"A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse"
Shakespeare - Richard III
I blogged in July about low cost adjudication services and how three bodies, TeCSA, the RICS and the CIC were launching or were considering launching low cost adjudication services in an attempt to restore adjudication to its roots.
Following a successful pilot, the first scheme out of the starting gate, the TeCSA Low Value Adjudication Service, has been made permanent as from 1 January 2020. It has stolen a march on the other 2, whose schemes have not yet been introduced. So if you have a low value dispute, and you want to cap your adjudicator’s fees, the TeCSA service is the place to go. You have the added benefit of TeCSA’s pedigree as a reputable, long established organisation with in depth legal expertise.
The service covers claims for liquidated sums up to £100,000 (excluding VAT and interest), and a sliding scale of fees is applied depending on the claim value. The fee excludes VAT but includes expenses.
Up to £10,000
£10,001 to £25,000
£25,001 to £50,000
£50,001 to £75,000
£75,001 to £100,000
The nomination fee has been reduced from £350 to £250.
This is therefore only suitable for relatively straightforward claims where the sum claimed has been quantified, and cannot be used for damages or loss and expense to be assessed.
The scheme will not apply to a zero value claim, for example where a declaration is sought.
So what has happened to the other low cost adjudication schemes I discussed in my last blog?
The CIC is in the paddock and has issued a second draft of its Low Value Disputes Model Adjudication Procedure for consultation. It takes a slightly different approach to the fees, with fixed rates up to £50,000 but the suggestion being that on values over £50,000 the fees should be negotiable and agreed by the parties. This, I believe, would possibly present the responding party with an opportunity to make mischief and nobble the process.
The proposed RICS scheme has not yet got to the paddock, let alone the starting gates, and appears to be still in the stable munching on hay. I think this is a shame because the RICS is an industry leader in the provision of dispute resolution services, widely trusted, and the demand for low cost services clearly exists. It would be beneficial to have different services, with different strengths and expertise, available to deal with the huge range of issues which are disputed in the construction industry.