The Adjudicator is the “back stop” to resolve disputes between Arqiva and its customer base (actual or potential). A dispute is said to occur when normal commercial negotiations have failed to reach an agreement. The Adjudicator cannot be used as part of the negotiating process or as a mediator.

The Adjudication Rules are contained in Appendix 2 of the Undertakings; this section summarises the rules and sets out the process to be followed to register a dispute for Adjudication.

Adjudication Scheme

If commercial negotiations fail, then the issue can be placed before the Adjudicator for adjudication. In doing so the following needs to be provided:

  • Clear evidence that commercial negotiations have failed. Without this the Adjudicator may decline to look at the issue.
  • The complainant should present his case succinctly and provide the supporting evidence (The Notice of Adjudication).

On receipt of the Notice, the Adjudicator will inform the complainant within three working days whether or not he will adjudicate the issue. If the dispute is to be adjudicated, the Adjudicator will seek such further information from the complainant, Arqiva and independent experts as he may need in order to reach a decision.

The Adjudicator will within 7 working days publish a statement determining the Scope of the Dispute. Within 10 working days of the publication of the statement, the other party to the dispute will provide a Notice of Reply containing their response to the Notice of Adjudication.

Unless agreed otherwise, the Adjudicator shall usually give his decision within 20 working days from the Notice of Reply. The Adjudicator may call for further information and make take information from other sources.

The Adjudicator will act as an expert, not a mediator, arbitrator or conciliator, and will determine the dispute accordingly. The decision of the Adjudicator is final and binding on both parties. It should be noted that all parties are bound to confidentiality during this process. Subject to the provisions of paras 26-34 of the adjudication scheme, the Adjudicator may publish previously confidential information

Adjudication Process

Step 1: The Notice of Adjudication

The referring party submits a Notice of Adjudication to the Adjudicator. This should contain:

  • Nature and description of the dispute
  • Details of the contract under which it arises
  • Copies of relevant documents
  • Detail of where and when the dispute has arisen
  • Nature of redress sought
  • The steps which have been taken to engage in normal commercial negotiations

It is important that the Notice is as complete and clear as possible.

Step 2: Confirmation

The Adjudicator will confirm within 3 working days if he intends to adjudicate the dispute. He may decline if he considers that the Notice of Adjudication is incomplete or considers that insufficient effort has been made by commercial means to resolve the issue. The Adjudicator may also decline if the dispute is to be handled by Ofcom under Section 186 of the Communications Act 2003.

Step 3: Publication of Statement

Within 7 working days from the receipt of the Notice the Adjudicator will publish a statement determining the scope of the dispute. The statement will take into account representations for confidentiality.

Step 4: Notice of Reply

Within 10 working days of the publication of the Statement (Step 3), the responding party will give a notice of reply. This will contain their response and any supporting documents.

Step 5: Adjudication

The Adjudicator will consider the submissions and may request further information from the parties to the dispute or take external advice. The Adjudicator will normally reach his decision within 20 working days of the Notice of Reply.

Step 6: Notification

Once a decision is reached, this will be notified by the Adjudicator in writing including his reasons for reaching his decision. The decision is final and binding.

The Adjudication may resolve the matter finally or may provide the basis for renewed commercial negotiations.

A summary of the dispute and the adjudication will be published.

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