Client ordered to pay monies owed on building work ‘forthwith’ but they are still refusing to pay
Problem: My company has recently been successful in an adjudication, but still the payer will not make payment!
I am the managing quantity surveyor for a building company, and earlier this year we completed a development for a client. However, the company’s final payment application was severely reduced by the client’s own in-house team, and despite a couple of meetings to try and reach a compromise, we decided to refer the matter to an adjudicator, who was nominated by the RIBA.
We were delighted when we received the adjudicator’s decision as she had agreed with virtually all of our payment claim, and also ordered our client to pay the monies owed ‘forthwith’. Several weeks then past with numerous letters written from us to chase payment, but our client still refused to make payment. How can we get our monies?
Commencing enforcement proceedings in the High Court
Response: Congratulations on your win in the adjudication, although it is always frustrating when a losing party to an adjudication refuses to pay.
The only way for you to attempt to secure the payment that the adjudicator awarded to you is to commence enforcement proceedings in the High Court. Adjudication enforcement proceedings are quite complex, and I therefore recommend that you instruct a solicitor, as you will also need the services of counsel to argue your case in court.
To enforce an adjudication decision that involves a sum to be paid, you must issue Part 7 proceedings. Such proceedings will include the Claim Form, Particulars of Claim and the evidence that you rely upon. In addition, you will also need to make an application to abridge time and for summary judgement. Upon filing the documents in court (which will be one of the TCC courts – the closet one to Leicestershire is in Birmingham), you will need to make sure that they are marked urgent and for adjudication enforcement. The court should then approve the claim and seal the Claim Form, and will also advise you of the hearing date, which is usually within 6 weeks. Good luck.
© Michael Gerard 2019
The advice provided is intended to be of a general guide only and should not be viewed as providing a definitive legal analysis.