I am currently working a new book, Extra-Contractual Recoveries for Construction & Engineering Work. The idea is simple: a contractor has done work, but the contract does not contain any provision which provides for him to get paid what he might commercially expect. He can read the contract once, twice or twenty times, but that will not inform him at all as to what legal routes might enable him to get paid.
Over the years, I have collected a great deal of money for clients, and much of it has been via extra-contractual routes: quantum meruit, misrepresentation, damages claims and the like. It seemed a good idea to write down what I know, but it is taking a fair bit of time. The book is inevitably international, since the common law principles come from a variety of jurisdictions. But I am trying to restrict the discussion of legislative routes to the UK and Australia, being the places I am admitted in.
There was a time when I was young that I thought I might end up in the Army. But as time has gone by, it has become increasingly apparent that those of us who would have naturally have held a commission in the Army or the Royal Navy a couple of hundred years ago are now lawyers. As a society, we very sensibly resolve most of our disputes in the legal arena rather than by means of military might. And – to keep the analogy going – construction lawyers are modern equivalent of the artillery and the engineers – the most complex, the most powerful and the best resourced of corps, albeit less flashy than the cavalry. Anyway, I am including a section in this new book on how to take a medieval castle. It turns out that there are comparisons to be drawn between modern construction contracts and old stone castles; in particular, they are all a lot less impregnable than they look, and following siege are usually surrendered pursuant to agreement.