Tagara Builders P/L vs AP & L Services P/L & Ors
Citation:  SASC 30
It is typical for States in Australia to have legislative provision requiring builders to be licensed, and providing for them to be disqualified from payment under the contract if they do not have the requisite licence. In every state apart from Queensland the rule has been, nevertheless, that an unlicensed builder can recover a quantum meruit.
This decision establishes for South Australia (and probably other states as well) that an unlicensed builder cannot make a valid application for an adjudication – the essential logic being that if there is no underlying contractual entitlement, there can be no jurisdiction for an adjudicator to find any entitlement to a progress payment.
This brings the number of decisions by the Supreme Court of South Australia as to the validity of adjudicators’ determinations to a total of three.
Counsel: Robert Fenwick Elliott has represented the successful party in each of these three cases.