The Plaintiff sought to challenge the outcome of an adjudication proceeding between the two parties on the grounds that the decision was unfair and contrary to natural justice. The Plaintiff alleged that the adjudicator failed to notify the parties of the substance of his decision or allow them to comment on it, and further failed to give reasons with respect to costs or awards. As a result, the Plaintiff sought to have the adjudicator's decision rendered void.
In supporting his position, the Plaintiff argued that the role of an adjudicator was similar to that of an arbitrator. The Court however considered the duties of the adjudicator with regard to costs, liability and quantum as distinct from the duties required by an arbitrator. The Court agreed with the judgment of Balfor Beatty Construction Ltd v Lambert London BC Macob  EWHC 597 (TCC) that, while more generally the role of an adjudicator is similar to an arbitrator, they are not the same. The Court further agreed with the decision that adjudication affords the parties with more procedural freedom than arbitration and consequently the adjudicator was free to set his own procedure, provided he informed the parties.
In the present case therefore the Court considered that the adjudicator had not followed the procedure as laid down by him. The Court held that the adjudicator should have allowed the parties to make further submissions in relation to costs and fees before he had delivered his judgment on quantum and liability. By not doing so, the adjudicator breached the rules of fairness and natural justice. Accordingly his decisions in relation to the payment of the parties' costs, fees and expenses were set aside.
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