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Home / News / The Adjudicator – Their Role in the Adjudication Process
The Adjudicator – Their Role in the Adjudication Process
The role of the Adjudicator and the process of Adjudication is designed to be relatively straightforward, so giving parties access to quick resolution and avoiding the lengthy and costly delays that can occur in arbitration or litigation. We have vast experience of the procedure, which is relatively straight forward:
THE NOTICE OF ADJUDICATION
The first step is to serve every party with a notice of your intention to refer the dispute to adjudication. Without a doubt, this is the most important document of the entire procedure, because it defines the scope of the dispute and defines the parameters of the adjudicator. As the notice is the foundation of the dispute, it’s essential that it accurately defines the claim’s scope.
APPOINTMENT OF THE ADJUDICATOR
Once the notice of adjudication has been delivered, you have 7 days to appoint the adjudicator. For speed’s sake, it’s common to send the request at the time you send the notice to the relevant parties. When the adjudicator is named, it’s important to ensure the adjudicator is able to deliver adjudication within the statutory time period. A copy of the notice should be delivered to the adjudicator as soon as possible.
THE REFERRAL NOTICE
This document gives the referring party the opportunity to set out the legal and factual components of their claim in more detail. It is vital to attach all documents that support the claim that might include (but is not limited to) copies of the relevant parts of the contract, contemporaneous documentation of the progress of the works (e.g. meeting minutes) and any witness or expert evidence.
It is also important that you only include relevant documentation, and that all documentation has been seen by the other relevant parties, otherwise you are opening yourself up to the argument that the dispute hasn’t arisen yet.
RESPONSE TO THE REFERRAL NOTICE
Once the other parties have received the referral notice, they are obligated to create a response to the referral notice. Often, the response is laid out in a paragraph-by-paragraph format with different paragraphs corresponding to different elements of the referring party’s claim. Often, not many documents are required because normally the documents supplied by the referring party are prevalent, however, if documents are required, they should be attached.
The responding party does not have the right to reply unless they can persuade the adjudicator that it is appropriate and necessary and it can be done within the time constraints of the process stipulated by the HGCRA.
THE HEARING WITH THE ADJUDICATOR
In most cases, the adjudicator will not require an oral hearing. One of the cases where an oral hearing might be necessary is if the facts of the claim are in dispute. Then a hearing could be needed, with witnesses and independent experts.
The Adjudicator has to deliver their decision within 28 days, from the delivery of the Referral. It’s essential that the adjudicator takes into account the scope of their adjudication and all parties must comply with the decision, immediately.
Generally, the adjudicator’s decision is binding, if only temporary until the underlying dispute is litigated, arbitrated or settled. The courts in the UK have made it clear; the judgement must be considered a summary judgement until litigation takes place at a later date.
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