Can a prior AD still be enforced if it had effectively been superseded by a subsequent AD which took into account the prior AD? This was the question raised before the SGHC in United Integrated Services Pte Ltd v Civil Tech Pte Ltd and another [2019] SGHC 32.

On 23 October 2018, the respondent subcontractor obtained an AD in its favour ("AD1"), by which the applicant main contractor was to pay the respondent "$1,369,987.02 plus interests and costs". The respondent was subsequently granted leave to enforce AD1. However, shortly thereafter, before the respondent could successfully enforce AD1, a second AD ("AD2") determined that no amount was payable by the applicant to the respondent as the adjudicated amount was "a negative sum of $1,176,050.67". In arriving at his determination, the adjudicator had not only adopted the valuation in AD1, but also considered the claims for work done, liquidated damages and back-charges which were not before the adjudicator in AD1.

In granting the applicant a stay of enforcement of AD1, the Court held that "each adjudicator would have considered the decision of the prior adjudicator, and hence the final AD would be the cumulative result of all prior ADs". Furthermore, a situation where the subcontractor could enforce each AD independently at its choosing is likely unintended by the drafters of SOPA.

This case thus highlights the importance of enforcing an AD before making another adjudication application, especially where the payment response contains back-charges that could potentially be adjudicated in favour of the respondent. As the Court rightly articulated, "if the prior AD had been successfully enforced, there would simply be no enforcement of such prior AD to be stayed".

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