Collins (Contractors) Ltd v Baltic Quay Management (1994) Ltd

The propositions advanced by Jackson J in Amec Civil Engineering v The Secretary of State for the Environment (2004) should be accepted and, in particular, the proposition that whilst the mere making of a claim did not amount to a dispute, a dispute would be held to exist once it could reasonably be inferred that a claim was not admitted
 
COLLINS (CONTRACTORS) LTD v BALTIC QUAY MANAGEMENT (1994) LTD

Court of Appeal
Brooke, Clarke and Neuberger LJJ
7 December 2004
 
 
The Court of Appeal had occasion to review the caselaw as to what constitutes a "dispute" for the purposes of arbitration and adjudication. Clarke LJ summarised the court decisions on the existence or otherwise of a "dispute" and noted that different and not entirely consistent strands of thought that could be discerned in those decisions. In particular Clarke LJ made reference to the propositions (derived from caselaw) advanced by Jackson J in Amec Civil Engineering v The Secretary of State for the Environment (2004).
 
Clarke LJ added some observations of his own on these propositions: (1) All depended on the circumstances of the case in question (2) The propositions should be accepted as being broadly correct and, in particular, the general approach that whilst the mere making of a claim did not amount to a dispute, a dispute would be held to exist once it could reasonably be inferred that a claim was not admitted (3) Jackson J was right not to have endorsed the suggestions in some of the cases that a dispute might not arise until negotiation or discussion had been concluded and should not lightly be inferred (4) Negotiation and discussion were likely to be more consistent with the existence of an as yet unresolved dispute than with the absence of a dispute and (5) The court was likely to be willing readily to infer that a claim was not admitted and that a dispute existed so that it could be referred to arbitration or adjudication.
 
Clarke LJ was at pains to emphasise that his observations were made in the hope that they might be of some assistance but not because there was any disagreement between those observations and the propositions advanced by Jackson J. Advice Note Reference should be made to the summary on this website of Amec Civil Engineering v The Secretary of State for the Environment for the propositions advanced by Jackson J for what constitutes a "dispute" for adjudication (and arbitration) purposes in the light of the Court of Appeal's approval of them in this case.
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