• Bell Lax pioneered no win no fee arrangements for commercial disputes. If you lose, we lose, therefore we always fight for you.

  • Bell Lax pioneered no win no fee arrangements for commercial disputes. If you lose, we lose, therefore we always fight for you.




Arbitration in Construction Disputes

Arbitration is a process whereby the parties agree to be bound by the decision of an independent third party in relation to the dispute.

Whilst not as popular in recent times due to an increase in adjudications, some contracts require parties to refer disputes to arbitration rather than to be dealt with via the courts. Arbitration is especially favoured in complex disputes spanning multiple jurisdictions. It is important to check whether the contract requires disputes to be dealt with by arbitration to avoid unnecessary wasted costs issuing ineffective court proceedings.

Unlike court proceedings, arbitrations are private. This means that there is no public record of any decision that the arbitrator reaches. This can enable parties to protect their commercial reputations. The proceedings are usually less formal than Court proceedings and the parties are able to choose who they wish to be the Arbitrator. This means that the Arbitrator can have particular specialised knowledge to assist in understanding the dispute, for example they could be a structural engineer or a quantity surveyor.

However, arbitration is usually of a similar time frame and cost to formal court proceedings with limited rights of appeal.

Bell Lax have acted in a number of construction arbitrations including:

  • A dispute between a main contractor, employer and architect in relation to water ingress into a secured retirement complex under a JCT design and build contract. Bell Lax represented the main contractor who was sued by the employer for the defective design and workmanship and also brought a contribution claim against the firm of architects who designed the scheme.Bell Lax negotiated a settlement of the initial claim with the employer and subsequently recovered the majority of this sum from the firm of architects.
  • A final account arbitration with a subcontractor in relation to mechanical and electrical services provided. Bell Lax represented the main contractor throughout the arbitration.
  • Bell Lax also subsequently successfully resisted an appeal by the subcontractor against the Arbitrator’s award in the High Court.

For expert legal advice and assistance with construction arbitrations please contact Natalie Bradshaw, Associate Director on 0121 355 0011.