Make sure you are only adjudicating the dispute you intend to adjudicate

By Nikki Miller

The recent decision of Mr Justice Akenhead in the case of Wales and West Utilities Ltd v PPS Pipeline System GMBH [2014] EWHC 54 (TCC) has again highlighted the importance of parties adopting careful consideration when drafting notices of referral to commence adjudication proceedings. The respondent to a notice of adjudication may be able to exploit any lack of precision in the notice to introduce other areas of dispute beyond those that the claimant intends to have determined.

In 2012, Wales and West Utilities engaged PPS Pipeline System under the standard form NEC3 engineering and construction contract to supply and construct a new gas pipeline in Wales.

The predominant component of the works involved excavation and laying of steel pipe in trenches; where excavation was to occur in rock, there was a requirement for the pipe being laid to be protected against damage by being wrapped in a product known as Rockguard. PPS had allowed for the supply and installation of 2,000m of Rockguard in its lump-sum contract price. PPS also assumed the risk under the contract in relation to physical conditions present at site…

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