Now That’s What I Call…Adjudication!

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Adjudication is often preferred over litigation as it is a quicker process, which lasts between 28-42 days from the date of the referral notice.

But, do you know what the process actually consists of?  Here is a simple guide on the key steps in an adjudication.

  1. Notice of Adjudication is served

Once the construction dispute has crystallised (within knowledge of the parties), the party issuing the adjudication (“Referring party”) can serve a notice of adjudication on the receiving party (“Responding party”).

The notice is a general summary of the dispute (including a description, details of parties involved, and remedy sought) and must be correctly addressed and comply with the contractual provisions.

2          Appointment of the Adjudicator

After serving the notice, the Adjudicator’s appointment form is lodged with the nominating body specified in the Contract, attaching the notice of adjudication as proof of service.

An Adjudicator must be appointed within 7 days from service of the notice of adjudication.

3          Responding party may challenge the Adjudicator’s jurisdiction

Although a notice of adjudication may be issued, the Responding party is entitled to challenge jurisdiction on the following grounds:

  1. Internal jurisdiction disputes/challenges (interpretation of contract); or
  2. Threshold jurisdiction disputes/challenges (issues with the contract, adjudicator’s appointment, crystallisation of dispute, details of dispute etc.)

For further information, please see our article: Another day, another Adjudication notice – are there any get out clauses?

4          Service of the Referral Notice

The Referral Notice expands on the details of the dispute and includes supporting documentation (e.g. correspondence, contract, notices, expert reports relied upon etc.). This should be issued within 7 days of the notice of adjudication

5          Response from the Responding Party

The Response is the defence to the Referral Notice and is an opportunity for the Responding Party to rebut the allegations made against them. This needs to be submitted within 7 days of the Referral Notice. An extension can only be granted by the Referring Party.

6          Further submissions

The Referring party may serve a Reply to the Response, along with further evidence not previously disclosed, usually within 3-7 days of the Reply.

Where necessary (complex cases), the Responding party may serve a Rejoinder, which is a response to the Reply, and the Referring party may serve a Surrejoinder responding to the Rejoinder.

7          Adjudicator’s Decision

The Adjudicator has authority to request further information and/or clarity from either party throughout the adjudication, but must deliver their decision within 28 days of the date of the Referral, save where any extensions of time have been agreed. In any event, the decision must be delivered within a maximum of 42 days from the date of the Referral.

Where required, the successful party can also apply to the court for summary judgement and ‘enforce’ the adjudicator’s decision.

‘Adjudication – Something for Everyone!’ was discussed at our June 2020 webinar, with Bill Barton.  The supporting notes can be found here.

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