Thomas G. Heintzman, O.C., Q.C., FCIArb

The Traps And Perils Of Limitation Of Liability Clauses

In Swift v. Eleven Eleven Architecture Inc., the Alberta Court of Appeal recently considered the impact and scope of a limitation of liability clause in a consultant’s contract between an owner and the architects on a building project. The court arrived at three important conclusions. First, the clause did not apply to and did not […]

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When Should A Contract Arising From A Tender Be Declared Void For Mistake?

We don’t usually think of the law of mistake as having any relevance in the 21st century. Mistake seems to be an 18th century problem which couldn’t possibly apply to today’s building contracts, especially those arising out of the modern law of tender. But the recent decision in Asco Construction Ltd. v. Epoxy Solutions Inc. […]

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Does The CCDC Dispute Resolution Clause Require Arbitration?

Most building contracts contain dispute resolution clauses which refer to arbitration.  A dispute resolution clause can be mandatory – it can require arbitration – or it can be permissive – it can permit arbitration if all parties agree to arbitration when the dispute arises. One would think that the most important thing to make clear […]

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Does Inaction Amount To Acceptance Of A Repudiation Of Contract?

Can inaction by a party to a contract amount to an acceptance of the repudiation of the contract by the other party?  That was the issue in the very recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Brown v. Belleville (City). This is an important issue in construction law because of the critical effect […]

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Supreme Court Denies Leave In Tender Case – Refuses To Re-Write History

The Supreme Court of Canada has recently refused leave to appeal in Trevor Nicholas Construction Co. Ltd. v. Canada. In doing so, it has upheld the decisions of the Federal Court Trial Division and Federal Court of Appeal which declined to permit a bidder to rely on after-the-fact information to overturn an invitation to tender.  […]

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Is The Person Who Ultimately Pays A Guarantor Entitled To The Securities Held By The Guarantor?

Bonds and other forms of guarantees and indemnities are commonly used on construction projects. If a contractor applies for a performance bond, the bonding company will require the contractor to indemnify the bonding company. The bonding company may also require the principal shareholder of the contractor to guarantee the contractor’s obligation and to directly indemnify […]

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If You Want Specific Performance, Do You Still Have To Mitigate Your Damages?

Is a party to a contract obligated to mitigate its damages at the same time that it is asking the court to order specific performance? Since the party wants the contract performed, not damages for non-performance, the obligation to mitigate seems to be totally inapplicable. Yet, in Southcott Estates Inc. v. Toronto Catholic District School […]

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Andrews v ANZ: What Are The Consequences For Building Contracts?

The recent decision of the Australia High Court in Andrews v. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. is important for the building industry.  While it dealt with a banking contract, the principles it applied are directly relevant to building contracts.  The central decision in Andrews v. ANZ is that the doctrine prohibiting contractual penalties […]

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Can Someone Be Compelled To Arbitrate By Estoppel?

Can the conduct of the parties after they have signed a commercial contract influence the interpretation of the arbitration agreement contained in that contract? If they take one position during the performance of the contract with respect to whether a dispute is arbitrable, can they be estopped from asserting to the contrary when a dispute […]

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