The global pandemic continues to challenge us, with various measures ranging from further lockdowns to restrictions on in-person meetings. The judicial machinery, including that in the arbitration world, has continued to function throughout the pandemic notwithstanding the difficulties of embracing innovative processes and new technology.
The impact and uncertainty caused by the Achmea case on investor state dispute settlement provisions contained in intra-EU Bilateral Investment Treaties continues. These issues are potentially far reaching and may extend further than originally envisaged, namely that this case was arguably specific to the BIT between Netherlands and Slovakia.
It’s probably too early to deliberate whether COP 26 was a success, and if progress has been made since Paris. Glasgow will be remembered for the passionate speech from the Maldives representative, which reminded us (if ever we needed reminding) of the Armageddon-esque effects of climate change to the planet as a whole, and to small island nations in particular. The target remains to aim for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and to keep global warming close to 1.5 degrees.
Last week marked 20 years of the horrific terror attacks on the Twin Towers in New York. 2017 saw the atrocious attacks at the Manchester Arena, and subsequently Fishmongers’ Hall in London, and sadly there were others. Global events may create yet further security uncertainty and risks from potential terror attacks.
In February this year James Brokenshire, the Security Minister, reiterated the government’s commitment to improving public security, and to action the findings and lessons learned from the ensuing inquiries. The Home Office has commenced a public consultation on the use of a ‘Protect Duty’. In short this will require businesses, public bodies and security firms to consider risks of a terrorist attack and to ensure proportionate and reasonable measures are taken to protect the public.
Recently a paper was published in Construction Law, “The root cause of evil!” Construction Law, August 2021. An analysis was undertaken of HKA’s integrated research program that collects data on global claims/ disputes across 88 countries. An examination was undertaken of trends emerging across the UK, Middle East, US, Caribbean and Latin America.
The contractual matrix of commercial construction projects commonly includes collateral warranties. Collateral warranties typically grant a contractual cause of action to third parties (such as tenants or end-users) with an interest in the project who may not otherwise have a contract in place with parties that are designing, constructing or providing professional advice on the project. For the beneficiary, a collateral warranty can therefore be invaluable.
The decision in Multiplex Construction Europe Ltd v Bathgate Realisation Civil Engineering Ltd and Others is one of the more curious decisions you will ever read.
However, the density and depth of the judgment does not mean it is without interest; far from it. In fact I suspect this case will prove to be one of the more fascinating legal tangles the Courts will be asked to unravel this year.
In 2021, we don’t have hovercars but what we do have is quite incredible digital and information technology that allows many of us to work, shop, order pizza and watch the latest blockbuster from the comfort of our living rooms. And of course, over the last year, most of us having been doing that an awful lot. Because of this, people have started to question whether we now no longer need roads, or indeed all of that other pesky infrastructure that blights our countryside, creates pollution and tends to cost quite a lot of money.
Large infrastructure projects are often subject to intricate contractual relationships between the relevant stakeholders, and this will also include collateral warranties to cover any potential gaps in liability to mitigate potential effects of one of the participants in the contractual matrix becoming insolvent. Parties lower down the contractual chain may engage their own designers or consultants to discharge their obligations up the contractual chain. An interesting scenario arose in the recent case Multiplex Construction Europe Ltd v Bathgate Realisations Civil Engineering Ltd (Formerly Dunne building & Civil Engineering Ltd (In administration) (2) BRM Construction LLC (3) Argo Global Syndicate 1200 (2021) , and the two issues that were heard by way of preliminary issue.
The Guardian on Tuesday 30th March had an interesting article entitled “UK criticised for ignoring Paris climate goals in infrastructure decisions”. In summary, various luminaries, scientists, legal and environmental experts, have written a letter expressing concern about the UK’s infrastructure projects and the UK’s participation in the Paris Agreement.