In Hyder v Carillion an adjudicator deciding a fee dispute between a civil engineering contractor and its consultant on a rail project did not put his preliminary views to the parties for comment before making his award. He did not take into account material that was not before the parties or apply his own experience to resolve a particular question but the contractor claimed that the adjudicator had acted in breach of the rules of natural justice, by adopting a methodology different from that advanced by either of the parties without giving them an opportunity to comment on it.

The contractor’s objection failed. The judge said that, in adjudication, which is a rough and ready method of interim dispute resolution, unless the rules of engagement are fundamentally disregarded by the adjudicator, so that the outcome is materially affected, the court will not usually intervene. The adjudicator’s calculation of the Target Cost was driven primarily by his construction of a contract clause, on which both parties had made submissions. If a judge or adjudicator has heard full argument on the construction of a particular clause or set of contract provisions and reaches a conclusion that is different from the parties’ submissions, there is no obligation to canvass that view with them before making the decision.

Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd v Carillion Construction Ltd [2011] EWHC 1810 (TCC)