The latest report by the Chair of the Construction Contracts Adjudication Panel has been published.
It covers the period from 26 July 2019 to 25 July 2020 and provides an insight into the statutory adjudication landscape in Ireland. While we cannot be certain that the Report captures information in respect of all adjudications under the Construction Contracts Act 2013 (the Act) during this period, it does give us an indication of various trends.
In the year to 25 July 2019 the Construction Contracts Adjudication Service (CCAS) received 39 applications seeking an Adjudicator to be appointed. The Chair reports that in the most recent period, such applications increased to 54 and 46 appointments were made. The disputes for the period to 25 July 2020 had a combined value of just over €35.5 million. For additional context, in the year leading to 25 July 2018 the CCAS received only 11 applications and 9 appointments were made.
The above figures do not include adjudications under the Act where the parties agreed between them who would adjudicate the dispute.
While there are requirements in the 'Code of Practice Governing the Conduct of Adjudications' for Adjudicators to provide information to the CCAS on their appointment, resignation and on the outcome of adjudication cases, this requirement is not enshrined in the Act. In any event, it seems that 36 data returns were made to the CCAS by Adjudicators for the period to 25 July 2020. This compares with 34 in the period to 25 July 2019 and 7 in the year prior.
Based on the information available on the 36 data returns submitted, the following trends arise:
Adjudicators’ decisions under the Act are binding in the interim and enforceable, unless and until overturned by a superseding arbitrator’s award or Court order.
The Rules of the Superior Courts were updated to include what is effectively a fast-track procedure for enforcement of awards, with a view to ensuring that the aim of the Act is achieved (i.e. that a successful party can secure payment). We understand that there are proceedings extant before the High Court whereby parties are seeking to enforce Adjudicators’ awards. Stakeholders have been waiting for these applications to appear before the Court so that we can gauge whether the attitude of the Court in this jurisdiction to enforcement of awards is as robust as the one that has been taken by the Technology and Construction Court in England.
In another twist this year, Judicial Review proceedings have issued arising from an appointment of an Adjudicator under the Act. It is understood that these proceedings are due to be heard imminently and it will be interesting to see what, if any, impact the outcome of those proceedings has on the statutory adjudication landscape generally.
More to follow…
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