AC Yule & Son v Speedwell Roofing

Notwithstanding that the adjudicator's decision had to be completed within the period required by under paragraph 19 of the Scheme for Construction Contracts, the adjudicator's decision, which was issued one day out of time, was nevertheless valid in the light of the defendant's conduct

Technology and Construction Court
His Honour Judge Peter Coulson QC
31 May 2007
The defendant refused to pay the sum awarded by the adjudicator to the claimant on the ground that the adjudicator issued his decision to the parties a day after the agreed extended period for him to do so. Judge Coulson nevertheless enforced the decision.
Judge Coulson began his judgment by re-affirming that the only proper conclusion permitted by the adjudicator's mandatory obligation under paragraph 19 of the Scheme for Construction Contracts to reach his decision within 28 days (or any agreed extended period) of the referral is that the decision has to be completed within such period to be valid. However, the adjudicator's decision in the instant case was nevertheless valid on the basis that the defendant acquiesced to the time for the adjudicator to provide his decision being extended by two days by its silence, that the defendant participated in a process which made it impossible for the decision to be provided on time and by its conduct made it clear that made it plain that it had accepted the requested extension and that the defendant's silence in response to the adjudicator's request for an extension and its conduct meant that it was in any event estopped from denying that the decision was valid and/or reached in time. As to the defendant acquiescing to the time for the adjudicator to provide his decision being extended by two days by its silence (a) there would be occasions, as in the instant case, when new information served by one party late in the day would make it necessary for the adjudicator to ask for a little more time so as to allow the other party to comment on that information (b) if an adjudicator asked for more time in circumstances such as those in the instant case, there was a clear obligation on the part of both parties to respond plainly and promptly and (c) if one party, like the defendant in the instant case, did not respond at all to such a request, there had to be a very strong case for saying that that party had accepted the need for the required extension by its silence and acquiesced to the extension.