17th Adjudication Society Conference, Bristol
Another great conference! Well organised – especially occurring the day after the decision in Grove was handed down; could not have been much better timed.
The day started with the keynote speech from Mrs Justice O’Farrell QC – a word to the wise from the courts. Adjudication law-making continues with around 70 adjudication enforcements commenced each year. Her points to watch? Jurisdiction, appointment rules, natural justice, Adjudicator’s mistakes, insolvency issues and disputes on construction of contracts plus a quick canter through Grove!
That was followed by an update on the adjudication consultation from Nicola Walters of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. The 2011 changes are generally seen as positive although there are mixed views on the clarity and complexity of the wording. Adjudication is still seen as a good, fast-track forum for resolving disputes although the rising cost is seen as limiting use. There was no widespread agreement on retentions. Watch for the report due out in the next few months.
The planned debate on Grove had been made more material with the judgment being available and being widely referred to. It is clear that the true value of work can be adjudicated on after a no-notice adjudication; it is not the death of these as many had thought.
Niav O’Higgins gave us a swift update on adjudication in Ireland. Adjudications are taking place although the Irish courts have yet had to wrestle with any enforcement challenges. The Act includes an interesting 30-day payment period to subcontractors provision that may well be watched closely from the rest of the UK.
The AGM saw the acceptance of the annual accounts and the induction of the new Committee.
Andrew Kearney’s adjudication update was re-scheduled to the afternoon due to morning over-runs and Andrew galloped keenly and excellently through a kindly abridged review – professional negligence, TECsa rule V3.2.2, Hutton v Wilson, Victory House v RGB, Lonsdale v Bresco, fraud, Wimbledon v Vago, Lulu v Mulalley, the late payment of debts interest act, and oral contracts all got a mention.
The perennial and ever-welcome workshops completed the balance of the afternoon – appointment and commencement and then evidence. Slightly different this year - facilitators set the scenes well and table-based discussions supported by table leaders were thorough and informative.
The use of Sli.do, an interactive voting app, through the day was interesting and was widely appreciated by the audience. It gave an immediate insight into others’ thoughts and a general conference opinion on a variety of topics. Easy to access and use.
Thank you to all of the speakers, panellists and workshop contributors, facilitators and table leaders. Thank you also to Andrew Kearney and Robin Gupta, for their work in organising the Annual Conference as part of the Conference Sub-committee.
Special thanks must go to Martin and Winifred Potter. They have tirelessly organised our conferences for the last 8 years and are now retiring. They have helped to make our conferences the successes they have all been. Martin & Win, the membership is grateful for all you have done for us. Thank you both very much indeed. All the very best in your retirement.