It is some time since there has been a new entry into the field of books on construction adjudication. John Redmond is a regular contributor to Building on adjudication matters, and I like his style. This style has been carried through into Adjudication in Construction Contracts. Blackwell has continued its happy knack of finding authors who have great technical expertise coupled with the ability to write in an extremely readable fashion.
I well remember the criticism that was heaped on the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators when it decided to include lawyers on its panel of adjudicators. Many commentators said it was an industry matter and that the lawyers should be kept out as much as possible. The industry itself has proved them wrong: lawyers are engaged with great regularity.
The lawyer who has a clear understanding of the construction process is ideally placed to carry out the function of adjudicator. Redmond is clearly one of these. As a lawyer who is an adjudicator, he is still a reasonably rare animal. He also acts for parties on a regular basis, and therefore sees the process from both sides.
This is probably the first "second generation" book on adjudication. Adjudication in Construction Contracts follows the format of many of its predecessors. It starts with an analysis of the Construction Act and the accompanying scheme. It then goes through the adjudication process from start to enforcement. That is not new. What is new is that adjudication is put into the context of enforcement decisions in the Technology and Construction Court from Macob vs Morrison onwards. There can be no "right" time to produce a book relating to a developing subject. But much is now reasonably settled and Redmond's book is timely. With his legal background and obvious enthusiasm for the adjudication process, the author has produced a book that should be in the library of anyone involved in adjudication.
The courts have started to apply rather more stringent procedural requirements to adjudication than were accepted in Macob. It is the concept of "natural justice" and the courts' approach to allegations of conflicts of interest and bias that seem to trouble lawyers most when they consider the adjudication process. I was therefore very interested to see how Redmond dealt with these matters. I did sense a slight unease on his part with the concept that the adjudicator can dispense with the rules of natural justice completely, and perhaps an underlying sense of relief at the restrictions that the courts are starting to impose.
That is only a minor quibble, however. In its general approach Adjudication in Construction Contracts will provide any reader with excellent guidance through the maze of adjudication – whether they be adjudicator or parties to a dispute.
Reviewed by Chris Dancaster, a quantity surveyor, arbitrator and adjudicator. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.