Cantillon Ltd v Urvasco Ltd: TCC 27 Feb 2008

After referring to the Carillion Construction case, the court held: ‘Whilst that case is, obviously, not authority for the proposition that a ‘good’ challenge to a decision on jurisdiction or natural justice grounds will be excluded on some statistical basis, a challenge on these grounds must be plain, clear and relatively comprehensible. In a case such as the present, the Adjudicator, albeit experienced, had a mass of conflicting evidence and argument to take on board. The Court should not take an over-analytical approach to questions of jurisdiction and natural justice arising in adjudications under the HGCRA 1996.’ Akenhead J then considered the law relating to natural justice in the context of adjudications, and concluded: ‘From this and other cases, I conclude as follows in relation to breaches of natural justice in adjudication cases: (a) It must first be established that the Adjudicator failed to apply the rules of natural justice;
(b) Any breach of the rules must be more than peripheral; they must be material breaches;
(c) Breaches of the rules will be material in cases where the adjudicator has failed to bring to the attention of the parties a point or issue which they ought to be given the opportunity to comment upon if it is one which is either decisive or of considerable potential importance to the outcome of the resolution of the dispute and is not peripheral or irrelevant.
(d) Whether the issue is decisive or of considerable potential importance or is peripheral or irrelevant obviously involves a question of degree which must be assessed by any judge in a case such as this.
(e) It is only if the adjudicator goes off on a frolic of his own, that is wishing to decide a case upon a factual or legal basis which has not been argued or put forward by either side, without giving the parties an opportunity to comment or, where relevant put in further evidence, that the type of breach of the rules of natural justice with which the case of Balfour Beatty Construction Company Ltd -v- The Camden Borough of Lambeth was concerned comes into play. It follows that, if either party has argued a particular point and the other party does not come back on the point, there is no breach of the rules of natural justice in relation thereto.’


Akenhead J


[2008] EWHC 282 (TCC), [2008] CILL 2564, [2008] BLR 250, 117 Con LR 1




England and Wales


CitedCarillion Construction Ltd v Devonport Royal Dockyard Ltd CA 16-Nov-2005
The parties had disputed payments for subcontracting work on a major project. The matter had been referred to arbitration, and the claimants now appealed refusal of leave to appeal the adjudicator’s award.
Held: The dispute was complex and . .

Cited by:

CitedCRJ Services Ltd v Lanstar Ltd (T/A CSG Lanstar) TCC 19-Apr-2011
The claimant hired out recycling plant and equipment and the defendant had been a customer. A local agent of the defendant had properly entered into certain contracts with the claimant acting as the company’s agent, but then created three long term . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Natural Justice, Arbitration

Updated: 13 July 2022; Ref: scu.265966