The Society of Construction Law Australia Autumn 2012 newsletter is now available.

The Newsletter includes (or will soon include) details of the survey on construction adjudication.  All those who have been involved in security of payment adjudications around Australia, whether as claimant or respondent, are encouraged to fill one in – it will only take a few moments – and that will help in our efforts to get this now somewhat troubled legislation back on track.

Update

The copy is now going to go into the SoCLA Conference Edition of the Newsletter. For those who cannot bear to wait; the text is as follows:

Australian Legislation Reform Sub Committee

When this Sub Committee was formed, it was an easy decision that the first and most important area for us to look at should be the Security of Payment Legislation.  It seems to be the obvious and universal view that the legislation should be either federalised or at least harmonised across all of the States and Territories.  Much more difficult is the question of which of the models should be adopted, and how unity should be achieved.

Robert Fenwick Elliott has recently taken over the Chairmanship of the Sub Committee from Peter Chau, and Simon Holding, who is shortly to graduate as a lawyer after a career in the Construction Industry, has been enlisted to gather data, so that more objective and informed decisions may be made by Government.  In particular, Simon is sending out large numbers of short form questionnaires to people or organisations who have been involved in adjudication, either as claimants or respondents, in order to gauge how well the parties themselves perceive the various models as working, in terms of effectiveness, fairness, and in terms of the effect that that process has had on their commercial relationship.

This short form questionnaire, and indeed the longer form which is designed for advisors and adjudicators, can be down loaded from the link on www.scl.org.au/australian-legislation-reform, and it would be helpful if members in all States and Territories would encourage their clients who have been involved in adjudication to download and submit this short form questionnaire (and also of course to complete the longer form questionnaire themselves, if they have not already done so).

Getting this information together is a really important task, and, if we can collect a sufficient statistical sample, should provide a solid basis for a review of the system.  It is hard not to notice that the Courts willingness to interfere in the process has been accelerating in recent years, and if the procedure is going to deliver useful benefits to our clients over coming years, then an overhaul is surely going to be needed.

Robert Fenwick Elliott