This is a cautionary tale for anyone thinking about not complying with an adjudicator’s award and challenging enforcement proceedings. Unless there are really good reasons for not complying you could find yourself out of pocket for more than just the amount of the adjudicator’s fees.
In AMD Environmental Ltd v Cumberland Construction Company Ltd  EWHC 285, the adjudicator’s award required Cumberland to pay £78,000 plus VAT plus the adjudicator’s fees. Cumberland did not pay. AMD issued enforcement proceedings. Cumberland resisted the proceedings. One of the arguments that they put forward was that the dispute had failed to crystallise at the time of the appointment of the adjudicator.
The court reiterated that this argument “is frequently advanced and almost as frequently rejected”. He also mentioned that the only case where he was aware that this argument had succeeded was where a claim was put forward after close of play on Maundy Thursday and the notice of adjudication was served on the following Tuesday (the day after Easter Monday).
In a robust conclusion he went on to state that “the adjudication decision should have been honoured some time ago” and the arguments in support of Cumberland’s position were “hopeless”.
As a general point (and warning) he went onto say that the TCC is concerned that too many adjudication decisions are not being complied with, and he went on to order Cumberland to pay indemnity costs in respect of the enforcement proceedings and interest at 6% on the adjudicator’s award. Ouch.