Quadro Services Ltd v Creagh Concrete Products Ltd
Citation:  EWHC 2637 (TCC)
Summary of facts
The Claimant applied for summary judgment to enforce an adjudication decision against the Defendant under the Scheme for Construction Contracts (England and Wales) Regulations 1998. The Claimant commenced an adjudication for the payment of three invoices in respect of which the Defendant had not issued any pay less notices. The Defendant declined to participate in the adjudication on the grounds that the Claimant had referred three disputes to the adjudicator, each concerning whether the Claimant was entitled to the payment of a single unpaid invoice. The adjudicator proceeded with the adjudication and awarded the Claimant the full sum claimed of £40,026.
TCC’s decision (HHJ Sarah Watson)
On enforcement, the Defendant again argued that the adjudicator did not have jurisdiction as each claim for payment of an unpaid invoice could be decided independently of the other claims. Relying on the decision of Coulson J (as he then was) in Deluxe Art & Theme Ltd v Beck Interiors Ltd  EWHC 238 (TCC), the Defendant said that this demonstrated that the claims did not form part of a single dispute.
The Judge rejected this argument and found for the Claimant. One dispute could include numerous issues that might be capable of being determined independently of each other. Whether such issues were sub-issues in a single dispute or were separate disputes was a question of fact, Deluxe Art considered, Prater Ltd v John Sisk and Son (Holdings) Ltd  EWHC 1113 (TCC) applied. In this case, only one dispute was referred to the adjudicator. The three invoices were clearly linked: each was for the full value of the work done under the contract less the value of work already invoiced, and they were therefore cumulative. It was clear from the referral notice that the dispute being referred was the Defendant’s failure to pay £40,026 and that the redress being sought was the immediate payment of that sum.
Thus, the adjudicator was right to conclude that only one dispute had been referred to him, and the Defendant had no real prospect of successfully defending the claim on the ground that he lacked jurisdiction (see paras 35-50).
Ben Graff appeared for the Defendant.
Full judgment available at: https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/TCC/2021/2637.html