Part 36 settlement offers....again
We recently provided an update regarding the court’s interpretation of Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules in light of a number of cases. Since then the court has continued to provide guidance on various aspects of the rule.
Conditions precedent in commercial contracts
A condition precedent clause is a condition which must be fulfilled before a specified liability can arise. Whilst condition precedent clauses often arise in construction and insurance contracts, they can also arise in standard commercial contracts – sometimes without a party realising that a particular clause is a condition precedent.
All decisions now handed down by Competition Appeal Tribunal in construction bid-rigging case
Following on from our previous article STOP PRESS – OFT FINES SLASHED! , the Competition Appeal Tribunal (“the Tribunal”) has now handed down all of the judgments in the appeals against the OFT’s decision regarding bid-rigging in the construction industry.
STOP PRESS – Oft fines slashed!
On Friday 11 March 2011, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) handed down judgment in six of the appeals against the fines imposed by the OFT in the Construction Bid Rigging cases. Although this leaves the results of nineteen of the appeals still to be handed down, the initial six decisions are great news for the construction industry.
Empty property rates relief
Landlords struggling to find tenants for their empty properties have now been dealt a further blow, with the government’s recent announcement of a dramatic cut in the threshold for empty property rates relief.
Access to justice - what price now?
Any decision as to whether it is financially justifiable to pursue or defend Court proceedings requires careful analysis of several factors. Two of the more important ones are the chances of winning, and the costs involved in getting to trial.
Breaking Free
The break clause, a relatively rare item ten or so years ago, is now becoming even more significant in these troubled economic times, with many tenants looking to get out of their leases as a way of cutting costs.
Electronic Disclosure Update
Over the past decade businesses have increasingly used technology to conduct transactions. Email in particular has become an everyday part of corporate life. A recent amendment to Part 31 of the Civil Procedure Rules attempts to address the way in which parties to court proceedings disclose electronic documents with the intent of minimising the time and costs involved in the process. A new Practice Direction has been introduced together with an Electronic Documents Questionnaire.
Admissibility of without prejudice negotiations as an aid to construction
The without prejudice rule protects statements made in the course of without prejudice negotiations from being admissible in evidence. The rule applies to all negotiations genuinely aimed at settlement whether oral or in writing.
Costs sanctions for refusal to mediate
In his recent report on costs Lord Justice Jackson highlighted that alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) is under used. Whilst he did not conclude that ADR should be mandatory he did consider that more could be done to encourage mediation. He emphasised that the court can and should make orders requiring parties to provide an explanation if they decline to mediate and to make costs orders which penalise parties who have unreasonably refused to mediate. Lord Justice Jackson was of the view that much of the question of whether mediation is appropriate will come down to the judgment of experienced practitioners and the court.

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