Adjudication Society/AICA Conference 2015

The fourteenth annual conference of the Adjudication Society, held in conjunction with the Association of Independent Construction Adjudicators on the topic of “The rising costs of Adjudication and how to reduce them”, was held at the Radisson Blu Portman Hotel, London on 5th November 2015 in front of over 90 delegates.

The Conference was fortunate to be addressed by the Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart, the Judge in Charge of the Technology and Construction Court as its Keynote Speaker. Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart took the opportunity to outline some of the more inappropriate practices which were coming to the surface in Adjudication which were increasing the costs and against which the Courts took a robust view.

Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart’s talk was warmly received by the delegates. He was followed by John Riches whose presentation concentrated on the evidence justifying whether the costs of Adjudication were in fact increasing. He made a number of suggestions as to the factors which give rise to adjudication costs being higher than they should be. His conclusion was, however, that there was no hard evidence that costs were rising.

After the mid-morning break Peter Aeberli emphasised that the way to save costs in Adjudication was not to adjudicate at all. He displayed a number of charts showing how the costs change the further one went into the dispute. He set out the potential for cost saving in preparing for the Adjudication, selection of the Adjudicator and the procedure adopted.

The morning continued with Adrian Malleson, Head of Research at RIBA Enterprises making a presentation on the National Construction Contracts and Law Survey 2015 which initially concentrated on tendering, collaboration and selection of contracts. He then moved onto the legal issues in contracting which proved most challenging, matters impeding the Project and disputes. Adrian was followed by the Society’s Annual General Meeting which concluded the morning session.

The afternoon comprised of a new format for the revolving workshops whereby a Synopsys (or a series of them) were presented by firstly Chris Hough and Bob David and secondly by Matt Molloy and John Redmond. The workshop tables were invited to discuss the issues between themselves and then to speak to the Conference of their conclusions.

The first session dealt with one scenario where a decision had been given and the parties were addressing the Adjudicator on the issue of costs not only of the Adjudicator but under an ad hoc jurisdiction given the Adjudicator to decide the parties’ costs.

The second session posed a number of current issues ranging from claims for costs under the Late Payment Legislation, through objections to the Adjudicator’s fees, splitting the costs between the parties to claiming the adjudication costs as damages.

Both sessions were very well received.

The Society and the Association would like to express their thanks to all the contributors to the Conference and to those who helped “back stage” to make the Conference a success.

The 2016 Conference is to be held “on the road” on a date to be fixed. Further details will appear on the Website in the New Year.

Martin Potter
Conference Organising Subcommittee Chairman