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Rob Stokell successfully defends an application for summary judgment to enforce an adjudicator’s decision

Judgment was handed down today in the case of Goldsworthy v Harrison [2016] EWHC 1589 (TCC), in which Rob Stokell (instructed by Michelmores LLP) successfully defended an application for summary judgment to enforce an adjudicator’s decision.

The defendants were residential occupiers, so there was no statutory requirement for adjudication. The claimants argued before the adjudicator and the Court that the parties had agreed and proceeded on the basis that the JCT Minor Works terms were to apply, including the provision for adjudication. The defendants’ case was that the parties did not enter a Minor Works contract because they never reached a final agreement on the terms of such a contract.

In refusing the application for summary judgment, Mr Andrew Bartlett KC, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge, noted that the provisions of the Minor Works form constitute a carefully designed package which, when properly filled in, sets an agreed balance of costs, liabilities and risks. This feature needs to be kept in mind when considering whether an incomplete Minor Works form constitutes a binding contract. When parties intend that they will contract on a Minor Works form, but fail to complete it, the Court needs to be wary of imposing on them a less complete contract, with a different balance of risks partly reflecting the Minor Works form and partly inconsistent with it: a contract which, if asked, they would not have agreed to. Authorities including; RTS Flexible Systems Ltd v Molkerei [2010] UKSC 14, [2010] 1 WLR 753; Harvey Shopfitters v ADI Ltd [2003] EWCA Civ 1757, [2004] 2 All ER 982; and Twintec Ltd v Volkerfitzpatrick Ltd [2014] EWHC 10 (TCC), [2014] BLR 150 were considered.

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