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21 January 2021

Impartiality v Confidentiality? – the Arbitrator’s dilemma Halliburton v Chubb, (2020) UKSC 48 and Building Law Monthly

Background Following the serious accident in the Gulf of Mexico on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in 2010, a number of claims were brought against petrochemical companies, including Halliburton which settled several huge claims and then made an insurance claim of its own against its insurers, Chubb

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09 August 2020

Vicarious liability: Supreme Court sets new tests to determine when a person is an "employee"

Barclays Bank v Various Claimants (2020) 2 WLR 960; BLM; UKSC. Facts People applying for employment at Barclays Bank were required to pass a medical examination. Barclays arranged for the examination be carried out by a Doctor who was self-employed and carried out examinations for a fee at his home

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06 July 2020

Adjudication is a legitimate tool for Liquidators to quickly establish if a construction debt is valid and for how much, and find the net balance between conflicting claims.

Bresco v Lonsdale [2020] UKSC 25 UK Supreme Court Facts Bresco was the electrical subcontractor to Lonsdale, carrying out works at Saint James's Square London. Bresco ceased to perform its works and claimed £219,000, including damages for loss of profit. Lonsdale paid £325,000 to get the work

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03 July 2020

Major guidance on costs punishment for those who won’t mediate

DSN v Blackpool Football Club Limited (2020) EWHC 670 QB. (BAIILI)DSN v Blackpool Football Club Limited (2020) EWHC 670 QB. (BAIILI) Facts When DSN was aged 13 he attended coaching sessions at Blackpool FC run by Frank Roper, who was a volunteer assisting Blackpool FC. Roper sexually assaulted him, and many years later DSN brought a claim against the club. DSN

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28 June 2020

Adjudication goes ahead despite Covid 19

The respondent’s solicitor was self-isolating and could not attend the adjudicator’s site visit – should an injunction be granted?Millchris Developments v Waters (2020) 4WLUK 45; (2020) BLM, Jefford J. Facts Millchris Developments built a new residential property for Mr Waters. Mr Waters alleged that he had overpaid £45,000 and brought an adjudication against Millchris in March 2020. An Adjudicator was appointed who announced

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03 April 2019

Probate mediation

Earlier this year I was again entrusted with mediating a family trusts and probate dispute. These are often among the hardest to resolve, with a potent tangle of strong emotions, historic grievances, and large sums of money. Hanging over any inheritance case is always the wholly arbitrary power of

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20 April 2018

Interpreting contracts –the end of contra proferentem?

In Multiplex v Dunne CILL (2017 TCC) the High Court appeared to make redundant the adverse interpretation principle of contractual interpretation. Formerly known to lawyers as “contra proferentem”, this enabled a contracting party to rely upon ambiguities and alternative meanings in a document

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01 February 2018

Why shortage of judges could drive reform

These have been worsened by a growing reluctance among successful QC's to take the job on, as the pension terms are now much less attractive. Also, the retirement age for senior judges has been reduced from 75 to 70, which has also driven out some very competent senior judges.This has contributed to growing pressure on judicial time, and lengthening waiting lists. Before the 1996 Woolf reforms, waiting for a trial 2 or even 3 years was not uncommon, and we may be going back that way. There is little sign that the chancellor has any spare money to divert to the legal

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01 January 2018

Is litigation the highest form of gambling known to man?

You are then referred to a case or statute, or a learned article to prove it. This has probably stalled more mediations than any other procedural problem.The mediator’s challenge temptation is to get into argument, and looking partisan, or antagonistic. Another approach is to try to overcome the confidence expressed by asking “what could go wrong?”, or even “so you’re saying that your client can’t lose? Are you putting that in writing?” My favourite

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01 December 2017

Ireland's new Mediation Act

At first glance, Ireland's new Mediation Act, 2017, which came into force at the start of this year, seems to do little more than require Irish lawyers to explain mediation and its advantages to clients before commencing legal proceedings. All claimant lawyers must now file with their courtAnd if they don’t? Then the court can refuse to let the matter go forward until the Declaration has been filed. As a means of promoting ADR, this seems unlikely to have much impact – no doubt a standard form Statutory Declaration is already on every Dublin law firm’s precedent suite, and the

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