Druces’ Commercial Litigation and Property Litigation teams provide representation and advice in respect of arbitrations under the Arbitration Act 1996 and adjudications under the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996.
Arbitrations are private tribunals constituted by the agreement of parties to a dispute, ostensibly as a cost effective, efficient and private alternative to the Court system. However, in recent years it has become apparent that arbitrations are often just as expensive as Court proceedings and, while the outcome remains private, that advantage can be offset by the difficulty in appealing a bad award.
Arbitration agreements are often incorporated within commercial agreements between the parties in order to provide an agreed mechanism for determining disputes arising out of the transaction. Agreeing to arbitrate in advance, when the parties are co-operating with each other to progress their intended commercial agreement. Parties can still agree to arbitrate once a dispute has arisen but often the willingness of the parties to co-operate in this manner may have ended by this time.
Arbitration awards are fully enforceable through the Court system in England & Wales. They can be enforced in many countries throughout the world.
We can advise and provide representation with regard to drafting arbitration clauses and agreements within commercial transactions, setting up ad-hoc arbitrations once a dispute has arisen, the choice of arbitrators, resolving disputes through arbitrations and the enforcement of arbitrations world-wide.
Adjudications are quick, summary actions for the resolution of certain construction disputes. The advantage of adjudication is that the process is intended to last no more than 28 days from the first referral. This is meant to allow construction disputes to be determined without having a negative impact on the continuation of the construction contract and to keep costs down. The disadvantage is that the process is often perceived as rough and ready justice, which can often prejudice the Respondent to a referral – while an Applicant can spend as much time as it wants in preparing its Referral, the Respondent may only have a few days in which to prepare and submit its response.
Adjudication decisions may be challenged on the basis of jurisdiction. In addition decisions are theoretically non-binding. However, increasingly the Technology and Construction Court (TCC) is refusing to set aside adjudication decisions. The TCC has jurisdiction for the summary enforcement of adjudication decisions.
We have recent experience in dealing with adjudications, in relation to a claim for architect’s professional fees and can advise and provide rapid response to adjudication claims.