Sindall Ltd v Solland
The adjudicator acted within his jurisdiction in awarding the contractor a further extension of time where the contractor's notice of adjudication had (only) asked for a resolution of the issue as to the determination of the contractor's employment or for a declaration that time was at large
15 June, 2001
The contractor was dissatisfied with the extension of time granted by the contract administrator. The contractor referred to resulting dispute to adjudication and the adjudicator granting a longer extension than that granted by the contract administrator. There were further delays to the completion of the works. The employer accepted that the contract administrator's view that the contractor was failing to proceed regularly and diligently and determined the contractor's employment on this ground. The contractor began another adjudication in which it described the principal dispute in its notice of adjudication as the validity or otherwise of the determination but also asked for a further extension of time or for a declaration that time was at large. The adjudicator found in favour of the contractor and also awarded the contractor a further extension of time. The employer applied to the court for a declaration that the adjudicator had acted without jurisdiction in awarding the further extension of time. Judge LLoyd held that the adjudicator had acted within his jurisdiction in awarding the further extension of time. The approach to be adopted when considering the notice of adjudication and what was referred by the notice was that (1) The court should not try to adopt a legalistic attitude to adjudication, to the parties? actions or to a party's own definition of the dispute to be referred (2) The objective of adjudication of enabling the parties to have the benefit of the views of an outsider as to their respective contractual positions should be respected and (3) The notice should be supported rather than destroyed if it sought something of real practical value to the parties. The adjudicator's decision showed that he considered that he should take into account matters of complaint on which the contractor had relied to justify an extension of time and it was within his authority and jurisdiction to do so insofar as this was an integral part of the dispute. Advice Note The courts will take a common sense (rather than legalistic) view of the nature of the dispute referred. They will not be sympathetic to technical arguments based on the strict wording of the notice of adjudication that a particular aspect of the decision was not covered by the notice.