Engineers obtained adjudication awards for outstanding fees, judgment in enforcement proceedings and charging orders. Their clients then issued court proceedings for declarations as to the amounts due to the engineers (alleging these were considerably less than the sums paid on account) and for repayment of sums paid in excess of the engineers’ entitlement. The court stayed the court proceedings on the grounds of unreasonable and oppressive behaviour, and some element of bad faith, by the clients in pursuing the claims without first honouring the adjudicator’s decisions and the enforcement judgments. The clients then issued adjudication proceedings, which the engineers asked the court to stay.
The court stayed these proceedings until the judgment debts, costs and interest were paid and security for costs provided. The judge considered there was no difference between litigation and adjudication in the criteria for staying a claim brought unreasonably and oppressively, but applying the criteria to the facts might produce a different outcome, depending on whether the claim was made in litigation or adjudication. The current referrals were another attempt to circumvent the HGCRA machinery and policy and it was “unreasonable and oppressive” to subject the engineers to further (adjudication) proceedings when their clients had failed to honour the first awards and subsequent court judgments.
Mentmore Towers Ltd & Ors v Packman Lucas Ltd.  EWHC 457 (TCC)