In a recent article, Tony Bingham endorses the initiative to raise the standards of adjudicators by teaching them complex areas of construction law (12 August: Legal).

Tony writes that adjudicators were originally envisaged as being robust certifiers “who would check the contract administrator’s certificate”. So why the need now for legal beagles?

In 1998, when adjudication got under way, many believed that the payment provision at section 110(2) of the Construction Act meant what it said – a payee would be entitled to a five-day notice of intended payment after submission of an invoice – no express sanction being thought necessary. Likewise, section 107 appeared a good “catch-all” clause for the usual mish-mash of domestic subcontract arrangements – some 90% of adjudications having been about subcontractor payment disputes with no contract administrator involved.

After industry consultation, both clauses are likely to be tightened in the promised government review, and but for these two grey areas, probably 70% of past adjudications would never have happened.

So can we please go back to basics, Tony?

Sort out sections 107 and 110 by statute, and focus adjudicator training on case management skills. If over-legalised, adjudication will become even more unaffordable to trade contractors, so playing back into the hands of reluctant paying parties.