“How like a winter hath my absence been from thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year! What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen! What old December’s bareness every where!”
December is often a quiet month in current awareness terms, and this month was no exception. The government’s appeal to the Supreme Court on Article 50 dominated the news while it was being heard, although we will not know the outcome until early next year. There was still plenty of other Brexit news, including a call for evidence on what transitional arrangements ought to apply.
It was also a quiet month on the adjudication front, with just two reported judgments, one about who the parties to a contract were, which Matt Molloy considered, and the other about recovering claims consultants’ costs, which Emma Healiss discussed. David Pliener looked at the summary judgment test in adjudication enforcement and Matt also considered serial adjudication.
Other judgments of note included a developer being awarded damages for negligent advice concerning the construction of a luxury Caribbean beach resort. The High Court also applied Three Rivers and defined “client” narrowly for the purposes of legal advice privilege, considered the meaning of “consequential loss” in a limitation of liability clause, looked at whether the fraud exception applied to demands under standby letters of credit,interpreted a buyer’s right to rescind a conditional contract containing ambiguous drafting and rejected an application to amend a statement of case.
Perhaps the single biggest piece of news for litigators this month was HMCTS’ announcement that, from 25 April 2017, the use of the e-filing system (CE-File) will be compulsory in the Rolls Building in London. If you haven’t used CE-File yet, register for the forthcoming training. Having joined one of the sessions this month, we’d highly recommend them.
The JCT continued to release its 2016 Editions, this time with the Intermediate suite of building contracts. We also published our Schedule of amendments to the JCT Standard Building Contract, 2016 edition. Following the changes in the 2016 Editions, Jonathan Cope looked at using summary judgment to recover interim payments. The rest of the 2016 Editions will be published during 2017. Revised FIDIC contracts are also likely to be published in 2017. Natalie Wardle and Jancyn Gardiner considered some of the proposed changes to the Yellow Book.
In public procurement news, the CCS published a policy note on onerous procurement practices, BEIS published guidance on using steel in infrastructure projects, and we published a case digest. The TCC also refused to make a specific disclosure order in a procurement challenge.
Other comment this month included John Denis-Smith discussing oral variations and other news included draft regulations on Reporting on Payment Practices and Performance, the Law Society’s practice note on section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and an NIC report on 5G and telecommunications technology.
And finally, Practical Law has a new home having relocated to 5 Canada Square, Canary Wharf. In It’s A Wonderful Life, Mary And George Bailey (played by Donna Reed and James Stewart) welcomed a family to their new home with three symbolic gifts and a little speech:
“Bread, that this house may never know hunger, salt, that life may always have flavor and wine, that joy and prosperity may reign forever.”