Construction Case Law Digest 2018/2019

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.

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The prevention principle is not an overriding principle of law: express terms allocating risk of concurrent delay still prevail

The Court of Appeal judgment in North Midland Building Limited v Cyden Homes Limited [2018] EWCA Civ 1744, which was handed down last week, firmly upholds the first instance decision (on which we provided a Legal Briefing in 2017); and confirms that the prevention principle is not an overriding rule of public or legal policy, which prevails over an express contractual provision that allocates the risk of concurrent delay between the parties.

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