CAMILLIN DENNY ARCHITECTS LTD V ADELAIDE JONES & COMPANY LTD

The architect should have summary judgment to enforce the adjudicators decision for the payment to it of outstanding fees by the client in the sum specified by the adjudicator
 
 

Technology and Construction Court
Akenhead J
11 August 2009

 
The architect should have summary judgment to enforce the adjudicator’s decision for the payment to it of outstanding fees by the client in the sum specified by the adjudicator
 
The client engaged the architect to provide architectural services for the project by a binding contract. Whilst there was some discussion over the following month after the appointment was entered into about the possibility of another company employing the architect, discussions resumed in this connection in greater detail a few months later. At that stage the company in question did not apparently exist or exist sufficiently in law in whatever country it might have been incorporated to enter into binding contracts. The client’s representatives appeared to have called for two alternative proposals from the architect, namely one which would have been identical to the contract actually entered into and the other materially different in that it involved a larger fee and the provision of additional services, in particular contract administration. Whilst there was no evidence that the client’s representatives made up their minds as to which option to go for, it was decided that the architect’s services should be dispensed with. There was no reliable or credible evidence that the company which it was proposed would take over the appointment was ever incorporated or was permitted to enter into contracts by the laws of the country in which it might have been incorporated. The client purported to terminate the appointment albeit that it was the company which it was proposed would take over the appointment which purportedly did so. The architect was not paid on various invoices and began an adjudication against the client claiming the allegedly unpaid fees. The client contended that the adjudicator had no jurisdiction by reason of the appointment having been novated with retrospective effect to the other company. The adjudicator in his decision concluded that no novation had taken place. The architect brought court enforcement proceedings to enforce the adjudicator’s decision and applied for summary judgment.
 
Akenhead J rejected the client’s contention. There was no realistic prospect on the facts of the client establishing at trial that there was an effective novation. There was no credible evidence that the proposed substitute party to the novation ever agreed to be party to the novation and there was unchallenged evidence that it had not so agreed.
Download