NEC ECC: Is there a limit on when a Contractor can go to adjudication?

Can a Contractor go to adjudication after the Defects Certificate/final account has been issued?

The ‘Construction Act’ provides that a dispute may be referred ‘at any time’ (s108 (2) (a), so the answer is ‘yes’.

So is there no limit as to when adjudication can be applied - 5/10 years after project has finished???

There are in fact numerous limitations on when an adjudication can be started. The two most relevant here are the limitation act (6 years for a contract or 12 years for a deed) and post final account where there is a conclusivity provision.

The Construction Act only allows for a “dispute or difference” to be referred to adjudication. If the contract contains a provision making something, usually the final account, conclusive, once it has become conclusive you cannot have a dispute and therefore cannot go to adjudication.

This is generally correct but there are circumstances where “at any time” doesn’t quite mean that. See my answer below regarding the Limitation Act and conclusive statements.