The Rare Promulgation of a Private Member’s Bill
Construction Contracts Act 2013
The Construction Contracts Act 2013 (“the Act”), commenced on the 25th of July 2016, provides, subject to some exceptions, new legal rights and obligations on the parties to a construction contract.
Throughout the legislative process, the Construction Bar Association (CBA), led by Gerard Meehan BL, Michael Munnelly BL and Mark Sanfey SC, represented the interests of the CBA members in its dealings as a stakeholder with the Construction Contracts Adjudication service. The CBA, guided by the learned contribution of John Trainor SC, has also liaised with the Rules Committee in the drafting of new Rule of the Superior Court implemented to facilitate the functioning of the Construction Contracts Act, 2013 (Click here to download Rule 56B RSC).
Code of Practice Governing Conduct of Adjudications
The Code of Practice sets out the detailed requirements concerning the conduct of adjudication and it is binding on all Adjudicators operating under the Construction Contracts Act, 2013 in accordance with section 6(8) of the Act.
Features of the Act:
Under the Act parties to a construction contract are precluded from contracting out of the statutory adjudication process. However, unlike in the UK, where any dispute arising out of a construction contract may be referred to adjudication the scope of the Act is confined to ‘payment disputes’ (a term which has not been explicitly defined in the Act). It is thought that this topic is likely to give rise to issues when completed adjudication begin to feed into the court for reasons of enforcement or otherwise.
The period provided for in the Act for dealing with the dispute in the first instance is 28 days and as such carries with it the risk of ‘rough justice.’ The proponents of adjudication advocate that this is a necessary ‘evil’ to achieve the speedy resolution of payment disputes. Under the Act either party may refer a payment dispute “at any time” which will allow parties to commence fresh adjudication proceedings in the midst of an arbitration of other dispute resolution process.
Binding in Nature
An adjudicator’s decision under the Act is binding and ostensibly immediately enforceable. If it is not discharged, it is capable of summary enforcement in the same way as any Court Order and an Adjudicator’s decision can only be overturned by a superseding arbitrator’s award or Court order.
** Members are invited to register and access the Codex which contains several papers prepared by Members exploring the the corners of the Construction Contracts Act, 2013 **