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Adjudication is not the Wild West of dispute resolution.

24th October 2016 by Rob Kelly

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The title of this article comes from Fraser J’s judgment in Beumer Group UK Ltd v Vinci Construction UK Ltd [2016] EWHC 2283 (TCC).  He was referring to adjudication being a “formal dispute resolution forum with certain basic requirements of fairness” which arise from the rules of natural justice and are central to the court’s judgment.

Gatwick Airport Ltd (the employer) employed Vinci Construction UK Ltd (the contractor) to install a £30 million airport baggage handling system at the airport’s south terminal.   The contractor engaged Beumer Group UK Ltd as a sub-contractor.  Beumer sub-contracted work to Daifuku Logan Ltd.

Disputes arose between Vinci and Beumer and between Beumer and Daifuku.  Beumer referred both disputes to the same adjudicator but neither Beumer nor the adjudicator told Vinci of the adjudicator’s involvement in both adjudications.

Vinci complained that they had not been told of the adjudicator’s involvement with the other adjudication and argued there had been a breach of natural justice.  The court held that the existence of the other adjudication should have been revealed to Vinci and that the adjudicator should have disclosed that he was acting in both adjudications.  Had Vinci known about the other adjudication it would have been entitled to seek disclosure of documents relating to it.  This was particularly important because Beumer was advancing factually inconsistent cases in both adjudications.

The court noted that the adjudicator had dealt with both disputes with care but held there had been a breach of natural justice and so declined to enforce his award.

Comment: Adjudication is a serious method of dispute resolution and is not a poor relation to traditional court proceedings; basic requirements of fairness and natural justice apply.

If you would like further information please contact Rob Kelly on 01202 755217.

This article provides information and comments on legal issues and developments of interest.  The contents of this article do not constitute legal advice, is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered, and should not be relied on as such.  Legal advice should be sought about your specific circumstances before taking any action with respect to the matters discussed.


Rob Kelly

Senior Associate — Dispute Resolution

Direct dial: 01202 377871


Rob Kelly
  • “A first choice for truly contentious Litigation in Automotive and Asset Finance and Leasing. His pure skill in tricky work wins through time and again and adds real value compared with the so called 'top tier' litigators. Truly capable, amenable and commercially minded business partners, the 'master chessmen' of their specialty.”

    Paul Maxted, previously the In house Legal Adviser and Company Secretary nearly 20 years, all Financial Services related companies in UK for Daimler, Mercedes-Benz

  • “I have had the pleasure of working with several members of the team at Laceys regularly over a period of years. I found Rob Kelly in particular, who worked on a successful litigation case for me over a period of several years to be outstanding in all aspects of the work he undertook, and the manner in which he did it. I now consider him a friend. I would not - and have not - hesitated to recommend Laceys to my family and friends, and continue to use them for all legal matters.”

    Dan Collins

  • “ I just wanted to thank you for your great work on the professional negligence case and other cases you have represented Indian Ocean and Tiien through the last few years.”

    Mehdi Vahdati, Director and Proprietor - Indian Ocean (Bournemouth) Limited

  • “I've worked with a fair few lawyers over the years and Rob Kelly is the most on the ball and efficient lawyers I've ever come across. I'm looking forward to working together for many years to come.”

    Roger Woodall, CEO - Diamond Sporting Group

Rob is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (September 2009).  Rob also holds an LLB (Hons) degree in law.  He successfully completed training as a mediator under the ADR Chambers / Harvard Law Project Scheme and was one of the first mediators to have been appointed an IMI Certified Mediation Advocate in the UK with a commercial practice.

Rob specialises in dispute resolution through litigation, arbitration and mediation, with particular emphasis on contractual disputes, claims involving allegations of professional negligence (which he has prosecuted on behalf of commercial and private clients and defended on behalf of insurers, re-insurers and Lloyd’s syndicates). He is regularly instructed in connection with substantial disputes involving contractual, professional negligence, contentious probate issues.  Rob also deals with contentious property and landlord and tenant issues.

Rob’s style is a mix of listening, asking (tough) questions, diplomacy and reality testing. He’s interested, flexible, and pragmatic. He offers a common sense, realistic approach to assist his clients in searching for solutions to their disputes and brings straight talking and integrity to his work.

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