Oli Worth was instructed by a leading civil engineering contractor. It was suffering significant underpayment of its account by a national main contractor and housebuilder, which had engaged the client for its sitewide infrastructure works.
A first adjudication sought to exploit a weakness in the payment process – an invalid pay less notice. Not unexpectedly, the approach failed, with the adjudicator determining that the application too was invalid due to an email bounce-back – but it was worth rolling the dice for the potential upside: an immediate right to payment of the whole application sum.
In the meantime, Oli worked with the client to get its substantive claim in shape, and formulated a strategy for securing further payment in the event the smash and grab was unsuccessful. So when the first adjudication decision was published, the client was ready to go for the second – a claim for an extension of time. Despite the other side’s insistence that nothing more than a full cause-and-effect delay analysis would suffice, Oli was able to persuade the adjudicator to award nearly a full year’s EOT on the back of simple logic (and no expert delay analysis – a considerable costs saving for the client).
With the EOT secured, future adjudications then focussed on quantum. A strategy was agreed to gradually chisel away at the account differences, all the while considering the tipping point for a commercial settlement.
This was a great example of adjudication working to resolve a significant dispute – the initial claim was for many millions of pounds. By separating out the different elements of the claim and having a clear strategy whichever way each decision went, the client was able to secure some significant wins along the way and push towards a commercial settlement, all in a sensible timeframe.