Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace:
“Writing laws is easy, but governing is difficult.”
It is less than six weeks to the general election. While the media’s current focus is on the live TV debates and who will take part and when, quietly in the background the government has been getting its house in order. This has resulted in a plethora of legislation making it on to the statute books ready for purdah. There was also the budget this month, although not many new announcements were included for the construction industry.
While it may be feast or famine when it comes to adjudication cases to report on, there was a feast this month, with the courts:
- Granting a partial stay due to “manifest injustice“, on which Matt Molloy commented.
- Awarding indemnity costs following a finding of a strong prima facie case of fraudulent misrepresentation, which Fionnuala McCredie QC and Paul Bury considered.
- Holding that a referring party’s call to the adjudicator’s office gave rise to apparent bias, which Richard Sage and Jonathan Cope both discussed.
- Finding that residential occupiers had agreed to be bound by an adjudication clause.
- Deciding the validity of an adjudicator’s appointment, when the wrong adjudication rules were used.
- Applying Eurocom v Siemens, and rejecting an allegation regarding the adjudicator’s appointment.
Litigation is never cheap and starting a claim is becoming more expensive as increases to court fees take effect. Front loading of costs is often cited as an issue, especially in TCC litigation and, in one case, Coulson J halved the claimant’s costs budget. Elizabeth Repper considered the impact of both, and the role mediation plays in dispute resolution.
Other issues before the courts have included public and product liability cover on an all risks insurance policy and whether “subject to contract” was expunged when a draft order was submitted to court.
Our blogs continue to be very popular and, while sharing your thoughts has never been easier, topics this month have included:
- Helen Turner on mediation, DAB’s and ADR in the Middle East.
- John Hughes-D’Aeth on novation of design consultants in design and build procurement.
- Michelle Rousell on reviewing the Construction Act 1996’s payment rules in adjudication enforcement.
- Jonathan Cope on the correction of adjudicators’ decisions under the slip rule and the suitability of adjudication for disputes of all sizes.
- Michael Sergeant on variations and contractor risk.
- Matt Molloy on the relationship between final certificates and “at any time”.
- Nicola Thompson on principals of contract formation.
- Mark Raymont and Katy Hacking on decennial liability in the UAE.
Over the last five years, the government has been conducting a review of health and safety legislation and has published its final report. One of the main changes is to the CDM, with CDM 2015 coming into force on 6 April. Our CDM 2015 toolkit will help you find what you need. Breaches of health and safety laws may be prosecuted in the magistrates’ courts and the cap on court fines has been removed.
Acronyms are common in the construction industry and, in addition to CDM, we’ve also seen the ACE’s short form consultant’s appointment, changes to the CIS, amendments to the EPC regulations, and plans to advance to BIM level 3, which prompted us to publish notes on BIM level 2 and BIM level 3, and to update our FAQs.
Finally, in public procurement news, the court has lifted the automatic suspension of a contract award, considered the meaning of service of claim form in a procurement action, we’ve had a policy note on suppliers, four new PPNs on payments, skills, technology and tax, new guidance, an updated practice note and a new practice note on the Public Contract Regulations 2015, a new PQQ, February’s case digest and a policy and legislation review.