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FAQ for expert opinion

 1. What is the difference between an Expert Opinion and an Arbitration?
  In an Expert Opinion the GMAA Expert answers a defined, abstract detailed question. This question usually relates to a technical problem (for example, from the area of shipbuilding or ship repair), or a nautical or legal issue. Under the German Civil Code (§ 317 BGB) parties are free to instruct a third party – the Expert - to determine the specifics of a performance. By contrast, the arbitration tribunal decides if a claim is founded or not. In arbitration a dispute is decided whereas in an Expert Opinion a decision is made on an isolated preliminary issue of fact or law.
2. What is the difference between an Expert Opinion and a Project Adjudication?

A GMAA Expert is normally only called and instructed when the problem has occurred and needs swift clarification.

By contrast, adjudicators are instructed at the onset of a project; they accompany it, so that they can step in and resolve the (technical) problem whenever one arises.
3. Are the Expert’s findings and conclusions binding on the parties?
  Basically, yes, unless they are "manifestly unfair" (§ 319 BGB).
4. When would it be useful to agree an Expert Opinion?

For example, Expert Opinions are frequently included in the following contracts:

  • in shipyard contracts: clarification of unexpected technical problems that arise during the construction period ; acceptability of a ship; deficiency statements; payment reduction amounts; determination of repair costs
  • in corporate agreements: determining the company's value; determination of the profits; determining the value of investments;
  • in insurance contracts: Legal opinions on coverage issues