Aspect Contracts (Asbestos) Ltd v Higgins Construction plc

In the case of Aspect Contracts (Asbestos) Ltd v Higgins Construction plc [2015] UKSC 38, the Supreme Court held that the limitation period for a claim arising out of an adjudication decision runs from the date of conduct in complying with the decision.

In this particular case, compliance was the date of payment of monies to the other party. However, in the event that an adjudicator actually dismisses a claim then it can still be pursued; any action must be brought by a party within the limitation period arising under the underlying cause of action.

In terms of practical implications, the case raises the possibility that a party may commence legal proceedings relating to an adjudicator’s decision after the usual limitation period for a claim in contract or tort has expired.

One way of avoiding this risk is to make it clear that an adjudicator’s decision becomes finally binding on the parties when a typical contractual limitation period of six or twelve years from practical completion comes to an end.