In Makers UK Ltd v Camden London Borough Council, valuable guidance on the adjudication process was given.
Adjudication, when used correctly, is a valuable dispute resolution process that is available in the vast majority of construction contracts that can save significant amounts of time and money in resolving construction disputes.
Camden Council raised allegations of invalid nomination of adjudicator and bias when it challenged the enforceability of the adjudicator's decision. The contractor, Maker, had unilaterally applied to RIBA (the adjudicator nominating body under the contract) requesting the nomination of a specific individual to act as adjudicator, despite Maker having already contacted that individual to check on his availability.
The court held that a party could ask the nominating body for a specified individual. There was no apparent bias. Checking an individual's availability was a sensible step to take. However, even where bias occurs, the "losing party" in the adjudication may still resist enforcement. It is sensible to limit unilateral contact with adjudicators before, during and after an adjudication. If contact has to be made, it is best done in writing.
Click here for the details of the case.