REUTERS | Ilya Naymushin

January 2011 digest: concurrent liability in contract and tort, and economic loss

Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child’s Garden of Verses:

“In winter I get up at night and dress by candle-light. In summer, quite the other way – I have to go to bed by day.”

January nights are some of the longest of the year, its days some of the coldest. It’s a time of year when people look forward to the distant summer and warmer months. We’ve been doing the same, identifying the events to look out for in 2011. Of all of these events, the changes to the Construction Act 1996 may have the greatest impact on construction practitioners. The Bribery Act Act 2010 is also due to come into force this year. Corruption and bribery have already been in the news; it is unlikely to stop there.

If you fancy some candle-lit reading, may we suggest a judgment from Jackson LJ? In one of the most important cases in construction for some time, the Court of Appeal has confirmed that a builder or seller of a building does not, by reason of the contract to construct or complete the building, assume any liability in tort for defects in the building that give rise to purely economic loss.

In adjudication, the courts have been looking at the slip rule, the scope of an adjudicator’s decision and the use of CFA and ATE insurance in adjudication enforcement. Surprisingly, this was all in one case (but two judgments). We also wrote about the meaning of a dispute in adjudication and meetings with the adjudicator.

Other topics under the spotlight included construction productsdisclosure in arbitration, escrow accounts, Eurocodesexclusion clauses, indemnities and zero carbon.

Finally, there seems to be no let up in the amount of information on public procurement at the moment, with a report on making the supply chain greener, draft guidance on making PFI cheaper, notes on using the accelerated procedure (and a blog post) and transparency in central government, a model waste PFI contract and the court’s view on disclosure and time limits. We also looked at applications to lift the automatic stay.

(PS, just in case you missed it, we also hosted a training webinar, which is now available to download.)

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