The year behind us, and the year ahead
As I understand it (being no expert in Roman mythology), January is the month in which we are all allowed to be two-faced: “yes thank you, I really do like your Christmas gift (the dog uses it every day)”. If I am confused about what January means, it may be as a result of spending too long looking at this fantastic automotive representation of two-faced January: https://www.classicdriver.com/en/car/zundapp/1958/504753.
Traditionally, January gives us an opportunity to look back at the previous year and forward to the coming year. So that is what I intend to do in this blog.
We launched our blog in February 2017 to “provide you with short updates on topical legal or other issues in the industry, to share our opinions on a wide variety of subjects and to engage with you and share thoughts and ideas on these various matters”.
I think we achieved this aim, as our blogs in 2017 were varied in topical and interesting subject matter: quite a bit on adjudication, but also arbitration, BIM, new contracts (domestically and internationally), international investment and costs, and also geographically diverse (England and Wales, Romania, the UAE, Africa and even Scotland).
"The most significant event of early 2018 – perhaps the most significant in the construction industry for some time – is the insolvency of Carillion, one of the UK’s largest construction companies."
There were also certain cases that we did not have the time or opportunity to discuss in our blog, but which we did cover in our other output and publications, such as the Supreme Court’s decision in MT Højgaard A/S v E.ON Climate & Renewables UK Robin Rigg East Limited and Fraser J’s decision in North Midland Building Ltd v Cyden Homes Ltd. We like to think that between all of our publications and seminars, we keep our clients and contacts updated with the major events or issues affecting the construction and energy industries.
The most significant event of early 2018 – perhaps the most significant in the construction industry for some time – is the insolvency of Carillion, one of the UK’s largest construction companies. This will have a significant effect on the industry, particularly on those working for Carillion, both directly and in the supply chain.
Any companies working for Carillion should consult their contracts, and take legal advice, before taking any action. We will be covering this important issue in more detail in our publications, including in this blog, and in a seminar over the coming months.
As discussed in our latest Insight, the Government has just closed two consultations aimed at encouraging best practice in fair and prompt payment within the construction sector: a review of the 2011 changes to Part 2 of the Construction Act 1996 and a consultation on holding retentions under construction contracts. Hopefully the outcome of these consultations will in future go some way to reducing the effects that are being felt by the Carillion supply chain.
As to the rest of 2018, I am personally focusing on a big challenge; cycling to MIPIM. I will be covering 1,000 miles in 6 days in aid of children’s charity Coram. Details of the ride, and how you are able to help Coram, can be found here: https://my.race-nation.co.uk/sponsorship/entry/132153. Several of my partners and colleagues will be in MIPIM, so if you are there and would like to arrange a meeting, please contact our Business Development Manager, Nico de Jong.
There will be a number of issues and cases, both domestically and internationally, which we will be discussing in this blog in 2018. Novel ways to avoid the enforcement of adjudicators’ decisions will no doubt feature, as will the proposed changes to disclosure, currently one of the most time-consuming and expensive elements of litigation and arbitration proceedings. On the subject of expense, there is likely to be further judicial guidance on costs and in particular the application of costs budgets. As more contracts are let under NEC4, we will update how it is working in practice, and we will provide further commentary on the new FIDIC contracts.
The year 2018 is already shaping up to be an interesting one. We will keep you updated as and when further interesting legal or industry issues arise.