Goodbye to All That

socla logoAfter several years, I have today[1] stood down as a director of the Society of Construction Law Australia. We have decided to streamline the board, and as part of that process, the directors due to retire by rotation have advanced our departure by a couple of months.

It is a mistake to stay on the board of this sort of organisation for too long, but I will miss that regular contact with friends in the construction law world in the other Australian States.

I notice that my old friend Sir Peter Coulson is also leaving the Technology and Construction Court in London. But he is not going far: he replaces Sir Rupert Jackson as the construction specialist in the English Court of Appeal. He wound up his last judgment in Grove Developments Ltd v S&T (UK) Ltd[2] thus:

If, as seems likely, this is my last substantial judgment in the TCC, after almost 14 years as a judge of the court, I cannot leave it without pointing out all those aspects of this case which, in my experience, are so typical of TCC litigation, and which make the court so attractive to a busy judge: the well-prepared bundles; the clear and direct skeleton arguments; the proper concessions made by each side; and the excellence of the oral advocacy. I will miss it very much.

A good word there for a good court from a good judge. And it is a very good policy for the Court of Appeal to have at least one construction specialist on its civil bench. The Australian courts might well take notice.



[1] The AGM notice included this:

As part of the re-structure of SoCLA some of our directors have volunteered to bring forward their expiry of tenure. Effective following the General Meeting, Ian Bailey, Phillip Greenham, Matthew Bell, Robert Fenwick Elliott and Rebecca Dickson will step down as directors.
Ian, Phillip, Matthew and Robert are all founding directors. Ian and Phillip have previously held the role of Chair. The strong foundation that these directors have established has been a huge factor in the success of SoCLA. Rebecca has also played a significant role in her time as director and was involved in the establishment of the YCC Committee and setting up the mentoring program.
I would like to thank all of the retiring directors for their contribution and we are grateful that the retiring directors will remain active participants in the subcommittees and other functions of SoCLA.  

[2] [2018] EWHC 123 (TCC) (27 February 2018).

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