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On 30 April 2018 the Civil Procedure Rules were updated to require claimants to indicate in their Letter of Claim whether they wish to refer professional negligence disputes to adjudication. If they do, claimants are required to propose three adjudicators or seek a nomination from the nominating body. If they do not wish to refer the dispute to adjudication, they are required to provide reasons.

The benefits of adjudication are that:

  1. It is a process which aims to provide a decision within 56 days that can be binding on the parties.
  2. It results in a reasoned decision.
  3. There is a chance of recovery of damages in successful claims and for defendants not having to make payment if the claim fails.
  4. Adjudication can provide a “temporarily binding” decision which still allows dissatisfied parties to continue with the litigation without the need for appeal.
  5. The adjudicator should have expertise in the relevant area.
  6. There is flexibility for the parties in agreeing how the adjudication will operate.
  7. There is likely to be scope for costs sanctions for an unreasonable refusal to adopt adjudication in the same way that this now applies for an unreasonable refusal to mediate.
  8. The parties can agree how the costs of the adjudication will be dealt with.

As a result adjudication is now likely to be considered a serious alternative dispute resolution option for resolving disputes more cheaply and quickly, especially for lower value disputes where the costs of taking a case to trial may be disproportionate to the amount of the claim. Adjudication can also be used to determine an important point in issue, such as limitation or breach of duty. The parties can also decide whether or not to agree if the adjudicator’s decision will be binding.

If you have any questions in relation to professional negligence claims please do not hesitate to contact Joanna Osborne – Head of Property Litigation.

Edwin Coe LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership, registered in England & Wales (No.OC326366). The Firm is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. A list of members of the LLP is available for inspection at our registered office address: 2 Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn, London, WC2A 3TH. “Partner” denotes a member of the LLP or an employee or consultant with the equivalent standing.

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