REUTERS | Sharif Karim

December 2009 digest: snow, COP 15 and terrorism insurance

In the bleak midwinter:

“In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;

Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow, In the bleak midwinter, long ago.”

Last month it was exceptional rainfall, this month it was snow and freezing temperatures. Given the weather the country is experiencing, it is no surprise that climate change was on the agenda again, this time with a gathering of world leaders at the Copenhagen summit. Closer to home, we had news of smart meters; zero carbon non-domestic buildings; and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) published its updated sustainability plan.

December 2009 also saw three significant pieces of legislation coming into force: the Lisbon Treaty, Rome I and the Remedies Directive. The Bribery Bill had its second reading and Alastair Darling delivered his Pre-Budget Report.

Adjudication practice in the TCC has continued to develop and Akenhead J’s words in Coventry v Lancsville are a must-read for anyone enforcing an adjudicator’s decision. The TCC has also confirmed that you cannot enforce a decision against a guarantor who was not a party to the adjudication and that a net balance (under the Insolvency Rules) cannot be adjudicated.

The courts have also been busy, considering suspension; final accounts; the independence of expertsrenunciation of a contract; and a battle of the forms.

On the health and safety front, the HSE announced details of its tower crane register and Total pleaded guilty to more charges arising from the Buncefield fire.

Elsewhere in the construction industry, a review of productivity in the engineering sector has been published; bid riggingblacklisting and recruitment cartels have been in the news; and the Chief Construction Adviser started his new new job, with a meeting to discuss how the construction industry can deliver a low carbon future.

And finally, the JCT chose the week before Christmas to publish a minor correction to its DB05 contract and, more importantly, to update its terrorism insurance clauses. Merry Christmas!

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