Steve Domsalla (t/a Domsalla Building Services) v Kenneth Dyason: The court held that notwithstanding the usual exclusion a residential occupier who is a party to a JCT Minor Works 2005 Contract is bound by the contract’s adjudication provisions. We consider that this will apply equally to other JCT and standard form contracts. It was also held that the doctrine of unreviewable error of an adjudication award only applies to statutory adjudication (i.e. ones where the parties are subject to the provisions of the Construction Act) and not to contractual adjudication (i.e. where parties agree to submit to adjudication when otherwise they would be outside the Act as when they enter into a JCT Contract which contains adjudication provisions). Further, that the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations do not apply to the adjudication provisions in the JCT Minor Works 2005 Contract even when it may be procedurally unfair for the contractor to rely on them against a residential occupier. However, the withholding provisions in the same contract were held to be unfair on the facts of this particular case.

AC Yule & Son Ltd v Speedwell Roofing & Cladding Ltd [2007] EWHC 1360 (TCC); [2007] B.L.R. 499 Where a party has not expressly agreed to an adjudicator’s request for an extension of time for giving his decision, the Court may infer agreement from the party’s conduct, so that the party may be prevented from challenging the decision on the basis it was “out of time”.

Mott MacDonald Ltd v London & Regional Properties Ltd [2007] EWHC 1055 (TCC); 113 Con. L. R. 33 The court will not tolerate adjudicators imposing liens on their decisions subject to payment of their fees – in this case the judge went as far as to say that the fact the adjudicator required his fees had to be paid by the referring party before he would publish his award gave the appearance of bias to his appointment.

Multiplex Construction (UK) Ltd v Mott Macdonald Ltd [2007] EWHC 20 (TCC); 110 Con. L.R. 63 Unusually, the remedy granted by the adjudicator which the claimant was seeking to enforce was specific performance for delivery of certain documents. The court held that the adjudicator had acted within his jurisdiction when he allowed the claimant access to  certain documents of the defendant and that to enforce the decision the court should make a declaration. However, the remedy of specific performance itself was not ordered by the Court because a summary judgment application (the basis on which an application to enforce an adjudication award is usually made) was not the correct forum to hear evidence on whether the defendant had properly complied with the adjudicator’s decision.

Harris Calnan Construction Co Ltd v Ridgewood (Kensington) Ltd [2007] All ER (D) 384 HHJ Coulson reviewed the case law on whether an adjudicator’s decision on his own jurisdiction can be later re-examined by the court. He decided that:

“the court must examine whether, when the jurisdiction point was raised in front of the adjudicator, the parties agreed to be bound by his conclusions. If so, the adjudicator’s decision is binding. If the challenger’s position is reserved, and he made it clear, although he was content for the adjudicator to express a view on the point, he did not agree to be bound by that view, it is not binding.”

HG Construction Ltd v Ashwell Homes (East Anglia) Ltd [2007] EWHC 144 (TCC); [2007] B.L.R. 175 held that if a dispute is substantially the same as one which has already been adjudicated – the earlier decision is binding. Whether a dispute is substantially the same is a question of fact and degree.