The claimant, Westminster Building, tendered for building works in respect of a property owned by Mr Beckingham. The specification stated that the contract would be in the form of a JCT IFC 1998 incorporating amendments. A letter of intent dated 27 June 2002 instructed the claimant to proceed with the work in accordance with the specification. The letter went on to state that the surveyor would prepare a formal contract for signature, and if matters did not progress then the claimant would be reimbursed for any reasonable expenditure. The work started on 15 July 2002 and the IFC form of contract was sent to the builder for signature. Some of the details were different to the specification, but nonetheless the builder signed and returned the contract. The defendant never returned it. Work proceeded and interim certificates were issued. On 20 February 2003 a "capping agreement" was signed. It said that the fees in respect of the work would not exceed £300,000 including VAT and £30,000 worth of retention. At that time the contractor had been paid £284,209.90. Mr Beckingham refused to pay any further money on the basis that he had already paid more than the capping agreement. The contractor referred the dispute to adjudication. The adjudicator decided that Mr Beckingham must pay interim certificates 5 and 6, thus an amount in excess of the capping agreement.
The issues were, whether the contract contained an adjudication clause, whether the adjudicator had jurisdiction to deal with the dispute because of the capping agreement, and whether the adjudication clause was unfair and not binding.