Adjudication—requirements for a ‘dispute’—key cases
Adjudication—requirements for a ‘dispute’—key cases

The following Construction guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Adjudication—requirements for a ‘dispute’—key cases
  • Crystallised dispute
  • Dispute has already been determined
  • Settlement

This Practice Note sets out key cases concerning whether there is a dispute capable of referral to adjudication—including whether the dispute has crystallised, is a single dispute and has not been previously determined or settled.

We recommend first referring to Practice Note: Adjudication—is there a ‘dispute’?, which explains the relevant principles.

Crystallised dispute

For guidance on the requirement that a dispute must have crystallised, see Practice Note: Adjudication—is there a ‘dispute’? (Crystallised dispute).

Guiding principles

Case law setting out general guidelines or summaries of the law includes the following:

The seven guiding propositions on what a crystallised dispute encompasses were set out by the court in AMEC v Secretary for Transport:

'1. The word “dispute” which occurs in many arbitration clauses and also in s 108 of the Housing Grants Act should be given its normal meaning. It does not have some special or unusual meaning conferred upon it by lawyers.

2. Despite the simple meaning of the word “dispute”, there has been much litigation over the years as to whether or not disputes existed in particular situations. This litigation has not generated any hard-edged legal rules as to what is or is not a dispute. However, the accumulating judicial decisions have produced helpful guidance.

3. The mere fact that one party (whom I shall call “the Claimant”) notifies the other party (whom I shall call