In Beattie Passive Norse Ltd v Canham Consulting Limited  EWHC 1116 (TCC) Mr Justice Fraser has given a strong endorsement to the PNBA Adjudication Scheme. In concluding his judgment he said an adjudication would have been a far cheaper and quicker resolution of the case than the lengthy court proceedings in the TCC which culminated in the trial before him. The context was a claim in which the claimant recovered only £2,000 in a case where £3.7m was claimed, where there were some admissions of breach of duty, but which largely turned on factual causation. What is particularly striking is that the judge commented as he did in a case which required oral evidence and cross-examination. The judge noted that the Adjudication Scheme can deal with contested issues of fact, including by allowing for oral evidence and cross-examination where required.
When one puts this case together with the Professional Negligence Pre-Action Protocol which encourages parties to consider adjudication, it seems that parties will be well advised to take particular care when deciding whether adjudication should be used if they are not to be at risk of judicial criticism and potentially penalised in costs.
Hailsham Chambers is a supporter of the PNBA Adjudication Scheme. William Flenley QC and Simon Wilton were involved in drawing up the Scheme and a number of members of chambers are trained adjudicators and have experience in acting as adjudicators and in representing and advising parties in relation to adjudication.
Further details can be found here.