REUTERS | Toby Melville

May 2016 digest: Queen’s Speech and elections

English proverb:

“Ne’er cast a clout till May be out.”

This phrase has been in use since at least the 18th century and is generally taken to mean that you shouldn’t be too keen to leave your winter clothes behind. There is a debate about whether the May reference is to the month or blossom from the hawthorn (or May) tree, which is synonymous with the countryside at this time of year. Whichever you prefer, the phrase has been particularly relevant this year.

While it hasn’t started to warm up yet, there has been plenty of hot air during May, what with all the electioneering for country-wide local elections and London’s new mayor, and we still have the EU referendum to come. We’ve also had the Queen’s Speech and the post-speech rhetoric.

In the courts, some interesting issues were under consideration, including whether:

  • An extension of time should run contiguously from the existing date for completion (it should).
  • A certificate of making good defects related only to one section of the works (it did).
  • The parties had waived the prescribed mode of acceptance (they had).
  • A landlord had breached a quiet covenant when carrying out building works (it had).
  • A bunker supply contract was outside the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (it was).
  • A liability insurer could bring a subrogated claim in the name of one insured party against its co-insured (it couldn’t).
  • The three-year limitation period under section 14A of the Limitation Act 1980 had expired (it had).

We only had one reported adjudication judgment this month, Murphy v Maher, which applied Fiona Trust principles to adjudication. Jonathan Cope considered whether the scope of what can be referred to adjudication is now wider than it was. Jonathan also looked at penalty clauses post Makdessi and appeals of arbitrators’ awards.

Other topics under discussion have included:

Insurance news this month included (finally) an in force date for the Third Parties (Rights against Insurers) Act 2010 and additional provisions in the Insurance Act 2015 (via the Enterprise Act 2016). (The Enterprise Act also includes provisions to privatise the Green Investment Bank and to support growth.)

On the public procurement front, we saw the Court of Session refuse to end an automatic suspension, April’s case digest, a quarterly policy review, details of concession contract thresholds, a procurement policy note and Katie Bray discuss regulation 53 and the meaning of “procurement documents”.

You may not know that Practical Law has a range of materials relevant to practitioners involved in the energy sector.  A good starting point to access this content is through the energy toolkit.

And finally, the JCT has announced that it will publish its JCT Minor Works, 2016 edition suite “for despatch on 24 June 2016”.  We will carry PDFs of the new JCT editions and should be supplied with copies as soon as they are published, so that we can get them online with as little delay as possible. ​

Practical Law Monthly digest

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