Self-help remedies in the context of construction law in a comparative perspective

Newdigate, Nicole Ingrid (2019-04)

Thesis (LLM)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : This thesis examines the recognition of and resort to practical self-help remedies to ensure compliance with a construction contract by the parties - this is a consistent feature of construction law, seen regularly in building and engineering contracts across jurisdictions. Accordingly, the thesis investigates the treatment of self-help remedies across three legal regimes. First under South African law, as a mixed legal system (comprising elements of both civil and English law), secondly under the law of the United Arab Emirates, which is a civil law jurisdiction but strongly influenced by the principles of Islamic Sharia law and, as a third point of evaluation, corresponding provisions of a standardised construction contract drawn from the FIDIC suite of contracts (a suite of contracts which is commonly used in the construction industry). As a point of departure, the availability of the remedy of specific performance under South African law and the law of the United Arab Emirates is examined. A further investigation is undertaken to establish whether, the courts in such systems recognise specific performance and secondly whether a willingness exists to award specific performance in the context of construction contracts. The thesis then moves to propose that self-help remedies can serve as substitutes for court awarded specific performance, but it is important that these remedies are effectively regulated to achieve a proper balance between the interests of the parties and underlying considerations of principle and policy. An enquiry is then conducted into the regulation and treatment of three popular selfhelp remedies in construction contracts namely: suspension as a self-help remedy available to both an employer and a contractor, liens as a self-help remedy available to a contractor and, liquidated damages as a self-help remedy available to an employer. The thesis then concludes that, especially in jurisdictions where there is judicial reluctance to award specific performance, effectually regulated self-help remedies, are justifiable and effective motivators to encourage specific performance by a defaulting party.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Hierdie tesis ondersoek die erkenning en aanwending van praktiese eierigting remedies om die nakoming van konstruksiekontrakte te bewerkstellig. Hierdie werkswyse is ʼn gevestigde verskynsel in die konstruksiereg en ‘n kenmerk van bouen ingenieurskontrakte in uiteenlopende jurisdiksies. Die verskynsel van eierigting remedies word aan die hand van drie regsbedelings ondersoek, te wete die Suid-Afrikaanse reg as ‘n voorbeeld van ’n gemengde regstelsel waarin elemente van sowel die romanistiese as die Engelse tradisie na vore kom, die reg van die Verenigde Arabiese Emirate (VAE) wat getuig van invloed van die Islamitiese Sharia reg op ‘n romanistiese onderbou. By wyse van ‘n verdere verwysingspunt word ag geslaan op relevante bepalings van ‘n gestandardiseerde konstruksiekontrak, te wete die FIDIC kontraktestel, wat breë erkenning in die konstruksiebedryf geniet. As ‘n vertrekpunt word die beskikbaarheid van die daadwerklike vervulling as ‘n kontraksremedie in die Suid-Afrikaanse en die reg van die VAE ondersoek. Afgesien van die vraag na die omstandighede waaronder die remedie in die algemeen beskikbaar is, is die spesifieke vraag na die bereidwilligheid van die howe om daadwerklike vervulling te gelas ten opsigte van ‘n konstruksiekontrak. Die tesis doen aan die hand dat eierigting remedies nuttig aangewend kan word in die plek van daadwerklike vervulling, maar dat dit noodsaaklik is dat sodanige remedies behoorlik gereguleer word ten einde ‘n balans tussen die belange van die partye asook onderliggende beginsels en beleidsoorwegings te bewerkstellig. Teen hierdie agtergrond word die aandag gevestig op die aanwending van drie eierigting remedies in die konstruksiebedryf, te wete die moontlikheid om prestasie op te skort, wat beskikbaar is vir beide partye tot die ooreenkoms, die uitoefening van ‘n retensiereg, wat beskikbaar is vir ‘n kontrakteur en die insluiting van ‘n strafbeding in die ooreenkoms as ‘n remedie wat beskikbaar is vir die bou-eienaar. Die tesis kom tot die slotsom dat, veral in jurisdiksies waarin daar sprake is van onsekerheid oor die toestaan van daadwerklike vervulling in die algemeen en in die besonder ook ten opsigte van konstruksiekontrakte, die toevlug tot goed gereguleerde eierigting meganismes om nakoming te verseker regverdigbaar en doeltreffend is.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/106028
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