In the well-known Court of Appeal case of S&T(UK) Ltd -v- Grove [2018] EWCA Civ 2448 (‘Grove’), Sir Rupert Jackson concluded that following a ‘smash and grab adjudication’,
it was permissible for a paying party to commence a further adjudication to determine the ‘true value’ of the works. However, the case also established a hierarchy of rights whereby the obligation to pay the notified sum under s.111 of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (as amended) (Construction Act) took precedence over the paying party’s entitlement to adjudicate under s.108 of the Act.

In several cases that followed Grove in recent years, it is now widely known and accepted that where a paying party commences a ‘true value’ adjudication prior to payment of a notified sum, the adjudicator is unlikely to have jurisdiction. However, none of those cases required the court to consider whether the principles established by Grove were intended to be confined solely to the actual value of the works, or whether a broader interpretation ought to be applied to, for example, claims for damages brought by the employer.

In the recent case of Lidl Great Britain Limited -v- Closed Circuit Cooling Limited t/a 3CL [2023] EWHC 3051 (TCC), the Technology & Construction Court (‘TCC’) have provided some clarification and guidance to parties on this issue. Chris Keating and Matthew Cookson of Hill Dickinson and acted for 3CL. Some key aspects of the judgment are Grove and true value Article.