Edenbooth Ltd v Cre8 Developments Ltd [2008] EWHC 570 (TCC)

This summary was provided by CMS Cameron McKenna LLP.

For more information visit http://www.cms-cmck.com/Construction/Construction-Disputes

The courts recognise that there is pressure on parties to a dispute to produce submissions in adjudications within short spaces of time, however, this is necessary for an Adjudicator to give a quick decision, and so is not an adequate basis to challenge an adjudication decision on the grounds of unfairness.

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


The defendant, a development company, engaged the claimant to carry out groundworks and drainage works to two properties owned by two of the defendant’s directors.  This was duly done.  A dispute arose in relation to whether further payment for the works was required and the claimant referred the dispute to adjudication.  The adjudicator decided that additional monies were due to the claimant.  The defendant failed to pay and the claimant sought enforcement of the adjudicator’s decision in the courts.


The court stated that in these situations it must first consider whether the adjudicator had jurisdiction to decide the original dispute so as to determine whether the court can decide upon the enforcement of the adjudicator’s decision.  The court therefore considered whether the works carried out were construction operations under the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996.  Coulson J also looked at whether the defendant was a residential occupier under the Act and so fell within an exemption.

If the adjudicator had jurisdiction, Coulson J stated that it was then necessary to consider whether the adjudicator had acted fairly.  The defendant had complained that it had not had sufficient time to take advice from parties it would have wanted to and that it had suffered communication problems during the adjudication and did not always receive the relevant documentation.


Coulson J held that the works were expressly included within the scope of the Act and as the defendant was a company (and therefore occupied premises for commercial purposes), was one that engaged in property development and was not the registered owner of the properties, it could not be a ‘residential occupier’.  In addition it was pointed out by the defendant itself that was a company and its directors were not party to the adjudication in their individual capacity.

Coulson J found that the adjudicator had been aware of these issues, properly considered them, and that submissions addressing the areas of the dispute had been provided by the defendant.  Coulson J also rejected the complaint by the defendant regarding the time it had to prepare, stating that is was “an inherent feature of adjudication” and that “the Adjudicator is obliged to produce his decision quickly”.

The court thus found in favour the claimant.

This summary was provided by CMS Cameron McKenna LLP.

For more information visit http://www.cms-cmck.com/Construction/Construction-Disputes

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