A.R.T. Consultancy Ltd v Navera Trading Ltd [2007] EWHC 1375

This summary was provided by CMS Cameron McKenna LLP.

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

Where only one of two distinct elements of works is detailed in a written contract, an adjudicator will only have jurisdiction to address issues relating to the element of work that is detailed in the written contract.

Technology and Construction Court, Judge Peter Coulson QC


Navera Trading Limited (“Navera”) appointed A.R.T. Consulting Limited (“ART”) to carry out design and construction work in respect of a site on Kilburn High Road, London.  ART made claims for payments which were not met and commenced adjudication.  The adjudicator decided that the design works were carried by ART under a separate agreement the terms of which were not all in writing and that therefore he had no jurisdiction to deal with any claims relating to such design works under the notice of adjudication referred to him.  However, the adjudicator also decided that the construction works were carried out under a written JCT Minor Works Form of Contract and thus he had the jurisdiction to deal with claims in respect of the construction works.  The adjudicator decided that Navera should pay c.£100k to ART plus interest and fees.  Navera failed to pay and ART therefore issued legal proceedings in which it sought enforcement of the adjudicator’s decision by way of summary judgment.


The Court addressed the following issues:

  • Whether the parties had agreed the JCT Minor Works Form.

  • Whether all the terms of the contract were in writing and therefore whether the adjudicator had jurisdiction to make the decision that he did.

  • Whether the execution of any judgment in respect of the adjudicator’s decision should be stayed due to ART’s financial position.


The Court held:

  • The construction works were governed by the JCT Minor Works Form.  Navera’s argument, that they were not, was contrary to its position during the adjudication.  It was plain from the tender documents that ART was required to enter into this specific form of contract, and this was reinforced by the fact that Navera’s architect sent a copy of the JCT agreement with relevant sections completed to ART shortly after commencement of work on site.

  • Navera argued that not all the terms of the contract were in writing, because the design obligations were not part of or subject to the JCT Minor Works Form and, therefore, it could not be said that the entirety of the contract had been reduced to writing.  The Court held that there was no evidence that the parties had ever intended that the JCT contract would include the earlier design package works.  The design work long since preceded the construction works on site and there was no evidence that the JCT Contract would be retrospective in effect.  Parties are free to contract however they wish. If they make a series of contracts rather than one single contract then that is up to them.  If that series of contracts includes some contracts that fall within the Construction Act and some outside, then that is again a matter for them. 

  • The adjudicator had not allowed the claim to include any design items in his decision, which was based solely on the construction works.  Accordingly the adjudicator did have the jurisdiction required and his decision would be enforced.

  • Enforcement would not be stayed.  Navera’s application was supported with ‘obviously incorrect’ information in relation to ART’s financial position.

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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