In 1996 Parliament passed the Construction Act. This included a requirement that all construction contracts contained provisions allowing either party to call for adjudication of any dispute arising between the parties. Any construction contract thus had to include appropriate clauses or, if it did not, then the Scheme for Construction Contracts would apply – thus imposing conditions.
Adjudication is now a dispute resolution process that most in the UK construction industry are familiar with. The process was introduced by the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996, which became effective from May 1998. We have therefore lived with it for almost 15 years. Adjudication is included in all of the standard form contracts, but in any event will be implied, as we all now know, into any contract that meets with the definition of “construction contract” under the Act.
The Christmas Season is now upon us. The economy is improving so we hear, but as to whether the rumour will become reality we will have to wait and see.
As Nicholas Gould has already observed elsewhere in this newsletter, at present adjudication is not available in the Middle East and as a result dispute boards have become popular on construction projects in the region.
This edition of the newsletter, in keeping with the season of festive indulgence, brings you a number extra-large helpings of food for thought : we hope you will think of it in terms of being a delicate dispute resolution tasting menu of varied delights!
The decision of Akenhead J in Parkwood Leisure Limited v Laing O’Rourke Wales & West Limited  EWHC 2665 will be of particular interest to members of the Adjudication Society as it placed collateral warranties on the adjudication radar in the most unexpected way.
This is my fourth article on the basics of adjudication. You will recall that my aim is to put any alleged complexities of adjudication in perspective and, as far as possible, empower those of us that actually work in construction, and are only occasional users of adjudication, to understand and be capable of entering into and completing the adjudication process without specialist advice. The adjudication process is supposed to assist construction by sorting our disputes with as little fuss as possible.
For many years now, the Technology and Construction Bar Association (“TECBAR”) has administered ADR panels of its members in the fields of arbitration, adjudication, mediation and dispute resolution boards. Construction adjudication, of course, has been a central feature of ADR for 15 years and as members of the Adjudication Society are well aware there have been a large number of TCC judgments in adjudication enforcement proceedings (which have both simplified the workings of the process in some areas and arguably complicated it in others).
The executive committee is settling in well. I am still Acting Hon Sec; any volunteers to act as Hon Sec are welcome to email me. Richard Booth has been confirmed as the member of the Committee to replace the very long serving Tim Willis as regional coordinator. Our deep and heartfelt thanks go to Tim for his very hard work. Susan Francombe has very kindly agreed to take the very unofficial role of AGM coordinator. Many thanks, Susan. Hamish Lal continues as Treasurer and reports a very stable financial position.
The Brothers Grimm collection of Fairy Tales includes a tale about a tailor with “seven with one blow” embroidered on his belt, to explain that he had killed several flies with one stroke when they attacked his jam. This embroidery was later mistaken by a giant to signify his killing prowess, resulting ultimately (with some cunning trickery) in the giants all fleeing in fear of the tailor.
The focus of this quarter’s newsletter is upon the Referral process itself. In the third of James Golden’s excellent Back to Basics series, readers will find a useful guide and refresher to the process by which parties can get their dispute into the hands of an adjudicator. This is a timely article coinciding as it does with the re-launch, during this August, of the Technology and Construction Bar Association’s Adjudication panel; details of this, together with the 2012 TECBAR Adjudication Rules, can be found in Calum Lamont’s article.
As some of you will know the introduction of a statutory basis for adjudication in the Republic of Ireland has had a long gestation. Now, the Construction Contracts Act 2013 (“the Construction Contracts Act”) has been enacted in the Republic on the 29 July 2013.
This is my third article on the basics of adjudication. You will recall that my aim is to put any alleged complexities of adjudication in perspective and, as far as possible, empower those of us that actually work in construction, and are only occasional users of adjudication, to understand and be capable of entering into and completing the adjudication process without specialist advice. The process is supposed to assist construction by sorting our disputes with as little fuss as possible. It is supposed to be used by construction people who are not completely steeped in the law.
Whilst some nominating bodies distance themselves from investigating the charge out rates levied by adjudicators, complaints do arise as to the overall amount charged and/or time spent by an adjudicator in the conduct of a matter.
Progress on the Irish Construction Contracts Bill 2010 comes sporadically rather than consistently. When passed, it will likely attain a record for the longest period between introduction in the Oireachtas (parliament) and signature by the President. After almost twelve months where the Bill failed to advance, the government published its proposed amendments with just a week's notice before the relevant committee considered them.