REUTERS | Yves Herman

April 2010 digest: Tolent clauses, volcanos and Wembley (again)

“A volcano is just a mountain with hiccups.”

We are unsure where this quote originates, but it was probably of little comfort to the thousands of travellers affected by April’s biggest story, the Icelandic volcanic eruption, which dominated the news and even managed to push the general election off the front pages for a few days.

There was also a minor seismic event in the world of adjudication following Edwards-Stuart J’s decision in Yuanda v WW Gear. Not only did he decide that Tolent clauses conflict with a party’s right to refer a dispute to adjudication “at any time”, he also suggested that a joinder provision, allowing multi-party disputes, was operable and did not conflict with section 108 of the Construction Act 1996. Numerous articles, newsletters and blog posts have been written following this decision.

Elsewhere in the TCC, on 1 April, the pilot electronic filing scheme became permanent and Coulson J dealt with case management issues in the latest part of the Wembley stadium saga. We commented on the costs of litigating such large and complicated disputes. Coulson J also looked at breaches of natural justice and the possibility of severing an adjudicator’s decision.

Meanwhile, in a month that saw all UK government bodies and the public sector enter a state of purdah (in anticipation of the general election), the Bribery Bill received Royal Assent; we looked at provisional sums; reported on a new nuclear regulator; considered a challenge to the expansion of Heathrow airport; reviewed the Government’s response to Rita Donaghy’s report into deaths in the construction sector; reported on amendments to Parts F, J and L of the Building Regulations 2000; and disclosure in public procurement.

Finally, April saw PLC Construction publish a schedule of amendments to the JCT Intermediate Building Contract and a suite of materials on Scott Schedules.

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