Camillin Denny Architects Ltd v Adelaide Jones & Co Ltd [2009] EWHC 2110 This was an adjudication enforcement case which came before Mr Justice Akenhead. CDA were seeking to enforce the decision of an adjudicator in the sum of some £77k. One of the issues that had arisen was whether or not there was a novation whereby Adelaide Jones was replaced by another company, Euro Constructions & Building Ltd, thus rendering the decision of the adjudicator unenforceable.

In coming to his decision, the Judge referred to the case of Air Design (Kent) Ltd v Deerglen (Jersey) Ltd (see Issue 103) where the court had to consider the circumstances where the substance of the dispute overlapped with the possible jurisdictional challenge. In particular, an issue had arisen as to whether or not the adjudicator had jurisdiction to resolve disputes arising in one adjudication but in relation to four contracts said to exist between the parties. In that case, the Judge was of the view that the adjudicator was properly appointed under the ! rst contract and that there could be no argument that, in that capacity, he had (binding) jurisdiction to decide whether the later “contracts” were simply variations or stood on their own entirely separately as contracts in their own right.  

Mr Justice Akenhead here did not think that the Air Design case was authority for any proposition other than that there may be cases in which adjudicators properly appointed have jurisdiction to resolve jurisdictional issues if and to the extent coincidently those issues are part of the substantive dispute referred to adjudication. These words were probably a response to the suggestions that had been made in some quarters that the Air Design case might be a sign that the TCC might have opened a small window to give adjudicators jurisdiction to decide their own jurisdiction at least in cases where substance and jurisdiction overlap.

The Judge here noted that where there has been a clear unquali! ed and fully retrospective novation by which a new party is substituted for an original party to a contract, it is the new party which can itself seek adjudication and it is against the new party that the other party must seek adjudication or, later arbitration. That was not the case here. Indeed, on the evidence here, there was no realistic prospect of Adelaide Jones establishing that there had been an e# ective novation. The novation had been mooted, but there is no evidence as to whether any of the proposals had been accepted. The adjudicator’s decision was duly enforced.