“Never cast a clout until May is out.”
This is a centuries old phrase that is generally taken to mean one shouldn’t discard winter clothing until the end of May. This year has been a bit different, with another record warm and dry month. To many of us, winter coats are a thing of our dim and distant past.
May is traditionally the end of spring, and we have been spring-cleaning and improving many of our notes and standard documents as part of our on-going commitment to maintained materials. We have published a legislation tracker (to help you monitor relevant UK and EU legislation) and a pre-construction services agreement (for services before entering into a formal building contract). We also have an up-to-date construction and projects multi-jurisdictional guide.
Environmental issues have been high on the agenda following events at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear site. During May there has been a report on the UK’s nuclear installations and agreement on nuclear stress tests. We have also had news on Japanese knotweed, the Green Investment Bank (GIB), zero carbon homes and Barr v Biffa Waste. Health and safety matters have included an unsuccessful appeal in the first corporate manslaughter case and new reporting guidelines for RIDDOR.
A number of issues have been before the courts:
- In the Court of Appeal, excluding the presumption that a party cannot rely on its own breach, the execution of documents and robust case management.
- In the TCC, whether an adjudication referral was served out of time. (Note also that the costs management pilot is being extended to all of the TCC from October 2011).
- In the High Court, formation of a contract despite a mistake and breaching an agreement for lease.
- In the Scottish Court of Session, the commercial effect of collateral warranties.
There has been a broad variety of issues under debate this month, including whether a company should have a passport, honesty in contract negotiations, early neutral evaluation, on demand bonds, float in NEC3 ECC contracts, limitation periods and knowledge of defects, unwitting bias in a tribunal and who should be the parties’ adjudicator.
…and finally, we may still be waiting for the JCT’s tracked changes documents, but at least we’ve had the responses to the Scottish consultation. That means we are a step closer to seeing the final versions of the English, Welsh and Scottish Schemes for Construction Contracts 1998.