28 February 2019
The Application of the “Slip Rule” to Adjudication Awards made under Construction Contracts in the Isle of Man.
Section 8(1) of the Island’s Construction Contracts Act 2004 contains a right for a “party to a construction contract….to refer a dispute arising under the contract for adjudication under a procedure complying with this section”. The procedure referred to is contained in the Construction Contracts Scheme Regulations 2004. Section 8 follows the original wording of section 108 of the UK’s Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act. That section was extended by section 140 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009, to provide a useful slip rule to enable adjudicators to “remove a clerical or typographical error arising by accident or omission.” However, no corresponding change has been made in the Manx legislation.
In the recent UK case of UK Axis M&E UK Ltd and Axis Plumbing New South Wales Pty Ltd v Multiplex Construction Europe Ltd  a party sought to challenge the right of an adjudicator to correct an error he had made in the calculation of his award. The court held that the adjudicator was at liberty to correct his error but hinted that he might not have been free to do so had the change amounted to “second thoughts” as to the methodology of the award itself.
The Axis case provides a useful example of the application of the slip rule in relation to an adjudicator’s right to correct adjudication awards in connection with construction contracts. It is hoped that a similar approach would be taken in the Isle Man. However, the discrepancy which exists between UK and Manx legislation on this issue may make it difficult to do so.
Author: Adam Kelly