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Clarity vital for success of contract negotiation

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LETTERS

Claims for extension of time and extra payment are certainly a tricky area of contract administration, as Andrew Bartlett points out in his article (Legal Matters AJ 31.1.02).

Clients and the contract administrator may decide to use the SCL protocol as an aid to interpretation, but they will need to be absolutely clear what that means. Will it become a contract document? If not, what status does it have? If it is a contract document, does it take precedence over the standard conditions of contract? (Many of its provisions, for example on the contract administrator's power to award extensions on his/her own initiative, are inconsistent with contracts such as the JCT forms. ) Does it take precedence over existing case law on this subject?

Contract administrators will find the draft protocol an interesting read, but should work out the implications before applying it to construction contracts they administer.

Gillian Birkby, Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, London

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