Christopher Linnett Ltd v Harding (t/a M J Harding Contractors) [2017] EWHC 1781 (TCC)

25th Jul 2017

The Claimants (a well-known adjudicator and his company) claimed statutory interest, statutory fixed late payment charges and debt recovery costs following late payment of adjudicator’s fees by the Defendant contractor, Mr Harding. The claim was made pursuant to the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 (the “1998 Act”) and certain express written terms of the adjudicator’s agreement.

It was an unusually low-value claim for the TCC, but one that raised some interesting and novel legal issues of importance not only to adjudicators, but more widely.

The Defendant argued (1) that there was no agreement with the First Claimant and that the agreement with Second Claimant did not incorporate the written terms relied upon, (2) that he was a “consumer”, and the contract was a “distance contract”, such that he had a right to cancel the agreement under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (the “Regulations”), and (3) he was not “acting in the course of a business”, such that the 1998 Act did not apply.

The Court found that an adjudicator’s agreement had been concluded between the Second Claimant and Harding, and that it incorporated the written terms the Claimants had relied upon. The Defendant had no right of cancellation under the Regulations because he was not a “consumer” and this was not a “distance contract”. The Defendant had been acting in the course of a business, such that he was liable for statutory interest, fixed compensation and the agreed debt recovery costs.

To view the full judgment please click here.

Instructed by Simmons & Simmons LLP for the Claimants

Related barrister Omar Eljadi

25 July 2017

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