My article on penalties has now been published in Construction Law Journal. I wrote that a while ago, but it evidently takes some time for the things to work their way through the legal press.
Meanwhile, I have been busy in various courts on adjudication issues, on which decisions are still pending.
In the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, we are awaiting a reserved decision from Kelly J on whether an adjudicator rightly dismissed an adjudication application for being out of time. In the Northern Territory, an adjudication has to be commenced within 90 days of when the payment dispute arises, which is normally when a payment claim is rejected. The issue here is that the applicant made a payment claim when it did not have the security required by the contract in place; unsurprisingly, that payment claim was rejected. The applicant then put at least some of the required security in place, and made an identical payment claim, which was also rejected. Did the 90 days start run when the payment claim was first rejected (in which case the adjudication was out of time) or did time start running again when that payment claim was re-presented (in which case the adjudication was in time, just)?
In the District Court of South Australia, the Chief Judge has reserved judgment on a default issue. My client claimants made a payment claim whilst, at the same time, negotiations were going on between the parties as to a proposed resolution of that and other disputes. Instead of putting in a conventional payment schedule, the other party merely wrote an email referring to a meeting at which that dispute was discussed. Did that email constitute a sufficient payment schedule for the purpose of the legislation? The email did not contain a scheduled amount, but should the Court try to identify a scheduled amount from affidavit evidence from the respondent as to what was being discussed and from which amounts were subsequently paid?
In the Court of Appeal of the Northern Territory, the decision of Kelly J in CH2M Hill Australia Pty Limited & Anor v ABB Australia Pty Ltd & Anor  NTSC 42 is being appealed; the hearing is Continue reading