Model Clauses

Ensure an effective and proportionate response in the future should a dispute arise
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Have you checked your model dispute resolution clause lately?

Recommended model clauses are included at the end of this page. You can also download a pdf of our Model Clauses Guide here.

When was the last time you checked your model dispute resolution clauses that you include in your contracts or services agreements? Almost all private dispute resolution processes require the agreement of the parties to engage in the process. Almost always the dispute resolution clauses included in contracts and agreements for services are old, outdated and, in many cases, ineffective and unenforceable. Such clauses are typically added to contracts/agreements at the 11th hour when everything else has been scrutinised, debated, and agreed.

Dispute resolution clauses are usually not seen as particularly contentious or important. At a time of heightened interest and excitement about the subject matter of such contracts, there is often little appetite to talk about something that might be perceived as negative, or indeed threatening towards the relationship. Often the hope or presumption is that it is something that is included in a contract but will never be needed. Unfortunately, our experience tells us that conflict is an almost inevitable consequence of many commercial transactions/business relationships.

Parties already in dispute are highly unlikely to agree on anything, let alone to refer their dispute to a particular dispute resolution process/service. This is what makes good model clauses critical to enabling the prompt, proportionate and cost-effective resolution of disputes, should they arise in the future.

What makes for a good model clause? One that can be effectively and efficiently relied on to enable a dispute to be resolved promptly by whatever process is agreed. Model clauses need to be clear and certain in terms of both the process and the means of securing the appointment of the relevant third party neutral (for example, arbitrator, mediator, expert). Simply referring disputes arising to mediation or arbitration is ineffective and inefficient. Parties routinely spend significant time (and money) arguing over what the process should look like, who to appoint to be the mediator or arbitrator and procedural and timetabling matters. This can all be easily avoided by careful drafting of dispute resolution clauses.

 

Cover of the Model Clauses guide.

“Route to the decision” – Scottish court rejects challenge to adjudicator’s decision that did not expressly address a material line of defence

Written by Kate Holland In UK Grid Solutions Limited and Amey Power Services Limited v Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission PLC,[1] the unsuccessful party to an adjudication sought to resist enforcement on the grounds that 1) the adjudicator had failed to address a...

Asking a decision-maker to take a sneaky peek isn’t a strategically clever move: adjudicator’s decision held unenforceable due to breach of without prejudice rules

Written by Maria Cole A party (AZ) brought proceedings in the England and Wales Technology and Construction Court (Court) to enforce the decision of an adjudicator against the respondent (BY).[1] During the adjudication, AZ had placed without prejudice emails before...

Failed waterproofing causes a flood of costs

Written by Sam Dorne Legal battle over failed waterproofing comes to an end after plaintiffs prove their damages at the High Court in duty of care breach. Water water everywhere In the heart of Flat Bush, Auckland, stand the Nikau Apartments – a residential complex...

Mayor Brown is right about why public sector contracts go over time and over budget

Written by Rabin Rabindran and Derek Firth  In his opinion piece (NZ Herald 21 February 2024) Mayor Brown provides a number of reasons for these overruns.  They include an obsession with governance skills rather than a range of skills directly useful to the sector...

BuildLaw Issue 53

March 2024Download PDF   CONTENTS From the Editor BuildLaw in Brief A cat among pigeons Major changes to seismic building standards Failed waterproofing causes a flood of costs Asking a decisionmaker to take a sneaky peak isn’t a strategically clever...

High Court soundly dismisses judicial review of adjudication determinations but may inadvertently have put the cat among the pigeons

By Alexander Lyall In Sam Pemberton Civil Ltd v Robertson,[1] the High Court considered applications for judicial review of two related adjudication determinations. In dismissing the applications, the Court underscored some of the key functions of the Construction...

Technocratic payment regime not the priority under the Construction Contracts Act

Written by Alexander Lyall In Dem Home Ltd v New Gate Ltd[1] the High Court considered whether a payment claim had been validly served under the Construction Contracts Act 2002 (the CCA). The decision is an ever-important reminder that the CCA is designed to maintain...

Highly stressful circumstances: Court of Appeal assesses contract in earthquake insurance mess

Written by Alexander Lyall   The Court of Appeal (the Court) has issued a decision in a long-running dispute between a Christchurch homeowner and her insurance and legal advocates. Pfisterer v Claims Resolution Service Limited & Anor[1] contains a close look...

Kane v Venues NSW: The Handrail Tale

Written by Sam Dorne The case of Venues NSW v Kane [2023] NSWCA 192, involving a patron’s fall within the lower concourse of the western grandstand of the McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle, Australia, looks at a fundamental legal question surrounding the duty of...

How do you solve a problem like retentions?

Written by Kate Holland The use of retentions in construction contracts is culturally ingrained in the industry but it is increasingly seen as an outdated and unfair practice. In the UK, there have long been calls to abolish or regulate retentions, but little progress...
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