Fact-finding consists of an independent analysis of a conflict by an impartial third party. The purpose of asking an impartial third party to conduct “fact-finding” is to develop new information and fresh insights into the possible ways of resolving the conflict, to break impasse, and accelerate the resolution process.
- Fact-finders engage in extensive data gathering. Fact-finders research and review pertinent documents, consult relevant laws, regulations, and policies, and conduct interviews with the major stakeholders and others who are familiar with the situation.
- Fact-finders are typically asked to write a report on their findings–either for the entity responsible for getting the particular conflict resolved, or for the parties themselves to review and consider as they proceed. The analysis usually includes a description of the sources and causes of the conflict, an identification of the stakeholders and their positions and interests, a history of the conflict and, if relevant, previous efforts to resolve it. It may also include specific recommendations.
- The type of recommendations made in the report will vary depending on its intended audience:If the report is beingprepared for the governing entity, the fact-finders might be asked to make a reasoned recommendation on how the “entity” could decide the dispute itself. Or, the fact-finders might be asked by the entity to recommend to it a new “process” for the parties to initiate that will better enable them to resolve the dispute by themselves (e.g. mediation, arbitration, some combination thereof)If the report is being prepared for the parties to assist them to reach an agreement, the report will usually contain the fact-finders’ analysis of the causes of the conflict, relevant legal issues, an identification of the major stakeholders and their underlying concerns and expectations, specific issues that should be placed on the agenda and resolved, and a listing of some of the options that they might consider.
How can you arrange for IDRS’ fact-finding services?
You can arrange for “fact-finding” services by calling our offices and speaking to one of our practitioners on the telephone. He or she will:
- Speak to you confidentially about your perspectives on the nature of the conflict, including its history, possible causes, who is involved, etc.
- Ask you to describe what efforts have been made already to get the parties together to resolve their differences
- Ask you what you want to accomplish by bringing in an impartial third party: to assess the conflict. Do you want recommendations on how to settle the conflict, or do you want some guidance on a different resolution process for the parties to use?
- Discuss with you some possible approaches.
- Give you immediate feedback on anticipated scope of work, the projected time to complete it, and a “ball-park” cost estimate.
- If you are interested in commissioning IDRS to provide “fact-finding” services, this will be followed by a more detailed cost proposal and a proposed contract for your consideration.
- Once a contract has been signed, IDRS will ask you to identify the parties and other sources of pertinent information, and to provide contact information if you have it