New High Court Practice Direction – applications pursuant to Construction Contracts Act 2014
The introduction of the Construction Contracts Act 2013 brought about welcome reform for the construction industry. The act introduced a new process of dispute resolution in respect of payment claims that arise in construction contracts, in the form of adjudication. The effect of such a change was to protect parties to construction contracts by facilitating binding payment claims to preserve the relevant project cash-flow.
Although the act did result in a dramatic change, the waiting period at enforcement stage of adjudication decisions has been prolonged, flying in the face of what the act was intended to prevent. Following strong recommendations from the ADR Committee and communication from the President of the Law Society, the President of the High Court has recently issued a new practice direction (HC 105) for adjudication enforcement applications, which came into effect on 26 April 2021.
The President of the High Court, “in an effort to ensure expedition and consistency”, has appointed Mr Justice Simons as the presiding judge for adjudication matters, and the practice direction will allow applications, pursuant to section 6(11) of the act, for leave of the court to enforce or enter judgment to be made returnable before Mr Justice Simons at 10.30am on the first available Wednesday. The judge will give such directions as are deemed necessary in ensuring that an application will be heard and determined with all due expedition.
Papers will need to be filed in hard copy in the list room on the previous Friday, along with an electronic copy, which is to be emailed to the appropriate registrar.
This is an important change to the High Court practice directions, and the impact of it cannot be overstated for the construction industry. It will have the effect of significantly improving the system of enforcing decisions of this nature in Ireland and will make the act more effective.