Yesterday evening I attended the above event, otherwise known as “How can ADR be improved for the construction industry?”
PLC Construction has previously reported on CEDR’s activities in the world of adjudication.
Professor Karl Mackie, Chief Executive of CEDR, chaired the event. After short presentations from the speakers: Robert Gaitskell, David Canning, Tony Bingham, Christopher Dancaster and Frank McCormack, the session was opened up for discussion.
The main thrust of the evening was that everyone present believed adjudication is working for the industry, and is keeping many disputes away from the courts or arbitration proceedings. In addition, one panel member commented on how important adjudication is to barristers and another on how more and more reliance is being placed on lawyers (solicitors and barristers).
Given the attendees, these comments are unsurprising. If you have an alternative view, please post a comment and let us know.
Introducing mediation into the adjudication process received a more mixed reaction. There was concern that the adjudicator may end up being cross-examined and having to defend his position during any mediation, rather than simply acting as a mediator in the more traditional sense.
Finally, one point not addressed last night, which I throw open to the floor.
CEDR are to be commended for trying to move adjudication forward, with a new mediation twist. However, given the Scheme is the default in all situations and is included in many standard form contracts (including JCT), CEDR have not addressed how they are going to get parties to use their rules. Will public seminars and articles in the trade press, such as Building, be enough? The litmus test will be whether any of the standard forms of contract adopt CEDR’s approach in their next editions. Time will tell.
More radically, bespoke adjudication rules can be unhelpful. There is a strong argument that everyone should use the Scheme, although the Government has not insisted on this in the Construction Contracts Bill 2008.