Category: Law

Right to finish (part 2)

Do you really want to sign up to a contract that allows your client (or the main contractor) to keep taking work away from you and giving it to someone else? Contracts both entitle and oblige the provider to perform the whole of its scope – what I call a

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Retention as leverage

What is the retention? Is it, as I have suggested, the contractor’s money which the employer is holding to ransom? Is it security for any defects discovered during the defects period which the contractor fails to put right? Is it a form of commercial leverage? In Yeovil v The Stepping

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Design life: duty or desire?

Any construction project (or product) can be stated to have a specific design life – normally listed in calendar years. Recent cases have reviewed if a design life is a promise ie an actionably duty or a mere statement of intent or desire: sinking wind turbines: a requirement for these

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Punishing wordiness

Was it the cost that bothered the judge or the wordiness? In a case dating back to 1595, the court punished a claimant who did ‘draw, devise and engross’ paperwork which amounted to six score sheets of paper, or 120 pages. The court’s view was that it could have been

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Termination at will

Ok. I’ll admit it. I have a bee in my bonnet about clauses which allow termination at will or termination for convenience. Essentially, a termination at will clause allows one party to simply change its mind about wanting to continue with the scope of the contract, and tell the other

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Responsible and fair

In the light of the Covid-19 pandemic, parties have been burrowing into the depths of their small print like never before. I am not convinced this is the answer. For once, I am NOT alone! The UK government has issued guidance for parties to public sector contracts (PPN 02/2020) and

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No contract? No money!

In English law, most contracts do not need to be in writing to be valid. However, not every conversation leads to a contract… so how do the courts draw the line? Tell-tale signs After a telephone call between two businesses, one claimed £1m in fees from the other for services

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Restricting your freedom to contract

Although you can agree pretty much anything you like under freedom to contract, there are some restrictions on that freedom: legislation: laws can mandate minimum requirements, outlaw certain terms and allow others only within specific parameters contract: a contract can restrict the parties’ rights in the future on a specific

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Guaranteed by email?

Although most contracts do not need to be signed to be effective (and legally binding), guarantees are an exception. The 1677 Statute of Frauds requires all guarantees to be: in writing (or a note of memo of it is in writing) signed by the guarantor. This distinction means oral guarantees

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Beware sloppy procedures

Construction contracts contain a plethora of terms which require one party to give a notice to the other party. This used to require hard copy documents to be sent by post or fax. We have moved with the times, and many notices can now be provided by email to a

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