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Amey v Herefordshire District Council – TCC considers for the first time how to interpret an adjudicator’s decision that has become final and binding

In a decision handed down today, Mr Justice Fraser has held that Herefordshire District Council are entitled to have an adjudication decision of Mr Matthew Molloy enforced, in the sum of c£10M.

The dispute arose out of a long term maintenance contract, incorporating the NEC standard form (2nd edition), made between Herefordshire District Council and Amey Wye Valley Ltd in 2003.

Amey challenged enforcement on a number of grounds, central to which was that Mr Molloy’s decision was inconsistent with the decision of an earlier Adjudicator, Mr Mark Entwistle. In rejecting this challenge, the Judge had to consider the proper approach to the interpretation of Mr Entwistle’s decision, which had become final and binding in accordance with the contract between the parties – neither party having served a Notice of Dissatisfaction within the 56-day contractual time limit. This was a novel point which has not previously been considered by the courts. Herefordshire submitted and the Judge held that the usual principles of contractual interpretation should apply, as set down in well known cases such as the recent Supreme Court case, Arnold v Britton [2015] AC 1619. This was because although the person responsible for the drafting – Mr Entwistle – was not a party to the contract, the parties chose to accept it.

Michael Curtis KC and Charles Pimlott (instructed by Veale Wasbrough Vizards LLP) appeared on behalf of the Herefordshire District Council.

For the full decision please click here.

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