‘In Richards & Anor v Speechly Bircham LLP & Anor (Consequential Matters)  EWHC 1512 (Comm) HHJ Russen QC (sitting as a judge of the High Court) considered, inter alia, the most appropriate costs order to be imposed on the unsuccessful defendant law firm for refusing to consider and engage in mediation. He concluded, wrongly in my view, that a failure to mediate did not justify an order for costs on an indemnity basis.’
Law Society's Gazette, 22nd July 2022
‘Putting tax payments or property transactions on blockchain – or issuing a Bank of England-backed digital currency – would help entrench English law as the forum of choice for resolving crypto disputes, the master of the rolls has said in a constitutionally daring intervention into policy-making.’
Law Society's Gazette, 26th July 2022
‘I was lucky enough to be asked to give a recent case law update lecture for the Adjudication Society. At the end one of the delegates asked a very sensible question, namely to what extent do matters decided by an adjudicator concerning an interim valuation bind later valuations. It’s an issue that I’ve been asked about before, and it’s also one of those that can promote polarising debate, with some extreme positions taken.’
Practical Law: Construction Blog, 5th July 2022
‘Sometimes it feels that, as an adjudicator, you are damned if you do and are also damned if you don’t. In this case – Liverpool CC v Vital Infrastructure Asset Management (Viam) Ltd (In Administration) – it was both what the adjudicator did do and what he didn’t do that led the judge to issue a declaration that his decision was unenforceable. But how did the judge, HHJ Stephen Davies, arrive at this point?’
Practical Law: Construction Blog, 21st June 2022
‘While defendants in adjudication enforcement proceedings often assert jurisdictional defences as a matter of course, Eyre J’s judgement in BraveJoin Co Ltd v Prosperity Moseley Street Ltd is a reminder that – in practical terms – they will rarely succeed, particularly where they rely on the absence of a crystallised dispute.’
Practical Law: Construction Blog, 11th April 2022
‘The NHS in England faces paying out £4.3bn in legal fees to settle outstanding claims of clinical negligence: so reported the BBC in January 2020 following a Freedom of Information Request. Estimates published in 2019 put the total cost of outstanding compensation claims at £83bn; NHS England’s total budget in 2018-19 was £129bn.’
Ropewalk Clinical Negligence Blog, 7th April 2022
‘The case in question is Bilton and Johnson (Building) Co Ltd v Three Rivers Property Investments Ltd, which was heard by Mr Jason Coppell QC (sitting as a deputy High Court judge). I admit that the case doesn’t tell us anything new about the law of adjudication, but it is a useful reminder of the limits of natural justice challenges to adjudicators’ decisions, as well as the fact that whether an adjudicator’s findings are correct as a matter of law is not material to whether their decision should be enforced.’
Practical Law: Construction Blog, 18th March 2022
‘Last year I wrote about the judgment in Davies & Davies Associates Ltd v Steve Ward Services (UK) Ltd, where Roger ter Haar QC (sitting as a deputy High Court judge) granted summary judgment on a claim for payment of an adjudicator’s fees and expenses arising from an adjudication in which the adjudicator resigned prior to issuing a decision. The matter has now come before the Court of Appeal in Steve Ward Services (UK) Ltd v Davies & Davies Associates Ltd, with Coulson LJ giving the leading judgment. The court upheld the first instance decision and also allowed the adjudicator’s cross-appeal, finding that the judge was wrong to suggest the adjudicator’s decision to resign was erroneous or that he went outside the ambit of paragraph 13 of the Scheme for Construction Contracts 1998.’
Practical Law: Construction Blog, 2nd March 2022
‘With the dawn of “no fault” divorce almost upon us there is a sense of post-election frivolity reverberating throughout the sector, with the Government proudly patting itself on the back for delivering on the most significant shake up of family law in almost five decades.
To a certain extent, one could argue rightly so.
Indeed, National Family Mediation was one of the many organisations campaigning for change to what is widely accepted to be a stale and outdated area of law, with already heartbroken families kickstarting divorce proceedings by blaming their former spouse for the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship.
And so let me start this article by stressing that I, and my mediation colleagues, are most certainly in favour of the reforms which will aid the ability to separate on a less acrimonious footing, regardless of who has done what and to whom.
However, as the April 6th deadline rapidly approaches it feels prudent to caution that this major legislative change is not, in isolation, the end to all of our problems.’
Family Law, 3rd March 2022
‘Compared to the restrictions we faced a couple of months ago with the emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, it really does feel as if we are starting to return to some normality, and it was wonderful to see so many construction law professionals at the Society of Construction Law lunch in London last Friday. I had intended to read Morris J’s interesting judgment in John Graham Construction Ltd v Tecnicas Reunidas UK Ltd on the train home, but I sensibly put that off until the weekend, otherwise I fear my ramblings might have been somewhat difficult to discern.’
Practical Law: Construction Blog, 16th February 2022
‘The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales has delivered the Blackstone Lecture 2022 at Pembroke College in Oxford. Lord Burnett of Maldon gave a speech entitled The hidden value of the Rule of Law and English Law.’
Courts and Tribunals Judiciary, 11th February 2022
‘The court may order a stay of a claim pursuant to CPR 3.1(2)(f) where the claimant has previously been ordered to pay the defendant sums in satisfaction of an adjudicator’s decision and the claimant has not done so. That power is exercised, in part, with the “pay now argue later” ethos of the Construction Act 1996 in mind. The key decisions to date (which I discuss below) balance a party’s rights of access to the court against those broader policy objectives. This post looks at a case in which the TCC applied and expanded the case law in this area, RHP Merchants and Construction Ltd v Treforest Property Co Ltd.’
Practical Law: Construction Blog, 2nd February 2022
‘I appreciate that not everyone will agree but, as well as striving to get to the right answer, correctly applying the law, and so on, most adjudicators also want to provide the parties with a decision that is ultimately enforceable by the TCC. I think I also speak for most adjudicators when I say that it comes as somewhat of a relief when we read a judgment on BAILII or the like and we’ve been enforced.
But what about cases where only part of the decision is enforced, and the other part is severed? It is arguable that for the adjudicator it is, to use the language of the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “just a flesh wound”. However, I can attest to the fact that it is frustrating, having been one of the first adjudicators to be severed back in 2012 in Beck Interiors v UK Flooring Contractors. I was thoroughly annoyed with myself for getting it wrong and only part of my decision was enforced (but I was assured by my peers that “tis but a scratch”).’
Practical Law: Construction Blog, 19th January 2022