Are you sure that you know the true meaning of all the terms that govern your contractual relationship?
In this blog post we explore the recent decision of the Technology and Construction Court, in Network Rail Infrastructure LTD v ABC Electrification LTD  EWHC 1769 (TCC), which illustrates how important it is for clients and their contractors to define key words in their contracts, or run the risk that the courts will apply a meaning that one of the parties did not intend. In this case the court applied the ordinary and natural meaning resulting in a loss of £13m to the contractor.
After over a decade of uncertainty, the High Court yesterday reined in the use of the quantum meruit remedy.
A majority of the Court found that builders can no longer seek compensation on a quantum meruit basis in relation to works where the builder has accrued a right to payment under the contract. While builders can commence a claim on a quantum meruit basis for any works performed where the builder has not accrued a right to payment under the contract, the amount claimed cannot exceed the contract price for those works.
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In Lucas Earthmovers Pty Limited v Anglogold Ashanti Australia Limited  FCA 1049, the Federal Court of Australia considered several issues that typically arise in large-scale resources projects. In so doing, it reinforced the sanctity of the agreed bargain between the parties and highlighted the inherent difficulties in proving the oft-claimed, but rarely successful, misleading and deceptive conduct claims under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). Continue reading
Over the last 12 months, there have been a number of notable cases with significant implications for construction law and practice.
As well as several adjudication cases, such as the widely discussed Grove Developments, which untangled the conflicting authorities around true value adjudications, there were a number of cases that considered fundamental issues of contract law, the findings of which will be relevant to anyone involved in the preparation and/or management of construction contracts.
There were also cases that addressed core construction law issues, such as design liability, construction insurance, liquidated damages, and the prevention principle which the courts have clarified is not an overriding rule of law.
Important lessons were also learnt in respect of the role of experts in construction disputes, as Fraser J’s judgment in the long-running ICI dispute highlighted the importance of independent expert evidence.
In this construction case law digest, we have selected some of the most noteworthy cases from the past year, which will be of interest to the construction and engineering industry. Each case includes a summary of the factual background, decision(s), and the key practice points of each case.