Posts by Michelle Rousell

  • It was all about construction, construction law that is

    Last week, I attended Sweet and Maxwell’s tenth annual construction law conference. As the marketing material says, it was a full day that aimed to: “…give construction lawyers a better understanding of how to overcome real-world challenges by providing context and insight from in-house speakers working on current major projects.”

  • Bonfire of the quangos

    Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, has announced that 192 public bodies (quangos) will be abolished (including the Design Council), with others being restructured (for example the Home and Communities Agency (HCA) and the Environment Agency (EA)), and some still on hold pending further review (see below).

  • E-disclosure – are you ready for it?

    Disclosure, discovery, whichever term you choose, the process is synonymous with time and expense in litigation. In subject areas that are document-heavy, like construction and engineering disputes, or large commercial cases, the cost of going through the disclosure process is often a significant part of a party’s overall costs.

  • Yuanda judgment to be appealed?

    Adjudication practitioners sat up and took notice of one judgment earlier this year: Edwards-Stuart J’s decision in Yuanda (UK) v WW Gear. (He held that a Tolent clause in the parties’ contract fettered a party’s right to refer a dispute to adjudication “at any time“, which conflicted with section 108 of the Construction Act 1996.)

  • Construction contracts and construction operations: confusion over exclusion?

    Cases relating to the definition of “construction operations” under section 105 of the Construction Act 1996 often concern adjudication, and not payment. However, whether a contract is a “construction contract” for the purposes of the Construction Act 1996 affects the parties’ payment obligations as well as their right to adjudicate.

  • Shhh… it’s a secret!

    At the Worshipful Company of Arbitrators’ Annual Master’s Lecture yesterday, Sir Vivian Ramsey, the judge in charge of the TCC, discussed the concept of confidentiality in dispute resolution. A copy of the speech should appear on the WCA’s website (as previous lectures have) but, in the meantime, here is a taster.

  • TCC costs management pilot

    Earlier this summer, we reported on the pilot of Jackson LJ’s “cost management” concept in Birmingham’s Technology and Construction Court (TCC) and Mercantile Court. The pilot is part of the major review of the civil litigation costs system being undertaken by Jackson LJ.

  • ODA reports early Olympic successes

    In July 2008, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) committed itself to achieving ten key milestones by 27 July 2009. (The Olympics will start on 27 July 2012.) According to its recent publication, the ODA has achieved all ten milestones ahead of schedule.

  • Construction is an expensive business

    The song says “When the going gets tough, the tough get going“. In the construction industry, this means “When the going gets tough, the tough get suing”. There is no doubt that things are tough at present.

  • Words of advice on construction claims

    Claims are commonplace and all those involved in construction and engineering projects will be familiar with the disputes that can arise on a project.

  • In force: the new Practice Direction on pre action conduct

    The new Practice Direction on pre-action conduct comes into force today, 6 April 2009. Construction and engineering disputes will be affected by the new Practice Direction, which will replace the current Practice Direction on Pre-action Protocols.

  • Mr Oliphant, the Toblerone and the caravan

    In the New Year, the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in an obscure dispute between two homeowners and their structural engineer (Penny and Anr v Digital Structures Ltd).  While the judgment creates no new law, it highlights some practical issues relating to structural surveys.

  • LDEDC Bill: outlandish proposals at the Lords’ committee stage

    The LDEDC Bill 2008 is part way through the four days allocated for debate in Grand Committee. By Thursday morning (29 January) we should be one step closer to knowing what amendments may be made to the Construction Act 1996. Some of the changes currently suggested are entirely inappropriate for the industry.

  • Can Facebook help find your errant plumber?

    Sole traders and self-employed individuals are involved in most construction projects. They also have a crucial role in maintaining existing buildings. However, when a dispute arises, these individuals can prove elusive. A recent decision in the Australian courts may have the answer: Facebook.

  • Tips on construction security

    I recently attended a seminar held by Lewis Silkin LLP on construction security, focusing on bonds and parent company guarantees. Key points arising from the seminar include: