As members may recall, a pilot adjudication scheme was launched last year for solicitors’ liability claims valued up to £100,000 in damages. The scheme was approved by the senior judiciary and the MoJ and the PNBA was named as the appointing body, with a panel of five adjudicators drawn from the PNBA.
The scheme was re-launched on 25th May 2016 in a revised form. It now has no financial limit on the value of the claim and has been extended to all non-medical professions. The PNBA has been closely involved in the revisions. While it has some similarities with the statutory scheme for construction disputes, the crucial difference is that this scheme is entirely consensual. Nevertheless, it is hoped on all sides that there will be significant take-up to use the scheme.
The scheme is a form of ADR and offers quick and inexpensive decisions on issues which prevent parties from resolving disputes – whether narrow, distinct issues in a claim or the whole thing. The parties can choose at the outset whether an adjudicator’s decision will be permanent or only temporarily binding. The scheme is being overseen by Mrs Justice Carr and Mr Justice Fraser and it will be reviewed once some cases have been determined. Members of the PNBA are encouraged to familiarise themselves with it and to consider advising clients as to its use in appropriate cases. The scheme rules together with Guidance Notes can be found here:
This is a Pilot at this stage and the PNBA will carry out a review of its operation in due course.