Construction law special issue

International Journal of Law in the Built Environment

ISSN: 1756-1450

Article publication date: 4 October 2011



(2011), "Construction law special issue", International Journal of Law in the Built Environment, Vol. 3 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Construction law special issue

Article Type: Guest editorial From: International Journal of Law in the Built Environment, Volume 3, Issue 3

This issue of the International Journal of Law in the Built Environment takes “construction law” as its guiding theme. This is an identifiable and discrete area of international law and legal practice that has arguably developed out of the concentration of ideas facilitated over the years by the Society of Construction Law. The ideas tend to coalesce around disputes, and derive from reflection upon rights and obligations, and the principles underpinning them, whose nature is generally determined definitively by court judgment or arbitration award. It is an area of law which is tightly engaged with practice. Many authors who grapple with the topic are, or have been, practitioners who grapple with the practical manifestation of legal issues in their daily life, drawing on the experience gained to inform their legal analysis.

The collection of papers brought together here address a range of aspects of construction law, but are unified in their adoption of legal approaches to scholarship. The three central papers tackle different elements of construction claims. Wayne Edward Lord and Thomas Edward Gray shed some informative new perspectives on the familiar topic of global claims; Ronan Champion takes on the less commonly analysed area of prolongation costs; whilst Michael C Brand and Philip Davenport critique alternative modes of adjudication procedure and propose an integrated approach. Sandwiching these claims-related papers is Andrew Milner’s thoughtful consideration of some fundamental aspects of contractual interpretation, with Philip Britton and Julian Bailey’s comparative analysis of the often neglected subject of consumer rights in construction finishing off the issue. It is to be hoped that these papers will excite interest and debate in the construction law field.

When this issue is due to be published, traditional construction law will have just changed again in the UK as alterations to the UK’s mandatory construction adjudication system are due to come into force on 1 October 2011 in England[1]. These make a number of amendments, including extending the purview of the system to oral construction contracts. The development of that, and other aspects of the system, will doubtless prove fertile ground for further scholarship. At the same time, the UK Government’s Construction Strategy (Cabinet Office, 2011), which is intended to contribute to ambitious public spending cuts, will be incrementally rolled out. This has extremely challenging implementation targets and, amongst other things, seeks to “replace adversarial cultures with collaborative ones” (Cabinet Office, 2011, p. 3) and to remove “contractual interfaces and the corresponding risk pricing associated with protecting individual rather than project interests” (Cabinet Office, 2011, p. 16). Collaborative working has long been the subject of government and industry rhetoric and it will be interesting to see how this new emphasis on collaboration will affect the wider construction market, and whether in the future construction law scholarship will find its focus in collaboration rather than dispute.

[1] Local Democracy, Economic Development and struction Act 2009 (Commencement No. 2) Order 2011/1582.


Cabinet Office (2011), “Government Construction Strategy”, available at: (accessed 19 July 2011)

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