Apparent Bias in Construction Adjudication

Many adjudicators are also practitioners at the construction bar, who would have dealt with several members of the construction industry during their practice. It is therefore not improbable for adjudicators to have had dealings with the parties who come before them. This reality is however fertile ground for allegations of bias against adjudicators. The first complaint of apparent bias against an adjudicator made its way to the Singapore High Court in the recent case of UES Holdings Pte Ltd v KH Foges Pte Ltd[1]. Quentin Loh J’s detailed and well-reasoned judgment provides practical guidance on this subject to adjudicators and parties alike. This case also sheds light on two other issues of practical significance in the adjudication context. First, it clarifies that where a contract does not define “day”, the SOPA[2] definition of “day” (which excludes public holidays) can apply to contractual payment response timelines. Lastly, while the SOPA Regulations[3] require the notice of intention to apply for adjudication (“NOI”) to state a “brief description of the payment claim dispute”, UES Holdings clarifies that such failure, by itself, will not justify the setting aside of an adjudication determination.

Contributed by: Ramandeep Kaur - MPillay 

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