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A Silver Bullet as well as a Silver Jubilee? How Jurisprudence Relating to the UK’s HGCRA Can Help Save Irish Construction Adjudication from Judicial Review

Paper number

Gavin Wilson

May 2022

The commended entry in the Hudson Prize 2021.

The paper considers the use of construction adjudication in Ireland, outlining key provisions of the Construction Contracts Act 2013 and the Constitution of Ireland. It examines the facts in the case of O’Donovan v Bunni and suggests that the Irish court could have given more consideration to guidance from UK jurisprudence when deciding whether to lift the stay on adjudication proceedings. The author further proposes that there are other areas where Irish courts can and should look to UK case law, benefiting from the UK’s twenty-five years of experience of dealing with construction adjudication. The author submits that with UK jurisprudence, practitioners and judges have what is effectively a ‘silver bullet’ against the threat of judicial review. It is submitted that with the adoption of this approach, it will become more difficult for responding parties to use judicial review as a weapon against the adjudication process, which will encourage the wider use of construction adjudication in Ireland.

Introduction – 1. The Construction Contracts Act 2013 – a. Background – b. The Act – c. Ireland’s constitutional position – d. Construction adjudication statistics – 2. O’Donovan – a. Facts – b. Guidance from UK case law – i. The meaning of ‘at any time’ – ii. Challenging adjudicator jurisdiction – iii. Injunctions – 3. Further areas of application for UK jurisprudence – i. The meaning of ‘construction contracts’ – ii. The meaning of the phrase ‘arising under the construction contract’ – iii. Equivalent timescales – Conclusion

The author: Gavin Wilson is a Project Engineer at Belfast Harbour.

Text: 12 pages