Adjudication for construction contracts is a dispute resolution mechanism that aims to reach a significantly faster decision for the parties than is usually possible through the courts. Parties to a qualifying construction contract have a legal right to adjudicate and this cannot be contracted out of, so adjudication is common in construction disputes. The parties can agree their own procedure for any adjudication, but if they do not do so, the Scheme for Construction Contracts applies.
The Scheme for Construction Contracts provides that an adjudication will be completed within 28 days of the receipt of a Referral Notice. In practice, it can often take slightly longer than this for an adjudicator to reach a decision and provide this in writing and the parties may agree an extension for the adjudicator to do so. However, it is unusual for an adjudication to take more than 56 days for a decision to be reached.
Adjudication decisions are binding in the first instance, but can be later be revised through the courts or via arbitration. This is often described as meaning that they are “binding, but not final” and that a losing party must “pay now, argue later”. This can be very helpful for a contractor who is owed money, as cash flow could otherwise easily become an issue if they were committing to 12 months or more of litigation, without being paid, to try to get a judgment in its favour.
We have considerable experience of adjudications, ranging from adjudications around £100,000 through to multi-million pound disputes and of successfully enforcing adjudication decisions made in our clients’ favour in the Technology and Construction Court.
If you would like to seek advice in relation to an adjudication or any other form of construction-related legal dispute, please contact Liam Owen on 01384 340551 or another member of our construction dispute team.