When the negotiation process collapses the most common form of tribunal is an Adjudication. In fact in the construction industry the law requires that you have to take your dispute to an adjudication.
A single adjudicator is appointed by an independent body such as RICS or RIBA and they have 28 calendar days to review the evidence in the form of expert reports and legal pleadings.
Although my fee is paid by my client my duty is to the adjudicator in assisting him/her to reach a just decision. I have to remain independent and not act as an advocate.
It is rare that an adjudicator appointed on an Extension of Time case has a full understanding of delay analysis techniques – he may have read a book or two but has only a superficial understanding of the methods put before him.
He will not like being bamboozled by technical wizardry framed in charts and graphs.
He likes facts simply set down in words and dates and the occasional simple chart that shows cause and effect.
The process is simple:
1. The complaining party puts in its referral for an adjudication.
2. The defending party is then given a set number of days to put in its defense in the form of a reply
3. The complainer then has a few more days to respond with a rejoinder.
4. The defender then is allowed to submit a sur rejoinder and that is when the process usually ends although a final exchange is sometimes permitted if the adjudicator needs some points clarifying.
5. Sometimes the adjudicator will call a meeting to question the experts face to face.
6. Then the award is issued.
The award is final and even if it is hopelessly wrong it cannot be changed unless the adjudicator is biased or wrong in law.
It is rough justice sometimes and can be intense and nerve racking during the process – but I love it.