Stansell was a building contractor carrying out work in Union Street, Bristol. It engaged RSL as a subcontractor. The subcontract was based on the Standard Form of Domestic Sub-contract DOM/2 1981 edition (reprinted in 1998) incorporating amendments 1-8. Clause 38 contained adjudication provisions. A dispute arose in connection with the final account, and in particular a claim for an extension of time and a claim for loss and expense. The dispute was referred to adjudication. An adjudicator was appointed by the RICS. The adjudicator asked for the parties' agreement to appoint a planning expert. Both parties agreed. However, the defendant requested a copy of the letter of instruction to the planning expert, together with his response and copies of any report prepared by that expert. The preliminary advice from the expert was forwarded to the parties. The defendant did not consider that a response was required because the preliminary advice appeared to show that the claimant's position was not supported. The adjudicator then issued his decision. Paragraph 72 of that decision said that his decision was arrived at after considering the final report of the planning expert. He awarded the claimant 55 working days, and then proceeded to award the claimant a sum of money. The defendant did not pay. An application for summary judgment was made, together with an application in the alternative for an interim payment pursuant to Part 25.6 of the CPR.

Case details: 16 June 2003, TCC, HHJ Seymour QC

Stansell argued that the adjudicator's decision was unenforceable because of a breach of natural justice. It argued that the adjudicator had failed to comply with the basis upon which Stansell had agreed to the appointment of the planning expert, and also that the adjudicator had failed to provide Stansell with an opportunity to review the planning expert's final report. Finally, it argued that the adjudicator had wrongfully delegated his decision-making powers to the planning expert.