Category: STAR

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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Changing motives

One of the respondents to my survey on the future of contracts told me (rather depressingly) that No-one cares about the contract. They just want the goods… But it is actually more nuanced. There are two different motives for two distinct stages: before signature: the parties are only focused on

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Trust and the wrong tone

Dominic Cummings, a UK Government advisor, was outed for an ill-conceived trip to Barnard Castle during the Spring 2020 lockdown (a place which ought to be famous for its mechanical silver swan rather than policital shenanigans). In his statement, he made a series of increasingly bizarre claims about testing his

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The Ideal Subcontract

The scandal of construction, according to the Huxtable Report (1983) is: the persistent and continuing imposition as a matter of deliberate policy… of onerous and unfair subcontract conditions. An ideal subcontract, said the Report, was which set out the rights and obligations of the subcontractor as clearly as possible, was

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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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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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