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Lewisham Homes Ltd v Breyer Group Plc [2021] 4 WLUK 67

18th May 2021

Robert Clay successfully acted for social landlord Lewisham Homes in an adjudication enforcement enforcing an adjudicator’s decision that the contractor Breyer Group should pay £2.7 million (plus VAT) in respect of replacement and remedial works to fire doors.

Lewisham Homes Ltd conducted a fire safety review in the wake of the Grenfell fire disaster. Like many other social landlords it found fire safety issues in recently refurbished stock. Its review identified that fire doors supplied and installed by Breyer did not provide the necessary fire resistance, and it has embarked upon a programme of replacement.

Lewisham Homes won two successive adjudications one on liability, and one on quantum. The defendant argued in the second quantum adjudication that the adjudicator had no jurisdiction to decide the dispute as it had already been determined when, in the first decision, he had decided not to order a payment on account in respect of potential damages.

This raised, in a novel form, the issue of when the disputes in two successive adjudications are sufficiently similar to deprive the second adjudicator of jurisdiction.

Mr Justice Waksman considered the leading authorities, in particular Brown v Complete Building Solutions Ltd [2016] EWCA Civ 1, [2016] B.L.R. 98 and Quietfield Ltd v Vascroft Contractors Ltd [2006] EWCA Civ 1737, [2007] B.L.R. 67 He also reviewed two first instance decisions Benfield Construction Ltd v Trudson (Hatton) Ltd [2008] EWHC 2333 (TCC), [2008] C.I.L.L. 2633 and Hitachi Zosen Inova AG v John Sisk & Son Ltd [2019] EWHC 495 (TCC).

He found that the dispute as to payment on account in the first adjudication was different in principle from the dispute as to the final quantification of damages in the second adjudication.  He found in any event that the important dispute as to the correct remedial scheme in the second adjudication was a critical new area of enquiry which had to be resolved.

Counsel

For the claimant: Robert Clay instructed by Anthony Collins LLP.
For the defendant: Sean Brannigan QC instructed by Birketts.

14 April 2021





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