Adjudication – Ware the Outset…

As emphasised by colleagues from the Bar of England and Wales at the recent SCL event held in Dublin, missteps at the very outset of an adjudication process can doom the process;  this is particularly so in circumstances where parties angle to appoint an adjudicator who they believe might be more favourably disposed to their position. The judgment of the UK’s TCC in Mr Paice and Mrs Springall v Matthew Harding (t/a M J Harding Contractors) [2015] EWHC 661 (TCC) provides a salutary lesson in resisting the temptation to engage with the potential adjudicator or the appointing panel without involving the other party to the dispute.

Eversheds LLP (UK) commenting on the above case state as follows in relation to bilateral communication with the proposed adjudicator in the absence of the other side:

“This will normally lead to allegations of bias from the other party. The simplest way to avoid the possibility of an adjudicator’s decision being overturned is for all communication to or from the adjudicator to be in the presence of or copied to all parties in the adjudication at the time of the communication. If in exceptional circumstances that is not possible, a detailed record of the communication should be circulated to all parties soon after it takes place.”

A useful summary of the case by CMS Cameron McKenna LLP may be found here 

JSF (07.10.2015)

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