Newby has announced his first five adjudications on code disputes just under eight months since the pubs code came into force in July 2016.
He said: “This represents an early milestone for arbitration under the pubs code. The bulk of the first referrals for arbitrations were received in October and November, and cases have been moving through the arbitration process.”
The adjudicator added that he was confident that now decisions were starting to be made, the backlog of arbitration requests would be dealt with more quickly. There was a backlog of 121 requests in January.
Newby said: “As part of arbitration, parties are encouraged to continue to negotiate and I am pleased to see this process is bringing pub-owning businesses and tenants to the negotiating table. In many cases, this is leading to the narrowing of issues, a stronger negotiation position for tenants and swifter settlement.
“It shows that arbitration is fulfilling its purpose: tenants and pub-owning businesses are talking and coming to agreement between themselves.”
No specific details
There are no specific details about who has received the first judgments from Newby or which areas of the pubs code legislation were covered in the disputes.
The PCA did add that he hoped to be able to reveal more information as more cases were settled.
“Arbitration awards remain private unless all parties to the dispute agree to release details. As more cases reach award stage, I will see where we can identify general principles and make information and advice available to tenants and pub-owning businesses to guide their future relationships,” he said.
Reacting to the news, the chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), Brigid Simmonds, said: "It is good to see the first cases coming through. While the details of cases are confidential, it is important for everyone to understand the general principles being established by the cases, so that many similar issues can be resolved at the earliest stage. We continue to work with the Adjudicator and our members to ensure there is clarity for everyone.”