Construction Law: Working Environments Ltd v Greencoat Construction Ltd [2012] EWHC 1039 (TCC)

This case considered whether there could be a ‘dispute’ for the purposes of adjudication over an interim valuation of work before payment of that valuation became due. The Defendant contractor issued a payment certificate and a notice of withholding payment to its sub-contractor, the Claimant. Payment was due by 14 January 2012, but on 8 December 2011, the Claimant commenced an adjudication disputing the payment certificate. The Defendant contended no material dispute had crystallised when the adjudication was started and therefore the adjudicator lacked jurisdiction. The Judge held that a dispute about an interim valuation, before the date of payment, was referable to adjudication. However, in respect of two items in the decision, the adjudicator lacked jurisdiction, as they had not arisen until some 22 days into the adjudication process. The Judge also confirmed the dicta in Cantillon v Urvasco that adjudication decisions were severable.