Sums paid under an adjudicator’s decision can be recovered for six years after payment

The Court of Appeal has held that there is an implied term allowing a paying responding party under an adjudication award six years from the date of payment to challenge the adjudicator’s decision. The successful referring party in the adjudication does not benefit from the extended time period and must bring any subsequent court proceedings within the original limitation period. The court upheld the judgment in Jim Ennis v Premier Asphalt (2009) EWHC 1906. 

Aspect is an asbestos consultant and removal contractor, retained by Higgins to inspect and report on the presence of asbestos-containing material (ACM) in certain buildings on a development for the Notting Hill Housing Trust. Aspect inspected and a report was provided in April 2004. In March 2005, Higgins found ACM in the rubble of a demolished building that it alleged should have been, but was not, identified in Aspect’s report. Aspect denied liability. 

Higgins referred the dispute to adjudication in 2009 under the adjudication rules set out in the Scheme for Construction Contracts (England and Wales) Regulations 1998. In July 2009, the adjudicator, Rosemary Jackson QC, awarded to Higgins around 75 per cent of sums claimed. Aspect promptly paid the award…

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