What Is Adjudication?

What Is Adjudication?Adjudication is a compulsory dispute resolution mechanism that applies to the UK’s construction industry. This was introduced in 1996 and will applies to the majority of parties to a Construction Contract. It cannot be contracted out of.  Used to only apply to construction contracts “in writing” but since 2011 applies to construction contract that are part or even completely oral.

It was designed to help protect cash flow within construction. A time driven process (usually a 28-day procedure, although the parties can agree to extend this period).

Disputes may be referred “at any time”, allowing companies the opportunity to speed up resolving issues. Issues that may otherwise have jeopardised or disrupted the completion of the contract. The tight timetables are designed to ensure that work can continue while the dispute is resolved. The disruption caused by insolvency is reduced by encouraging prompt payment. It is a pay first, argue later approach.

For a confidential free discussion, call us today on 01908 414990,  alternatively email us at Hello@altion-law.co.uk or complete our Free Enquiry Form and we will call you back.

What Should I Do If I’ve Received A Notice Of Adjudication?

It’s likely you will have been expecting this notice or would have known about the matter, but if you have received a notice of adjudication, seek professional advice and seek this advice quickly.

You will first receive the notice of intention but within 7 days you will receive a referral notice. This can be received at the same time as the intention notice, but the referral is a more detailed document that sets out the other sides claim in detail. There are strict timescales within adjudication and you should respond to the referral notice within 7 days. Because of these tight timescales, if you suspect you will shortly receive a notice of adjudication, it is better to instruct legal advice ahead of receiving any formal notice.

Once you have instructed legal advice for an adjudication, we may consider:

  • Is there is a construction contract and if adjudication applies.
  • Is there a dispute and if so has it crystallised?
  • Is the dispute referred to in the notice the same as the dispute that has crystallised?
  • Has this dispute been the subject of a previous adjudication and has the adjudicator been correctly appointed?

Our Expert

Anthony Galvin, one of the team, is highly experienced in dealing with all areas of Construction disputes.  Especially contractual payment disputes. Anthony has particular expertise in construction Adjudication, and has obtained millions of pounds for construction clients over many years. He regularly speaks at Industry events on HMRC involvement within the sector. He understands how the sector functions on a commercial level.

Altion Law are specialists at advising and representing parties with adjudication matters. If you are concerned that you will receive a notice of adjudication, please call us today on 01908 414990, and we can usually establish on that call how we can assist. Alternatively email us at Hello@altion-law.co.uk or complete our Free Enquiry Form and we will call you back at a later time.


Adjudication is usually a cheaper alternative than litigation. Although it has become more legally complex, and more expensive, than Parliament perhaps originally intended. In adjudication, each party usually bears its own costs. In many cases, the cost of adjudicating a dispute will be lower than the cost of arbitrating or litigating the same dispute. It is however important to take legal advice as the specialist Technology and Construction division of the High Court can be more cost effective in some cases.

Please see further details below:-

What is Adjudication Appropriate For?

Adjudication Is Appropriate For Resolving Claims Relating To:

Although Not Originally Designed For Complex Claims, An Adjudication Can Also Be Used For:

It also always wise to get full legal advice to make sure that adjudication is the best course of action for your dispute.

What Is The Effect Of An Adjudicator’s Decision?

Adjudicator’s Decisions Are:

Interim-binding, that is, they are binding until the dispute is finally determined by legal proceedings, arbitration or by agreement. Often enforced by the successful party in the Technology and Construction Court (TCC) and Rarely successfully challenged by the losing party.

What Should I Consider Before Starting An Adjudication?

Before starting an Adjudication

Take legal advice. There are very clear timescales and requirements and the team at Altion Law will be able to guide you through these. The dispute must also have been crystallised between parties.

Also consider the size and complexity of your dispute. Adjudication may not be the best option, and if so the team at Altion Law will be able to advise you of your other options.

Further facts to consider

If you are looking to refer a complex matter to adjudication, remember that each adjudication should deal with a single dispute. If you have a large and complex dispute you may need to consider whether it is one dispute (consisting of separate elements) or is in fact separate disputes, in which case they can be separately referred to adjudication.

It is also very important to remember that a dispute cannot be adjudicated more than once. If a dispute has already been adjudicated and you want to open up that decision, then you will need to refer the dispute to the Court or arbitration, dependent on what the contract provides for.

If you try and appoint an adjudicator and he is challenged by the other side on the basis that the dispute has already been adjudicated, you will most likely end up with the adjudicator resigning and sending you his bill.

For a confidential free discussion, call us today on 01908 414990,  alternatively email us at Hello@altion-law.co.uk or complete our Free Enquiry Form and we will call you back.

What does the Contract say

Pay careful attention to what the contract says. If it requires that an adjudicator be nominated by a particular nominating body (for example the RICS) you cannot simply ignore that and ask the CIOB to appoint him. Remember that and adjudicator will most likely have to resign where he has not been correctly appointed

For a confidential free discussion, call us today on 01908 414990,  alternatively email us at Hello@altion-law.co.uk or complete our Free Enquiry Form and we will call you back.