Much has been made of the Aspect Contracts Limited v Higgins Construction Plc Supreme Court judgment and its implications for limitation periods.
Writing for Building magazine, BLM partner, Robert Stevenson has examined the impact that the case has also had on the jurisdiction of adjudicators.
Robert said: “In the seminal House of Lords case on arbitration clauses Fiona Trust and Holding Corporation v Privalov (2007), Lord Hoffman swept away many previous dicta on their construction. Lord Hoffman’s conclusion was that arbitration clauses should be construed as giving a wide jurisdiction to arbitrators to have all claims arising from their contractual relationship dealt with by one tribunal, unless the clause in question made it clear that certain matters were intended to be excluded from the arbitrator’s jurisdiction.
“In Aspect v Higgins the original claim in the adjudication had been one of professional negligence, a claim that can be advanced as a contractual claim and as a claim in tort. In support of that proposition Aspects’ counsel cited in support the Fiona Trust case. Higgins’ counsel submitted that this would not have been a claim arising “under the contract” and that the approach in Fiona Trust could not apply to adjudication clauses introduced by statutory adjudication. But Lord Mance said he was “content” to proceed on that basis, with the reasoning that the Fiona Trust case did apply to adjudication clauses, and went on to say that “a co-terminous tort claim can fall within the language section 108(1) of the act.”
You can read Robert’s article in full on the Building website, a subscription is required.