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Beyond the Nutcracker Suite: International Harmonisation of Construction Industry Payment Legislation

Paper number

Matthew Bell

June 2014

A paper based on the second prize entry in the Hudson Prize essay competition 2013, presented to a meeting of the Society of Construction Law in London on 1st July 2014

This paper seeks to give impetus to a movement toward creating a harmonised model for construction industry security of payment legislation which is applicable (and acceptable) internationally. It proposes that such harmonisation be undertaken by way of a project akin to that which produced the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Arbitration. Given the central role of payment within construction endeavour and the way in which money issues touch virtually every element of construction law, it is submitted that the project is a worthwhile and integral element within broader moves towards the creation of a lex constructionis.

A. Introduction - B. The 'Nutcracker Suite' of security of payment legislation - In a nutshell: history and current status - The nut under the microscope: policy and outcomes - Challenges of disharmony - C. Disparities in approach: security blanket or patchwork quilt? - Vulnerability: residential building work - Universality: industry shutdown periods - D. Towards a better nutcracker - E. Conclusions.

The author: Matthew Bell is a Senior Lecturer and Co-Director of Studies for Construction Law at the Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, Australia.

Text 20 pages.