Enforcing Adjudicators' Decisions
No business likes to incur unnecessary costs, and this is especially true when it comes to legal disputes. That is why, in 1996, the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act (“the Act”) was introduced, allowing construction companies to settle their disputes via the quick and inexpensive process of adjudication. However, adjudicators' decisions are not always respected with timely compliance, and it can be necessary to enforce the decision in court.
How do I enforce an adjudicator's decision?
If you have benefitted from an adjudicator's decision and wish to enforce it, you should apply to the Technology and Construction Court (“TCC”), part of the High Court. The procedure is set out in section 9 of the TCC Guide, which states that you should file the following documents with the court:
- A claim form (the type of claim form will depend on the type of decision you want to enforce),
- Details about your claim (called “Particulars of Claim”),
- An application for summary judgment (i.e. a shorter procedure without a trial), and
- Any supporting material, such as the adjudicator's decision.
How quickly can I enforce a decision?
If you mark your application as “Paper without notice adjudication enforcement claim and application for the urgent attention of a TCC judge”, the usual procedure will be shortened and a judge should deal with your application within 3 working days. The judge will normally then fix a hearing within 28 days, but require that you serve your documents on other party at least 14 days before that hearing in order to give them time to respond. If the other party fails to respond, you may be able to short-circuit the process even further by requesting judgment in default.
Why might I not be able to enforce a decision?
Although there are various reasons a party may challenge a decision, it is unusual for claimants to be unable to enforce an adjudicator's decision where the party has simply refused to comply. However, in the recent case of Pioneer Cladding -v- John Graham Construction, the High Court refused to uphold the adjudicator's decision as the claimants would not be able to repay the award if it were overturned on appeal, and had also misled the other party as to their financial position.
If you would like advice about enforcing adjudicators' decisions, or if you have any other questions regarding adjudication, please contact Charlotte Waters at firstname.lastname@example.org