A Collection is a selection of features, articles, comments and opinions on any given theme or topic. It allows you to stay up‑to‑date with what interests you most.
Login here to access your saved articles and followed authors.
We have sent you an email so you can reset your password.
Sorry, we had a problem.
Tags related to this article
Published 22 May 2019
In Ove Arup & Partners International Limited v Coleman Bennet International Consultancy Plc  EWHC 413 (TCC), Arup applied to the court for summary judgment against CBI to enforce an adjudicator’s decision.
General reservations made in response to adjudication are likely to be insufficient grounds for challenging a decision, particularly where the responding party is being seen to making no real effort to articulate specific arguments. Responding parties should determine, articulate, and sustain specific jurisdictional arguments from the outset if they want to use jurisdiction to challenge enforcement in the courts.
CBI had engaged Arup to provide a feasibility study on a hyperloop linking Manchester and Leeds. Arup set out its fees and commercial terms in a proposal letter dated 14 April 2016. Its services included assistance with the overall project management of the study, considering tunnel design, route selection and station layout, assessing operational and transport capacity, and assessing costs. Arup fixed its fee at £350,000 plus VAT but was ‘prepared to discount the above fee to £150,000 plus VAT in exchange for a 20% share in the ownership of the enterprise’. CBI accepted the proposal.
By October 2016, CBI had paid £75,000 to Arup. Arup then confirmed it would not take a 20% stake in any potential joint venture if the project went ahead. No further money was paid and Arup’s demands for payment went unanswered. Arup launched an adjudication under the statutory scheme provided for by the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (the “Act”), s.108. The adjudicator awarded Arup the balance of its fee of £275,000, plus VAT and interest, statutory compensation of £300 and the adjudicator’s fees. CBI still failed to pay, so Arup launched proceedings and issued its application for summary judgment in November 2018.
CBI resisted the application by maintaining a number of challenges to the adjudicator’s jurisdiction:
CBI had stated the first point in general terms in its adjudication response, but did not explain or develop it. The specific issues raised at points 2-3 were answered by Arup in its reply, but CBI responded with only a general reservation. Given that first point was backed by no detail, and Arup had provided unrefuted answers to the second and third points, the adjudicator had found for Arup.
The court supported Arup’s application based upon the following principles from the Court of Appeal’s decision in Bresco Electrical Services Limited (in liquidation) v Michael J. Lonsdale (Electrical) Limited and Primus Build Ltd  EWCA Civ 27:
In this instance the court found, in respect of the first of CBI’s challenges, that a mere general reservation was not sufficient to enable to adjudicator to understand the nature of, and deal with, the objection. It was inappropriate to keep open all lines of jurisdictional challenge, regardless of whether they were raised or not, via a general reservation. It was also ineffective to use a general reservation to answer specific points raised in Arup’s reply.
London - Walbrook
+44 (0)20 7894 6314
020 7894 6151