Big guns trained on big cases

Help! We are short of judges in the Technology and Construction Court (TCC). There are only four of them in London and they are dealing with nearly double the number of claims that twice as many judges used to handle seven years ago. The judges have responded by kicking a raft of cases of small value out of the High Court to be dealt with by the county court (see News).

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Planned early negotiation processes

Tia Starey of Clyde & Co explains a new feature on the alternative dispute resolution landscape that has been growing in popularity in the United States. PEN processes have the potential to displace the use of the expensive Pre-Action Protocol, she argues.

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Whose employee?

Insurance expert John D Wright of JD Risk Associates reviews employers’ liability insurance cover and explains the view taken by the courts on whether someone is employed by a hirer or the company doing the hiring.

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What happens next?

Contractor insolvency could remain a major problem for some time. Nick Warrington of Gateley advises employers what to do next, and what not to do, in the event of a contractor going under.

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Scottish courts back speedy arbitration

Shona Frame of MacRoberts reports on the first court case under the new Scottish Arbitration Act which represents a fundamental shift in Scottish arbitration law. A new emphasis on flexibility of the procedure, and allowing the dispute to be dealt with expeditiously and economically, is welcomed.

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Courts back ‘rough and ready’ view

Mark Lloyd-Williams and Michael Mendelblat of Herbert Smith examine the implications for adjudication of a dispute which has reached the Court of Appeal. The ruling should discourage ‘forum shopping’ and provides guidance on how allegations of bias will be regarded. 

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Procurement for growth and savings

Government procurement strategy is undergoing a thorough overhaul, partly through a Procurement/ Lean Client Task Group charged with putting strategic objectives of the wider construction strategy into effect. David Mosey of Trowers & Hamlins reports on changes, that have since been announced, following a pre-publication briefing from the Task Group.

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Courts still reluctant to imply terms

Do contractors have to proceed regularly and diligently or can they simply focus on achieving completion by the required date? Andy Green of Pinsent Masons analyses the impact of a court answer to the question in a case where he acted for one of the parties.

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Skip over insurance at your peril

Our contracts monitor Michael Phipps, Principal of Thurston Consultants, focuses on the treatment of retention bonds in the JCT Standard Building Contract with Quantities (2011). Some changes make it easier to ignore insurance, which users are already inclined to skip over until too late, he warns.

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Reports from the courts: March 2012

Will Buckby and Andrew Croft of Beale and Company with the recent court decisions of most interest to construction, one of which highlights the difficulties of establishing that a written contract does not exist.

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