An interplay between time, contracts and adjudications.

Innocentia Anele Buda

Supervised by Youlander Jele Chaz


Time is a fundamental concept that permeates every aspect of our lives, including the realm of contracts and adjudications. In this expository essay, we will explore the significance of time in these contexts, delving into its essence and the implications it holds. By examining the interplay between time, contracts, and adjudications, we can gain a deeper understanding of the complexities involved and the importance of timely actions.

Contracts and adjudications

In an unreported case between Pro Serve consulting V RMV Engineering (appealed ain the Pretoria High Court), an adjudicator had rendered his decision against his 28 days mandated period. The court ruled in favour of the appellant who argued that “ The adjudicator missed the deadline for the rendering of the decision, accepted that his mandate had lapsed and tendered repayment of the adjudication fees he had received”.

Time, as a concept, is both elusive and omnipresent. It governs our daily routines, shapes our experiences, and influences our decision-making processes. In the realm of contracts and adjudications, time assumes a critical role, acting as a catalyst for action and a determinant of outcomes.

Contracts, in their nature, are time-bound agreements between parties and may contain time period clauses like ‘The period of receiving information’ as was in the contract between Pro Serve and RMV consulting and is in other contracts. They establish obligations, rights, and responsibilities that are to be fulfilled within a specified timeframe to create a sense of urgency and enforce accountability. Parties involved must adhere to the agreed-upon timelines, ensuring that contractual obligations are met promptly.

An example or instance where time plays a crucial role would be during the negotiation phase of a contract between parties. At this time, the parties must agree on the duration of the contract, including start and end dates. This temporal framework provides a foundation for the subsequent actions and obligations outlined within the contract. Failure to meet deadlines can result in breaches, leading to legal consequences and potential disputes.

Adjudications, the legal process of deciding cases, are intrinsically linked to time. The timely resolution of conflicts is essential to maintain the integrity of the legal system and ensure justice is served. Delays in adjudications can undermine the effectiveness of the process.

Time management is crucial in adjudications, as it impacts the efficiency and fairness of the proceedings. Parties involved must adhere to strict timelines for filing claims, presenting evidence, and making arguments. Failure to meet these deadlines can result in the dismissal of claims or the exclusion of evidence, potentially affecting the outcome of the case.

Adjudicators, as neutral third parties, play a pivotal role in managing time within the adjudication process. They are responsible for setting deadlines, scheduling hearings, and ensuring the timely progression of the case. Adjudicators must possess excellent time management skills to maintain the integrity of the process and prevent unnecessary delays. In Pro Serve consulting V RMV engineering, the adjudicator upon realisation that his stipulated time to make a decision had lapsed, informed both parties and offered them their deposit back. Time is costly.


Time, contracts, and adjudications are intricately intertwined, with each influencing the other in significant ways. The essence of time lies in its ability to create a sense of urgency, enforce accountability, and shape outcomes. In contracts, time frames establish obligations and deadlines, while in adjudications, time management ensures the efficient resolution of disputes. By recognizing the importance of time in these contexts, we can navigate the complexities of contracts and adjudications more effectively, ultimately fostering a fair and just legal system.


RMV Engineering Projects (Pty) Ltd v Pro-Serve Consulting (Pty) Ltd [2021] ZAGPPHC 791.

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