Sierra Property Qld Pty Ltd v National Construction Management Pty Ltd & Ors (No 2)[2016] QSC 125

Significance

This case highlights that where an error is made by an adjudicator, such that part of the adjudicator's decision is set aside, it does not follow that one party should wholly bear the loss.

Facts

In Sierra Property Qld Pty Ltd v National Construction Management Pty Ltd & Ors [2016] QSC 108 (also analysed by Jennifer McVeigh and Anne Crittall), the court held that a portion of an adjudication decision was invalid as it was affected by jurisdictional error due to the adjudicator's failure to include reasons.

This case relates to the payment of the adjudicator's fees. The developer sought orders that the adjudicator's fees be paid in full by the builder, while the builder contended that half of the adjudicator's fees should be borne by each party.

Decision

The court held that the adjudicator's fees should be apportioned equally between the parties.

Jackson J held that while an adjudicator's decision may be liable to be set aside, it does not follow that one party or the other should bear the loss.

His Honour emphasised that the error was made by the adjudicator, not by either of the parties. Therefore, there was no reason why the builder should pay the whole of the adjudicator's fees.