Construction Pre-Action Protocol—Protocol Referee Procedure
Construction Pre-Action Protocol—Protocol Referee Procedure

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

  • Construction Pre-Action Protocol—Protocol Referee Procedure
  • How does a party start the procedure?
  • Who is the referee and how are they appointed?
  • How the protocol referee procedure works
  • The decision of the referee
  • Confidentiality
  • Who is responsible for the costs of the procedure?

The second edition of the Pre-Action Protocol for Construction and Engineering Disputes (the Protocol) provides for a procedure whereby the parties can appoint a 'protocol referee' to give directions for the conduct of the Protocol process or to settle issues of non-compliance with the Protocol. The Protocol Referee Procedure (PRP) was developed and published jointly by the Technology and Construction Solicitors’ Association (TeCSA) and the Technology and Construction Bar Association (TECBAR). A copy of the PRP is available here:

Pre-action protocol for construction and engineering disputes—protocol referee procedure

The decision of a referee is binding on the parties in the Protocol process—see The decision of the referee below. However, until a decision has been issued by the referee, the Protocol process is unaffected by the PRP, ie the time periods continue to run under the Protocol (PRP para 1.6).

How does a party start the procedure?

Both parties must agree in order for the procedure to be used. The claimant should state whether it wishes the PRP to apply in its letter of claim and the defendant provide its position in the letter of acknowledgement. The PRP can be commenced by either party at any time during the Protocol process by making an application to the Chair of TeCSA for the nomination of a referee, but cannot be made once proceedings have