Chalcroft, a main contractor, challenged enforcement of an adjudicator’s award, claiming that the adjudica- tor had applied the wrong contractual provisions in producing the award. His interpretation of the  contract arrangements meant that a payless notice had not been served in time but, if one of Chalcroft’s interpretations of the arrangements was correct, it  was reasonably arguable that the payless notice was valid and in time, and that the adjudicator’s conclu- sion was wrong. If the adjudicator had wrongly interpreted the contractual position, did that then make the award unenforceable?

No, said the court. The adjudication system is meant to provide quick and effective remedies and now covers oral contracts, which increases the likelihood that they may be mis-described. The case was to be treated as one where the adjudicator had jurisdiction to resolve the dispute referred to him (as to how much was owing under an interim application) and addressed the correct question without bias, breach of natural justice or any other vice that would justify overturning his decision.

If (which could not be resolved in this case), he had made an error of law in referring to the wrong contractual provisions when deciding the substantive question referred to him, that fell within the category of errors of procedure, fact or law which the Court of Appeal had repeatedly emphasised should not prevent enforcement.

RMP Construction Services Ltd v Chalcroft Ltd [2015] EWHC 3737