The following time-line below is an example of the several stages of an adjudication which is not an exhaustive list, as it will depend upon how the case is presented and whether there other issues, which may delay each stage.
The period for the preparation of the referral document will depend upon the complexity of the payment claim.
Each time period is indicative only, and will be set by the adjudicator. The overall period however, is as set out in the Act, where periods can only be changed with the agreement of the referring party (for an extension of 14 days) or both parties (for any additional extension), after the payment dispute has been referred to the adjudicator.
Before you issue your notice of intention to refer, you should have completed your referral document. This document sets out the background of the dispute, the contractual framework, and details substantiating your claim.
To commence a reference to adjudication, a party will have to issue a notice of intention to refer a payment dispute under the CCA.
The adjudicator can be agreed by both parties or where the parties cannot agree, the referring party will apply to the nominating body named in the contract.
Once the adjudicator is appointed and the referral document has been issued to both the adjudicator and the other party (the "Responding Party").
The Responding Party generally has 7-14 days in which to respond. The response is likely to include a counter claim. This claim may not necessarily have been provided to the Referring Party before the commencement of the adjudication.
If the responding party's response included a counter claim, the referring party will have an opportunity to issue a response to the counter claim. Also, the Responding Party may be afforded a further opportunity to issue a rejoinder on the Referring Party's reply.
The adjudicator having received all of the documents which the parties wish them to consider, will then determine whether they can make a decision, based on the documents only or whether there are issues of fact which would need to be considered at a meeting. Equally, either party may apply to the adjudicator to request a meeting. It should be noted that all exchanges are to be issued to both parties simultaneously.
If a meeting is required, depending upon the issues, the parties may have legal representation. The meeting is convened for the benefit of the adjudicator to understand all of the issues.
Essentially, a payment dispute which is adjudicated upon will result in an award to one of the parties which will (in most cases) require a payment, therefore it is essential that you present the best possible case.
The process itself is designed to be quick 28 days from the referral (or such period longer period as may be agreed by the referring party or both parties after the dispute has been referred).
Section 6 (12) of CCA, the decision of the adjudicator, if binding, shall, unless otherwise agreed by the parties, be treated as binding on them for all purposes and may accordingly be relied on by any of them, by way of defence, set-off or otherwise, in any legal proceedings.