Contractor wins payment dispute despite 'adjudicator's error'

A contractor has won a dispute over a £277,000 payment even though the adjudicator deciding the case may have made a mistake.

The issue arose after the contractor had been hired by a developer constructing a block of flats. The agreement between them was based on an amended JCT 2011 Intermediate Building Contract with Contractor's Design.

They were unable to agree the final account and the matter went to adjudication. The adjudicator held that the contractor was entitled to £277,374 within seven days.

The contractor appealed, claiming that the adjudicator had erred in deciding that a clause in the contract applied only to the Contractor's Design Portion as opposed to the whole of the works and, because of that error, the court should declare the decision unenforceable.

The High Court found in favour of the contractor. It held that even if the adjudicator had been wrong on his interpretation of the disputed clause, it would not render his decision unenforceable.

The claim did not turn on that one clause. Most of the claim had nothing to do with that clause and the adjudicator’s decision should therefore stand.


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