Construction Contract Law

These set of laws preside over the operation of government and safeguards the rights of individuals. As such, it is the very system of a well organised society. This essay will examine the importance of Alternative Dispute Resolution in resolving and expediting cases between and among the parties. In order to shed light to this, the case of Burchell v. Mr. and Mrs. Bullard will be used along with relevant provisions of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act of 1996, The Woolf Report, Pre-Action Protocol for the Construction and Engineering Disputes and other current and relevant materials to Alternative Dispute Resolution and Construction Contract Law. Among the difficulties encountered in forming this paper was that due to the relatively new case of Burchell, materials used for this paper are limited to current case laws and articles which relates to the case.
In the instant case, Mr Burchell, the claimant, had agreed to build two large extensions to the home of Mr and Mrs Bullard, the defendants, for which he was to be paid in four stages, as stated in their agreement. The Spouses Bullard refused to make the third stage payment, amounting to 13,540.99 and find fault about the work that had been done. The claimant’s solicitors initially wrote to the defendants suggesting that the matter be referred for an Alternative Dispute Resolution through "a qualified construction mediator". Subsequently, this approach was discarded by the defendant’s surveyor on the grounds that the matters complained of are technically complex, and as such mediation is inappropriate to settle the issue in the case.
The claimant claimed 18,318.45. The defendants responded by counterclaiming 100,815.34 and further damages which were then not fully particularised. The claimant then brought a Part 20 claim against a sub-contractor in relation to the roofing works. There were no payments into Court and no Part 36 Offers made.
At first instance the Court rendered judgment in favour of the claimant on his claim and awarded him 18,327.04 but likewise gave judgment in favour of the defendants on the counterclaim in the amount of 14,373.15. The result was that the defendants had to pay the claimant the difference, which with interest and VAT came to only 5,025.63. The claimant was awarded 79.50 on his counterclaim against the sub-contractor. The defendants were ordered to pay the claimant’s costs of the claim and in turn, the claimant was ordered to pay the defendant’s costs of the counterclaim. The claimant was also ordered to pay the Part 20 defendant’s costs on the basis that the Part 20 defendant had only had 79.50 awarded against him and had made offers to settle from the beginning.
The claimant appealed the costs award and made a further proposal for mediation, requesting the defendants to submit to the Court of Appeal scheme. The defendants, thereafter responded in the negative stating that they did not consider that this would be either "necessary or appropriate".
In determining whether the circumstances of the case justified a departure from the general