June 27, 2024

Is adjudication the right move for my project?

News Article

Adjudication is the process by which disputes are resolved with a legally binding decision from a neutral third party, known as the adjudicator.

It is a popular option for addressing construction disputes because of its comparatively low cost and compressed timeline – but is it right for you?

Our construction law expert, Adam Davis, addresses some of the key questions you’ll need to address.

Is adjudication an option?

Under the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996, all parties to a construction contract (as defined by the Act) have the right to refer a dispute to adjudication at any time. Only one dispute may be referred at any one time.

Additionally, adjudication is one of the stages of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), used in the UK to avoid litigation where possible.

This means that, in a construction dispute, one party can refer the issue to adjudication or it can be mutually agreed between all parties involved, whether this is agreed in the contract or agreed following a dispute arising.

Have you taken the right steps?

There are specific procedural steps in commencing adjudication and as such it is important that you seek legal advice as to the steps that need to be taken in the process.

There are, however, unlike with County Court claims no formal pre-action processes to go through. One of the most important elements, however, is that a dispute has to have crystalised for it to be referred to adjudication.

How does it compare to other forms of dispute resolution?

Construction project disputes are generally more suited to adjudication than, for example, arbitration or litigation.

This is because, when disputes cause delays to a project, this can result in significant financial losses and disruption to the supply chain.

The relative speed of adjudication – typically on a one- or two-month timeline – offers a substantial advantage over other forms of ADR.

Additionally, this compressed timeline generally means that costs are far lower than they would be for litigation or arbitration over the same issue.

Is adjudication right for me?

Adjudication is a versatile approach to dispute resolution, combining a quick, confidential process with lower costs and a binding decision by a neutral third party.

It can be the right course of action for the majority of construction disputes that cannot be solved informally but do not warrant referral to litigation or arbitration.

It can get a project moving again by resolving a dispute that would otherwise take weeks or months to address.

To find out more about our fixed fee adjudication scheme, contact us.