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Formation of Contracts and Letters of Intent in Construction: English and Irish Law

Paper number

Dudley Solan

November 2006

A paper given to a meeting of the Society of construction Law in Dublin on 9th October 2006.

Construction projects give rise to a large number of disputes which hinge on the question whether a contract was ever entered into between the parties; and, if so, on what terms. These problems are particularly acute where work is started with both parties expecting a formal contract to be agreed, but in fact never is. In such circumstances the best available documentation may be only a 'letter of intent'. Dudley Solan looks at recent case law (mostly from England, but with some Irish cases as well) dealing with these issues in a construction context, laying out the general principles the courts use to make sense of individual disputes of this sort between parties to projects.

Introduction - Part A: Contract formation in construction - Background - Essential terms - The 'course of dealings' and the 'battle of the forms' - Contract formation: a question of intent of the parties - Incorporating terms by reference - Position before formal contract documents drawn up - Part B: Letters of intent - ecent cases - Summary in relation to letters of intent.

The author: Dudley Solan is a partner in the Construction and Project Grop at A & L Goodbody in Dublin.

Text: 26 pages

PDF file size: 345k