Delay Defeats Arbitration Award Appeal

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A High Court Judge rejected an appeal against the arbitrator’ ruling in a contract arbitration because the deadline for appeal was missed by almost three months.

The dispute concerned the provision of scaffolding for a demolition project. The scaffolding company said that it had not been paid for additional works, whereas the construction company argued that the work was defective and had been delayed. At arbitration, an award totalling £97,620 was issued in favour of the scaffolding company.

After nearly four months, the scaffolding company was granted a court order opening the way for it to enforce the award. It was only then that the construction company sought to appeal against the award 84 days outside the 28-day time limit set by Section 70(3) of the Arbitration Act 1996.

The Judge dismissed the construction company’ challenge and found that there was no evidence that the scaffolding company or the arbitrator had contributed to the delay, nor was there any other reasonable explanation for the delay in lodging the appeal.

The Court found that there was nothing obviously wrong with the arbitrator’ award and, even had the appeal been permitted to proceed, it would have failed on its merits.

Noting that the scaffolding company had a turnover of about £400,000, whilst the construction company’ turnover was about £40 million, the judge found that the former would suffer irremediable prejudice if the appeal were allowed to proceed out of time.

The construction company was ordered to pay the costs of the case.

Squibb Group Ltd. v Pole 2 Pole Scaffolding Ltd. [2017] EWHC 2394 (TCC)

Rex Cowell