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

Evaluation Breached Tender Conditions: Alberta Queen’s Bench Court

You would think that the owner would get one thing right before issuing an invitation for tenders: its standard for evaluating the tenders. Yet, in Elan Construction Limited v South Fish Creek Recreational Association, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench recently found that the owner’s tender evaluation criteria were unfair and did not reflect the […]

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Penalty Clauses: Seven Principles Stated By The U.K. Supreme Court

The recent judgment of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in Cavendish Square Holding BV v Talal El Makdessi is a must-read for anyone involved in contract law. In this decision of some 132 pages and 316 paragraphs, the U.K. Supreme Court provides an exhaustive analysis of the history and policy behind one of […]

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Can General Damages Be Awarded For The Breach Of A Building Contract?

Generally speaking, damages for a non-financial loss are not awarded for the breach of a business contract. That is because those sorts of damages are not foreseeable. The breach of a business contract may give rise to anxiety and distress, but that result is usually thought of as part of the vicissitudes and rough and […]

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Quebec Court of Appeal Awards Impact Damages

When a breach of a building contract occurs, the damages can be extensive because the breach can have an impact on the performance of other parts of the contract. For this reason, a unique aspect of construction disputes is the potential award of what are called “impact” costs or damages. In the recent decision of […]

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Owner Awarded Nominal Damages For Deficient Construction Not Affecting Market Value

What is the appropriate remedy when a contractor fails to build the building in accordance with the specifications but the deficiencies are not proven to affect the market value of the property? Should the answer to that question depend on the sort of building being constructed: a home as opposed to an office building? Should […]

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The Supreme Court Of Canada Avoids The Open Windows Issue

In my last article, I dealt with the recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Bhasin v. Hrynew. In that decision, the Supreme Court of Canada established two fundamental principles for the Canadian common law of contract: First, that the parties are under a general obligation to perform contracts in good faith; and […]

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Contracts Must Be Honestly Performed Says The Supreme Court of Canada

In its recent decision in Bhasin v. Hrynew, the Supreme Court of Canada has established two fundamental principles for the Canadian common law of contract. First, parties are under a general obligation to perform contracts in good faith. Second, the parties have a duty to act honestly in the performance of contracts. These contractual obligations can […]

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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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Is A Deposit Forfeited In Absence Of Proven Damages?

The forfeiture of a deposit is one of the major tools for ensuring that contracts are performed.  But there is a debate about whether a deposit can be forfeited if the party forfeiting it has suffered no damages, or damages less than the amount of the deposit.  Until recently in British Columbia, there were decisions […]

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