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Paul Hughes is a senior associate in A&L Goodbody's Construction & Engineering group. Paul has extensive experience in construction disputes and acts for employers, contractors and sub-contractors across multiple sectors, including, civil engineering, residential, commercial, educational, refurbishment, repair and maintenance and energy. Paul has expertise in disputes concerning extensions of time, loss and expense, defects, variations, payments, final accounts, true valuations, termination and asbestos. Paul has experience of dealing with disputes arising under the standard forms of contract, including, JCT, NEC, FIDIC, PWC & RIAI and ancillary agreements. Paul holds a PhD (Law) and is a solicitor in both Ireland and England and Wales. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (FRICS), the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (FSCSI), the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (FCInstCES) and the Chartered Institution of Arbitrators (FCIArb).

Introduction

On occasion when a referring party in an adjudication process seeks leave to enforce an adjudicator’s decision, the responding party will argue that due to the referring party’s poor financial standing, it will not be able to repay the amount awarded if it subsequently transpires in arbitration or litigation proceedings that the sum directed to be paid was not in fact due and owing.

The circumstances in which the enforcement of an adjudicator’s decision will be stayed due to the finances of the referring party is an issue which has yet to be resolved by the Irish courts. The

Continue Reading Stay of enforcement of an adjudicator’s decision!

Introduction

The annual reports from the Chairperson of the Construction Contracts Adjudication Panel indicate that, to date, adjudicators have dealt with some large value disputes. For example, in 2021 the amounts in dispute in four adjudications were over €10m. Of course, the amount in dispute does not automatically mean that the dispute is overly complex. A smaller disputed amount may give rise to more complex issues.

As adjudication is a speedy process, the question arises as to whether a dispute may be too large or complex for adjudication. To date, this matter has not been dealt with by the Irish

Continue Reading Adjudication and complex large value disputes

The adjudication process moves quickly. Whether you are making or defending a claim, it is important to deal with the process efficiently. Using the process efficiently has several benefits, including, producing more robust, focused and cross-referenced adjudication documentation together with time and cost savings.

There is awareness amongst those involved in construction disputes that having contemporaneous documentation is vital. However, it is important that the documentation is accessible and filed in a logical file structure. Many contractors and sub-contractors have very sophisticated document management systems while others may use less sophisticated systems. From our perspective, no matter what system is

Continue Reading Adjudication efficiency and cost savings

This blog post may be of interest to our clients involved in construction adjudications in England and Wales. Under s108(1) of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (E&W) (Act) a party to a construction contract has the right to refer a dispute to adjudication. As reference to ‘dispute’ is in the singular, each matter referred consists of one dispute unless the parties otherwise agree. However, a dispute can contain multiple sub-issues, for example, a dispute concerning several variations.

An issue sometimes arises where a Referring Party makes a claim by arguing that (1) a valid payment

Continue Reading One dispute or two?

As we approach the end of 2023, we look back at the main developments in relation to adjudication. The year saw further clarity brought to the Construction Contracts Act 2013 (the ‘Act’) with the High Court delivering judgment in three cases concerning adjudication. There is undoubted support from the High Court regarding the adjudication process.

The year saw something for all involved in adjudication. Parties to the adjudication process can have confidence that should enforcement proceedings be necessary, the court will deal with enforcement swiftly. In one matter the enforcement procedure took under one month from start to finish.

Continue Reading Adjudication: The Year in Review

The Technology and Construction Court in England and Wales recently dealt with an interesting point in relation to the enforcement of an adjudicator’s decision in favour of a dormant company. The judgment may be of interest to those involved in adjudication in Ireland as it demonstrates the issues that can arise with dormant companies in the context of adjudication.

In WRB (NI) Limited v Henry Construction Projects Limited [2023] EWHC 278 (TCC), the parties entered a construction contract in relation to a development in North London. Henry Construction Projects Limited (‘Henry’) was the main contractor and engaged WRB

Continue Reading Dormant Companies and Adjudication

The NEC suite of contracts are becoming more widespread in Ireland; therefore, it is of interest when the courts in England and Wales provide clarification on their interpretation. Under NEC if a party is not satisfied with an adjudicator’s decision, it may within four weeks of the decision issue a notice of dissatisfaction to the other party, otherwise the adjudicator’s decision becomes final and binding.

On occasion an issue may arise as to whether the notice of dissatisfaction is valid. This is what happened in Ravestein BV v Trant Engineering Limited [2023] EWHC 11 (TCC). In Ravestein the parties entered

Continue Reading A Notice of Dissatisfaction Under NEC

When adjudication was first introduced in the United Kingdom, some were sceptical about its prospects. However, shortly after the introduction of adjudication, in Macob Civil Engineering Ltd v Morrison Construction Limited,[1] the courts gave support to the process and since then adjudication has become a mainstay for resolving construction disputes. Indeed, more recently the Supreme Court of England and Wales in Bresco Electrical Services Limited (in Liquidation) v Lonsdale[2] has noted that although adjudication is one of a spectrum of dispute resolution mechanisms which range from negotiation at one end, through to mediation and arbitration / litigation

Continue Reading Adjudication as a mainstream dispute resolution mechanism

Introduction

The judgment in Thomas Barnes & Sons (In Administration) v Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council (Council) [2022] EWHC 2598 (TCC) has caused further debate in relation to concurrent delay. The judgment seems to row against the preferred ‘first-in time-approach’ indicated in the SCL Delay and Disruption Protocol (Protocol). Construction projects are often delayed for many reasons, including, events for which the Employer is responsible (Employer Risk Events) and events for which the Contractor is responsible (Contractor Risk Events). These events can occur at different times or concurrently. The Protocol indicates that

Continue Reading Rethinking Concurrent Delay

On 17 August 2023, the Irish High Court delivered judgment in K&J Townmore Construction Limited v Keogh [2023] IEHC 509. The key question for the court was whether a challenge to an adjudicator’s jurisdiction should take place before the adjudication process, by way of judicial review, or after the adjudication process, by way of enforcement proceedings under the Construction Contracts Act 2013 (Act).

The court considered that the case raised a matter of significant public importance, namely: can the legislature’s intention of creating an alternative to litigation be thwarted by one party subjecting the adjudication process to litigation

Continue Reading The forum for challenges to an adjudicator’s jurisdiction