September 29, 2017

Arbitration - Squibb Group v Pole 2 Pole

Claimant refused extension of time to appeal an arbitral award where payment of arbitrator's fees was delayed

The claimant applied for an extension of time to appeal against an arbitration award under section 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996. The claimant had failed to apply for permission to appeal the award within the 28 day time limit provided for by section 70(3) of the Act. The award was only released to the parties after the 28 day time limit had expired, because the claimant had failed to pay the arbitrator's fees before then. This case is therefore similar to that of Rollitt v Ballard, although there it was the side which was not challenging the award which had refused to pay the arbitrator's fees. In that case the judge had found that there was no reasonable explanation for the delay and so the application to extend time was refused.

The same conclusion was reached in this case. The judge further found that "a very significant factor" in this case was the irremediable prejudice which the defendant would have suffered if the extension of time would have been granted. The defendant was a modest company with a turnover of £400,000, whereas the claimant's turnover was approximately £40 million. The award was for the "modest sum" of just under £100,000. As a result, it was held that any delay in enforcement of the award "would place considerable financial strain" on the defendant.