Benefits and risks of adjudication
Benefits and risks of adjudication

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

  • Benefits and risks of adjudication
  • Short timescale: speed vs risk of error
  • Temporarily binding: correcting errors vs wasted costs
  • The winning party does not recover its costs: certainty vs wasted costs
  • Tactical ambush vs risk of surprise evidence
  • Risk of an unenforceable decision
  • Privacy and control over procedure

Produced in association with 4 Pump Court

Parties to a 'construction contract' have the right to refer any dispute that has crystallised to adjudication at any time. For more information, see Practice Notes:

  1. The right to adjudicate

  2. Adjudication—is there a ‘dispute’?

  3. What is a construction contract under the HGCRA 1996?

If the right to adjudicate exists, a party should next consider whether adjudication would be a practical way of resolving the dispute. There is a statutory 28 day timetable for adjudication, which may make it inappropriate for large or highly complex claims. This constraint can be overcome to an extent by the parties agreeing to extend the time in which the decision must be reached, or by the referring party dividing the claim into more than one adjudication. Nonetheless, if the claim cannot be fairly determined in the limited period that adjudication allows, it may not be the right approach.

Assuming a party has a right to commence an adjudication and the dispute is capable of resolution by adjudication, what are the main benefits and risks when compared to litigation or arbitration?

Short timescale: speed vs risk of error

The short timescale means that a decision can be obtained quickly, and if necessary enforced with a summary judgment in the Technology and Construction Court (TCC) (this takes approximately a further 28 days). By