Construction, energy and engineering companies have lagged others in taking steps to protect themselves from the growing number of cyber-attacks, and failing to take preventive measures can lead to expensive litigation.
Glasgow and COP26 resulted in various commitments from global economies to work towards targets in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The UK is to target the reduction of greenhouse emissions to net zero by 2050.
However, even prior to COP26 there were already legislative changes afoot to have cleaner air. The Finance Bill 2021, and the associated secondary legislation, as part of the government’s plans to reduce carbon emissions, has the effect of restricting the usage of red diesel after April 2022.
In the Achmea case the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) held that Article 8 of the Netherlands – Slovakia bilateral investment treaty, which allowed for the resolution of disputes by way of arbitration, was incompatible with EU law. The rationale for the decision was that a tribunal may have to interpret or apply EU law and where a question of law arose, unlike a Member State court, that question of law could not be referred to the ECJ. In other words, intra-EU bilateral investment treaty arbitration provisions, as reasoned by the ECJ, deprived the EU courts of jurisdiction in respect of the interpretation of EU law.
We raised the prospect that the ramifications from the decision were potentially far reaching and were not, it seemed, confined to the BIT between Netherlands and Slovakia.
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.
Globally, notable incidents of freak weather events giving rise to destruction and death have dominated the news. The increasing frequency of these erratic climate events has undoubtedly raised awareness of global warming and, on a political level, the need for states to move quicker towards green energy and the reduction of carbon emissions. Global warming is an inescapable issue that affects us all and which has forced governments to elevate this to the top of the agenda, filtering down to economic policies that will touch upon most industry sectors.
On 31 October 2021, representatives from over 200 countries are set to descend on the Scottish city of Glasgow for the United Nations climate change conference; the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26). During this global climate summit, world leaders are expected to talk all things climate change. Commitments have already been made to aggressively tackle global warming and the reduction of carbon emissions. Energy is therefore likely to be high on the agenda.
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.
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.