Russell Boyce
REUTERS | Russell Boyce

April 2012 digest: showers, fires and IT issues

From Walt Disney’s Bambi:

“Drip drip drop, little April shower, what can compare with your beautiful sound?

Beautiful sound, beautiful sound, drip, drop, drip, drop.”

The spring blossom is falling like snow because of the showers and winds that many of us are experiencing at the moment. It may be good news for gardeners and farmers, even if it not enough to bring an end to the drought.

For those of us who follow activity in the TCC, there seemed to be a drought in published judgments during April. However, by the end of the month, the court had severed an adjudicator’s decision, considered causation in fire claims and decided a meeting under the construction pre-action protocol wasn’t mandatory. You can read more about fire claims, preparing for an adjudication and some of the issues surrounding disclosure in adjudication.

We told you about Jackson LJ’s plans for IT in litigation and so the announcement that the courts’ e-working system was being shut down may have surprised some. However, it was followed by news that you can make e-mail applications in the TCC in the Central London County Court for a trial period. We also reminded you about the TCC’s costs management pilot.

Earlier in the month, the Court of Appeal launched a pilot mediation scheme for small claims and CEDR launched a mediation audit. Mediation was also in the news when the Court of Appeal held a successful party’s refusal to mediate did not justify a costs penalty. Dispute boards may still be uncommon in the UK, but April saw the launch of the RICS’ dispute board accreditation scheme. We also had a discussion on defining a “dispute” referred to a dispute board.

Other issues before the courts included a breach of a contractual duty of good faith and best and reasonable endeavours clauses. The Supreme Court also gave its ruling in the asbestos liability insurance trigger litigation.

Elsewhere, house building has been making the news, with stories about Part L of the Building Regulations, the launch of a self-build portal, the naming of the Green Deal providers and changes in the EPC regulations. We also told you about the different contracts that can be used on a home.

If you are interested in construction contracts, you may like to complete the latest construction contract survey, or check out the latest amendments to the MF1 and MF2 forms. You may also be interested in some drafting issues on NEC3 and ICC contracts.

For a mouthful of accronyms this month, the HSE has evaluated the CDM 2007 (and is consulting on tower crane regulations), the DECC has published proposals to change CRC, UKCG published a statement on sustainable procurement, the RICS has a new black book and NRM and E.ON and RWE abandoned their UK nuclear plans.

Finally, the amendments to the Construction Act 1996 celebrated a half-year birthday. Let’s hope you are all up to speed!

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