The Construction Contracts Act 2013 enables parties to refer payment disputes to an independent adjudicator, either during or after a construction contract. If one party does not comply with the adjudicator’s decision, then the other can apply to the High Court to compel compliance. Such measures would inevitably sour any future working relationship between a contractor and subcontractor. Perhaps for that reason, amongst others, there hasn’t been a huge uptake on adjudication thus far in a relatively small country like Ireland.
Alternatively, conciliation continues to remain popular in Ireland where parties do wish to preserve a good working relationship.
The benefits of pursuing adjudication shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand altogether. An adjudicator’s decision is binding unless and until an arbitrator or a court gives a different award or judgment. Due to the non-confidential nature of an adjudicator’s decision the reality, however, is that it would be extremely rare to challenge said decision. Both parties will have made their full submissions throughout the adjudication. Any arbitrator will therefore likely be influenced by the logic that led to the adjudicator’s decision in the first instance.
More often than not where a party has been unsuccessful at adjudication, the dispute will have lost any momentum.
“With adjudication now being a reality in the Republic of Ireland, applicable to construction contracts entered into after 25 July 2016, the dispute resolution mechanism is still to take off, amid questions over how Irish courts will approach the enforcement of decisions.”