All articles by Tony Blackler

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    Novation: Wise precautions


    If you’re a contractor and you’re asked to accept the novation of a consultant, make sure it really is going to be joining you – and be careful which form you use

  • Tony Blackler

    Reinwood vs Brown: Why their lordships were right


    The latest House of Lords decision to spell out the rights and wrongs of the Construction Act, and the JCT, was based on sound commercial logic

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    Going legal


    As long as an adjudicator has considered the right question in a fair way, they’re free to make legal errors: the result will stand. But the legal issues are often complex and important: take global claims for example …

  • Tony Blackler

    The boomerang effect


    This is a cautionary tale of a court doing its best to assist the parties to resolve their differences through mediation, and finding itself embroiled in a Court of Appeal case. Here’s what happened …

  • Tony Blackler

    Time is on its side


    Many see the new NEC as a contract for dreamers with milk in their mouths; others consider it an improvement on other forms. Here's one reason to think the latter

  • Tony Blackler

    Consumer power


    Adjudication gets a good press from the industry, so it comes as a surprise when a judge rules that it is unfair when used for disputes with consumers

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    Agreement on principles


    The first rule in law school is that an agreement to agree is not a contract. The second rule in law school should be that all rules have their exceptions

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    Permanent fixes


    The Institution of Chemical Engineers has a model form that seems to eliminate disputes. So should any of it be adopted by the construction industry?

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    How late is too late?


    Missing a deadline in a contract can have dire consequences, but you may not be surprised to learn that in construction some deadlines are stricter than others

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    Let me stop you there


    A clause that gave both parties the right to terminate a contract was attacked by one side for being unfair. But the judge shot that one down soon enough

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    All or nothing at all


    'Entire agreement' clauses confine the rights of parties to those in the contract. Sounds simple, but what happens when the parties agree to eleventh-hour additions?

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    Mind the hidden extras


    The construction courts have reinterpreted two JCT contracts – which will land many design-and-build firms with more risk than they'd bargained for

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    Putting an end to it all


    An employer who wishes to terminate a deal had better not take the contract too literally, as sometimes its most important rule is an unwritten one

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    Same old precedent


    In the old adversarial world, sneaky contractual devices were part of the territory. But such things are soon to be relegated to the dustbin of history – aren't they?

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    Smooth operator


    The SCL protocol on extensions of time isn't a contractual obligation, but used correctly it can keep a contract running on time and without disputes

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    Delayed gratification


    Concurrent delays and extensions of time can be a tricky issue for everyone. So why are they dodged by standard forms when two changes would sort them out?

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    Check out the policy


    How can it be that a client ends up out of pocket when a subcontractor causes a fire on site? Someone wasn't paying close enough attention to the insurance clauses.

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    Whose loss is it anyway?


    A company that hasn t suffered direct loss from defective work can t sue for damages under the provisions of common law, according to the judgment in one of the longest disputes in construction history.

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    Through the labyrinth


    It is a common law rule that an arbitration clause in a contract is to be regarded as a contract within a contract – which may survive if the contract itself is terminated. Herein lies a mire into which many fall.

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    Welcome to year zero


    The Woolf reforms have ushered in a new era in construction law. What they have done, in effect, is legislate for virtue – and, as a couple of recent cases show, after a few fingers have been burned it might just work.