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The Fenwick Elliott Summer 2001 Review


Welcome to Fenwick Elliott's Summer Review for 2001. In once again highlighting the latest key developments in our specialist field of construction law over the past year, this year's Review inevitably features the continuing significant impact of adjudication. There is discussion on the impact of the Human Rights Act which was previewed in last year's edition. We focus once again on Health and Safety. The Government has made it clear that the construction industry is one of the areas where there must be improvements. Also, this year's Review contains useful information on other important developments and, as usual, includes a round-up of the key cases reported by Fenwick Elliott either in the Construction Industry Law Letter or the Fenwick Elliott Dispatch over the past year.


1. 21st Anniversary


3. Adjudication

4. Human Rights

5. The Woolf Reforms

6. Expert Evidence


8. Health and Safety
9. Partnering
10. FE News
12. Case Round-up
13. Index

21st Anniversary

On 2 June 1980, Fenwick Elliott, one of the first, niche, solicitors' firms dedicated solely to the needs and requirements of the construction and engineering industry, opened its doors for business for the very first time.

In the intervening 21 years there have been, of course, many changes. Back in 1980 the Internet was unlikely to have been more than the dream of a few computer technicians, whilst if anyone had a mobile phone, it was the size and weight of a brick.

According to the first edition of Building Contract Litigation, an adjudicator was a "creature" of the JCT nominated subcontract form, NSC/4, whose main purpose was to act as an "instant arbitrator" for the purpose of quantifying a contractor's set-off against a nominated subcontractor.

Indeed, the introduction and acceptance of adjudication is an example of perhaps the key change, as far as we are concerned, that has taken place over the past 21 years. That change is the recognition that, should a dispute arise, there are a number of realistic, alternative ways of attempting to settle that dispute without the need to resort to time-consuming, costly and lengthy litigation or arbitration.

At Fenwick Elliott, we believe that despite the myriad of changes over the past 21 years, we remain one of the leading construction law firms. One reason for this is our willingness to embrace change (be it legal, technical or commercial) and not be afraid to look for imaginative and cost-effective solutions to (potential) problems should they arise.

One example of this is the formation of CING, in which Fenwick Elliott was a prime mover.


The introductory meeting of the Construction Industry Neutrals Group ("CING") was held on 9 April 2001. Among the organisations represented at this first meeting were CEDR, CIArb, RICS, ICE, LCIA and CIOB.

The objects of the society include:

  • to provide a service to the construction and engineering industry by identifying persons willing and qualified to act as ADR neutrals in construction or engineering disputes;
  • to provide a forum for its members to exchange ideas and experience;
  • to provide an umbrella vehicle whereby other providers of ADR services may jointly offer services; and
  • where litigation is contemplated or has been commenced, to further the ADR objectives of the CPR.

The key aim is that members of CING will offer a non-binding ADR process, which may involve a blend of Early Neutral Evaluation and Facilitative Mediation according to the requirements of the dispute.

Robert Fenwick Elliott was elected as the inaugural chairman. A website is being created and we will keep you informed of any further developments.

If you are interested in finding out further information please contact Robert's secretary, Margaret Paradysz.


At the time of last year's Review, we were able to report on the decision in Bouygues v Dahl-Jensen where the Court of Appeal gave its backing to the vigorous approach taken by Mr Justice Dyson to the enforcement of adjudicators' decisions in Macob v Morrison.

The number of cases going to adjudication continues to rise. Figures from the RICS show that the number of applications for the appointment of an adjudicator has risen from 377 in 1999 to 1,006 in 2000. In the first four months of this year there were 378 applications giving a projected annual figure of 1,134.

Interestingly, an analysis by the RICS of 1,212 cases shows that 738 (or 60%) were carried out pursuant to the Scheme. A decision was reached in 886 (or 73%) of cases whilst 290 (or 23%) settled. This is an encouraging figure which perhaps suggests that adjudication is having a positive counter-effect on the traditional adversarial routes of construction disputes.

More recently, for the first time, there have been a handful of decisions, particularly Discain v Opecprime, where the courts have refused to give summary enforcement of adjudication decisions where they feel there has been a breach of natural justice. This, as Robert Fenwick Elliott discusses below in an editorial prepared for the May edition of CILL, just might serve as a fetter on adjudication or at least as a powerful weapon to those opposed to a particular adjudication (and this is usually, but not always, the paying party):

The English law is a complex organism. Procedures will tend continually to change until the legal costs of dealing with a dispute are onerously, but not absurdly, high. It is at least partly for this reason that historically all attempts at reforming the Civil Justice system in order to make it more efficient have failed.

When statutory adjudication was introduced, it brought with it massive savings in the cost and time spent in resolving construction disputes with little, if any, discernible downside. We thought at the time, and said at the time, and say again now, that this happy regime is unlikely to last in the long term. Sooner or later, the courts are bound to start dragging adjudication back to something closer to a traditional laborious arbitration.

That process has already started, with the recent cases on natural justice. On the face of it, natural justice sounds obviously good, but in practice it represents a charter for challenge and delay. It seems that entirely helpful actions of the adjudicator, like talking to the parties on the telephone about the case, or responding to their call to try to facilitate settlement, can be construed by the courts as breaches of the rules of natural justice.

One is bound to think that the approach of Lord Justice Dyson, as he now is, in Macob v Morrison is to be preferred. In that case, he said that a decision is a decision, and must be enforced even if a challenge is mounted to it on the grounds of a breach of the rules of natural justice. That approach accords with the pay now, argue later approach adopted by the House of Lords in debate.

Perhaps someone will take the point on natural justice to the Court of Appeal and get this approach confirmed. Sooner or later, however, the tide of legal history will probably continue in its course, adjudicators will be permanently hobbled, and there will be much work yet for the construction bar.

Whilst we remain hopeful that adjudicators remain relatively unfettered and free to make full use of their inquisitorial powers as envisaged by statute, we will ensure that whatever does happen will be fully explained in our regular Adjudication Update Seminars which take place at The Savoy Hotel.

To date we have held three, on 30 October 2000, 19 January 2001 and 24 May 2001. Audience numbers have risen on every occasion and members of the audience have been entertained (and we hope educated) both by our guest chairmen and speakers Rudi Klein, Tony Baldry MP, His Honour Judge Anthony Thornton QC, Stephen Furst QC, Richard Wilmot-Smith QC and Guy Cottam, and by the in-house contributions from Robert Fenwick Elliott, Chris Hough, Simon Tolson, Victoria Russell and Jeremy Glover.

In an extract from one of the papers, Chris Hough explains some of the difficulties with withholding notices, which are proving to be on an area of much importance and confusion amongst users of the system.


The principle of abatement was described by Lord Morris in Gilbert-Ash (Northern) Ltd v Modern Engineering (Bristol) Ltd as follows:

"…if one man does work for another, the latter, when sued, may defend himself by showing that the work was badly done and that the claim made in respect of it should be diminished …"

Although there are a number of authorities dealing with set-off and abatement, the case of Mellowes Archital Ltd v Bell Projects Ltd appears to be most germane to the issues that arise in relation to the payment provisions of the HGCRA.

This was a dispute under DOM/1. Clause 21 provided for payment calculated by taking into account the gross valuation, retention and set-off permitted by clause 23. The right to set-off was restricted by clause 23.2.2 … It was held that:

  1. The right of Bell to raise an equitable set-off against the sums otherwise due to Mellowes was regulated by clause 23.2.2, but the clause did not affect the right of Bell to exercise any common law right it might have of abatement.
  2. The rule of abatement applies only to matters that go to reduce the value of the work performed or of the goods sold; it does not apply to claims based on delay, which are an equitable set-off which can be used in diminution or extinction of the claim, with any surplus to be the subject of a counterclaim.

The contractual requirements in the Mellowes case were similar to the mechanism of section 111 of the Act. In both cases to make any deduction a notice must be given prior to the date on which payment must otherwise be made. The real, and perhaps significant, difference is that clause 23.2.2 of DOM/1 is specific in referring only to set-off in contract to section 111 which concerns the "withholding" of a sum due. Does section 111 therefore extend to abatement?

According to HHJ Bowsher QC it does not. In Whiteways Contractors (Sussex) Ltd v Impresa Castelli Construction UK Ltd he said:

"It is common for a party to a building contract to make deductions from sums claimed on the Final Account (or on earlier interim applications) on account of overpayments on previous applications and it makes no difference whether those deductions are by way of set-off or abatement. The scheme of the HGCRA is to provide that, for the temporary purposes of the Act, notice of such deductions is to be made in manner complying with the requirements of the Act. In making that requirement, the Act makes no distinction between set-offs and abatements. I see no reason why it should have done so, and I am not tempted to try to strain the language of the Act to find some fine distinction between its applicability to abatements as opposed to set-offs. Of course, in considering a dispute, an Adjudicator will make his own valuation of the claim before him and in doing so, he may abate the claim in respects not mentioned in the notice of intention to withhold payment. But he ought not to look into abatements outside the four corners of the claim unless they have been mentioned in a notice of intention to withhold payment. So, to take a hypothetical example, if there is a dispute about Valuation 10, the Adjudicator may make his own valuation of the matters referred to in Valuation 10 whether or not they are referred to specifically in a notice of intention to withhold payment. But it would be wrong for him to enquire into an alleged over valuation on Valuation 6, whether the paying party alleges abatement or set-off, unless the notice of intention to withhold payment identified that as a matter of dispute."

The message is clear, there may be an abatement of a sum claimed even in the absence of the existence of a section 111 notice in relation to that abatement. However, it is difficult to understand the reasoning behind the comment that there is no difference under the Act between deductions by way of set-off or by way of abatement if set-off requires a section 111 notice whereas abatement does not.

In support of Bowsher's finding it may be argued that section 111 applies only to reduce the sum due under the contract, and that the sum due is ascertained after abatement. The wording of the Scheme, which applies in the absence of "an adequate mechanism for determining what payments become due under the contract" … supports this view in that the amount due is based on:

"the value of any work performed in accordance with the relevant construction contract…"

With "value of work" defined as:

"an amount determined in accordance with the construction contract under which the work is performed or where the contract contains no provision, the cost of any work performed in accordance with that contract together with an amount equal to any overhead or profit included in the contract price …"

Section 110

The idea is that a section 110 notice acts as a warning notice. When a party submits its application for payment he should be provided in good time with a detailed response to that application identifying what sums are in fact going to be paid and why. Therefore, if substantial deductions from the application for payment have been made a party can see where these have been made and if necessary can take the matter forward by way of adjudication.

The failure of a party to serve a section 110 notice does not mean that the sum applied for automatically becomes payable unless the contract actually provides for that to be the case, as was the position in VHE Construction Plc v RBSTB Trust Co. In the absence of such express provisions, an adjudicator may abate a claim in respects not mentioned in a notice of intention to withhold as explained by HHJ Bowsher QC in Whiteways Contractors (Sussex) Ltd v Impresa Castelli Construction UK Ltd.

However, even with the power to abate, it would be unwise to ignore section 110 and not serve notices. In practice the Adjudicator may get it wrong and take the view that the sum applied for in the absence of a notice is automatically payable or, more interestingly, take the view that the absence of a section 110 notice in effect shifts the burden of proof so that it is for the paying party to justify in the adjudication why the sum applied for should not be paid in full. Strictly speaking that approach is incorrect as, "he who asserts must prove".

Effect of Section 111

…There is considerable authority which confirms that a party to a contract only intends to give up any common law rights such as set-off where there are clear and express words to that effect. Does section 111 have this effect? The answer is "yes". Adjudicators and the courts are quite rightly taking a robust approach to section 111.

Section 111 of the Act was considered by HHJ Hicks QC in VHE Construction Plc v RBSTB Trust Company

"The first subject of dispute as to the effect of section 111 is whether section 111(1) excludes the right to deduct money in exercise of a claim to set-off in the absence of an effective notice of intention to withhold payment. Mr Thomas, for RBSTB, submits that it does not. I am quite clear, not only that it does, but that that is one of its principal purposes. I was not taken to the reports or other preparatory material leading to the introduction of this part of the Act, nor to anything said in Parliament but the sea of judicial decisions, drafting, fashion and editorial commentary in this area is familiar to anyone acquainted with construction law, and in my judgment, section 111 is directed to providing a definitive resolution of the debate. The words 'may not withhold payment' are in my view ample to have the effect of excluding set-offs and there is no reason why they should not mean what they say."

Therefore, this decision confirms that a party wishing to set-off against sums due must provide a compliant section 111 Notice.

Timing and Content of Notices

There are important provisions as to the timing and content of the notices. It is clear that for any notice to be effective it must be given within the prescribed period. Therefore, if it is given one day outside the prescribed period it will not be effective. Further, it is not acceptable for a party to rely upon what might purport to be a notice provided in advance of any application for payment. This was confirmed by the Scottish Authority of Strathmore Building Services v Colin Scott Greig…Lord Hamilton stated as follows:-

"The purpose of section 111 is to provide a statutory mechanism on compliance with which, but only compliance with which, a party otherwise due to make payment may withhold such payment. It clearly, in my view, envisages a notice given under it being a considered response to the application for payment, in which response it is specified how much of the sum applied for it is proposed to withhold and the ground or grounds for withholding that amount. Such a response cannot, in my view, effectively be made prior to the application itself being made."

In addition to the timing of the notice there are also considerations as to its content … for a notice to be effective the specific wording of section 111 must be complied with in terms of detailing the ground for withholding payment. Further, any notice needs to be in writing, addressed to the other party, sent from or on behalf of, the withholding party and it must state an intention to withhold monies.

In VHE, HHJ Hicks QC stated:-

"Although I assume in RBSTB's favour that a notice under section 111 need not be particularly formal or bear any particular label, nevertheless it must recognisably answer to the description in this section. For that purpose it must be addressed to the other party and section 111 makes no sense without a similar implication. It must also give notice of the giver's proposal to withhold or deduct a specific amount."

Therefore vague letters intimating a possible future claim in respect of LADs or loss and expense will simply not suffice. As to who the notice must come from, in Discain Project Services Ltd v Opecprime Developments Ltd HHJ Bowsher QC … said:

"In the present case, the Adjudicator decided that letters written on notepaper of an associated company of the Defendant did not amount to good notice under section 111 of the Act. I disagree with his decision on that point, and if I was sitting as a Judge of appeal on his decision I would overturn it."

Abatement and Section 111

It is arguable that section 111 does apply to abatement because the expression "to withhold payment" is not limited only to set-off. Both Lord Hamilton and Judge Hicks talk about section 111 in the context of withholding or deducting specific amounts.

In Northern Developments v J & J Nichol, HHJ Bowsher QC stated as follows:-

"The intention of the statute is clearly that if there is to be a dispute about the money of the payment required by section 111, that dispute is to be mentioned in a notice of intention to withhold payment not later than five days after the due date for payment. Equally it is clear from the general scheme of the Act that this is a temporary arrangement which does not prevent the presentation of other set-offs, abatements or indeed counterclaims at a later date by litigation, arbitration, or adjudication. For the temporary striking of balances which are contemplated by the Act, there is to be no dispute about any matter not raised in a notice of intention to withhold payment. Accordingly, in my view, the Adjudicator had no jurisdiction to consider any matter not raised in the notice of intention to withhold payment in this case."

The words "may not withhold payment" are ample in width to exclude set-off. Are they sufficient to exclude common law rights of abatement?

On a related issue it is worth noting the following. Where a party claims an abatement but in fact counterclaims the cost of remedying the defective work, that is more in the nature of a set-off to which section 111 should apply.

However, where a party actually seeks to abate by a reduction in the actual value of the goods as a result of the breach then that is a different matter…


A defence on the basis that the sum claimed is not the sum due (whether by account or by abatement) should be heard by the Adjudicator even in the absence of a valid section 111 notice, provided that this is permitted by the contract terms.

Any party wishing to withhold by way of set-off from monies otherwise due for payment must comply with section 111 of the Act which requires the following:-

  1. The notice to withhold payment must be provided within the prescribed period prior to the final date for payment.
  2. The notice to withhold payment must not be provided prior to the submission of the particular application for payment.
  3. The notice to withhold payment must be sent by the paying party or its authorised agent to the payee.
  4. The notice to withhold payment must specifically state an intention to withhold payment.
  5. The notice to withhold payment must state the total amount of the sum to be withheld.
  6. The notice to withhold payment must state the ground or each ground for withholding payment and the amount attributable to each ground to be withheld.

After Chris gave his paper, HHJ Thornton QC gave judgment in Woods Hardwick v Chiltern Air Conditioning, a decision which attracted far more publicity for his comments on the alleged appearance of partiality on the part of the Adjudicator, but one which also dealt with questions of abatement and section 111 notices. He said as follows:

The adjudicator was concerned with Woods Hardwick's claim for fees following a withholding of payment by Chiltern based on its alleged claims arising out of loss caused by Woods Hardwick's breaches of contract. It was a significant feature of the adjudication that Chiltern had not served any appropriate notice under section 111 of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 ("HGCRA") and was therefore not entitled to withhold payment otherwise due to Woods Hardwick. However, although Woods Hardwick put forward a set-off and cross-claim for damages, its principal grounds for resisting payment in the adjudication were that the monies claimed were not yet due because the project was incomplete; that any fees that were due for payment fell to be abated by virtue of Woods Hardwick's breaches of contract and that no additional work had in fact been carried out by Chiltern.

Any abatement, properly relied on by Chiltern, would not of course be caught by section 111 of the HGCRA, so Chiltern's abatement defence could, in principal, defeat or reduce Woods Hardwick's claims.

It should be noted that whilst Chiltern's defence was not put forward in terms as an abatement, HHJ Thornton QC found that the nature of Chiltern's defence was to the effect that such fees as might otherwise have been due were eliminated or reduced because the value of Woods Hardwick's work was greatly reduced by the alleged breaches of contract. Thus he characterised Chiltern's principal defence as being one of abatement. More recently, the importance of getting your section 111 notice in or at least launching a cross-adjudication has come to the fore in two cases. The first is In Re A Company (number 1299 of 2001) where Mr David Donaldson QC sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge in the Chancery Division concluded that the failure to serve a withholding notice pursuant to section 111 means that a contractor has an undisputed debt for the amount demanded in an application for payment. Consequently, this debt may form the basis of a statutory demand, which, if unpaid within 21 days, may justify a petition to wind up the debtor. Here the Court refused to restrain the winding-up petition because:-

  1. It was undisputed as the main contractor's surveyor had certified the sums were due and the right to withhold had been forfeited as a result of the main contractor's breach of section 111; and
  2. The Court further refused to exercise its discretion to dismiss the petition because the main contractor had failed to take any steps to pursue its cross-claim by way of a separate adjudication or other proceedings, although the contractor had claims for set-off and/or abatement which would have extinguished the debt claimed under the statutory demand.

The second decision is a decision of Lord MacFadyen in SL Timber Systems Ltd v Carillon Construction Ltd. This decision is particularly relevant because Lord MacFadyen said that the Adjudicator was wrong in law to simply award the claimant under the adjudication the sum claimed in full because of a failure to give a timeous notice under Section 111. The Adjudicator here had adopted the position that any or every attempt to dispute a claim made under a construction contract was to be regarded for the purpose of Section 111 as an attempt to "withhold" payment and therefore so requiring a notice of intention to withhold payment. Lord MacFadyen stated that:-

In my opinion, the absence of a timeous notice of intention to withhold payment does not relieve the party making the claim of the ordinary burden of showing that he is entitled under the contract to receive the payment he claims. It remains incumbent on the claimant to demonstrate, if the point is disputed, that the sum claimed is contractually due. If he can do that, he is protected, by the absence of a Section 111 notice, from any attempt on the part of the other party to withhold all or part of the sum which is due on the basis that some separate ground justifying that course exists… I see no difficulty in an adjudicator reaching a determination of a dispute as to whether the sum claimed is due under the contract… In my opinion, therefore, the adjudicator erred in holding that the pursuers were relieved, by the defendant's failure to give a timeous notice of intention to withhold payment, of the need to show that the sums claimed were due under the contract.

However, whilst the reasoning of the Judge may give some comfort to anyone who has failed to submit a withholding notice within the relevant period, there was a sting in the tail.

The Adjudicator had been asked to determine whether a timeous notice of intent to withhold payment had been given. He said that it had not. The question which then arose was whether, in that event, an obligation arose to pay the sums claimed. He addressed that question and answered it in the affirmative. Even though the Judge held that he got the answer wrong, because he had answered the right question, the decision (in accordance with the Macob principles) was upheld.

It is not enough merely to say that you have a set-off or abatement. You must do something about it.

Fenwick Elliott continue to be one of the backers of this premier adjudication website. If you log on you will find not only full up-to-date details (including where possible transcripts) of the latest reported decisions, but also practical assistance on all aspects of the adjudication process. It is also possible to request the appointment of an adjudicator from the site.

If you have any comments, either fill in the feedback form on the site or contact Chris Hough.

Human Rights

In last year's Review we outlined the framework of the Human Rights Act and speculated on some of the likely implications for the construction industry.

One of the concerns expressed by the courts was that the implementation of the Act would lead to a mass of challenges based on breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights. Practitioners were effectively warned off by Lord Woolf against making challenges which were unlikely to succeed.

It does seem that the Act has not led to a floodgate of challenges and certainly, although some early challenges succeeded, some (most recently the Alconbury planning decision in the House of Lords) have been overturned.

Before the implementation of the Act, the biggest worry for the industry was the likely effect on adjudication. There were those who said that adjudication was likely to be found to be contrary to Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights in that one of the parties would be deprived of its right to a fair trial.

However, there have been two judgments which suggest that, for the time being at least, the Human Rights Act is not directly applicable to adjudication. In the first, Elanay v The Vestry, HHJ Havery QC held that article 6, particularly the right of every party to have a reasonable opportunity of presenting its case, does not apply to adjudication proceedings under the HGCRA, since they do not involve a final determination of the rights of the parties that determination is only binding pending final determination by arbitration or litigation.

The second decision was that of HHJ Bowsher QC made on 11 April 2001 and we set out below an extract from a talk on Human Rights given to the RICS by Simon Tolson in May of this year:

In what is a very well-reasoned judgment, His Honour Judge Bowsher QC… delivered a landmark judgment for the Technology and Construction Court to the effect that the Human Rights Act and the conventions thereunder are not applicable to construction adjudication.

Austin Hall, the claimant, were a building contractors. Buckland Securities, the defendant, were the employers and engaged Austin Hall to carry out building work for a job in East London. Austin Hall submitted its final account in draft. Agreement could not be reached on the account and at the end of last year Austin Hall commenced adjudication. Buckland Securities made allegations in the adjudication which were repeated in their defence to the enforcement proceedings, which went against them in the sum of £81,000-odd with interest at 5% above base rate of the Bank of England. The main issue with which Judge Bowsher was to deal was whether, in acting in accordance with the statutory Scheme for Construction Contracts (itself subordinate legislation) laid down by the HGCR Act (primary legislation), the Adjudicator had acted incompatibly with the defendant's right to a fair and public hearing under article 6 of the Convention. In particular the defendant complained that:

  1. the statutory requirement that the Adjudicator reach a decision in 28 days was manifestly unfair, since it did not allow the defendant sufficient time to prepare its case;
  2. the defendant was not given a public hearing and the Adjudicator's decision was not pronounced publicly.

Judge Bowsher remarked that in many cases coming before the Technology and Construction Court on the enforcement of adjudications, it had become commonplace to look at the Convention and in particular article 6. It is helpful for these purposes to recite the full provision:

"In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgments shall be pronounced publicly but the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the trial in the interest of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interest of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice."

The Judge was taken to authorities which demonstrated that the right to fair administration of justice is so important that article 6 is to be given a broad and purposive interpretation1.

Prior to considering article 6, Judge Bowsher examined the terms of the Human Rights Act 1998 to see how, and in what manner, the Convention is made part of English law. He referred to section 1 of the Act which indicates that article 6 is one of the "Convention rights" in the Act. Section 2 requires the court to take into account the jurisprudence of the Strasbourg Court. Section 3 was said to be particularly important to the facts of this case because:

  1. "So far as it is possible to do so, primary legislation and subordinate legislation must be read and given effect in a way which is compatible with the Convention rights;
  2. This section applies to primary legislation and subordinate legislation whenever enacted; it does not affect the validity, continuing operation or enforcement of any incompatible primary legislation."

The Judge referred to section 4 which gives the court the power to make a declaration of incompatibility, this being one of the declarations that was sought in the case upon notice then given to the Crown pursuant to section 5 of the Act.

Judge Bowsher made it plain that even if the necessary notices had been given, he would not consider making a declaration of incompatibility without evidence of the workings of adjudication in general and much more argument on the law.

On the first question that he dealt with, namely "Did the Convention apply to adjudicators?" he answered that question by reference to section 6 of the 1998 Act. He concluded that there was a short answer to the defendant's case which was that even assuming that the Adjudicator is a public authority (on which he expressed grave doubts) and that the Act applies article 6 of the Convention to his conduct, almost the whole of his conduct complained of is covered by section 6(2) of the Act.

He found that since subsection (1) does not apply to an act if - as a result of one or more provisions of primary legislation - the authority could not have acted differently. It followed that in order to comply with the 28-day time limit provided by the statute, the Adjudicator could not have acted differently in imposing the time limits that he set on the parties. Therefore since the Adjudicator, Mr Linnett, was acting in accordance with primary legislation, even if the Convention applies to his function, the defendant cannot pray in aid the Convention right or rights concerned in any legal proceedings under section 7(1)(b) as a defence to application for enforcement. That was Judge Bowsher's short answer. A point not covered by this answer is a point made on the second day of the hearing that the defendant was not given a public hearing and that the judgment was not pronounced publicly.

The Judge viewed this area fully on the authorities brought to his attention by Counsel. He remarked that it would be possible for the Adjudicator to pronounce his decision publicly. The Judge doubted whether there had ever been a public hearing between parties to an adjudication.

Because of the complaint of lack of publicity Judge Bowsher ruled that he was compelled to address the whole argument.

In relation to the first question, namely whether an adjudicator is a public authority and on that account required not to act in a way which is incompatible with the Convention, he reviewed various European authorities of the European Court and the Commission on the question of waiver of the right to a public hearing which was being considered by the European Court of Human Rights in a number of cases2.

In the course of the case there was argument as to the nature of the act of the Adjudicator and whether it was private in the sense of section 6(5) of the Act. He decided that an adjudicator was not unlike a certifier but somewhere closer along the scale to a court or tribunal.

Applying the definition of tribunal in section 21 of the Human Rights Act in the light of the decisions to which he was referred, he concluded that he did not regard an adjudicator under the HGCR Act as a person before whom legal proceedings may be brought. He said that legal proceedings result in a judgment or order that in itself can be enforced. That is not the case with an adjudicator. The language of the HGCR Act is that an adjudicator makes a decision. He does not make a judgment. Nor does he make an award as an arbitrator does though of course he can order his decision to be complied with. He highlighted the fact that the decision of an adjudicator, like the decision of a certifier, is not enforceable of itself. These decisions, like the decisions of a certifier, can be relied on as the basis of an application to the court for judgment, but they are not themselves enforceable.

On balance, Judge Bowsher concluded that an adjudicator exercising functions of the sort required by the HGCR Act is not a public authority and is not bound by the Human Rights Act not to act in a way incompatible with the Convention subject to the limitation provided by section 6(2) of the HGCR Act. Proceedings therefore before an adjudicator are not legal proceedings. They are a process designed to avoid the need for legal proceedings. In coming to this conclusion Judge Bowsher remarked that he approached the matter from a different direction from His Honour Judge Havery QC in the Elanay decision. He referred to the Building Law Reports editorial which described the Elanay decision as "intellectually respectable". Judge Bowsher did not agree with Judge Havery in saying that the reason why article 6 did not apply is because the decision or determination was not a final determination. He reached his alternative view having looked to the jurisprudence from the European Court of Human Rights. Judge Bowsher believed that an adjudicator's decision is binding in the sense that it is an extremely important decision that might result in one party being put into liquidation or bankruptcy to save another from a similar fate and was at least as important as a decision of the court making an order for a temporary injunction for payment on account. No-one would suggest that a court making orders of that sort should not comply with the common law rules of natural justice.

So in conclusion, Judge Bowsher found that an adjudicator acting under section 108 of the HGCR Act was not a public authority and was not bound by the Human Rights Act which required decision makers to act in a way which was not incompatible with the Convention. He found that proceedings before an adjudicator were not legal proceedings, but a process designed to avoid the need for them.

He found that even if an adjudicator were a public authority for the purposes of the Act, the whole process necessary to the Adjudicator's decision had to be considered to decide whether there had been a breach of article 6. Considering this process as a whole, including the core proceedings necessary to enforce the decision, he found that there had been a public hearing before the decision was enforced.

In applying the statutory 28-day time limit for his decision the Adjudicator could not have acted differently and he held that there was therefore no breach of Article 6 of the Convention as the exception under section 6(2)(a) of the Act applied because primary legislation dictated the Adjudicator could not act differently. He went on to hold that to found a complaint of lack of publicity under section 7 of the 1998 Act, the defendant had to show that he would have been "a victim of the unlawful act". The defendant had not asked the Adjudicator at the outset or at any time before his decision for a public hearing and public pronouncement of the decision and thus had not acted like a victim. In fact the defendant waived any right to a public or private hearing, if any existed, by failing to ask for it.

Following Austin Hall we now have a first-rate High Court decision to the effect that the Human Rights Act does not apply to adjudication. What is now awaited is a period during which that decision is either adopted as universally right in later judgments, or left in the cold. It is obviously not binding but only persuasive under our laws of precedence on later High Court cases. The reasoning of the Judge certainly seems to suggest that one needs a lot more than a strong headwind and a favourable incline to establish a contrary position.

There is, however, every possibility that the Court of Appeal and/or the House of Lords will some day soon sweep a clean broom and turn this all on its head.

For the time being at least we do have some certainty. We now know that natural justice does have a place in adjudication and breaches of those common law principles, provided they are not material, are unlikely to affect the enforceability of adjudication decisions per se.

We also know that the process of that adjudication is not one which involves a decision by a public body but is essentially private and that, essentially, it is accordant with the exceptions which avoid the Convention being an impediment to this process of adjudication foisted upon the industry by Parliament - watch this space!

Indeed, in May a decision was given in the TCC which suggests that the Human Rights Act is still going to have a significant impact. In Marcic v Thames Water Utilities Ltd, the claimant had suffered repeated and serious flooding from the sewer system. He made claims based on nuisance, negligence, and breach of statutory duty against Thames Water. These were rejected by HHJ Havery QC.

However, under Section 6 of the Human Rights Act it is unlawful for a public authority to act in a manner incompatible with rights under the ECHR. Article 8 relates to respect for private and family life and article 1 to the first protocol relates to the protection of property. HHJ Havery QC held that Thames Water's failure to carry out works to prevent the repeated flooding amounted to an interference with those rights.

Therefore, Thames Water was in breach of Section 6 of the HRA. Nevertheless a public authority may have a defence by virtue of the principle of proportionality. It is necessary to strike a fair balance between the general interest of the community and protection of the individual's rights. Here, in particular after consideration of the financial position of Thames Water, notwithstanding the competing demands on its resources, HHJ Havery QC found that Mr Marcic's rights under the HRA had been infringed.

What is clear though is that had Mr Marcic's claim been brought before the introduction of the HRA, it would have failed.

The Woolf Reforms

The Lord Chancellor's Department certainly considers that the changes introduced by the procedural reforms in April 1999 have worked well so far. This conclusion can be found in a Report produced in March 2001 entitled Emerging Findings.

One of the key findings of the Report is that the pre-action protocols are working well to improve the rate of settlement and reduce the number of (ill-considered) claims. In last year's Review we discussed the draft pre-action protocol for construction disputes which was produced by TeCSA. This was formally introduced in October of last year.

The importance of following the protocol was spelt out by HHJ Wilcox on the case of Paul Thomas Construction Ltd v Hyland & Anr where, after the claimant unsuccessfully applied for summary judgment he ordered that the claimant pay the Defendant's costs to date on an indemnity basis because of the unreasonable manner in which the claimant had conducted itself. HHJ Wilcox said:

Culpability here means wholly unreasonable behaviour. That must be measured against the reasonable conduct of reasonable solicitors at the time and must be informed by the current rules and, in particular, paragraph 4 of the pre-action protocol. I take the view that it was wholly unnecessary to commence this litigation. It was wholly unreasonable. It is clear that there could have been and should have been explored alternative dispute resolution. That may include sensible discussions between the parties not necessarily involving a third party. In my judgment, there is in those terms some culpability in this case. In my judgment, indemnity costs are warranted.

These comments were reinforced by the comments of Mr Justice Neuberger in Liverpool City Council v Rosemary Chevasse Ltd who said:

The whole of Lord Woolf's reforms are directed to enabling the parties to understand what their position is before trial in order to relieve them of the considerable burden of a full-scale hearing.

The decline in the number of claims issued may have stabilised albeit at a much lower level. Figures from the TCC show the following:-

Claims Issued: 1997 611
1998 538
1999 346
2000 344

However, in the first three months of this year the number of claims issued dropped from 86 in the first three months of 2000 to 64. Of the claims issued in 2000, approximately 25% related to the enforcement of adjudicators' decisions.

The number of actions tried has remained constant: 73 in 1997 and 68 in 2000. Finally, if you issued a claim in April 2001 unless it was so complex that the trial would last for more than 20 days it is likely that you would get a trial date no later than November of next year.

The LCD Report figures confirm this trend. More specifically, they show an increase in the number of claims issued just before the introduction of the Reforms followed by a swift decline. Although there has been a gradual increase since then, the number of cases remains at a lower level.

Equally, less cases are actually reaching trial. For fast track cases (where claims are worth less than £15,000) the proportion of settlements as withdrawals before the hearing day has risen from 50% to 70%. For multi-track cases the figure has risen from 63% to 72%.

The use of ADR claims continues to rise. This is bound to continue. In March 2001 the Lord Chancellor announced that the government:-

…wants to lead the way in demonstrating that legal disputes do not have to end up in court. Very often, there will be alternative ways of settling the issues at stake which are simpler, cheaper, quicker and less stressful to all concerned than an adversarial court case.

He further indicated that standard government procurement contracts would include clauses to use ADR to resolve disputes not litigation.

Expert Evidence

Perhaps one of the more controversial, or at least most widely discussed, of the reforms introduced by the new CPR were the changes proposed in relation to expert evidence. Whilst, for example, the introduction of the single joint expert was not strictly a new idea, since the option had always been available in the past, it had seldom been used. The changes set out in CPR 35 suggested that its use was expected to become far more widespread.

Now that a couple of years have passed, it is interesting to consider what impact, if any, the changes have had on expert evidence.

The LCD Report, referred to above, focuses on the use of the single joint expert declaring that the "use of single joint experts appears to have worked well. It is likely that their use has contributed to a less adversarial culture, earlier settlement and may have cut costs."

The use of the single joint expert is gradually taking off. According to the LCD Report, the single joint expert has been used in 41% of the cases where there has been expert evidence. However, what the report does not do is distinguish between particular types of cases. There remains a concern that for the larger more complex cases, even if a single joint expert has been appointed, parties will appoint their own expert to shadow the court-appointed expert thereby not achieving the costs saving which was part of the whole point of this particular change.

There have not been too many reported decisions involving the single joint expert. One of the more interesting is Kranidiotes v Paschali & Anr, where the Court of Appeal had to consider the actions of a Judge who had appointed a single joint expert to prepare a report on the market value of shares. A fee cap of £10,000 was set. The expert realised that the extent of the material supplied was such that he could not prepare a report within the cap and accordingly sought directions from the Judge.

The Judge decided he had to achieve a fair result and also one which was proportionate to the issues in dispute. The maximum sum recoverable by the claimant was £80,000. The expert suggested that his costs could amount to £70,000. Therefore, the Judge decided to use his discretion and dispense with the services of the first expert and appoint a cheaper one.

The Court of Appeal declined to interfere with this case management decision since it felt that the Judge had not exceeded his discretion. The Judge believed that the cheaper quote would still ensure that guidance could be given at trial on the claims being made. The sum of money in issue had not warranted a payment of substantial costs and the Judge had stressed at all times the need to achieve a fair and proportionate result.

In an Admiralty case, Owners of the Ship "Pelopidas" v Owners of the Ship "TRSL Concord", Judge David Steel QC reiterated that expert evidence was not admissible without leave of the Court. If parties sought advice without an Order, those costs would not be recoverable. He also noted the potential advantages of a single joint expert to run the software necessary to plot the course of ships. Something specific to those courts maybe, but a useful pointer to judicial thinking in general.

The courts do recognise that, particularly in the complex cases, it might be unjust to compel parties to rely on the single joint expert. In Cosgrove & Anr v Pattison & Anr, Neuberger J allowed an appeal by the Defendants that they be permitted to instruct an expert of their own since they were unhappy with the report prepared by the single joint expert. Amongst the relevant factors was the fact that thousands of pounds were at stake and the fact that because the hearing was some way off the instruction of another expert would have little effect on the hearing date and the claimants would still have the opportunity to instruct their own expert.

The recent unreported decision of HHJ Wilcox in A de Grouchy Holdings Ltd v House of Fraser Stores Ltdgives a good example of the single joint expert at work in the TCC.

Here, the expert understood his role to "put myself in the shoes of the PQS and provide a report to the court".

HHJ Wilcox said of the court expert:

… The only expert evidence before me is that of Mr Wishart. I judge him to be an independent witness, who is both highly experienced and impressive. The court's duty is to consider his evidence as evidence in the case in the light of the instructions he has been given by the parties and to give it the appropriate weight after cross-examination and any testing there may be, together with all of the other evidence there may be. Merely because a witness is a jointly instructed expert does not mean that he is deciding the case on these issues. Nonetheless, where the approach of the expert is careful and reasoned and where by his approach he demonstrates that he is both an experienced and well-qualified witness in the field that he is giving evidence in, the court would have to have very good reason for substituting another view and for not giving considerable weight to his evidence. It is evident in this case that Mr Wishart was put under pressure of time. That of course can affect the degree of care that can be given to the consideration of the technical issues. Where it did so, Mr Wishart properly pointed that out. Where he would have wanted substantiation, and either none was available, or incomplete substantiation was provided, he said so and the effect upon his ascertainment figures was apparent and clear to the court…

It would be fair to say that in The Royal Brompton Hospital National Health Service Trust v Frederick Alexander Hammond and Others, HHJ Seymour QC took a far less favourable view of the expert evidence presented to him, this time by experts instructed by the parties. Whilst we are not, of course, aware of the full circumstances of the case, his comments are valuable as an indicator of some of the concerns a court may have about expert evidence generally.

In fact, the parties in this particular case relied solely upon expert evidence and no witness of fact having direct knowledge of the progress of the works was called.

The Judge was particularly damning of experts who allow themselves insufficient time to get properly au fait with the paperwork, and who accept from their instructing solicitors, or themselves make, factual assumptions intended to circumvent a full investigation. Here the expert architect and project manager were "put in the unhappy position of being invited to give evidence to support cases…which they had no hand in formulating".

This led the Judge to criticise one of the experts for seeking to "bolster the claimant's case by giving inaccurate information" which served to "fatally undermine his position as an independent expert doing his best to assist the court."

Equally one of the experts acting for one of the Defendants was held to have had "an excess of enthusiasm" for that particular case. This, of course, is not something that would affect the court appointed expert.

The Judge took the opportunity to set out what the court expects from an expert who is called upon to deal with allegations of professional negligence:

It is, in my judgment, essential for an expert witness in the trial of a professional negligence action to perform what is actually a very difficult task, at least unless one is experienced in doing it, and that is to put on one side his own personal professional standards and to concentrate on the standards of the ordinarily competent member of his profession. There is a natural temptation to regard one's own standards as those which should be shared by all members of one's profession, but as those who are approached to act as expert witnesses are often approached just because they are especially prominent members of their profession or particularly experienced it is a temptation which must be resisted.

It is also fair to say that the Judge queried the lack of contemporary knowledge of experts who no longer actively practice in the field but who devote most of their time to providing expert or consultancy services.

One area where the Judge did take account of expert evidence was in relation to the question whether a failure on the part of the employer to give in due time access to the site of the works or any part thereof, but which had not caused any delay to the progress of the works, entitled the contractor to any extension of time. It was said by the experts that there was a body of opinion among those who have to make decisions as to whether to grant extensions of time to contractors in respect of the failure of employers to afford access to building sites that there was an automatic entitlement in such circumstances. Although the experts were not architects, the Judge did not disregard their evidence:

…are both professional men working in the construction industry in capacities which require them to be familiar with the practices of those who make decisions about the grant of extensions of time to contractors employed on the terms of the Standard Form. The opinion of which each of them said he was aware as being held by a body of persons is canvassed in some of the leading legal text books in this area of the law. The fact that, on the evidence, WGI also subscribed to that opinion, at least in 1989, was not, in my judgment, negligent.

Ultimately, owing to the absence of any credible, expert evidence, HHJ Seymour QC held that the Court may only substitute its own judgment and commonsense in the most straightforward of cases. The Court is not in a position to provide a view on any matter in respect of which any special skill, training or expertise is required to make an informed assessment. Thus the one finding of negligence was based upon correspondence which made it clear that WGI was addressing its mind not to the likely completion date of the works as a whole (in respect of which the extension of time was granted), but rather the likely extended date for completion of the floor works alone. This was a finding he felt able to derive from the documents in the absence of any witnesses of fact or any credible expert evidence.

Of course, what can be seen coming through is the need for every expert to be familiar with the seven key principles of expert evidence set out by Mr Justice Cresswell in The Ikarian Reefer [1993] 2 Lloyds Rep 68. These principles endorsed by the Court of Appeal, were widely circulated at the time and became the standard by which experts were judged. The Court of Appeal gave firm guidance in Stevens v Gullis, where Lord Woolf had no hesitation in approving a trial Judge's decision to exclude the Defendant's expert evidence:-

… The position was made clear in numerous authorities but, in particular, in the decision of Cresswell J in the Ikarian Reefer [1993] 2 Lloyd's Rep 68 ... There can be no excuse, based upon the fact that the CPR only came into force on 26 April 1999, for the fact that Mr Isaac did not understand the requirements of the courts with regard to experts. Those requirements are underlined by the CPR. It is now clear from the rules that, in addition to the duty which an expert owes to a party, he is also under a duty to the court.

The requirements of the practice direction that an expert understands his responsibilities, and is required to give details of his qualifications and the other matters set out in paragraph 1 of the practice direction, are intended to focus the mind of the expert on his responsibilities in order that the litigation may progress in accordance with the overriding principles contained in Part 1 of the CPR.

The expert must understand exactly what is required of him as an expert witness under the CPR. If he does not, then the sanctions are likely to be draconian.

HHJ Toulmin QC agreed with the importance of the Ikarian Reefer. In Anglo Group plc v Winther Brown he re-affirmed the seven principles and then soundly criticised one set of experts for failing to distinguish between the roles of the negotiator and the expert, which inevitably led to suspicions of partisanship.

The same Judge in the case of Pride Valley Foods v Hall & Partners held that expert evidence was inadmissible, in part due to the fact that the report in question dealt with a number of matters which were for the court to decide and not the expert, for example to making a number of findings of fact. Further, the case related to the question of the alleged negligence of a project manager and the expert had made judgment from the viewpoint of a professional architect and designer.

The recent case of Stringfellow v Blyth demonstrates the need for care to ensure that an agreed report is actually agreed. Here, despite the fact that the trial Judge and the Defendant's expert disputed that the report had been agreed, the Court of Appeal found that the trial Judge should not have gone behind the agreed expert report.

This decision might seem to conflict slightly with the views of HHJ Seymour QC about the status of the single joint expert's report. However, here the experts had reached an agreement that presumably would have to stand unless the factual matrix changed.

The duty of the expert witness includes the need to make oneself available to do the work required when it is required. Deadlines are tighter under the new regime. The penalties for failing to meet them can be severe, ranging from costs to the dismissal of a case. Just as costs awards can (and will) be made against solicitors, it is not inconceivable that an expert might find himself vulnerable to such a finding from the court.

In Matthews v Tarmac, the Court of Appeal confirmed the need to take all practical steps to ensure that witnesses, including experts, are available for the trial. The Court will not necessarily be sympathetic if an expert is unavailable, since he has made a deliberate career choice to follow this particular field. The Court noted that expert doctors holding themselves out as practising in the legal field had to be prepared, as far as practicable, to rearrange their diaries to meet the commitments of the court.

Rule 35.3 states that the Court's permission to call expert evidence is required in all cases. This complete court control is probably the biggest change of all. Whilst there will always be cases where expert evidence is necessary, whether that evidence is called or not is ultimately up to the Court and up to the Court alone; and when that evidence is called woe betide any expert who is unfamiliar with the various rules and guides.

In Mutch v Allen, the Court of Appeal considered Rule 35.6 of the CPR, which enables a party to submit written questions to the other side's expert. At a case management conference, a District Judge had allowed the Defendant to put written questions to the claimant's medical expert. This order was reversed on the basis that the replies did more than merely clarify the report.

The Court of Appeal disagreed. The District Judge had given permission for the questions to be put. The claimant had not objected. Had the expert been called to give oral evidence, the Defendant would have asked the same questions in cross-examination.

One of the essential reforms behind CPR 35 was to ensure that an expert witness no longer served exclusively the interests of the party by whom he had been instructed and to ensure that his expertise was available to all so that the Court was provided with all relevant material in the most cost-effective way. By way of example, CPR 35.11 provides that one party can use the other party's expert report even if that party chose not to rely upon it.

This is not so new after all, since it, like many of the other reforms, mirrors the seven Ikarian Reefer principles which remain, six years on, the starting point for any expert.


As from 1 January 2001, Fenwick Elliott has provided a free legal advice service to members of the CIOB.

The terms of the arrangement are that we offer members up to 30 minutes of free legal advice. In addition, we provide editorials for each issue of Contact, the CIOB members' newsletter, and regular articles to Construction Manager magazine. We have also provided speakers for CIOB branch meetings.

If you require any further information please contact Victoria Russell, who became a Fellow of the CIOB in May and who wrote the following article for Contact on pre-action disclosure under the Woolf Reforms.

Under the Civil Procedure Rules introduced by Lord Woolf as part of his sweeping reforms to the litigation process, you can apply for what is called "pre-action disclosure", in other words early disclosure of the other party's documents.

The first reported decision of the TCC on this point was in the case of Burrells v Galliard. Burrells alleged that Galliard had breached building regulations. Burrells' expert provided affidavit evidence to the effect that in order properly to investigate the allegations, he needed to consider the documents which showed what was required or allowed by the Building Control Authorities. He made efforts to look at these documents at the local authority but was denied access. He then went on to say that with the relevant documents, his firm's costs would be in the region of £75,000-£100,000 for preparing a detailed schedule of complaint, but without the documents this figure could well rise to £150,000.

Burrells told the Judge, Mr Justice Dyson, that proceedings were likely and said that disclosure of these documents was desirable before proceedings actually started in order to dispose fairly of those proceedings, assist the dispute to be resolved without proceedings and/or save costs. Galliard said that it was not likely that there would be proceedings at all and went on to say that the documents being sought by Burrells were not required to enable them to produce an accurate and complete schedule of defects. They said that Burrells' expert was looking at every flat in the particular development and knew which regulations were applicable at the time of construction, so could work things out for himself.

Mr Justice Dyson commented that:

"The hostility that this application has generated bodes ill for the future resolution of this dispute. I am told that Galliard has incurred legal costs in excess of £20,000 in meeting this application alone. This is hardly a good example of the brave new world of co-operation and more affordable litigation that was supposed to have been ushered in by the Woolf reforms. The correspondence between the solicitors makes depressing reading. … My strong impression from a brief perusal of the many documents that have been placed before me is that, unless there is a change of attitude between these parties and their legal advisers, litigation is highly likely, if not inevitable."

He described the dispute as "unusual in that the allegations are predominantly, if not exclusively, made on the basis of breaches of building regulations. This is not a typical construction defects case. … A central feature of this case will be to ascertain what the building control officers required and/or authorised for the purposes of meeting the standards specified in the building regulations. … Having regard to the nature of the allegations that Burrells seeks to make, I am satisfied that the documents are likely to enable Burrells to produce a schedule that is significantly more accurate than would otherwise be possible … in my view it would be far better to give Burrells the material they need to prepare an accurate schedule now, so as to avoid, as far as possible, future amendments. Amendments cause delay and generate costs."

In his conclusion, Mr Justice Dyson emphasised that his judgment should not be construed as "indicating a relaxed approach to applications for pre-action disclosure". To obtain such an order, it will still be necessary to show the following:-

  1. The likelihood of proceedings;
  2. That the documents to which the application relates would be disclosed in any event if proceedings were started;
  3. That pre-action disclosure is desirable to dispose fairly of the anticipated proceedings, to assist resolution of the dispute without proceedings and/or to save costs.

Health and Safety

Last year we highlighted some of the proposed changes to the law, particularly the introduction of the crime of Corporate Manslaughter, which the present Government intends to bring in. However, given that the proposed reforms were not included in the recent Queen's Speech, that implementation will be delayed for at least another year. The Home Office Report on the consultation has still not been published. Whilst no legislation has been introduced yet, we have no doubt that, particularly after the Cullen Report on the Paddington train crash, it will be fairly shortly.

As Vijay Bange makes clear, in an extract from a paper on health and safety given at our Construction Update Seminar held in Birmingham in February 2001, the less than satisfactory health and safety performance of the construction industry has continued to cause concern within the industry, its governing bodies and the government.

The indications from the HSE are that despite the tough stance taken for health and safety breaches, there continues to be an unacceptably high incidence of accidents and fatalities involving construction activities. The need for effective management of risk to life and limb in construction unfortunately does not lie well with the organisational weaknesses that arise from the division between the parties conceiving, procuring, designing and planning a project on the one hand and those executing it on the other. This weakness is made worse by the contractual fragmentation that has developed over the last ten or so years…

Main areas of deaths and injuries

Falling through fragile roofs and roof lights: The HSE recommend that contractors take the following basic steps: prevent access, provide safety nets, cover fragile roof lights and roofing, to prevent operatives falling through and to mitigate the consequences.

Falling from ladders: Ladders ought only to be used as a means of access. They must at all times be secure.

Falling from scaffolds and other works: The issue of falls from heights continues to be a main problem and still accounts for nearly half of all construction fatalities and a quarter of all major injury accidents on construction sites.

Accidents with vehicles: … Companies fail to assess the risks, provide segregation measures and to have in place procedures for loading, off loading and reversing of vehicles … Lafarge Redland Aggregates Limited…pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the HSWA. … A 32-year-old man from Merryhill, Wolverhampton, sustained multiple fractures after being run over by a reversing lorry in March 1998. The Court fined the company £75,000 and also ordered it to pay costs of £55,000.

Crushed by collapsing structures: Contractors must seek and follow advice from qualified structural engineers. They should also use remote demolition techniques.

Electrocution: Steps must be taken to ensure that the supply is isolated and tested as such before commencing work at/or near conductors. Contractors should ensure that operatives are not put at risk by working near overhead power lines.

Areas the subject of particular attention by the HSE

… HSE inspectors make on or around 20,000 preventative inspections, investigate over 1000 accidents and some 7000 complaints. In 1999, some 2070 Prohibition notices were made with 537 convictions, all in relation to construction activities. The HSE has declared that it intends to increase the proportion of notified accidents they investigate, no doubt so that they can bring home the message that those who cause injury by flouting the law must change their practice. The HSE over the past year have targeted certain activities which have been the subject of some close scrutiny.

Management: Elimination of hazards and controlling risks through compliance with CDM. For instance, eliminating the use of fragile roof lights, both in new and refurbished buildings.

Scaffolding activities: Controlling risks to scaffolders and to the public and other workers from falling material and scaffold collapses. Scaffolding sites must have boarding to prevent injury from falling objects to passers by.

The provision and use of harnesses: The last few years have seen a culture change with regard to the use by operatives of harnesses following a concerted campaign by the HSE, who have set up various awareness initiatives and advertisement campaigns in the construction press. Recent years have also seen various … spot checks on building sites to ensure compliance.

Asbestos: Ensuring that appropriate precautions are taken by licensed contractors, including work with asbestos insulation boards.

Transport: Individuals, both members of the public and workers, being run over by vehicles and plant remains a major cause of accidents and fatalities on construction sites. There should be segregation of people from vehicles and plant, elimination of reversing and/or use by contractors of suitable reversing aids ...

Hand/Arm Vibration Syndrome and noise … more commonly known in the industry as vibration white finger or HAVS. The aim is to eliminate or reduce risk from HAVS and noise at the design stage and managing risk, particularly during scabbling, pile head removal by breaker and hand tunnelling. This risk occurs when there has been long-term, frequent and intensive use of equipment which produces vibration and noise i.e. pneumatic breakers, disc grinders …

Heavy blocks: Initiatives are in place for limiting the weight that manual labourers should be allowed to lift to 20 kilograms for concrete blocks. We already have 25 kg cement and sandbags. The lifting of heavy blocks is being discouraged so as to prevent potential personal injury claims from brickies and other labourers, for instance back-related problems. The HSE are trying to tackle the problem at source i.e. to encourage designers to specify lighter blocks. Generally, designers should be trying to design out the use of such heavy blocks. In the instances where it is not practical for designers to specify lighter blocks, then there must be a safe handling procedure.

Other potential problem areas

Illegal workers: Recent times have seen the arrival in the UK of greater numbers of individuals seeking asylum. It is common knowledge that on some sites there may be a small percentage of labour drawn from asylum seekers and/or illegal immigrants. Of course, if an individual does not have permission to work in this country because of his temporary status, then it is illegal for him to work without express permission from the authorities. Assuming that such an individual does have permission to work, the company engaging him should have procedures/arrangements whereby site rules, instructions, etc. can be conveyed where there may be language difficulties. For instance, if there is a group of such labour then there should be a nominated leader who can translate and make the other operatives fully aware of site rules, instructions, etc. This could be relevant where groups of specialist tradesmen are engaged to work on a project.

Contaminated land: Due to a general lack of greenfield sites available for new housing, this Government has taken a policy decision that more brownfield sites in the UK must be utilised. In the West Midlands vast regions of the Black Country, including areas such as Tipton, have historically been the centre of heavy industry. Much of that has now disappeared. Developers will need to ensure that land is assessed for any contamination. It may be necessary, prior to development, for either the developer or the contractor dealing with the works to safely remove the contamination. Where contractors are aware that the site is contaminated they must ensure that a risk assessment is undertaken. Clear procedures to ensure safety on site from any risks of contamination must be in place i.e. special protective clothing if heavy contamination, removal to designated and approved tips of spoil, etc. and possible decontamination areas.

HSE campaigns/new initiatives

The HSE have launched various campaigns and initiatives to improve standards in the construction industry.

Working well together: The HSE, together with the construction industry, have launched the "working well together" initiative. This has proved to be something of a success in raising levels of awareness on safety issues. The working well together website ( has been receiving over 1,000 hits a day. The website provides free downloads and action plans.

Responsibilities of Directors: The HSE produced a consultation document CD167, seeking comments to a proposal to develop a code of practice of directors' responsibilities for health and safety in conjunction with stakeholders. The HSE want to make directors more accountable for lapses in health and safety. The code will be prefaced by a standard introductory paragraph which essentially states that whilst it is not compulsory to follow it, in doing so a director will normally be doing enough to comply with the law. However, compliance with it will illustrate good practice…

Worker safety advisers pilot scheme: This is essentially a partnership between the unions and the HSE. Pursuant to this, worker safety advisers are to be selected and trained by the TUC. Access to sites will be on a voluntary basis. They will liaise directly with the HSE.

Public register of legal notices: On 25 October 2000, the HSE published a report which provides details of those convicted of health and safety crimes during the period 1999/2000. This "name and shame" initiative will make information as to conviction by the HSE a matter of public record. Companies may telephone the HSE to check whether a legal notice has been served against another. When tendering for work, whether a company has a clean health and safety record may affect the prospects of it obtaining work from particular contractors. The HSE also have full details of each conviction available on a website. The HSE's view is that companies, organisations and individuals are accountable for their health and safety performance. Contractors have a right to be aware of another company's health and safety track record before they contract with them.

CONIAC Initiative: CONIAC members represent all sides of the industry. Their aim is to encourage improved performance in certain key areas, including training and educating the workforce to enable them to work safely, and better communication so that people know about risks and how different elements of any construction project can work better together to avoid or reduce the risk of accident.

Visits by HSE inspectors: The HSE from time to time send out inspectors to carry out a blitz of construction sites with the intention of promoting better working practices and prosecuting those who are guilty of lapses in health and safety.

Self-regulation: With the ever increasing workload of the HSE, companies may be encouraged to carry out their own investigations following an incident and thereafter to produce a report with recommendations for the HSE to consider. Thereafter, the HSE would take appropriate steps.

The Revitalising Health and Safety Initiative: This was launched on 7 June 2000 by John Prescott and the HSE, and sets out a 44-point action plan which aims to achieve by the year 2010 the following targets:

  1. Reduction by 30% in the number of incidents of working days lost from work-related injury and ill health;
  2. Reduction in the incidence of people suffering from work-related ill health by 20%;
  3. Reduction in the rate of fatal and serious injuries by 10%.

A target for achieving half of each improvement by the year 2004 has also been set.

Safety Information Centres: These provide practical health and safety assistance for small companies, on a voluntary basis, on how to manage health and safety in the work place efficiently. They are run by groups affiliated to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. The centres provide local forums and networking, and create awareness between businesses and education establishments, local authorities, health and safety inspectorates and trade unions. The HSE findings showed that small firms can require practical help with writing a policy statement and carrying out risk assessments.

Health and Safety Director

The HSE has issued a consultation paper on the responsibility of directors. The code of practice on their responsibilities for health and safety matters will include a requirement that an individual director responsible for health and safety matters must be appointed.

This proposal is designed to circumvent the problems under the current legislation of identifying a single, senior executive i.e. a controlling mind. Such an individual would be held solely responsible for the health and safety failings of that company. Not surprisingly in the event of a fatality, the Health and Safety Director would run a substantial risk of personally facing manslaughter charges and imprisonment. However, this proposal, although criticised as a means to find a scapegoat, will ensure that health and safety issues are a top priority at board meetings.

Practical tips

Those in the industry must appreciate that safety is a 24-hour, 7-day issue.

In any construction activity, where different trades are involved with overlapping responsibilities in time and space, it is imperative that at the interface a full risk assessment is undertaken and steps taken to manage the same.

It is prudent, and probably good practice, to engage external safety consultants to audit the safety of a company. Further, it would be advisable to have such consultants working closely with a company from the outset of a project.

Ensure that you have a comprehensive health and safety policy document. This should be made accessible to employees.

Risk assessments must be undertaken and should be recorded in writing.

Training is essential. Ensure that particular training is provided by suitably qualified persons on health and safety issues and on safe practices relevant to the nature of work undertaken. Written records of such training must be kept.

Preparation prior to interviews is crucial. Remember that the HSE may not have decided on what course of action to take (if any). This is an opportunity to convince them that you have undertaken a thorough risk assessment and taken all reasonably practical steps to prevent the accident. If there is an accident on site, ensure that you interview relevant witnesses and record in writing what happened. Remember, the memories of your witnesses may fade. You should obtain signed statements whilst matters are fresh in the minds of witnesses, who may not be traceable later on. The police may interview people on site, and will notify the HSE if it is a matter for them to investigate. Remember, your operatives are entitled to ask for copies of any statements provided by them.

Following an accident on site, consider immediately whether there needs to be a change in a particular working practice to prevent a similar occurrence. Take advice from a safety consultant. Implement new changes immediately rather than waiting for HSE to take the initiative. If the HSE decide to prosecute a court summons will be served. Think very carefully as to the plea to be entered. In an instance where there is no merit at all in denying a lapse in health and safety standards it may not be in your interest to put off the inevitable. The courts will give credit for a guilty plea at the outset thus saving prosecution costs and time.

Consideration needs to be given as to whether (where there is a choice) you wish to have the matter dealt with by the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court. Although the Crown Court has powers to dispense bigger penalties, trial by jury may be considered to be advantageous in certain circumstances.

Whilst there might not be a liability for the acts of contractually independent contractors for a great many wrongs, health and safety cannot be relied upon as one of them. Similarly, with regard to using plant and equipment manufactured and designed by leading companies, one cannot simply assume that those companies will have done what is necessary to make the plant, equipment, apparatus safe when used by untrained operatives.


Partnering has been the subject of much discussion. The JCT has recently issued Practice Note 4, which provides a six-page summary of the principles of partnering. The Practice Note, which is priced at £8.50, includes a non-binding partnering charter for single projects, which can be used with existing forms of building contract. It also includes discussion of the four key objectives, namely delivery, team working, people and commercial awareness.

Dr Julian Critchlow and Karen Gidwani discussed partnering at length in an article which first appeared in Construction Journal. We include an extract below:

Partnering has, until recently, been hailed as the philosopher's stone of the construction industry, calculated to transmute the base metal of low margins and claims into the pure gold of enduring and mutually profitable relationships. Certainly, the authors wish to make it clear that they are themselves firm supporters of the process provided it is conducted in an informed manner utilising appropriate structures.

But there have been disappointments. Directors of development companies and of contractors got together and chanted in unison the mantra:

"Partnering charter, spirit of cooperation, openness, transparency, win-win."

over their projects and then became disillusioned when the looked for gold failed to materialise. They decided that they were being denied success because of a particular impurity in the base materials with which they were working; and they identified that impurity as their legal relationship. So they abandoned that relationship and started to intone a new invocation:

"We don't need a contract, we're partnering."

The consequences of ignoring, or failing to consider, the legal basis of the project relationship were not understood.

A contract is essential to partnering. For example, A asks B to make him a table within four weeks. It is to be of good quality. A specifies its dimensions, design and materials. A says that he will pay B £1,000 for it, assume all the requirements of a contract are present and there is a clear and binding agreement. If B fails to make the table, A can recover from him the extra costs of having it made elsewhere. If A does not pay B, B can sue A for the money. But, assume that there is no contract set out in these terms. Instead, the parties are partnering and have decided that a contract is unnecessary. They agree in general terms that B will make A some sort of table, at some price, at some time in the future. Assume also that they have undertaken to work together in a spirit of openness and cooperation to establish what the design, cost and timing is to be. Then further assume that the relationship fails and A does not get his table at all. If A sues, will the Judge decide that, in fact, there was never a contract because the parties did not intend the relationship to be legally binding? Or that, although they intended to enter into a contract, their aims were so uncertain that a binding agreement was never concluded? Or will he find that there was a contract on the implied terms that B would make A a table in a reasonable time, and for a reasonable price? And if so, what is a reasonable time and a reasonable price? The answers to these questions are all debatable.

The ACA have now published the PPC 2000 Standard Form of Contract for Project Partnering. This sets out a partnering contract in fully drafted detail but does not necessarily solve the problem referred to above.

Consider clause 3.1.3 which provides:

"The Partnering Team members shall work together and individually in a spirit of trust, fairness and mutual cooperation for the benefit of the Project."

What do fairness and cooperation mean? They are expressed to be contractual obligations; they must accordingly have an impact on the parties' legal rights and liabilities. So what do they add to the more familiar obligations of undertaking the project at a particular time and for a particular quality and price?

Or, clause 5.1(ii) which allows the Client Representative to

"call, organise, attend and minute meetings of the Core Group Members and the Partnering Team Members whenever required or appropriate in accordance with the Partnering Documents [whenever required or appropriate] (emphasis supplied)."

Does that mean that the Client Representative may call meetings when he requires, even when it is not appropriate? If there is enough money involved that point alone could be a half day's preliminary issue in the TCC.

Further, clause 4.2 provides that: -

"Each Partnering Team Member undertakes to the others to do all that it can, within its agreed role, expertise and responsibilities and in accordance with the Partnering Documents, to implement recommendations identified by the Construction Task Force in their July 1998 Report "Rethinking Construction" and to pursue for the benefit of the Project and for the mutual benefit of Partnering Team Members the targets stated in the KPIs [Key Performance Indicators]."

Again, this prolix and ill-defined phraseology is intended to constitute a set of binding, legal obligations. If a party fails to adhere to them, he may be subject to legal proceedings. Thus, if it can be demonstrated that he has in any way failed to implement the "Rethinking Construction" document, a cause of action arises - a startling proposition given that that document is essentially conceptual rather than prescriptive: it deals with generalities and the spirit in which the construction process should be conducted rather than allocating defined, comprehensible obligations.

But perhaps the most obviously novel phrase within the clause is, "for the benefit of the Project".

This predicates that the project has an existence, needs and values quite independent of the existence, needs and values of the parties themselves. How that concept is to be given any kind of practical interpretation and legal effect is somewhat less than clear. It is redolent of the old Soviet terminology in which the proletariat were compelled to work for the benefit of the State rather than the individual; an analogy emphasised by the provision made for the parties to agree a five-year plan (partnering timetable) at clause 6 of the contract.

So will this structure deliver a utopia of profit and efficiency? Will it change the culture of the Employer's Representative, the Contract Manager and the PQS so that there will be a withering away of the contract? Or will each project form its own little island on Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago: a personal purgatory for each participant subject to the constant threat of being taken without warning for interrogation before the Adjudicator? It is for the reader to decide.

FE News

We continue to be rated as one of the leading construction law firms, and continue to strengthen our team and look for ways to improve the service we offer to clients.


Matthew Needham-Laing, formerly of Berrymans Lace Mawer, joined us as an Associate in March of this year. Prior to becoming a solicitor, he practised as an architect for five years. Matthew is also an accredited Adjudicator with the CIOB and is a member of the Architects Legal Forum.

Karen Gidwani joined us as an assistant solicitor from Decherts in November 2000. Karen, the co-author of one of the chapters of The Construction Law Handbook, was previously at Sharpe Pritchard, and has specialised in construction since qualification.


As part of our commitment to offering a complete service to clients Fenwick Elliott hold regular seminars. As well as our twice-yearly adjudication update seminars referred to in section 3 of this Review, we intend to hold regular seminars on issues of relevance and interest to the construction industry. This year we held a well-attended seminar in Birmingham and we are looking into holding other seminars elsewhere in the UK.

We have also given a number of in-house seminars on a variety of topics including the impact and effect of the TCC protocol and adjudication. Please contact Simon Tolson and Jeremy Glover if there is any area in which you feel we might be able to assist your organisation.

ICLA: International Construction Law AllianceIn last year's Review we highlighted the formation in June 2000 of the International Construction Law Alliance. All the members are, like ourselves, specialist construction law practices. One of the reasons for its formation was to enable increased cooperation around the globe. Certainly to date we have found the alliance to be a valuable one since we know that if we need it we can obtain advice in other jurisdictions quickly, from reliable sources.

FE Dispatch

As technology continues to advance at an ever-increasing pace, the need to keep up-to-date with the latest changes is becoming ever more crucial. We believe that our commitment to the website (see above) is one example of our response to our clients' needs.

Our monthly bulletin, entitled Dispatch, which is available in hard copy or electronic form, has now been running for a year. This summarises the recent legal and other relevant developments. If you would like to look at recent editions, please go to If you would like to receive a copy every month, please contact Jeremy Glover.

Society of Construction Law

In October 2000, Victoria Russell, who is Chairman of the UK SCL, was unanimously elected Vice-President of the European Society. She will take over from the current President, Alfons Huber of the Austrian Society, in October of this year.

Worshipful Companies of Arbitrators and Constructors

On 30 October 2001, Victoria Russell becomes the first ever female Master of the Worshipful Company of Arbitrators. Julian Critchlow and Simon Tolson have both recently joined the arbitrators' livery company, whilst Victoria and Simon have also just joined the constructors' livery company.


Fenwick Elliott has recently joined the Movement for Innovation. We feel that the mission statement of M4I fits naturally with the service we have always offered to our clients:

The Movement for Innovation (M4I) aims to lead radical improvement in construction in value for money, profitability, reliability and respect for people, through demonstration and dissemination of best practice and innovation.

Case Round-Up

Tony Francis continues to edit the Construction Industry Law Letter ("CILL"). We set out below extracts from CILL, which are of particular interest. These extracts were first published by Informa Professional. For further information on subscribing to the Construction Industry Law Letter, please contact Clara Jarvis on telephone number 44 (0) 20 7553 1855 or by email:

We have split the case round-up into two, and deal first with those cases relating to adjudication. In addition we have included summaries of important cases, which have only recently been decided. An index appears at the end of this review.


Austin Hall Building Ltd v Buckland Securities Ltd TCC - HHJ Bowsher Q.C. (Judgment delivered 11 April 2001)


The Adjudicator decided that Austin Hall should be paid £81,928.14. Buckland failed to comply with the Adjudicator's decision and raised the following issues under the European Convention on Human Rights by way of defence to Austin Hall's enforcement proceedings:-

  • The Defendant was denied its right to a fair trial guaranteed by Article 6 of the ECHR in particular Buckland did not have proper and equal opportunity to present its case on the final account and a reasonable time within which to respond to the final account.
  • Austin Hall were not given a public hearing and the decision was not pronounced publicly.

Counsel for Buckland said that "…Section 108 of the Housing Grants Construction and Regeneration Act, 1996 and the procedure which any adjudicator is required to adopt is inherently unfair and contrary to Article 6 of the Convention on Human Rights and that accordingly the Court will not give effect to the decision".

Issues and Findings

On the assumption that the Adjudicator was a "public authority", had he acted in a way which is incompatible with a convention right?

No, the Human Rights Act, 1998 Section 6(2)(a) confirms that Section 6(1) of the Human Rights Act does not apply if:-

As a result of one or more provisions of primary legislation, the Authority could not have acted differently.

In order to comply with the 28-day time limit the Adjudicator could not have acted differently.

Is an Adjudicator a "public authority" for the purposes of Section 6(1) of the Human Rights Act, 1998?

No, an Adjudicator exercising functions of the sort required by the HGCRA is not a public authority and therefore is not bound not to act in anyway incompatible with a Convention Right.

Could Buckland complain about the absence of any public hearing or the absence of any public judgment?

No for the following reasons:-

  • Article 6 does not apply. If Article 6 does apply, when considering the whole process including the court hearing there is no breach of the Article.
  • If there is a breach with regard to publicity, the Defendant is not a "victim" and cannot rely on the Convention Right in legal proceedings.
  • The Defendant has waived any right to a hearing that existed.

Notwithstanding the previous findings had the Adjudicator breached Article 6 of the ECHR or failed to comply with the Rules of Natural Justice?

On the facts of this case no.


In this case HHJ Bowsher QC [held]…that Article 6 of the convention does not apply to adjudication as an adjudicator is not a public authority within the meaning of Section 6(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998. However, the Judge admits that the matter is finely balanced and no doubt this particular issue will come before a higher court before too long.

As to the actual conduct of the Adjudicator the Judge held that the Adjudicator had not in any event acted in a manner that is incompatible with a Convention Right. At the end of his judgment HHJ Bowsher QC provides a further reminder that notwithstanding his findings in relation to the Human Rights Act the rules of Natural Justice do apply to adjudication as far as is possible given the timescales.

Bouygues (UK) Ltd v Dahl-Jensen (UK) Ltd Court of Appeal (Judgment delivered 31 July 2000) Facts

Dahl-Jensen issued a notice to adjudicate claiming sums in excess of £5m. Reportedly thereafter, Bouygues issued a notice to adjudicate claiming almost £6m. It was agreed that Bouygues' claim should be treated as a counterclaim to Dahl-Jensen's claim in the adjudication. Mr William Gard was appointed as Adjudicator and he made an award in favour of Dahl-Jensen of £207,741.46. However, in arriving at that sum in his calculation he took account of the gross figure which included 5% retention and deducted it from the sum paid during the subcontract which excluded retention. The effect of this was to pay the retention to Dahl-Jensen of £348,885.63 when the parties were in agreement that the retention was not yet due under the subcontract.

Bouygues argued that the effect of the Adjudicator's decision was outside his jurisdiction and therefore the decision was not binding on the parties. The matter came before Mr Justice Dyson upon Dahl-Jensen's application under Part 24 of the CPR for enforcement of the decision notwithstanding the error in the decision he allowed Dahl-Jensen's application. Bouygues appealed.

Issues and Findings

When an Adjudicator makes an error in calculating an amount payable to a party, the effect of which is to pay monies which are not due under the contract, is that decision void?

No, provided the Adjudicator has answered the issue that has been asked of him then a mistake in answering that issue does not prevent the decision being enforceable.

Should summary judgment be given on an Adjudicator's decision when the paying party has its own claims against the successful party in the adjudication who is in liquidation?

No, in accordance with Rule 4.90 of the Insolvency Rules 1986 all claims and cross-claims including the payment of the Adjudicator's decision should be resolved in the liquidation in which full account can be taken and a balance struck.


The Court of Appeal endorsed wholeheartedly the finding of Mr Justice Dyson at first instance and agreed that the Adjudicator had answered the right question in the wrong way. Following the authority in Nikko Hotels (UK) Ltd v MERPC Plc (1991) 2 EG LR 103 in such circumstances the Adjudicator's decision was enforceable. This is the only case to date concerning adjudication under the HGCRA that has reached the Court of Appeal. Both Lord Justice Buxton and Lord Justice Chadwick endorsed the approach taken to date by the Technology and Construction Court to enforcement of adjudicators' decisions. Whilst the point was not taken by the Appellants Lord Justice Chadwick found that the Appellants could have avoided enforcement had they run an argument that they were entitled to set-off their own claims against the Respondent under the contract in accordance with Rule 4.90 of the Insolvency Rules 1986 as the Respondent was in liquidation. Where the beneficiary of an adjudicator's decision goes into liquidation and the paying party has its own claims against the other whether arising out of the same contract or other contracts then that party will be able to set-off such claims by way of a defence to any enforcement proceedings.

Discain Project Services Ltd v Opecprime Developments Ltd TCC - HHJ Bowsher QC (Judgment delivered 9 August 2000)


A dispute arose between the parties regarding payment and on 1 June 2000, the claimant commenced adjudication proceedings. On 6 July 2000, the Adjudicator gave his decision ordering that the Defendant pay the claimant the sum of £55,552.50 plus VAT. The adjudication was conducted under the Scheme. The Defendant refused to pay raising the following arguments for not paying:-

  • There was no dispute as the payment application had not arisen.
  • There was no dispute because the letters indicating there was a dispute did not come from the Defendant but an associated company on behalf of the Defendant.
  • There was a breach of the Rules of Natural Justice by the Adjudicator.
Issues and Findings

Can there be a dispute between the parties before the payment obligation arises?

On the facts of this case, the paying party made it clear that he would not pay on the date due for payment and therefore a dispute had arisen.

Can there be a dispute where the letters sent indicating a dispute do not actually come from the Defendant?

Yes, the parties would have understood the letters as being written on the Defendant's behalf.

Had there been a serious risk of bias in the Adjudicator's failure to consult with one party on the importance of submissions which were made by the other party?

Yes, on this basis, the Adjudicator's Award should not be enforced.


The Defendant complained of the Adjudicator's failure to consult with one of the parties on submissions that were made by the other party to the Adjudicator during the course of a telephone conversation. Having considered the facts, HHJ Bowsher QC declined to enforce the Adjudicator's decision on the basis that had the Rules of Natural Justice been complied with the Adjudicator might have reached a different decision. In certain quarters the immediate reaction to the judgment is somewhat extreme in that this would be the beginning of the end for adjudication. It is inevitably the case that adjudicators will wish to speak to the parties by telephone without the other party being present. This judgment does not prevent an adjudicator from doing that; what it does prevent an adjudicator from doing is hearing submissions from a party in the absence of the other party or not reporting the content of those submissions to the other party and giving that party the opportunity to respond.

HHJ Bowsher QC stressed that he fully understood the difficulties imposed on every adjudicator by strict time limits in adjudication and he cautioned against parties "searching around" for breaches of the Rules of Natural Justice. Each case is to be judged on its own facts and in this particular case, the Adjudicator had "overstretched the rules".


This case came back before HHJ Bowsher QC for a full hearing.

What is particularly interesting is that the court gave notice to the Adjudicator and gave him an opportunity to be joined as party to the action. He declined but filed witness evidence and was called as a witness by the court so that he could be cross-examined by Counsel for both parties. The adjudicator duly was cross-examined and HHJ Bowsher QC also took the opportunity to ask some questions himself.

Issues and Findings

Will the Court refuse to enforce an Adjudicator's Decision if there has been a breach of the Rules of Natural Justice?

Yes. Provided that the breach has been a serious and substantial one.

After full consideration of witness evidence, had there been a serious risk of the appearance of bias in the Adjudicator's failure to consult with one party on the importance of submissions which were made by the other party?

Yes. On this basis, the Adjudicator's Award should not be enforced.


At the beginning of his judgment, HHJ Bowsher QC quoted a statement from the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Bramelid & Malmstrom v Sweden, (1984) APPL 8588/79, that "the arbitrators must be presumed impartial until there is proof to the contrary." This must be the starting point in any similar case.

At the end of his judgment, although he entirely accepted that there was no actual bias on the part of the Adjudicator, the Judge said that the question which had to be asked following The Director General of Fair Trading v The Proprietary Association of Britain, (2001) 1 WLR 700, was "whether there was an appearance of bias and if so, what should be the result of this" or would the facts lead a fair minded and informed observer to conclude that there was a real possibility or real danger that the adjudicator was biased.

Glencot Development & Design Co Ltd v Ben Barrett & Son (Contractors) LtdTCC - HHJ LLoyd QC 13 February 2001 Facts

Glencot was engaged by Barrett as a sub-subcontractor in relation to a development in Docklands, London. The contract between the parties made no express provision for adjudication and accordingly the Scheme applied. On 15 August 2000, Glencot notified Barrett of a dispute about payment which was referred to adjudication. On 30 August, Mr Peter J Talbot agreed to act as the Adjudicator on the joint application of the parties. A meeting was held between the parties on 29 September 2000. At this meeting senior representatives from the parties met on an informal basis and reached some measure of agreement in relation to the dispute, but a number of issues remained outstanding. Mr Talbot was asked by both parties to mediate in order to try and finalise an agreement.

Following a day long mediation complete agreement on all outstanding issues was not reached and Mr Talbot therefore confirmed that the adjudication would have to continue with another appointment for the adjudication meeting. …Mr Talbot saw Glencot in the morning and intended to see Barrett in the afternoon. In the afternoon Barrett informed Mr Talbot that they wished him to withdraw as Adjudicator on the grounds that he had been compromised by being involved in the mediation and negotiations. Mr Talbot took Counsel's advice and then informed the parties that he was not going to withdraw. Mr Talbot then proceeded to make his Decision ordering that Barrett had to pay Glencot the sum of £160,016.10 including VAT. Barrett refused to pay and Glencot issued enforcement proceedings.

Issues and Findings

Did the conduct of the Adjudicator mean that he lacked impartiality?

Yes, the circumstances would lead a fair minded and informed observer to conclude that there was a real possibility or a real danger, the two being the same, that the Adjudicator was biased.

Should the Adjudicator's Decision be enforced?

No, a decision which has not been arrived at impartially is not binding.

By not objecting either at the time or thereafter promptly, and by allowing the adjudication to resume had Barrett waived any right to object to Mr Talbot continuing to act or was it estopped from so objecting. Barrett's conduct was not such as to provide sufficiently clear evidence of an abandonment of such a vital right.


The test for apparent bias is whether the "circumstances would lead a fair minded and informed observer to conclude that there was a real possibility or a real danger, the two being the same, that the tribunal was biased." The test is based upon an objective appraisal of the material facts but is not limited to those apparent to the party alleging bias but also includes those material facts that are ascertained upon investigation by the Court. Following this Judgment the question of bias may well become a real issue for adjudication.

Having sought the parties' consent to continue with the adjudication following the aborted mediation and having taken Counsel's advice the Adjudicator no doubt thought he was on reasonably sure ground in continuing the adjudication. This demonstrates the problem with bias and its insidious nature. On any objective analysis of the situation it is difficult to see how the adjudication could have continued following the mediation given the significant differences in the two dispute resolution processes. As a result of any mediation process a mediator will be privy to commercial and other considerations of the parties. A mediator is there to facilitate a settlement. This role is clearly incompatible with that of an Adjudicator who is there to decide upon the parties' legal rights and obligations. Here the Adjudicator was privy to a number of without prejudice offers and it would seem he was also privy to some rather heated discussions. It is difficult to see how with the best will in the world, the Adjudicator could have divorced all of this from his mind in reaching his Decision.

Notwithstanding the refusal of HHJ LLoyd QC to enforce, ultimately he did order substantial interim payment to the claimants. The Judge held that notwithstanding Barrett's victory on the enforceability of the Decision, Glencot's claim still existed and Barrett still had to show that it had real prospects of success in defeating the claim. The Judge effectively therefore invited Glencot to make an application for an interim payment which was heard one week later.

George Parke v The Fenton Gretton Partnership Chancery Division - HHJ Boggis QC (Judgment delivered 2 August 2000)


The Fenton Gretton Partnership carried out building works for Mr Parke… Disputes arose over the final account…The Adjudicator found in favour of FGP …and Mr Parke failed to pay. Accordingly, FGP issued a Statutory Demand seeking payment of the sum awarded by the Adjudicator. Mr Parke applied to set the Demand aside. His application at first instance …failed. He appealed.

Issues and Findings

Does an Adjudication Decision create a debt, which may form the basis of a Statutory Demand?


Does the decision of an Adjudicator fall to be treated in the same way as a Judgment or Order in accordance with paragraph 12.3 of the Insolvency Proceedings Practice Direction such that a Court will not go behind the decision?


If the Debtor has a counter-claim, set-off or cross-claims where the debt is the adjudication decision, is this sufficient for the Court to set aside the Statutory Demand?

Yes. Depending on the facts.

Was it sufficient here?

On the facts, yes.


Issuing a Statutory Demand to enforce an adjudicator's decision may have the superficial attractions of speed and economy. This case confirms that such a route will not be effective and serves as a reminder that the Companies courts and Insolvency Procedures are not to be used as a means of debt collection. Here Boggis J has followed the reasoning of Nourse LJ in Seawind Tankers Corporation v Bayoil SA (1999 WLR 147) who held that provided there was a "genuine and serious" cross-claim which was "of substance" and which exceeded the debt then a winding-up petition (even where the debt was undisputed) should be dismissed.

Woods Hardwick Ltd v Chiltern Air Conditioning TCC - HHJ Thornton QC (Judgment delivered 2 October 2000)


A dispute arose between the parties in relation to the claimant's entitlement to payment of additional fees which the claimant referred to adjudication. The contract between the parties was based upon an exchange of letters and contained no provisions for adjudication. Accordingly the Scheme applied. The Defendant failed to pay. The Defendant argued that the decision was a nullity on the basis that in breach of the provisions of the Scheme and general law, the Adjudicator failed to conduct the adjudication impartially and in compliance with the ordinary rules of natural justice. The Defendant had three complaints as follows:-

  • The Defendant was prevented from fairly presenting its case at certain meetings held on 4 and 12 May 2000.
  • The Adjudicator took evidence from the claimant and from third parties which he failed, subsequently, to afford the Defendant an opportunity of commenting upon.
  • The Adjudicator provided a detailed witness statement to the claimant for use in these enforcement proceedings which contained partisan views adverse to the Defendant.
Issues and Findings

Was the Adjudicator's conduct of the adjudication such as to make his decision a nullity?

Yes, in order to make a valid and enforceable decision, an adjudicator must act in conformity with the rules of the Scheme. Where an adjudicator's departure from those rules is insignificant this will not preclude enforcement. Where the departures are significant the decision is not enforceable.


HHJ Thornton QC decided that the Adjudicator's conduct of the adjudication was such as to put him in breach of provisions of the Scheme by not making all relevant information submitted to him by the claimant available to the Defendant (paragraph 17). Secondly, in providing the witness statement as he did, the Adjudicator had demonstrated that he had not acted impartially in carrying out his duties (paragraph 12(a) of the Scheme). Where an Adjudicator fails to act in conformity with the rules governing the conduct of the adjudication in some significant respect then following Judge Thornton's judgment a decision of an adjudicator arrived at in such a manner will be void. An insignificant departure from the rules governing the conduct of an adjudication will not be sufficient to prevent enforcement. Again, it will be a question of degree. Given these findings the Judge declined to consider the issue raised in Macob Civil Engineering Ltd v Morrison Construction Ltd to the effect that breach of the principles of natural justice would not render a decision ultra vires or a nullity. However, in Discain Project Services Ltd v Opecprime Developments Ltd HHJ Bowsher QC found that the failure to give another party an opportunity to deal with certain submissions did amount to a breach of the rules of natural justice. A failure to comply with the Scheme or the rules governing an adjudication will often (but not always) amount to a breach of the rules of natural justice. Either ground is now likely to provide a defence to enforcement proceedings. In addressing the Defendant's failure to include details of their claim for abatement within a section 111 Notice, HHJ Thornton QC confirms that, in his opinion, abatement need not form the subject matter of such a notice to constitute an effective defence to non payment.


In Re A Company (number 1299 of 2001) Mr David Donaldson QC concluded that the absence of a Section 111 Withholding Notice would mean that a contractor has an undisputed debt for the amount demanded in an application for payment. Consequently, this debt may form the basis of a statutory demand, which if unpaid within 21 days, may justify a petition to wind up the debtor.

The Court refused to restrain the winding-up petition because it was undisputed as the main contractor's surveyor had certified the sums were due and the right to withhold had been forfeited as a result of the main contractor's breach of Section 111.

The Court also refused to exercise its discretion to dismiss the petition because the main contractor had failed to take any steps to pursue its cross claim by way of a separate adjudication or other proceedings, although the contractor had claims for set-off and/or abatement which would have extinguished the debt claimed under the statutory demand.

In Fence Gates Ltd v James R Knowles Ltd, HHJ Gilliland QC had to consider a decision of an Adjudicator who had awarded James R Knowles payment for invoices for providing evidence as witness of fact and assisting in an arbitration. The question was whether these were matters which fell within the definition of a construction contract to be found within section 104(2) of the HGCRA.

The Judge found that the giving of factual evidence by an architect is not the "doing" of architectural designing or surveying work itself. Similarly, providing litigation support at an arbitration is not the same as providing advice on the building or engineering. They are different and distinct activities.

Disputes in relation to payment of fees properly payable for services rendered as a witness of fact or assisting at an arbitration or litigation are not disputes in relation to construction operations, even if that dispute concerns construction operations. They are disputes in relation to litigation support work and arise under a contract provision of litigation support services.

The decision of HHJ Gilliland QC in Farebrother Building Services Ltd v Frogmore Investments Ltd relates to an adjudication carried out in accordance with the TeCSA adjudication rules version 1.3. In particular, in relation to paragraph 12 which provides that an adjudicator "may rule upon his own substantive jurisdiction and as to the scope of the adjudication".

HHJ Gilliland QC states that "so far as jurisdiction is concerned, if he [the Adjudicator] decides that something is within his jurisdiction, that is binding. Thus jurisdiction is for the Adjudicator to decide and not a court on summary application."

Here, the Defendant argued that he was entitled to deduct or set-off from the amount of money awarded by a claim which was before the Adjudicator which was not, as submitted, challenged. The award was good in part, but not in full. Following the decision in KNS v Sindall, HHJ Gilliland QC took the view that it was not right for the court to dismantle or reconstruct the decision of an adjudicator. A party cannot pick and choose.

In Barr Ltd v Law Mining Ltd, Lord MacFadyen had to consider a number of issues arising out of awards by two different Adjudicators in respect of related contracts. The Defendant raised various jurisdiction defences.

The first related to the suggestion that there had been a series of disputes. It is of note that Lord MacFadyen expressed some reservations about the comments made by HHJ Thornton QC in Sherwood & Casson v McKenzie that the decision of an adjudicator whose validity is challenged as to its factual, legal conclusion or as to procedural error remains a decision that is both enforceable and should be enforced.

Lord MacFadyen made a distinction between a decision that is unsound but valid and a decision that is invalid because it was not one that the Adjudicator had power to make. In addition, he did not rule out the possibility that a procedural error may produce a result that the Adjudicator made a decision that is beyond his jurisdiction. This is in slight contrast to the treatment of the "procedural error" by Mr Justice Dyson in Macob.

Here, the defenders contended that since the dispute between the parties included three separate elements, issues as to the amounts due in two separate interim certificates and a claim for an extension of time, there were in fact, three disputes. However, Lord McFadyen said that at first instance the Adjudicator must decide for himself whether what is at issue is a dispute or several disputes. It is easy to sub-divide and analyse what is in substance one dispute into its component parts and label each part a separate dispute. This is not the correct approach. A realistic view must be taken. Here, the dispute was what sum is due and owing to the pursuer.

Defences were also raised on the basis that the Adjudicator did not have jurisdiction to consider applications for payment which had not been certified (ie therefore no sums were due). This was rejected. Finally, since the contracts were rescinded by the defender, it was argued that since the adjudication notices did not distinguish between sums allegedly due before and after that rescission, where the Adjudicator decided that the contract had indeed been rescinded he could not continue. In one of the adjudications Lord MacFadyen agreed that the Adjudicator had not considered this point. Therefore, any sum which flowed from this part of the decision could not be enforced.

This is particularly interesting since it resulted from the pursuer advancing a secondary submission that, if the court ruled that it was not entitled to summary judgment on the whole sum claimed, then it was still entitled to summary judgment for those parts of the award which were upheld. It was submitted that it was possible to separate the "good parts" from the "bad parts" of the decision. This was not disputed by the parties and nothing further was said about the question as a legal issue. It is of course in contrast to the KNS and Farebrother cases referred to above.

In RJT Consulting Engineers v DM Engineering Ltd, HHJ MacKay considered an application for a declaration that the agreement between the parties was not an agreement in writing as provided for by section 107 of the HGCRA. HHJ MacKay said that section 107 was an inclusive not an exclusive piece of legislation. The purpose of the Act was to bring in agreements which would not be caught otherwise by the Act to enable parties to construction agreements to take advantage of the procedure set out in the Act.

He looked at the problem in, what he termed, a purposive way. Here, the material between the parties by way of written substance (ie such as to evidence the agreement in writing) was "comparatively great". If it were necessary to insist upon a recitation of the agreement when the existence of the agreement, the parties to the agreement, the nature of the work and a price of that agreement are clearly to be found in documentary form then this would be contrary to the terms of the HGCRA.

In Nordot v Siemens, HHJ Gilliland QC rejected a suggestion that just as parties cannot contract out of the HGCRA, they cannot contract in and so confer jurisdiction on an Adjudicator if that is what the parties agree. On the facts here there was a clear and unequivocal statement that it would accept and be bound by the adjudicator's decision as to whether the contract was a construction contract within the meaning of sections 104 & 5 of the HGCRA.

In Mitsui Babcock Energy Services Ltd, Mitsui sought Judicial Review of a decision by an Adjudicator that she did not have jurisdiction to consider a dispute, which concerned the construction of two boiler plants on a site whose primary activity was the processing of chemicals and oil on the petrochemical complex.

The Adjudicator had viewed the situation as being a dispute, which fell within the exclusion contained in section 105(2)(c) of the 1996 Act.

Mitsui's position was that as the combined heat and power complex was within a site on land leased to a separate company, the primary activity of the site was the generation and supply of steam which was therefore not within the section 105(2)(c) exclusion.

Lord Hardie decided that on the facts of the case the installation of the boiler plant was to further the primary activity of the processing of chemicals and oil on the petrochemical complex and hence fell within the exclusion, and dismissed the petition accordingly.

In Ballast plc v The Burrell Company (Construction Management) Ltd Lord Reed was asked to declare that a decision by an Adjudicator was to be set aside as a nullity.

The basis for the petition was that the adjudicator had answered the issues put to him as "Not valid" on the basis, it appeared to Lord Reed, that a departure from the JCT conditions necessarily entailed that no adjudication could be carried out. This was rejected and accordingly the Adjudicator had failed to exercise his jurisdiction to determine the dispute put to him for a decision.

The respondent had argued that as a Decision had been issued by the adjudicator - even if incorrectly - the matter was decided until finally resolved by litigation, arbitration or agreement and hence no subsequent adjudication proceedings on the same dispute could be instigated by the petitioners.

Finally there is another decision of Lord MacFadyen in SL Timber Systems Ltd v Carillion Construction Ltd.

Lord MacFadyen said that the Adjudicator was wrong in law to simply award the claimant under the adjudication the sum claimed in full because of a failure to give a timeous notice under Section 111. Lord MacFadyen stated that:-

In my opinion, the absence of a timeous notice of intention to withhold payment does not relieve the party making the claim of the ordinary burden of showing that he is entitled under the contract to receive the payment he claims. It remains incumbent on the claimant to demonstrate, if the point is disputed, that the sum claimed is contractually due. If he can do that, he is protected, by the absence of a Section 111 notice, from any attempt on the part of the other party to withhold all or part of the sum which is due on the basis that some separate ground justifying that course exists.

However, whilst the reasoning of the Judge may give some comfort to anyone who has failed to submit a withholding notice within the relevant period, there was a sting in the tail. The Adjudicator had been asked to determine whether a timeous notice of intent to withhold payment had been given. He said that it had not. The question which then arose was whether, in that event, an obligation arose to pay the sums claimed. He addressed that question and answered it in the affirmative.

Finally Lord MacFadyen, in a departure from the English decisions, said that doubt about the (in)solvency of the successful party could not be used to obtain a stay pending final resolution of the dispute.

Case Round-Up - General


David Wilson Homes Ltd v Survey Services Ltd (now in liquidation) & David Jonathan Marshall Court of Appeal (Civil Division) (Judgment delivered 18 January 2001)


A clause in an insurance policy provided as follows:-

Any dispute or difference arising hereunder between the Assured and the Insurers shall be referred to a Queen's Counsel of the English Bar to be mutually agreed between the Insurers and the Assured or in the event of disagreement by the Chairman of the Bar Counsel.

At first instance HHJ Thornton QC held that this clause did not constitute an arbitration clause and thus the application by the Insurers for a stay was refused. The Insurers appealed. Issues and Findings

Does the clause in question constitute an arbitration agreement within the Arbitration Act 1996?

Yes, the intention of the parties was to obtain a binding result, and thus this clause does constitute an arbitration agreement.


The key to determining whether a clause of the type in issue in this case constitutes an arbitration agreement is the intent of the parties on the basis of Re Carus - Wilson v Green (1887) 18 QBD 7 where the intention is that any inquiry is to be in the nature of a judicial inquiry and the outcome of that inquiry is to be final and binding then the clause in question will constitute an arbitration clause.

Lafarge Redlands Aggregates Ltd (formerly Redland Aggregates Ltd) v Shephard Hill Civil Engineering Ltd House of Lords (Judgment delivered 27 July 2000)


Shephard Hill entered into an ICE 5th Edition Form of Contract with amendments with Essex County Council for the construction of a bypass. Asphalt Servicing Works were subcontracted to Redland under a FCEC Blue Form subcontract. The subcontractor served a Notice of Arbitration in respect of various claims on 15 February 1995 while the contractor served notices that these disputes should be dealt with jointly with the disputes under the main contract pursuant to Clause 18(2) of the subcontract. Negotiation took place between Shephard Hill and the Employer but when these negotiations did not produce a result Redland commenced proceedings some two years after its original arbitration notices challenging the Clause 18(2) notices and seeking a declaration that Shephard Hill could not rely upon them. In the first instance the notices were found to be valid. The Court of Appeal however allowed the Respondent's appeal holding that Clause 18(2) provided for tripartite arbitration which Redland was no longer obliged to take part in owing to Shephard Hill's unreasonable delay. Shephard Hill appealed to the House of Lords.

Issues and Findings

Where it was accepted by the Contractor that issuing a Clause 18(2) Notice did oblige it to initiate the Clause 66 procedure under the main contract within a reasonable time, did the Contractor's ongoing negotiations with the Employer excuse the delay?

No. The Contractor must invoke Clause 66 procedure within a reasonable time after service of the Clause 18(2) Notice. What is a reasonable time will depend upon the facts of each case. That the Contractor was engaged in negotiations was irrelevant.

At the time the Clause 18(2) Notice is served, is it necessary that the Contractor has a present intention to invoke the Clause 66 procedure under the main contract?

No, per Lords Hobhouse, Millett and Cooke who preferred an objective test of whether or not the Contractor has fulfilled its obligation to act with reasonable speed. Yes, per Lords Hope and Clyde who suggested a subjective test of the Contractor's intent.

What form of joint arbitration procedure does Clause 18(2) provide for?

Per Lords Millett, Cooke and Hobhouse; the Clause envisages two separate arbitrations the first between the Employer and the Contractor and the second between the Contractor and the subcontractor but with the same Arbitrator appointed to both with issues having the same subject matter being heard together pursuant to Article 7 of the ICE Arbitration Rules. Per Lords Hope and Clyde; the Clause provides for only one arbitration between the Contractor and the Employer in which the subcontractor is to be permitted close involvement on the Contractor's side in accordance with various implied obligations upon the Contractor.


During the hearing Counsel for the Appellant conceded that issue of the Clause 18(2) Notice required the Contractor to initiate the Clause 66 main contract arbitration procedure within a reasonable time. It is not altogether surprising that the House of Lords decided that the Contractor had not fulfilled this obligation in forcing the subcontractor to wait two years whilst it fruitlessly negotiated with the employer. More interesting are the comments made by their Lordships in relation to the arbitration procedure envisaged by Clause 18(2). Their Lordships were not in agreement and proposed two alternatives. That advanced by Lords Hope and Clyde called for a main contract arbitration in which the subcontractor was to be allowed active, albeit informal participation. This would appear to be far from ideal for the subcontractor who would suffer from the handicap of not being a party to the arbitration, would encounter difficulty in enforcing any award and would always be once removed from the proceedings.

The procedure proposed by Lords Cooke, Hobhouse and Millett involves two separate arbitrations with the same Arbitrator being appointed to both and, in accordance with Article 7 of the ICE Arbitration Rules, with concurrent hearings for similar disputes. Under this procedure the Contractor would be responsible for ensuring that the same Arbitrator was appointed to both arbitrations and for making the necessary application under Article 7 (now Article 9) of the ICE Arbitration Rules. Lord Cooke said that if for whatever reason the procedure breaks down then the Subcontractor will be allowed to progress its own arbitration under Clause 18(1).

The majority of their Lordships therefore ostensibly endorsed the decision of the Court of Appeal that Clause 18(2) provided for tripartite arbitration, but went further than the Court of Appeal in confirming that in this context, tripartite means concurrent separate arbitrations with similar matters being heard together. The Court of Appeal had left open the possibility that tripartite arbitration meant one three-way arbitration between the Contractor, Subcontractor and the Employer, although it was noted by the Court of Appeal (and reiterated by the House of Lords) that this would ultimately be unenforceable, there being no mutual contract to bind all three parties into an arbitration.

Strictly speaking, all of the opinions expressed by their Lordships upon the procedure envisaged by Clause 18(2) are obiter and the opinion of the majority that Clause 18(2) provides for concurrent arbitrations remains only persuasive and not determinative.

Lindner Ceilings Floors Partitions Plc v How Engineering Services Ltd TCC - HHJ Seymour QC (Judgment delivered 28 November 2000)


Disputes arose between the parties that proceeded to arbitration culminating in a full hearing and award by the Arbitrator. As part of an Interim Award on costs, the Arbitrator considered the effect of two letters each written on behalf of How by its solicitors. The first of these letters dated 23 December 1992 was headed "sealed offer" and the second letter dated 22 October 1997 was headed "without prejudice save as to costs". By the first letter How offered to pay the sum of £342,780 plus Lindner's costs up to 15 January 1993. By the second offer How offered to pay Lindner the sum of £800,000 but as a condition of the offer, all issues as to costs in the arbitration were to be determined by the Arbitrator as part of the arbitration if the offer were accepted.

In reaching his Award the Arbitrator awarded Lindner the sum of £339,965.74 in respect of its claims and £153,238 by way of interest. Following the Award two appeals came before the court from the Arbitrator's Interim Award on costs. How sought the remittance of the Award to the Arbitrator because the Arbitrator had not properly adjusted the amount of the 1992 offer so as to be able to compare it with the total sums eventually awarded to Lindner once interest was taken into account. The more substantive issue concerned Lindner's appeal that as a matter of law the Arbitrator was wrong to take into account, in considering what award to make about costs, the 1997 offer on the basis that the offer did not adequately deal with the question of cost. Lindner submitted that in Tramountana Armadora S.A. v Atlantic Shipping Co. S.A. Donaldson J. was laying down a principal of general application, such that if a purported "sealed offer" did not include an offer to pay the cost of the offeree it could not take effect as a valid offer to be taken into account by the Arbitrator in determining costs.

Issues and Findings

If an offer does not include an offer to pay the costs of the offeree can it take effect as a valid offer?

Yes, provided the offer is in such terms to enable the following question to be answered:-

Did the party to whom the offer was made achieve more by rejecting the offer and going on with the arbitration than he would have achieved if he had accepted the offer?


This case provides essential guidance for the making of effective sealed offers in arbitration. HHJ Seymour QC confirms that there is no general rule that, for an offer to be effective in terms of the provision of costs protection, it must include an offer to pay the other side's costs. The key is to make an offer that is sufficiently clear to enable an Arbitrator, when addressing costs, to determine whether the party to whom an offer is made has achieved more by continuing with the arbitration as opposed to accepting the offer. This case provides confirmation that greater flexibility in relation to costs is available in the making of effective offers of compromise. However, given the importance of making such offers clear invariably it will make sense to be unambiguous as to what is being offered in terms of costs. Where an offer is unclear or uncertain it will not be void but will simply carry little weight when an Arbitrator comes to exercise his discretion in relation to costs.


Carillion Construction Ltd v Felix (UK) Ltd TCC - (Judgment delivered 6 November 2000)


Carillion were the main contractors in relation to the construction of an office building. Felix were subcontracted to design, manufacture and supply the cladding. In November 1999 Felix approached Carillion in an attempt to agree a final account for Felix's works. Agreement was finally reached at a meeting on 13 March 2000 to the effect that Felix's final account should be agreed in the sum of £3.2 million and this agreement was then embodied in a formal settlement agreement. Carillion then commenced proceedings to set the agreement aside on the ground of economic duress, contending that it was compelled to enter into the agreement by threats made on behalf of Felix that it would not continue to supply cladding unit in accordance with the subcontract unless the final account of £3.2 million was agreed. The supply of cladding units was critical to completion of the project and delays in their supply would have significantly delayed completion of the project and exposed Carillion to liquidated and ascertained damages.

Issues and Findings

Was Felix's conduct such as to compel Carillion to enter into the settlement agreement?

Yes, Carillion felt compelled to agree the account only because it was determined to secure the delivery of the cladding units.

Did Felix's conduct amount to illegitimate pressure?

Yes, the threat to withhold deliveries was a threat to commit a clear breach of contract.

Was Felix's conduct a significant cause in inducing Carillion to enter into the settlement agreement?

Yes, but for the threat, Carillion would not have agreed the final account.

Did Carillion have any practical choice but to enter into the agreement?

No, there were no viable alternative supplies at such short notice.


It is not uncommon in the industry for parties to threaten to withdraw labour or withhold materials in order to secure payment, irrespective of the contract position. Frequently it is the case that such threats are made in the genuine belief that there is an entitlement to the sum being claimed. Notwithstanding Statutory Rights to adjudication, it is a fact of life that parties will, of course, aim to secure payment whilst they are in a position of some strength in terms of their importance to any particular project. This case however provides a perfect illustration of a subcontractor who, in the eyes of the Court, clearly overstepped the mark in its negotiating tactics. The case provides a succinct guide of actionable duress in the context of a factual scenario which is commonplace within the industry. Whilst this case will provide comfort for employers and main contractors, the practice may be very much more difficult for a subcontractor to set aside unsatisfactory agreements as far as he was concerned on grounds of economic duress.


Birse Construction Ltd v St David Ltd TCC - Mr Recorder Colin Reese QC (Judgment delivered 17 August 1999)


Birse carried out work for St David for the construction of certain apartments at Cardiff Bay. Whilst accepting there were extensive negotiations with a view to making a contract Birse contended that no contract was ever concluded prior to it leaving site in August 1998. Birse claimed it had carried out work which valued on a fair commercial basis to a value of £6,759,608.21 of which it had been paid £5,745,518.65 leaving an outstanding balance of £1,014,089.56 which Birse claimed against St David upon a quantum meruit basis. St. David argued that a contract, incorporating JCT Conditions (1980) Edition had been concluded containing an arbitration clause. St. David sought a stay of the proceedings commenced by Birse pursuant to Section 9 of the Arbitration Act 1996. That application came before HHJ Humphrey LLoyd QC in February 1999 and he accepted that a contract had been concluded. Birse appealed and the Court of Appeal concluded that the matter could not be resolved without a trial at which witnesses should be cross-examined. Accordingly, the matter was remitted to the TCC. On 4 February 2000 HHJ Hicks QC ordered a trial of an issue as to the existence or not of a concluded contract.

Issues arose as to whether, even if it could be said that all essential terms were agreed between the parties, the parties did intend that they should only become contractually bound once the putative agreement had been approved by the Directors of the respective parties and once all contract documents had been executed. Further, an issue arose as to whether, in fact, agreement had been reached upon all matters which the parties considered were essential.

Issues and Findings

In the absence of formal contract documents executed by both parties could a contract have come into existence?

No, on the facts of this case the parties intended that a contract should only be concluded once the putative agreement reached by the parties' negotiators had appropriate board approval.

Had the parties reached agreement on all terms that they considered essential?

No, on the facts of this case issues concerning main contractor and subcontractor warranties remained unresolved to St. David's satisfaction.


Mr Recorder Reese QC's findings as to the failure of the parties to reach a concluded contract are obviously particular to the facts of this case. Of more interest are the obiter comments commenting upon the flexibility of the law of restitution in order to achieve justice between parties where, such as in this instance, work has been carried out in the absence of a concluded contract. In expressly referring to the observations of Lord Justice Slade and Bingham in Crown House Engineering v Amec Projects Ltd the Recorder confirms his opinion that any price offered for the carrying out of the works could well act as a cap on the builder's level of recovery. Further, any tardy performance by the contractor and possibly the level of any liquidated damages agreed in principle by the parties as part of contract negotiations, can likewise form part of the calculation of a quantum meruit. Whilst only obiter, these comments provide further clarification as to the calculation of an entitlement upon a quantum meruit basis following the decision of HHJ Hicks QC in Serck Controls Ltd v Drake & Scull Engineering Ltd. In that case HHJ Hicks expressly declined to address as to what account, if any, is taken of tardy performance.


Alfred McAlpine Construction Ltd v Panatown Ltd House of Lords (Judgment delivered 27 July 2000)


Panatown engaged McAlpine to design and build an office building multi-storey car park. After the building was completed Panatown alleged that the building was seriously defective and gave McAlpine notice terminating the contract. Panatown were not the owners of the construction site. The site was owned by an associated company, Unex Investment Properties Ltd. Unex was both the owner of the site and developer. The actual construction contract was entered into with McAlpine by Panatown in order to save VAT. However, Unex did enter into a separate duty of care agreement with McAlpine although this provided Unex with a lesser remedy than that of Panatown. Panatown commenced arbitration proceedings against McAlpine in 1992, claiming damages for defective work. McAlpine raised by way of defence the argument that Panatown was not entitled to recover damages for breach of contract as it was not and never had been the owner of the site, and that accordingly, it could not recover more than nominal damages even if the breaches of contract were proved. The Arbitrator held that Panatown was not debarred from recovering substantial damages. On appeal from the Arbitrator's Award, HHJ Anthony Thornton QC reached the opposite conclusion resulting in Panatown's appeal to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal found that the parties did intend that Panatown should have been entitled to recover substantial damages for defective work, notwithstanding that it had no proprietary interest in the land following the decisions in St Martins Property Corporation v Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd and Darlington Borough Council v Wiltshier Northern Ltd. Alfred McAlpine appealed to the House of Lords.

Issues and Findings

Did the parties to the building contract intend, or contemplate, that Panatown should have been entitled to recover substantial damages for defective work, notwithstanding that it had no proprietary interest in the land?

No, on the facts of this case the decisions in St. Martins Property Corporation v Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd and Darlington Borough Council v Wiltshier Northern Ltd ("the narrow ground") were not followed.

Were Panatown entitled to recover substantial damages on the ground that they have not received the bargain for which they had contracted, irrespective of the fact that they had no proprietary interest in the building at the date of the breach and had suffered no financial loss ("the broader ground")?

No, on the facts of this case Panatown's claim for loss and expectation of interest can have only nominal value when Unex Investment Properties Ltd has an enforceable claim and Panatown has no intention in taking steps to remedy the breach.


By a majority of 3-2 the House of Lords decided in McAlpine's favour thus overturning the decision of the Court of Appeal reported in CILL March 1998 1353. Broadly, there was a large measure of agreement amongst the Law Lords as to the present position in relation to exceptions to the rules that a person cannot recover substantial damages for breach of contract where he himself has suffered no loss by reason of the alleged breach. Both the possible exceptions to this rule considered in St. Martins Property Corporation Ltd v Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd are addressed in some detail.

Contrary to the Court of Appeal, the Lords were unanimous in rejecting the argument that it was the intention of the parties that Panatown were entitled to recover substantial damages for defective work, notwithstanding that it had no proprietary interest in the land. (The "narrow ground" in St. Martins.) The existence of the duty of care deed between McAlpine and Unex was fatal to this argument. However, the Lords provided clear confirmation that in principle in situations such as existed in this case a party might well be able to bring a claim for breach of contract notwithstanding the fact that it has not necessarily suffered the loss in question on the basis of a loss of expectation of interest or performance interest. (The "broader ground" postulated by Lord Griffiths in St. Martins.) In particular, this is considered in some detail in the dissenting judgment of Lord Goff of Chieveley.

Of key significance for the purposes of this case was the existence of the duty of care deed which defeated Panatown's claim. Lord Clyde, Lord Jauncey and Lord Browne-Wilkinson were not prepared to follow the "broader ground" in circumstances where a deliberate course had been adopted between the parties whereby the company with the potential risk of loss was given a separate, albeit inferior, entitlement to sue the contractor.

The judgment considers the Contract (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999. Following the introduction of the Act it would now be perfectly possible to provide Unex with express rights to enforce clauses in the main contract between Panatown and McAlpine by way of appropriate drafting in the main contract. Such an arrangement if possible at the time could have avoided the protracted litigation that arose in this case. It is worth noting Lord Goff's comments about the applicability of the Act had it been in force at the time of this particular litigation. In particular, whilst the contract between Panatown and McAlpine clearly purported to confer a benefit upon Unex, it would not have been possible for Unex to sue McAlpine as a result of Section 1(ii) of the Act because McAlpine and Panatown could not have intended that any such term be enforceable by Unex given the existence of a separate contract between Unex and McAlpine specifically limiting Unex's rights.

Beechwood Development Company (Scotland) Ltd v Stuart Mitchell t/a Discovery Land Surveys Outer House, Court of Session - Lord Hamilton (Judgment delivered 12 February 2001)


Beechwood are house builders who work almost exclusively with a development company which acquires and develops sites for residential housing. Beechwood engaged the Defender, a land surveyor, to provide a topographical survey on a site on which Beechwood were to carry out house building works. The layout plans …made an error in relation to the configuration of a burn. This resulted in a change to the planned layout for the site and a delay in the granting of planning permission…The Defender accepted that they were in breach of contract. The issue in this case concerned the quantification of Beechwood's damages and in particular, Beechwood's claim for a loss of contribution to overhead and profit.

Issues and Findings

Were the Pursuers entitled to claim damages for overhead and loss of profit using the Hudson Formula?

Yes, Lord Hamilton being satisfied that the Pursuer sustained a loss by reason of its inability for a period to generate income through carrying out construction works.


This provides a rare example of a substantial consideration of a formula-based claim for loss of overhead and profit. Here Lord Hamilton was satisfied that Beechwood's claim for loss of overhead and profit was established in principle on the evidence before him hence his acceptance of the formula method of calculation for that loss. What, however, does not appear to have been considered is whether or not Beechwood had done its best on the available evidence to quantify its loss. It should be remembered that ordinarily formulae for the calculation of claims for the loss of overhead and profit should only be used when through no fault of its own a contractor is unable to quantify with precision its actual loss of overhead and profit.

Chiemgauer Membran und Zeltbau GmbH v New Millennium Experience Company Ltd Chancery Division - HHJ Vos QC sitting as a Deputy Judge Judgment delivered 15 December 2000


In July 1997 the Claimant ("Koch") entered into a contract with the Defendant to roof the Millennium Dome. Clause 31(5) of the contract allowed the Defendant to terminate the contract without cause and it did so in August 1997. The Claimant filed for bankruptcy during 1998 and then commenced proceedings against the Defendant. At first instance the claim was struck out but allowed on appeal and summary judgment was subsequently entered against the Defendant. The present application was issued in accordance with CPR 24, the Claimant contending that the phrase "direct loss and/or damage" appearing in the contract ought to be construed as to include loss of profit and further, that when assessing damages under the contract the Court should assume that the Claimant would have been able to perform the contract according to its terms.

Issues and Findings

As a matter of construction, was the Claimant entitled to recover loss of profit?

Yes, on the wording on the relevant clause in this contract.

In assessing damages, should the Court assume that the Claimant would have been able to perform the contract according to its terms, had it not been terminated?

Yes, the normal rule derived from repudiation cases applies.

Are there any exceptions to this approach to assessment?

Yes, if the repudiating party can show that as at the date of the acceptance of the repudiation it was inevitable that the contract would not have been performed according to its terms then the normal rule ceases to apply.


The finding by the Deputy Judge on the first issue is unsurprising. In relation to the second issue, the Deputy Judge found that the Claimant's insolvency in 1998 was not connected with the termination of the Millennium Dome Contract in August 1997. In similar circumstances, whether or not the Defendant can establish that the genesis of the Claimant's insolvency occurred prior to termination will be a question of fact. Proving this is likely to depend upon the Defendant obtaining disclosure of a considerable volume of the Claimant's internal documents, which might not otherwise be disclosable in a straightforward damages claim. If the Defendant is obliged to make an application for specific disclosure of these documents, it will require more solid grounds than mere speculation that the Claimant was in financial difficulties prior to termination.

Whilst the Deputy Judge held that in principle the Claimant's subsequent insolvency was not a matter to be taken into account when damages came to be assessed, the Defendant would not be prevented from putting forward other (commonly raised) arguments to reduce the Claimant's recovery; for example that the Claimant had failed to mitigate its loss or had recovered the same loss elsewhere. Similarly, the Defendant could argue that on proper analysis of the Claimant's tender, the ostensible level of profit was unrealistic and unlikely to be achieved. It is not simply a matter of the Claimant recovering the profit it maintained it would earn on the contract.

Hotel Services Ltd v Hilton International Hotels (UK) Ltd Court of Appeal (Judgment delivered 15 March 2000)


Hilton Hotels brought an action against the Appellants, Hotel Services Ltd in respect of minibars supplied and installed by the Appellants in certain of their hotels rented on fixed term agreements. Hilton Hotels claimed that there were problems with the minibars alleging repudiatory breach of an implied term of merchantable quality and claiming damages. At first instance, HHJ Wilcox found for Hilton Hotels on liability and awarded them damages for the cost of removal and storage of the minibars and loss of profit on the minibars. The Appellant appealed claiming that the losses complained of amounted to indirect or consequential loss and were thus caught by an exemption clause in the rental contracts which stated as follows:-

The company will not in any circumstances be liable for any indirect or consequential loss, damage, or liability arising from any defect in or failure for the system or any part thereof or the performance of this agreement or any breach hereof by the company or its employees.

Issues and Findings

Did the cost of removal and storage of the chiller units and cabinets amount to an indirect or consequential loss within the meaning of the exemption clause?


Did the loss of profit on the minibars amount to an indirect or consequential loss within the meaning of the exemption clause?



In a useful review of the authorities (British Sugar Plc v Projects Ltd and Deepak Fertilisers Ltd v ICI Chemicals and Polymers Ltd) this case endeavours to clarify what types of loss incurred by a party are to be considered "indirect or consequential". Here the Court of Appeal follow Atkinson J in Saint Line Ltd v Richardsons, Westgarth and Co. Ltd 1940 2 KB 99 in finding that the words "indirect and consequential" when used together tend to be synonymous. The key distinction is between "direct" and "indirect" loss. Identifying and distinguishing a direct loss from an indirect loss is not so straightforward. Atkinson J defined direct damages as that which flows naturally from the breach without other intervening cause and independently of special circumstances, while indirect damage does not so flow. The difficulty with this is where precisely does one draw the line between damage which is said to arise naturally from the breach without any other intervening cause? This case and other recent authorities confirm that loss of profit may well constitute a direct loss. Certainly, where a defective product or delay in delivery or completion leads to a loss of revenue and profit as a result, this can be seen to arise naturally from the breach.


Aurum Investments Ltd v Avonforce Ltd (in liquidation) and Others TCC - Mr Justice Dyson (Judgment delivered 6 December 2000)


Aurum engaged Avonforce to design and construct substantial building works at 68 Winnington Road, London N2 including the excavation and construction of a basement and garage at the side adjoining 70 Winnington Road. It was decided that in order to safeguard the flank wall of No 70 it should be underpinned. Avonforce were being advised by Knapp Hicks and Partners, structural engineers. Advanced Underpinning Ltd were engaged to carry out the underpinning works.

When visiting the site to give a quotation Advanced were shown a drawing no 1001/101B prepared by the project architects and annotated by KHP. The drawing provided design details and construction notes for the underpinning work, effectively comprising a method statement. Advanced were told by Avonforce that extensive works were being carried out including the construction of a basement adjacent to the flank wall to No 70. The drawing included the legend "temporary works if required" at two sections of the perimeter of the proposed basement: these sections did not include any part of the length of the proposed underpinning.

Advanced were subsequently engaged and the underpinning works carried out between 24 February and 13 March 1997. On 22 May 1997 Avonforce started to excavate the basement in the area adjacent to the flank wall. No temporary support was provided and Avonforce were unaware that the bases installed by Advanced might not be able to resist the lateral load resulting from the excavation. On 6 June 1997 the central section of the excavation collapsed. At trial the parties agreed that it would have been possible to have designed and installed some form of propping to prevent the failure of the underpinning.

Aurum sued Avonforce who joined KHP and Advanced as third parties. By the time of the trial all aspects of the litigation had been resolved except Advanced's liability to Avonforce. Avonforce contended that Advanced was in breach of its duty to warn of the need to provide lateral support during the excavation for the basement.

Issues and Findings

Did Advanced owe Avonforce a duty to warn of the need to provide lateral support?

No. The duty would only have been imposed if Advanced had understood the manner in which Avonforce intended to carry out the excavation. It is not sufficient that it was possible that Avonforce would carry out the excavation in the way that it did.


Dyson J distinguished Plant Construction PLC v Clive Adams Associates and JMH Construction Services Ltd CILL March 2000 from this case because in Plant JMH, who were held responsible for failing to warn, were fully aware that the temporary works were dangerous. They were also asked to carry out those works themselves. Here Advanced were unaware of the details of the proposed temporary works which were to be carried out by a third party in any event. The Judge considered it unreasonable to impose a duty to warn in such circumstances. In fact, he stated that reasonableness should go to the heart of these decisions.

However the judgment may extend the common law on this subject because Dyson J does acknowledge the argument from Counsel for Advanced that Advanced would have had a duty to warn if they had known how Avonforce planned to carry out the temporary works. This is in circumstances where not only is the client advised by independent engineers, but the works are to be carried out by a third party.

The Judge referred to this area of law as "moving with caution" which it must inevitably do, particularly given the number of references to "reasonableness". However the incremental approach adopted by the courts may mean that we see the doctrine extend even further. At the moment the cases which impose a duty to warn as part of the duty to act with the skill and care of a reasonably competent contractor are confined to incidents which cause danger, whether the courts will move away from this remains to be seen.


The Royal Brompton Hospital National Health Service Trust v Frederick Alexander Hammond and Others TCC - HHJ Richard Seymour QC (Judgment delivered 18 December 2000)


The claimant ("the Trust") entered into a contract with Taylor Woodrow Construction Ltd for the construction of a six storey hospital in Chelsea, London. The Trust also engaged WGI, …as architect for the project and Project Management International ("PMI"), …to act as project managers. The works were delayed and WGI granted Taylor Woodrow several extensions of time, both before and after practical completion which was certified on 22 May 1990. Inter alia, extensions of time were granted… the Trust alleged negligence on the part of WGI and PMI in relation to the extensions of time granted to Taylor Woodrow…contending that…no extensions at all should have been granted and…that the extensions granted were of such excessive length that no reasonably competent architect or project manager could possibly have considered them justified. The parties relied solely upon expert evidence and no witness of fact having direct knowledge of the progress of the works was called.

Issues and Findings

Had WGI been negligent in relation to the issue of any of the extensions of time granted on the four grounds?

Only in relation to the grant of a second extension of time on the hydrotite ground, this being an extension of time which no reasonably competent architect ought to have granted.

Was PMI negligent for not having failed to alert the Trust to the negligent acts of WGI?

No, the project manager's job was to make sure the process operated smoothly. It was not for PMI to interfere with decisions made by the appointed authority, WGI. Moreover, on the facts, PMI had not been in a position to influence or change the decisions of WGI as regards the extensions.


In these proceedings the Trust alleged that its architects had been negligent in granting unwarranted extensions of time, and that its project managers had equally been negligent in failing to prevent such extensions of time being granted.

Whilst one can detect throughout the lengthy judgment surprise on behalf of the Judge that several extensions of time were granted to Taylor Woodrow, he found that on the facts, the architects had been negligent in granting an extension of time on one occasion only. This negligence arose out of the architect's failure to appreciate that perceived delay on the flooring works would not have affected the eventual completion date of the works as a whole.

It was only in this instance that the opinion of the architects was one which a reasonably competent architect could not have held. As for the project managers, the terms of their retainer did not require them to supervise the architects' decision-making process, and as the Judge found, they were entitled to expect their fellow professionals to behave in a professional manner.

This is in contrast to the position in Chesham Properties Ltd v Bucknall Austin Project Management Ltd. PMI were under no express obligation to monitor WGI's performance.



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George Parke v The Fenton Gretton Partnership

Woods Hardwick Ltd v Chiltern Air Conditioning


Re A Company (No 1299 of 2001)

Fence Gates Ltd v JR Knowles Ltd

Farebrother Building Services Ltd v Frogmore Investments Ltd

Barr Ltd v Law Mining Ltd

RJT Consulting Engineers v DM Engineering Ltd

Nordot v Siemens

Re Mitsui Babcock Energy Services Ltd

Ballast plc v The Burrell Company Ltd

SL Timber Systems Ltd v Carillion Construction Ltd


David Wilson Homes Ltd v Survey Services Ltd (now in liquidation) & David Jonathan Marshall

Lafarge Redlands Aggregates Ltd (formerly Redland Aggregates Ltd) v Shephard Hill Civil Engineering Ltd

Lindner Ceilings Floors Partitions Plc v How Engineering Services Ltd


Carillion Construction Ltd v Felix (UK) Ltd


Birse Construction Ltd v St David Ltd


Alfred McAlpine Construction Ltd v Panatown Ltd

Beechwood Development Company (Scotland) Ltd v Stuart Mitchell t/a Discovery Land Surveys

Chiemgauer Membran und Zeltbau GmbH v New Millennium Experience Company Ltd

Hotel Services Ltd v Hilton International Hotels (UK) Ltd


Aurum Investments Ltd v Avonforce Ltd (in liquidation) and Others


The Royal Brompton Hospital National Health Service Trust v Frederick Alexander Hammond and Others


  1. Delcourt v Belgium [1990] 1 EHRR 355; Moreira De Azevedo v Portugal [1990] 13 HRR 721

  2. Schuler-Zraggen v Switzerland [1993] 16 ECHHR 405


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