I was asked by Legalwise Seminars if I could present the paper for them at their Contract Law Masterclass at 7.30 tomorrow morning. That was rather too early for me; I’m doing it instead at the slightly later time of 8.50 at the Stamford Plaza in Adelaide.
My paper has the rather odd title Rap Your Way to the New Beat: A New Approach to Contract Drafting. It has nothing to do with rap music at all, of course. Instead, it is an acrostic for review boards, adjudication and preaction protocol.
The general drift of my paper is that it is dumb for those who draft contracts to ignore any of these things. Review boards, or Dispute Avoidance Boards as they are often now known in Australia, are a hugely successful way of managing out the risk of disputes on large projects. Adjudication, and indeed the Security of Payment Legislation generally, drives a coach and horses through pretty much every construction contract, but there are useful things that can be done in the drafting to steer it somewhat. And whilst tiered dispute escalation clauses can be useful, the effect of the preaction protocol which now applies to construction litigation in South Australia is that it makes sense to ensure that the contractual regime fits in with the new statutory requirements.
These are considerations which might be easier to digest a little later in the day. But hopefully, the delegates will have had some breakfast and settled in.
Sooner or later, of course, these points will sink in, but I suspect we will see a fair few painfully-loaded bespoke contracts yet drafted by lawyers who have not the faintest idea what these issues are all about.