Coulson J enforced one adjudication decision, but refused to enforce a second on the grounds that the same adjudicator could not adjudicate on more than one set of proceedings without the parties' consent. The respondent Beck had engaged Deluxe as joinery subcontractor, but after issues arose relating to (i) variations and acceleration, (ii) EOTs and prolongation, and (iii) retention, Deluxe referred three separate disputes to adjudication, with the same adjudicator being appointed on each occasion.
Adjudication 3 was commenced prior to the adjudicator reaching a decision in adjudication 2, and Beck wrote to the adjudicator objecting to his dealing with two disputes at the same time. After Beck failed to comply with the decisions in adjudications 2 and 3, Deluxe sought enforcement in the TCC.
Beck argued that the adjudicator had breached the rules of natural justice in adjudication 2, but the judge disagreed and enforced the decision. However he declined to enforce the decision in adjudication 3 because it constituted a separate dispute, and Beck had not consented to the adjudicator dealing with more than one dispute at a time as required under paragraph 8(1) of the Scheme. He also clarified that paragraph 8(1) is not limited in its application to circumstances where more than one dispute is set out in a notice of adjudication.
It is clear from this decision that if the parties wish an adjudicator appointed under the Scheme to deal with more than one dispute at a time in separate adjudication proceedings then they need to consent to it. In the absence of such consent, the referring party will have to wait until one adjudication has concluded before referring another to the same adjudicator.
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