Q&As

A notice of adjudication and referral notice have been served by post at the address for the responding party stated in the contract, however, it transpires that the responding party no longer occupies that address and the documents have been returned to the sender. The address given in the contract is different to the responding party's registered office address. The contract is silent on whether documents can be served via email. How can the referring party ensure valid service?

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Produced in partnership with Ryan Turner of Lamb Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 30/04/2020

The following Construction Q&A Produced in partnership with Ryan Turner of Lamb Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • A notice of adjudication and referral notice have been served by post at the address for the responding party stated in the contract, however, it transpires that the responding party no longer occupies that address and the documents have been returned to the sender. The address given in the contract is different to the responding party's registered office address. The contract is silent on whether documents can be served via email. How can the referring party ensure valid service?

Effective service of the referral notice and other documents is essential for any party wishing to pursue adjudication as a means to resolve a dispute. If this issue is left uncertain, it is likely that a responding party would use it to challenge enforceability of the award upon enforcement.

Section 115 of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (HGCRA 1996) provides that the parties are free to agree in their contract the manner of service of ‘any notice or other document required or authorised to be served in pursuance of the construction contract or for any of the purposes of HGCRA 1996, Pt II’.

As the contract referred to in this Q&A specifies how service is to be effected, those provisions should be followed as a primary means of communication. If the wording of the contract is mandatory (ie to the effect that ‘all documents relating to this contract, including notices relating to adjudications, must be delivered by first class post or by hand’), then it is likely that any use of electronic means would be impermiss

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