All around the world, since the introduction of adjudication in the UK in 1996, there has been a steady transference of cases from litigation, arbitration and mediation to adjudication. The following graph shows the rise of adjudication and the decline of construction litigation in the UK in the first few years after the UK legislation. Since then, there has been a slight drop off in the numbers of adjudications, but it seems that there still now several construction disputes resolved by adjudication for every one resolved by litigation. This was a primary objection of the Latham Report.
Recent figures from Australia show a not-dissimilar pattern. Taking the numbers of adjudications per year, and adjusting them to reflect the differing populations in each state, the figures are as follows:
The figures from the UK have also been added by way of comparison.
Queensland shows by far the greatest take up, perhaps reflecting the energy and enthusiasm of their Adjudication Registrar Michael Chesterman and the unusually high level of resource available to him.
The slowest take-up is Victoria, reflecting the length of time it took them to amend out the “security of payment” option from their original legislation, and the daunting complexity of their amending Act.
It should be noted that the NSW figures need to be seen in the context of their 2002 amendment. Prior to that time, their 1999 legislation allowed a loser to provide security instead of writing a cheque, and that obviously made it of much more limited value to an applicant. If their figures were treated as starting in 2002, their take-up rate would look much more rapid. Victoria did not amend its legislation until 2007.
The East Coast model jurisdiction are shown by the dotted lines, and the evaluative ones (including the UK) by the solid lines: there is no clear demarcation between the two.