How Not to Settle a Dispute: Aqua v. Benchmark

In its latest offering, “CLC COVID-19 Claims and Disputes in Construction” the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) predicts that disputes related to COVID-19 are set to rise in 2021. While the optimist may hope that parties will continue to or aim to work collaboratively in order to find workable commercial solutions to claims arising from the global pandemic, the realist knows that such disputes are inevitable.

To read the full text of this blog post by Steve Nichol and Matthew Friedlander, please visit the Duane Morris London Blog.

UK Construction and Brexit

The final nail in the coffin of Christmas 2020 for me was getting a directive from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate on the 23rd. So, instead of celebrating Christmas, I packed the missus off to her mother’s and settled down to read the snappily-titled “Trade And Cooperation Agreement Between The European Union And The European Atomic Energy Community, Of The One Part, And The United Kingdom Of Great Britain And Northern Ireland, Of The Other Part”. Otherwise known to you and me as the Brexit Deal.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris partner Steve Nichol, please visit the Duane Morris London Blog.

Another Lockdown in the UK

The New Year has been ushered in by an alarming surge in hospitalisations and sadly a dramatic increase in deaths from the ongoing pandemic. The Government was under increasing pressures to take action. Consequently, the Prime Minister has on 3 January announced another national lockdown, with measures which became law on Wednesday 6th January 2021.

To read the full text of this blog post by Duane Morris attorney Vijay Bange, please visit the Duane Morris London Blog.

 

The Curious Case of ABC v. Network Rail: Wasn’t It Obvious?

At first glance, the Court of Appeal’s recent decision in ABC Electrification Ltd v Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd [2020] EWCA Civ 1645 might look like the culmination of an exercise in legal hubris. This was, after all, a case focussed on the meaning of a single word in a contract; moreover, a word – “default” – that most of us in the legal profession might say has a well-established meaning.

And, after several hundred thousand pounds of legal fees no doubt well spent, the Court of Appeal told the world that the word “default” means exactly what we all thought it meant – a failure to fulfil an obligation.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris attorneys Steve Nichol and Matthew Friedlander, please visit the Duane Morris London Blog.

Climate Change and Construction Revisited

The issue of pollution in major cities in the UK has again been highlighted by the tragic death of a child whose family lived near the south circular in Lewisham. In a landmark case, the second coroner’s inquest found that the levels of pollution were above world safe levels, and that air pollution was a material cause of her death. This tragic case will bring to the fore the national debate on pollution and climate change.

To read the full text of this blog post by Duane Morris attorney Vijay Bange, please visit the Duane Morris London Blog.

Follow The Money

Cash flow is the lifeblood of the construction industry.  This phrase, coined by Lord Denning MR, and cited relentlessly in the construction industry still holds true. In times of recession, following the cash and preserving the funds that are in dispute is crucial. There is no point in spending time and money pursuing a dispute to fight over a pot of cash that is at real risk of being dissipated.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris attorneys Vijay Bange and Tanya Chadha, please visit the Duane Morris London Blog.

Failure to Participate in Final Arbitration Hearing Because of Inability to Find QC

Adjudicators and Arbitrators are occasionally faced with a situation where one of the parties refuses to engage in the process. In such circumstances tribunals are left in a difficult position to ensure fairness and have regard to due process, whilst also giving careful consideration as to whether it is just and appropriate to continue the process. Ultimately, however, the reluctance of one party to engage should not deprive the other of their legal and contractual rights.

To read the full text of this blog post by Vijay Bange, please visit the Duane Morris London Blog.

Invest More and Invest Quickly: The Prime Minister’s New Deal

As  Vijay Bange commented in his blog post on Tuesday,  Boris Johnson has announced £5bn of new funding for building and infrastructure projects in the UK.

This sounds like a lot of money, but in real terms it is not anything like enough to restart the economy in the manner suggested by the Government. In the heady days before COVID-19, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced new investment into infrastructure in the UK totaling £600bn between now and 2025. By comparison, £5bn is nothing like what is required to “level up” the economy in the way promised by the Chancellor. In his Dudley address, the Prime Minister confirmed that the £5bn promised was an accelerated release of those funds promised by the Chancellor, but it remains to be seen whether that £600bn will ultimately be released.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris partner Steve Nichol, please visit the Duane Morris London Blog.

Boris Johnson Announces Plans to Rebuild Britain

As the government eases the lockdown provisions around the country, the Prime Minister today made a speech in Dudley, the historical heart of the industrial revolution, setting out his £5 billion economic recovery plan for the country. This is the government’s plan to build our way out of the recession caused by the pandemic, and has been compared to the New Deal proposed during the Great Depression by US President Franklin D Roosevelt.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris partner Vijay Bange, please visit the Duane Morris London Blog.

Climate Change – A Wind of Change for Construction?

On Friday 28th February there was an incredibly well supported and organised Youth Strike for climate change protest in Bristol, at which Greta Thunberg addressed the masses. Thousands were there in support. There were safety concerns given the number of children attending this protest. There were clearly some mixed views given the disruption caused to locals, with anger at the damage to the college green in front of the Anglican Cathedral grounds.

What resonated with me was a local man’s comments during an interview for national news. He said that “it won’t change anything”. However, we then had the decision of the Court of Appeal in favour of climate campaigners that has sent a real wakeup call. The Court ruled that the transport secretary at the relevant time, who made the decision for the new third runway at Heathrow Airport, should have taken into account the latest government commitments on climate change before granting permission for the proposed expansion at Heathrow.

To read the full text of this article by Duane Morris partner Vijay Bange, please visit the firm website.