Adjudication

(Binding unless or until the parties litigate or arbitrate)

Adjudication involves an independent third party considering the claims of both sides and making a decision.  The adjudicator is usually an expert in the subject matter in dispute.  He will usually be able to act inquisitorially. Adjudicators’ decisions are usually of a temporarily binding nature  (ie they are binding unless and until overturned in litigation or arbitration). In practice relatively few adjudicated decisions are subsequently referred to litigation or arbitration, and most are accepted as final by the parties.

Adjudication has been a method of dispute resolution used in the UK construction industry for many years.  In certain circumstances there is a statutory right to adjudicate (the UK Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996) whereby any party to a construction contract (as defined in the 1996 Act) has a right to have any dispute decided at any time by an adjudicator.  Adjudication is a quick process and under the statutory adjudication provisions the adjudicator has 28 days from appointment to reach a decision.  The decision can be enforced by summary judgment through the courts.

Similar legislation has been enacted in other jurisdictions such as Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand and some States of Australia.

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