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. Since there is no obligation to do so, it is worthwhile considering the pros and cons of adjudication compared with court proceedings.

A party has the right to adjudicate provided:

  1. the contract is a 'construction contract' under the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (HGCRA 1996). For further information, see Practice Note: What is a construction contract under the HGCRA 1996?

  2. a 'dispute' has crystallised. See Practice Note: Adjudication—the dispute under the HGCRA 1996

  3. for contracts entered before 1 October 2011, it is also necessary to consider whether the construction contract is in writing. See Practice Note: Requirement for construction contracts to be in writing

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 generally makes 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 to 42 days or by the referring party dividing the claim into more than one adjudication. Nonetheless, if the claim cannot be fairly determined in the