Coulson J's final judgement in the TCC (in the case of Grove Developments Limited v S&T(UK) Limited [2018] EWHC 123 (TCC)) is certainly a landmark one which contractors and employers alike need to be aware of. Whilst the TCC settled a number of issues in dispute, the main takeaway is explained below.

Following the case of ISG v Seevic (and other cases), the law was clear; if an employer fails to issue a timely or valid payment (or payless) notice in response to an interim payment application, that sum is due and payable in full. As a consequence the employer could not rely on the true value of the referable works and had to pay the sums applied for in full regardless (and without any recourse until the next interim application or final account). Much to the dismay of many in the industry, this led to tactical payment applications and multiple opportunistic adjudication referrals.

However, Groves now provides good authority that an Employer can launch a separate adjudication to assess the true value of the interim application rather than waiting for the next application to redress the balance. The Court hasn’t yet completely resolved the issue, as the sting in the tail is that the employer will likely still have to pay the sum due in the meantime, but it's a step in the right direction.

Whilst this may appear to be the beginning of the end of "smash and grab" adjudications, great care should still be exercised by employers in responding to payment applications.