Adjudication can provide a swift solution where negotiation is deadlocked
Adjudication is a dispute resolution method that allows either party to submit their dispute to an independent third party for an imposed decision. Adjudication is quick and relatively affordable but adversarial in nature. The short timescale of 28 days in which the decision is reached, unless extended, means that it is an intense and demanding process. Formalising a dispute through adjudication can result in a deterioration of the relationship between the parties. However, the speed of the process does permit parties to quickly move on and arrange their affairs according to the decision that is reached.
Adjudication ensures privacy of procedure and can facilitate the continuance of cash flow based on the advancement of a strong case where previous negotiation has reached deadlock. The threat of invoking adjudication can assist progression in other dispute methods such as mediation or conciliation. The right to refer a dispute is available ‘at any time’ for either party to a qualifying contract under the Construction Contracts Act 2013.
The timeline and milestones of the adjudication process are dictated under the Construction Contracts Act 2013. Adjudication is a fast process, but it requires meticulous and careful preparation of evidence. If there is an error in preparation there is little or no opportunity to make a correction before its consequences are reflected in the adjudicator’s decision. The ability for the referring party to fully prepare in advance of issuing a Notice of intent to refer the dispute to adjudication, and the lesser time for the Respondent to compile and submit its response, results in a process that can favour the referring party.
- References to the Construction Contracts Act 2013 in italics.
- *Construction Contracts Adjudication Service is the nominating body on behalf of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.