Despite my respect for John Redmond, I find his complaint that adjudicators’ fees are too expensive a bit rich (16 November, page 77). This is because, in my experience, the increase in the cost of adjudication is due almost entirely to the influence of lawyers.
Let me explain. When, in August 1998, I undertook my first adjudication, many lawyers thought the process was a waste of time and money, and few of them took any interest in it. In those early days adjudicators saw their task as assisting the parties by making a decision in respect of a dispute that they had been unable to settle themselves.
At that time parties represented themselves and adjudicators felt free to ask for more information. We were not intimidated from using our knowledge, experience and common sense. The written decision was prepared to enable the parties to fully understand why. How things have changed!
In the “new and improved” adjudication, industry adjudicators spend much of their time time dealing with multiple jurisdictional challenges issued by party representatives (largely lawyers); they are prevented from seeking additional information, or using their own knowledge and experience or, heaven forbid, common sense for fear of being accused of partiality, or breaching the laws of natural justice. Thus expense is incurred in the writing of the decision, not for the benefit of the parties, but for the court should the matter result in enforcement proceedings. It is not, therefore, difficult to understand why adjudicators’ decisions now take longer.