Lord Howie Adjudication: This article is all about Lord Howie of Troon, specifically his involvement in the establishment of Adjudication in the UK construction Industry. We are interested in Lord Howie because he is mentioned quite a lot when talking about the origins of construction adjudication and also its intent when being set-up.
We support legal representation in more complex cases, but we want to encourage especially smaller companies to feel more confident fighting for their contractual rights.
Lord Howie of Troon was a member of the British Labour party, a member of Parliament and a member of the house of Lords.
Sadly, he passed away in May 2018.
His full name was William Howie but was know as Will Howie.
Originally a civil engineer by trade, he was elected to the House of Commons in 1963 in the old Luton seat in a by-election and again in the 1964 election. He again held his seat in the 1966 election but lost the seat to the Tories in 1970. That is not a bad record considering he took the seat from a Conservative politician in what seen as a safe seat for the Tory party.
In 1978 he was made a life peer as Baron Howie of Troon, of Troon in the District of Kyle and Carrick.
In 1994 when the Latham Report ‘Constructing the team’ was issued, one of the key recommendations that Adjudication should become the main form of dispute resolution in the construction industry.
Lord Howie was tasked with introducing an adjudication scheme into the construction industry as recommended in the Latham report. Lord Howie was an experienced civil engineer and champion of the promotion of civil engineers so he was a good pick.
Adjudication was already an established dispute resolution process but it needed detailed inquiry as to how this process could work best in the construction industry.
In pursuit of that goal, Lord Howie contacted The Technology and Construction Solicitors’ Association (TECSA) to discuss how best this would be done.
He met Lawyer Robert Fenwick Elliott who was representing TECSA.
In Elliott’s own account of the phrase he said that he met Lord Howie of Troon in the tea room at the house of Lords in early 1996.
Elliott advised him not to make the Adjudicators decision binding as it would lead to endless challenges in the courts defeating the whole intent of adjudication in construction.
In his opinion by making the adjudicators decision enforceable in the short-term it means that say a cash strapped subcontractor can get paid and fix their cash-flow. But if the losing party was not happy with the decision they could still go to the courts and challenge the decision but in the mean time the subcontractor had still been paid.
Elliot predicted that most losing parties would not take up their right to challenge the Adjudicators decision. And he was right.
Lord Howie was key in the introduction of Adjudication into the construction industry as a low cost, quick and easy to understand form of dispute process.
It is interesting to note that he was a civil engineer and therefore in a good position to be able to create useable legislation for the construction industry.
There is not a lot of information about Lord Howie apart from brief mentions with his involved in the House of Commons and Adjudication.
But the construction industry in particular should be grateful for his work in Adjudication.