In her otherwise excellent column on the 2010 RIBA forms of architect’s appointment (A return to a simpler time, 13 August), Rachel Barnes predicts that a court may decline to enforce the no set-off clause

This is, for architects, perhaps the most important clause in the contract; without it, it is virtually impossible to enforce fee payment against a client who alleges negligence, perhaps misguidedly or just to avoid paying sums reasonably due.

As a mere architect, may I suggest that her prediction is unlikely to come about. First, it has been in place in the RIBA standard forms since 1992 without being successfully challenged.

Second, the case of Schenkers vs Overland Shoes (Court of Appeal 1998) held that a no set-off clause in a standard form of contract is enforceable provided that it can be demonstrated that it is reasonable and that it is in common use in the profession.

Stephen Yakeley

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