Broad justice is natural in adjudication: court rejects defence based on alleged procedural unfairness
In Home Group Ltd v MPS Housing Ltd , the TCC rejected a defendant’s submission that there had been a breach of natural justice by reason of it allegedly being unable to digest and respond to extensive material served in an adjudication.
The Background to the Case
Home Group Limited entered into a JCT Measured Term Contract with MPS Housing Limited for maintenance and repair works to some of HG’s properties in the South-East of England.
MPS purported to terminate the Contract. HG asserted that MPS’s purported termination was a repudiation of the Contract and referred the validity of the termination to adjudication.
The adjudicator found that the purported termination was invalid and MPS had repudiated the Contract.
HG subsequently requested payment from MPS in the sum of £8.3m and invited MPS to agree a sampling approach to enable it to validate the claims being made.
MPS declined and HG referred the matter to adjudication. Included in the referral was a quantum expert report comprising of 338 megabytes of data (previously supplied to MPS in draft. MPS had 13 working days to respond.
The second adjudicator determined that MPS was liable to HG in the sum of £6.6m.
MPS sough to resist enforcement on the basis that it was unable to properly digest and respond to the material served with the referral within the time given, such that it amounted to a breach of natural justice thus rendering the decision unenforceable.
What did the Court Decide?
The TCC enforced the Second Adjudication Decision in full and determined there had been no breach of natural justice. In listing his reasons, Mr Justice Constable emphasised that in circumstances where an adjudicator has concluded they can render a decision which delivers broad justice between the parties, the courts will be extremely reluctant to decide otherwise.
Upon adjudication enforcement, the TCC are unlikely to have sympathy for arguments of insufficient information, complexity, or a lack of time, and will examine defences based on alleged breaches of ‘natural justice’ with a degree of scepticism.
To read our full bulletin, please download it here.
For more information contact: