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January 2014 digest: flooding and future events

William Wordsworth, Resolution and Independence:

“There was a roaring in the wind all night, the rain came heavily and fell in floods, but now the sun is rising, calm and bright.”

Our monthly digest often starts with a weather-related quote, and this month is no exception, what with all the rain and flooding that the country has experienced since Christmas.

Away from the flooding, we are hopeful that spring is just around the corner. While that may be little more than wishful thinking at this time of year, with more concrete future events in mind, we told you about things to look out for over the next 12 months in the fields of construction, dispute resolution, environment and property. We also told you about Keating Chambers’ new monthly column, which started with Alice Sims discussing some of the implications of the Court of Appeal’s judgment in Mitchell v News Group.

While on the subject of the Jackson reforms, Roger Mallalieu looked at the lessons practitioners can learn from the case law to date and James Bickford Smith considered the steps courts are taking to impose the new approach to relief from sanctions. Elsewhere, the courts considered:

  • The meaning of “adequate remedy” in the American Cyanamid sense where there was a contractual clause limiting recoverable damages, which Edward Davies of Hill Dickinson LLP considered.
  • That it was fair and reasonable to include a non-reliance clause in a property sale contract.
  • How to assess a break in the causation chain.
  • An application for specific performance requiring the defendant to fulfil its contractual obligations to provide a performance bond and collateral warranties to the claimant.

In adjudication enforcement, the courts have:

  • Analysed the scope of the dispute referred to the adjudicator and confirmed he had jurisdiction to reach his decision, thereby binding a subsequent adjudicator.
  • Granted an injunction to restrain a party from pursuing an adjudication in circumstances where there is ongoing litigation, even though the adjudication was held to be neither oppressive or unreasonable.

Matt Molloy looked at adjudicators using their own knowledge and experience, and considered the role of experts following the judgment in Pickard Finlason Partnership Ltd v Mr and Mrs Lock, while Jonathan Cope highlighted that there is no “near miss” theory in adjudication enforcement.

On the new content front, we published a practice note and standard clauses on BREEAM, and materials on real estate development finance, taking security and damages for breach of contract, we reminded you about the construction and projects multi-jurisdictional guide and also told you about issues that arise in the drafting of international arbitration clauses. From Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, Marcus Birch reviewed how the arbitral institutions deal with complex, multi-party arbitrations and Geraldine Laing discussed the meaning of progressing the works with due diligence. We also explained the distinction between patent and latent defects.

Public procurement news during January included the European Parliament’s adoption of the new public procurement directives, a revised code of conduct for the public and private sectors working in public private partnerships (PFI/PPP) and December 2013’s case digest.

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