Are you looking for advice and representation in relation to construction adjudication?

You might have a claim that you wish to prepare for adjudication, or you might have received a notice of adjudication or a referral to adjudication which you urgently need to defend.

How we can help

Adjudication is extremely fast-paced and is often a testing and stressful process, so it is important that you have an experienced representative on-hand. CCC work for you and with you, using our extensive experience in acting in adjudications for both claiming and defending parties. We are often able to take the first steps on the same day that we are instructed.

We have provided representation to all manner of different parties involved in construction contracts and construction adjudication.

What is adjudication?

Since its introduction in legislation of 1996, Adjudication has become the most common method of formal dispute resolution in the construction industry. When used effectively it can provide you with fast, efficient and cost-effective resolution of your dispute.

Adjudication decisions are binding and enforceable and typically result in the losing party making prompt payment of any sums that the adjudicator decides.

Typical adjudication timetable

In order to begin an adjudication there must be a clear (or ‘crystallised’) dispute. In short this means that one party must put its position and the other either expressly rejects it or sufficient time passes that rejection can be inferred.

An adjudication is started by issuing a Notice of Adjudication. The notice is a short document which sets out the identity of the parties, the contractual provisions allowing adjudication, the key issues in dispute, and the remedies sought from the adjudicator.

An Adjudicator must be appointed and a Referral (which sets out all of the arguments and includes the relevant documents) must be made within 7 days of the Notice, then the Adjudicator has a further 28 days from the Referral to make a decision. In that time there will usually be further submissions by the parties to a timetable set by the Adjudicator. Usually at a minimum the Responding Party will be allowed to provide a Response and then the Referring Party will be allowed to provide a Reply.

The 28 days which the Adjudicator has to reach their decision can be extended by up to 14 days by the party referring (bringing) the dispute, or by any length of time by agreement of both parties. In practice the adjudication timetable is often extended.

In summary:

  • A Notice of Adjudication is issued.
  • An Adjudicator is appointed and a Referral to Adjudication served within 7 days of the Notice of Adjudication.
  • The Adjudicator has 28 days from the date of the Referral to issue their decision.
  • The 28 days can be extended by up to 14 days by the Referring Party only, or such longer period as both parties agree.
  • The Adjudicator sets the timetable for submission of the Response and any other submissions.

What matters can be referred to adjudication?

The Construction Act gives a party to a construction contract the right to refer a dispute arising under the contract to adjudication.

What constitutes a 'dispute' can cover a single issue between the parties (such as a single disputed variation) or everything in dispute between them at the time. For example, there might be a dispute over all of the parties' respective entitlements at final account stage, including arguments about the work in the original scope, variations, delay, extension of time, loss and expense, defects and contra-charges.

What if a party does not comply with an adjudicator's decision?

If a party refuses to comply with a decision they can be taken to court where it will be enforced (as long as the Decision was properly made) by means of a court order for summary judgment.

The enforcement process takes place much more quickly than ‘normal’ court proceedings and the grounds for a party to resist enforcement are very limited. There are only very limited grounds on which enforcement can be resisted and the vast majority of decisions are enforced.

The court generally does not look at whether an adjudicator’s decision is right or wrong, so will enforce a decision unless the adjudicator did not have the power (jurisdiction) to make it or there was some breach of the relevant rules (including a breach of natural justice).

Our experience

We have dealt with adjudications of all different types from home-owner disputes for tens of thousands of pounds to main contract disputes involving multi-millions of pounds.

This is a very specialist area of law with numerous procedural and tactical pitfalls for the unwary. You give yourself the best chance possible by engaging CCC for representation at the outset. By taking advantage of our knowledge and experience of the adjudication process you can ensure that you will be guided through the process and that your position will be presented in a way which will have maximum impact with the adjudicator.

CCC is best placed to act for you in adjudication because:

  • We have been involved in statutory adjudication since it was introduced, and contractual adjudication before this. We have been involved in over 1,000 adjudications;
  • Our consultants are highly trained;
  • We have provided training in adjudication to lawyers at major adjudication conferences;
  • All of our principal consultants are members of the Adjudication Society
  • Our adjudication cases have been heard in the High Court and the Court of Appeal and are now cited as authority; and
  • We have a number of very experienced consultants in this field and can react very quickly and cost-effectively when prosecuting and defending adjudications.

Free initial enquiry

Whilst we would ideally be involved as soon as possible and before an adjudication notice is served, at whatever stage you are at, you can increase your prospects of success immediately by discussing matters with us. Taking advantage of a free initial consultation with us at an early stage could mean a drastically different result at the end of an adjudication.

All initial enquiries from new clients are free of charge, so please do not hesitate to contact us by phone, email or using our contact form for a free initial consultation to discuss how we can help you get the most out of the adjudication process.