Construction law builds upon general legal principles and methodologies and incorporates the regulatory framework (including security of payment, planning, environmental and building regulations); contract methodologies and selection (including traditional and alternative forms of contracting); subcontract issues; causes of action, and liability, arising in contract, negligence and on other grounds; insurance and performance security; dispute resolution and avoidance.
Some of the major areas a construction lawyer covers are:
Alternative Dispute Resolutions
Dispute Review Boards (or other third party reviews)
A contract is a legally binding agreement that recognises and governs the rights and duties of the parties to the agreement. A contract is legally enforceable because it meets the requirements and approval of the law. An agreement typically involves the exchange of goods, services, money, or promises of any of those. In the event of breach of contract, the law awards the injured party access to legal remedies such as damages and cancellation.In the Anglo-American common law, formation of a contract generally requires an offer, acceptance, consideration, and mutual intent to be bound. Each party must have the capacity to enter into the contract. Although most oral contracts are binding, some types of contracts may require formalities such as being in writing or by deed.In the civil law tradition, contract law is a branch of the law of obligations.Each country recognised by private international law has its own national system of law to govern contracts. Although systems of contract law might have similarities, they may contain significant differences. Accordingly, many contracts contain a choice of law clause and a jurisdiction clause. These provisions set the laws of the country which will govern the contract, and the country or other forum in which disputes will be resolved, respectively. Failing express agreement on such matters in the contract itself, countries have rules to determine the law governing the contract and the jurisdiction for disputes. For example, European Member States apply Article 4 of the Rome I Regulation to decide the law governing the contract, and the Brussels I Regulation to decide jurisdiction.
Cause of Action
A cause of action, in law, is a set of facts sufficient to justify a right to sue to obtain money, property, or the enforcement of a right against another party. The term also refers to the legal theory upon which a plaintiff brings suit (such as breach of contract, battery, or false imprisonment). The legal document which carries a claim is often called a 'statement of claim' in English law, or a 'complaint' in U.S. federal practice and in many U.S. states. It can be any communication notifying the party to whom it is addressed of an alleged fault which resulted in damages, often expressed in amount of money the receiving party should pay/reimburse.To pursue a cause of action, a plaintiff pleads or alleges facts in a complaint, the pleading that initiates a lawsuit. A cause of action generally encompasses both the legal theory (the legal wrong the plaintiff claims to have suffered) and the remedy (the relief a court is asked to grant). Often the facts or circumstances that entitle a person to seek judicial relief may create multiple causes of action. Although it is fairly straightforward to file a Statement of Claim in most jurisdictions, if it is not done properly, then the filing party may lose his case due to simple technicalities.
There are a number of specific causes of action, including: contract-based actions; statutory causes of action; torts such as assault, battery, invasion of privacy, fraud, slander, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress; and suits in equity such as unjust enrichment and quantum meruit.
The points a plaintiff must prove to win a given type of case are called the "elements" of that cause of action. For example, for a claim of negligence, the elements are: the (existence of a) duty, breach (of that duty), proximate cause (by that breach), and damages. If a complaint does not allege facts sufficient to support every element of a claim, the court, upon motion by the opposing party, may dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted.
The defendant to a cause of action must file an "Answer" to the complaint in which the claims can be admitted or denied (including denial on the basis of insufficient information in the complaint to form a response). The answer may also contain counterclaims in which the "Counterclaim Plaintiff" states its own causes of action. Finally, the answer may contain affirmative defenses. Most defenses must be raised at the first possible opportunity either in the answer or by motion or are deemed waived. A few defenses, in particular a court's lack of subject matter jurisdiction, need not be pleaded and may be raised at any time.
Negligence (Lat. negligentia) is a failure to exercise appropriate and or ethical ruled care expected to be exercised amongst specified circumstances. The area of tort law known as negligence involves harm caused by failing to act as a form of carelessness possibly with extenuating circumstances. The core concept of negligence is that people should exercise reasonable care in their actions, by taking account of the potential harm that they might foreseeably cause to other people or property.Someone who suffers loss caused by another's negligence may be able to sue for damages to compensate for their harm. Such loss may include physical injury, harm to property, psychiatric illness, or economic loss. The law on negligence may be assessed in general terms according to a five-part model which includes the assessment of duty, breach, actual cause, proximate cause, and damages.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR), or external dispute resolution (EDR), typically denotes a wide range of dispute resolution processes and techniques that act as a means for disagreeing parties to come to an agreement short of litigation: a collective term for the ways that parties can settle disputes, with the help of a third party. However, ADR is also increasingly being adopted as a tool to help settle disputes alongside the court system itself.Despite historic resistance to ADR by many popular parties and their advocates, ADR has gained widespread acceptance among both the general public and the legal profession in recent years. In fact, some courts now require some parties to resort to ADR of some type, usually mediation, before permitting the parties' cases to be tried (indeed the European Mediation Directive (2008) expressly contemplates so-called "compulsory" mediation; this means that attendance is compulsory, not that settlement must be reached through mediation). Additionally, parties to merger and acquisition transactions are increasingly turning to ADR to resolve post-acquisition disputes.The rising popularity of ADR can be explained by the increasing caseload of traditional courts, the perception that ADR imposes fewer costs than litigation, a preference for confidentiality, and the desire of some parties to have greater control over the selection of the individual or individuals who will decide their dispute. Some of the senior judiciary in certain jurisdictions (of which England and Wales is one) are strongly in favour of this (ADR) use of mediation to settle disputes. Since the 1990s many American courts have also increasingly advocated for the use of ADR to settle disputes. However, it is not clear as to whether litigants can properly identify and then use the ADR programmes available to them, thereby potentially limiting their effectiveness.