Recent Adjudication Case of Note (UK) – Science and Technology Facilities Council vs MW High Tech Properties HC 2015

Re: Science and Technology Facilities Council v MW High Tech Projects UK Ltd [2015] EWHC 2889 (TCC) (21 October 2015)

A defendant in adjudication proceedings challenged the adjudicator’s jurisdiction and reserved its rights. The Defendant then subsequently paid the adjudicator’s fees without any covering letter or explanation.  In the Defendant’s subsequent challenge to the adjudication award (premised on want of jurisdiction) the Plaintiff argued that by paying the adjudicator’s fees, the Defendant had treated the decision of the adjudicator as binding and had waived any right to challenge his jurisdiction

The Court, in the specific circumstances of this case, concluded that the explicit reservation of its rights by the Defendant in circumstances where the adjudicator’s terms of appointment explicitly allowed the challenge to jurisdiction on enforcement allowed the Defendant to challenge jurisdiction by way of application to the Court and that the subsequent payment of the adjudicator’s fee did not obviate the prior reservation of position.

The full judgment may be downloaded HERE

Note: In the context of the pending commencement of the Construction Contracts Act, 2013, practitioners would be advised to treat this case with caution and, at all times, to explicitly reserve their position / and to repeat this reservation as necessary so as not to prejudice a subsequent challenge on jurisdiction.   Particular regard might be had to the following decisions emanating from the UK Courts on challenges to adjudication decisions premised on jurisdiction (please click on titles to link to the relevant judgments):

Shimizu Europe Ltd v  Automajor Ltd [2003] BLR 381;

PT Building Services Ltd  v ROK Build Ltd [2008] EWHC 3434 (TCC) and

Wales and West Utilities Ltd v  PPS Pipeline Systems GmbH [2014] BLR 163 

(NB: In your consideration of the above authorities please bear in mind the usual caveat premised on the significant differences between the legislative regime soon to be in operation in this jurisdiction and that which governs adjudication in the UK)

JSF

30.11.2015

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