Shepherd and Wedderburn

Hillcrest Homes Ltd v Beresford and Curbishley Ltd — further uncertainty over scope of adjudicator’s decision?

The recent case of Hillcrest Homes Ltd v Beresford and Curbishley Ltd [2014] EWHC 280 (TCC) has caused some controversy in the legal market, as it now seems that claims for misrepresentation and negligent misstatement in most cases will not be considered as claims arising ‘under the contract’ under section 108 of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996. This causes a problem for adjudicators, as such disputes will now likely fall out with their jurisdiction.

As noted in previous articles, the courts in recent years have shown a strong trend in enforcing adjudicators’ decisions, the only exceptions really being cases with successful jurisdictional challenges or a finding of a breach of natural justice. This case suggests that more disputes may fall out with an adjudicator’s jurisdiction, with any decision thereon being unenforceable.

In this case, the claimant, Hillcrest Homes, is a property developer, and the defendant, Beresford and Curbishley Ltd (BCL), a building contractor. The parties entered into a building contract (a design and build contract in the JCT Standard Form [2005 Edition, Revision 2, 2009]), which provided that if ‘any dispute or difference arises under the contract’ it could be referred to adjudication under the Scheme for Construction Contracts 1998…

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