Makers UK Ltd v London Borough of Camden [2008] EWHC 1836 (TCC)

This summary was provided by CMS Cameron McKenna LLP.

For more information visit

Unilateral contact with an adjudicator before his appointment may not give rise to actual or apparent bias.  However, care should be taken in any contact with adjudicators and parties should avoid circumstances which might lead to the challenge of an adjudicator’s decision on those grounds.  This case issues guidance for contact between parties and those resolving disputes between them.

Mr Justice Akenhead  – Queen’s Bench Division, Technology and Construction Court


The parties entered into a written contract for works.  The contract between the parties set out adjudication provisions including a provision stating that the adjudicator of any dispute would be appointed by RIBA.  A dispute arose and an adjudicator was appointed.  The claimant claimed that the adjudicator of a dispute between the parties was improperly appointed, because the defendant had recommended the appointment of a particular individual to RIBA after speaking to that individual, and as such had no jurisdiction to decide the dispute.  The claimant also claimed that the contact with the adjudicator before his appointment gave rise to apparent bias on the part of the adjudicator.


The claimants argued that there was an implied term of the contract that “neither party may seek to influence unilaterally the nominator’s determination regarding the identity of an adjudicator, by making unilateral representations to the nominator concerning who he should nominate or otherwise”.  The Claimant went on to argue that this term should be implied as a legal incident of the adjudication process and is applicable to all adjudication agreements (including those under the Housing Grants, Construction Regeneration Act 1996).


Mr Justice Akenhead found that there was no actual or apparent bias on the part of the adjudicator and no implied term incorporated into the contract as contended.  However, Akenhead J did issue guidance on unilateral contact with an adjudicator to avoid possible issues of actual or apparent bias:

  • Parties should limit their unilateral contact with adjudicators before, during and after an adjudication and adjudicators should aim to do the same with individual parties to a dispute

  • All contact with the adjudicator should be in writing to ensure a full record of that communication and

  • Nominating institutions may wish to consider their rules for the nomination of adjudicators, in that they may wish to question whether the institution should accept suggestions from one or more parties as to the attributes or identities of persons to be nominated.  If such a suggestion is accepted, it was suggested that the institution may wish to consider giving notice of the suggestion to the other party or parties to the dispute.

This summary was provided by CMS Cameron McKenna LLP.

For more information visit

Click here to read full-screen | Click here to print the case