Forest Heath District Council V Isg Jackson Ltd

The circumstances in which it might be appropriate for the court to make a declaration under the Part 8 procedure with particular reference to a declaration in relation to adjudication
 

 

FOREST HEATH DISTRICT COUNCIL V ISG JACKSON LTD
Technology and Construction Court
Ramsey J
22 February 2010
 

 
Ramsey J held that the court should not determine the local authority’s application for a declaration under Part 8 that the adjudicator was wrong in granting the contractor an extension of time. In doing so the judge considered the circumstances in which it might be appropriate for the court to make a declaration under the Part 8 procedure with particular reference to a declaration in relation to adjudication.
 
CPR rule 8.1(2)(a) provided that a claimant could use Part 8 procedure where he sought the court's decision on a question which was unlikely to involve a substantial dispute of fact. Substantial disputes of fact required the procedure appropriate to Part 7 proceedings. Where the claim was for a declaration, the court retained a discretion whether to grant that relief. The ability of a party to obtain a declaration on a point of law where there was little dispute of fact could be a useful means of resolving an important issue between the parties which, for instance, might assist the parties in resolving a complex dispute by negotiation or ADR. In the context of adjudication the resolution of an issue as to jurisdiction might provide a means of avoiding wasted costs of an adjudication, a declaration might allow a party to obtain a final determination of the dispute which was the subject of a temporarily binding decision by the adjudicator or a declaration might also allow the parties to resolve their differences on the basis that a finding by the court had shown that an essential part of the adjudicator's decision was wrong. This court was also prepared to deal with certain limited disputed factual issues which might arise on a Part 8 claim by a hybrid procedure involving an element of fact finding by a short hearing after hearing oral evidence (see Coulson J in Vitpol Building Service v Samen (2008)). Neuberger J stated in this connection in Financial Services Authority v Rourke (2002) that When considering whether to grant a declaration the court should take into account justice to both parties, whether the declaration would serve a useful purpose and whether there were any other special reasons why the court should or should not grant the declaration.
 
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