Mentmore Towers Ltd V Packman Lucas Ltd

The clients should be restrained by injunctions from taking any substantive step in the adjudications commenced by them until they complied with the court's orders for them to honour the adjudicator's decisions in the adjudications brought by the consultant and costs orders


Technology and Construction Court
Edwards-Stuart J
16 March 2010
Edwards-Stuart J held that the stay of the court proceedings brought by the clients to pursue their claims against the consultant for alleged overpayment imposed by Akenhead J in Anglo Swiss Holdings v Packman Lucas (2009) should be lifted to hear and determine the consultant’s application for injunctions. The clients should be restrained by injunctions from taking any substantive step in the adjudications commenced by them or from seeking to enforce or implement any decision made by the adjudicator in those adjudications until they complied with the court’s orders for them to pay the costs assessed in the court enforcement proceedings brought by the consultant, to provide security for costs and to pay costs in the court proceedings brought by them and to pay the judgment debt enforcing the adjudicator’s decisions.
Edwards-Stuart J in coming to this decision stated that the court had the power to grant an injunction restraining the pursuit of an adjudication under section 37 of the Senior Courts Act 1981. There was no difference in principle between the approach to be adopted by the court when considering whether to order a claim brought by way of litigation to be stayed on the ground that it was being brought unreasonably and oppressively or to restrain the further pursuit of an identical claim by way of adjudication on the same ground. The reasons given by Akenhead J applied equally to the current referrals to the adjudication. The current referrals to adjudication were simply another attempt to circumvent the machinery and policy of the Construction Act. It was unreasonable and oppressive for the consultant to be subjected to further proceedings by way of adjudication when the clients had still failed to honour the first awards and the subsequent court judgments enforcing those awards. It was not enough for the clients to make, for example, offers to pay money into court, even if such payment were to be made tomorrow since the consultant was entitled to have a cash award paid in cash, which was the purpose of adjudication. The availability and use of remedies by way of charging orders were not a substitute for the satisfaction of an adjudicator's decision or a judgment of the court by payment in cash.