Britcon (Scunthorpe) Ltd v Lincolnfields Ltd
The adjudicator dealt fairly and squarely with the issues put before him and whether or not his conclusions were correct in law was irrelevant with the result that his decision could not be said to have been made without jurisdiction
29 August, 2001
The contractor began court proceedings to enforce the adjudicator's decision in its favour. The employer contended that the decision was rendered without jurisdiction because the adjudicator failed to consider and give effect an issue that had been submitted to him by the employer. This issue was whether representatives of the parties, prior to the entry into the contract, had reached an agreement or understanding which had sufficient contractual effect as a collateral contract to modify the payment provisions of the contract. The adjudication was conducted under the Scheme for Construction Contracts. The employer relied on what it alleged to be a breach by the adjudicator of paragraph 17 of the Scheme. Paragraph 17 requires the adjudicator to consider any relevant information submitted to him by any of the parties and to make available to the parties any information taken into account in reaching his decision. Judge Thornton held that the decision reached within the jurisdiction and that the adjudicator did comply with the provisions of that paragraph. The judge stated that his reading of the reasons the adjudicator gave was that he was reaching three quite clear and discrete conclusions: first, that he had no jurisdiction to deal with the matter raised by the employer; but that, secondly, and in any event, there was no such agreement at all; but that, thirdly, and in any event, if there was an agreement with which he had jurisdiction to deal, it had been superseded and robbed of contractual effect once the agreement was entered into. The judge went on to state that it was not for him to decide whether the adjudicator was right as a matter of law in those three conclusions or to reach any conclusion as to whether he was right in evaluating the evidence and submissions that had been placed before him in relation to that issue. The adjudicator had had referred to him the issue and fairly and squarely dealt with it. Advice Note Adjudicators? decisions will be enforced by the courts if they have considered the matters before them notwithstanding whether the decisions they reach are right or wrong in law.