Ang Cheng Guan Construction Pte Ltd v Corporate Residence Pte Ltd
 SGHC 09
This case arises from an application to set aside an Adjudication Review Determination. It is of interest because it addresses two issues for the first time; namely – whether an adjudication review is limited to only the issues raised by the respondent; and whether an adjudication review determination can be set aside if the adjudicator misdirected himself in a point of law.
In relation to the first issue, the Honourable Lee Seiu Kin J was of the view that there was nothing in the SOP Act which could operate to restrict a review adjudicator’s jurisdiction. To adopt a narrow view on the ambit of an review adjudicator's jurisdiction would be unfair to the claimant and run counter to the overarching policy of the SOP Act. It would allow respondents to cherry pick issues for review and would “tend to encourage respondents to apply for an adjudication review as there would be nothing to lose, but everything to gain”. As such, His Honour held that a review adjudicator has a broad jurisdiction to consider issues raised by both the respondent and the claimant.
Following from this and applying the well-established doctrine of “illegality” in judicial review, Lee Seiu Kin J decided to set aside the review adjudicator’s determination because the adjudicator had misdirected himself as to the law by deciding that he could only consider issues raised by the respondent. By taking this (wrong) position, the adjudicator had failed to consider relevant issues raised by the claimant which would have an effect on the outcome of the adjudication review.
The Court’s decision on the first issue is timely and will be welcomed by practitioners and adjudicators for clarifying the ambit of an adjudication review. However, the Court’s decision on the second issue, while correct, may possibly open up a pandora’s box of challenges to adjudication determinations under the guise of “illegality”.
As always, please contact me if you wish to have a further discussion about this case.
Tan Joo Seng
27 January 2017
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