On the plus side, adjudication is fast (28 days from start to finish). On the cautious side, it’s binding, with legal and expert fees not normally recoverable, even by the successful party. This means there is no room for error, and mistakes can be expensive. All of which suggests you’re likely to be best off with the firm which has conducted more successful adjudications than any other.
There is often only one opportunity to convince the tribunal of your case, and this has to be prepared and presented in a very tight timeframe. We will help you successfully face that challenge. Many of our team deal with adjudications on a daily basis. We also understand the commercial imperatives behind our clients' instructions.
- Final account negotiation. We acted for one of the main contractors on a very large national infrastructure project. The contractor concerned was unable to strike a final account settlement as a result of spurious claims made against it made by the project manager. We initiated a £50m adjudication on behalf of the contractor which resulted in a changed position in negotiation and a settlement on favourable terms for our client.
- Operational advice. When supplying operational support to a live major infrastructure project, we assisted our client to explain informally that in the event of the other side continuing with an unreasonable approach to certification, we would be forced to adjudicate interim certificates as a matter of course. This informal explanation encouraged the certifying authority to be more reasonable in its certification process and enabled the project to continue, with the contractor in positive cash flow.
- Defective design. In a major infrastructure project, a defective design had resulted in a settlement of an element of the works. Responsibility for the design was contested between employer and contractor. We initiated an adjudication during the progress of the works which allowed the parties to resolve their difference over who was responsible and complete the project on time and within budget.
- Liquidated damages. The employer in a building contract had taken over part of the site, yet attempted to levy liquidate damages (LDs) against our contractor client, in a manner inconsistent with the agreement between them. The adjudicator decided that the LDs provision was a penalty and ordered the repayment of the LDs deducted by the employer.
- Jurisdiction and crystallisation of a dispute. On behalf of an employer, we argued successfully that the adjudicator had been improperly appointed and that he had no jurisdiction to decide the issue at hand. We also argued successfully that the point taken against our client did not amount to a dispute (or difference) and therefore there was no entitlement to adjudicate the dispute.