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leaving the shops removed from the face of the development. Dean were far from pleased, however, when onappeal, the Secretary of State found that it would, nevertheless be possible to tolerate No.283 remaining,particularly if it was likely to be acquired and demolished in the foreseeable future. The Secretary of Stateagreed that the potential ransom value disappeared with the grant of planning permission, but went on to grantpermission all the same.In MR Dean & Sons v First Secretary of State (Judgment 11.1.2007) Dean challenged this decision. Theyargued that ransom value does not only arise where land is required for access, but also to make adevelopment more acceptable in planning terms. They were therefore entitled to expect the ransom to bepaid. The Secretary of State had deliberately acted to make the ransom disappear and improve the likelihoodof acquiring No.283. This, they argued, was improper purpose and a breach of their human rights. Whilst the judge accepted that ransom value was relevant for valuation purposes, he refused to accept that planningdecisions must maximise or preserve ransom value. Financial considerations could be relevant to planningdecisions only if they related to the character and use of the land. Any loss of value did not affect Dean’speaceful enjoyment of No.283. The decision to tolerate No.283 was therefore a planning judgment with whichthe court could not interfere.So one answer to the question, ‘why wouldn’t Noddy pay the ransom?’ could be, ‘because Big Ears wasn’tworth it after all’.
Taking Adjudication to the Wire 17.5.07
Love it or loathe it, adjudication is nothing if not a seat-of-the-pants experience. The combination of thetruncated time frame, the procedural free for all and the compulsive tendency to put as much material aspossible before the adjudicator, favours the ‘have a go’ claimant. A claimant who believes, rightly or wrongly,that they have lost out, can bamboozle the defendant and adjudicator alike with a dazzling array of documents,statements, schedules and whizzy charts all leading inextricably to a big, juicy bottom line. There is barelytime to assimilate all this and no time at all to test it. Calls for clarification can descend into unseemlysquabbles about whether the witnesses are simply to be questioned or, heaven forbid, cross examined. Anunsuccessful claimant looses nothing more than their own costs of the exercise. If they are successful, and,more often than not they are, because it takes a brave adjudicator to find that the claimant’s vast smoky edificehas been generated without even a glimmer of a fire, they have an adjudicator’s decision in their favour. Thedefendants may not like the decision; they may not agree with it; they may not want to pay up, but these daysan adjudicator’s decision is as good as cash in the bank and you ignore it at your peril.This point was reinforced again by the Technology & Construction Court in Gray & Sons Builders (Bedford) Ltdv Essential Box Company Ltd (Judgment 11.10.06). RIBA adjudicator, Ian Salisbury, decided that thedefendants had wrongly repudiated their contract with the claimant builders who were entitled to compensationof £115,500. The defendants did not pay. Instead they took what the judge described as ‘a variety oftechnical points’ and gave the appearance that they resisted the enforcement proceedings. At the eleventhhour, on the day before the hearing, the defendants conceded that they did not oppose enforcement butobjected to paying the claimant’s legal costs.The judge reiterated that the proper course for an unsuccessful party was to pay the amount ordered by theadjudicator and argue about it in legal or arbitration proceedings later. He pointed out that it wasunreasonable for the defendants, who ought to have known that they had no defence, to give the impressionthat the enforcement was resisted. Defendants who avoid paying up in accordance with an adjudicator’s