Construction Law: Squibb Group Ltd v Vertase FLI Ltd [2012] EWHC (TCC)

The Claimant had been engaged under a sub-contract to provide asbestos removal and demolition services to the Defendant. The Defendant was to pay the Claimant a monthly sum for work carried out. Although the sub-contract did not provide for delays, it incorporated the main contract ICE terms of contract. The Claimant started an adjudication where it was held that the ICE terms allowed the Claimant to claim an extension of time and associated losses. The Claimant sought to enforce the decision by way of summary judgment. The Defendant argued it was entitled to rely on a withholding notice served after the adjudicator’s decision. The court held that generally an unsuccessful party to an adjudication could not seek to avoid the result by relying on the right to set off any other claims (VHE Construction v RBSTB [2000] BLR 187). The possible exceptions to this, namely the contractual terms as to set-off, or the nature of the adjudicator’s decision (ie, as declaratory relief as opposed to deciding the claim) did not apply in this case.