If a party is unhappy with the appointed adjudicator, can it simply not serve the referral notice, abandon the adjudication and start again, to see if it has better luck with a different adjudicator? In Lanes v Galliford Try Lanes had objected to the first adjudicator proposed by Galliford, the claimant. Galliford, in turn, was unhappy with the adjudicator appointed by the ICE and protested, but without success as the adjudicator remained in place. Galliford then served a fresh notice of adjudication and asked the ICE to appoint another (third) adjudicator, which they did. The court said they were entitled to start again (so long as no decision had been given in the adjudication).

While the parties were corresponding with the adjudicator about the date for service of Lanes’ Response, and before it had been served, the third adjudicator produced a 35 page “Preliminary Views” document for the parties’ comments. The judge said that the document (for which he saw no need) looked like a draft judgment, it must have taken some days to prepare and it appeared as if the adjudicator had made up his mind. The judge agreed with Lanes that the document showed apparent bias on the part of the adjudicator and refused to enforce the adjudicator’s decision.

Lanes Group Plc v Galliford Try Infrastructure Ltd [2011] EWHC 1679 (TCC)