REUTERS | Bobby Yip

December 2013 digest: Merry Christmas everybody

As it is almost upon us, what better way to start December’s digest than with a little bit of Slade’s Merry Christmas everybody:

“So here it is merry Christmas
Everybody’s having fun
Look to the future now
It’s only just begun”

December is often a month of reflection, not only for the events in December, but for the rest of the year too. While we have published a list of key construction and engineering cases from the last six months, the dispute team has set out its top ten tips of the year and the arbitration team has selected its highlights for international arbitration. If you have a few spare minutes, why not try our Christmas wordsearch and see whether you’ve been keeping up-to-date.

The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement was one of the main events of December, and we told you about the construction, property, environmental and tax implications. That statement was accompanied by the National Infrastructure Plan 2013 (NIP 2013), a discussion document on changes to the planning regime for nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs), a consultation on a draft national networks national policy statement and proposals to reform the Green Deal. The government also published a health and safety progress report and gave us news about how it will make public procurement more accessible to SMEs.

The Michaelmas court term is drawing to a close and we have seen a number of interesting issues before the courts, including whether:

  • Clauses in a share purchase agreement were unenforceable penalties (they were), which Melissa Moriarty discussed.
  • There is an implied term that an unsuccessful party in an adjudication is entitled to have the dispute determined by litigation and to a repayment of monies paid, if those court proceedings are successful (there is). Isabel Hitchings discussed this one.
  • The term “Other Consultants” in a net contribution clause included the design and build contractor or its sub-contractors (it didn’t).
  • There was any merit in challenging enforcement of an adjudictor’s decision on what seemed a speculative basis (there wasn’t). Matt Molloy considered issues relating to the payment of the adjudicator’s fees.
  • Winding up proceedings prevented summary judgment to enforce an adjudicator’s decision (they didn’t), but they were sufficient to stay execution. Isabel Hitchings looked at the issues that arise from this case.

Elsewhere, Claire McNamara considered whether cost management by the courts is working, Lynne McCafferty considered natural justice in adjudication, Jonathan Cope looked at the impact of a CVA on adjudication enforcement and Michael Mendelblat reviewed the CIOB’s contract for complex contracts. Finally, on the public procurement front, we published November’s case review and an autumn policy review. We also told you about the new public procurement thresholds.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

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