, the expert(s) and parties communicate anonymously. The duration of this step is specified in the parties’ agreement. 14 days is typical.
Step 6 is the Decision. The max duration is typically around 7 days. During this step, the expert(s) make a determination on the disputed matter. The duration of this step is specified in the parties’ agreement. 7 days is typical.
By the way, you can get the expert determination clause here.
Step 7 is the Expert Review. The max duration is typically around 7 days. During this step, an expert who did not submit a determination on the matter reviews the explanation(s) of the expert(s) to check whether they made obvious errors, such as calculation errors. If an obvious error is detected, certain steps are repeated, which can extend this step past 7 days.
Step 8 is the Conclusion. This step has a minimal duration. At this step, the result of the expert determination is communicated to the parties. Also, part or all of the fees paid by the parties are returned to them. For example, if the determination is a yes-no determination and you were on the right side of the dispute, then the entire fee you paid will be returned to you.
After the process’s conclusion, if Party A has to pay money to Party B but doesn’t, then Party B can get a simple summary judgement from a court against Party A to get the government’s help with collection. If the contract requires arbitration, then Party B would initiate a simplified arbitration process to achieve the same result. However, using a court or arbitration should be unnecessary because Party A will know that they will be forced by the government to make the payment due. And that could be made public and come out in future background checks, which would be humiliating.
To recap, first are optional process modifications, then document sharing and fee payment, then settlement offers, then expert selection, followed by communication between experts and parties, then the expert decision, and finally review of the expert determination, and the conclusion of the process.
Overall, this process can take approximately 2 months. As described above, it is possible for the process to take longer. On the other hand, if the parties complete a step before the time allotted to the step runs out, they can move on to the next step early. As a result, the expert determination process can require less than one month.
Tap here to get the expert determination clause.