The case of Ground Developments v FCC Construccion concerned the adjudication of a dispute over construction works. During adjudication, the contractors’ primary case was that there had been no contract, which the adjudicator found against.
In court, the contractor said that there was in fact a contract and argued that the adjudicator had decided an issue different from that referred to him. The court upheld the adjudicator’s decision and criticised the contractor for not identifying their primary and consistent argument at the adjudication. The court also criticised the costs incurred by the parties, which amounted to over £55,000 to enforce the adjudicator’s decision to award £207,000.
This judgment makes it clear that when parties agree to adjudication, they should be open and consistent in what their line of argument is. Further the court will take a dim view of parties who raise new arguments after an adjudication and run up excessive costs doing so. The whole point of adjudication is to keep overall costs down.