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The Modern Construction of Limitation of Liability Clauses

Paper number

Ben Patten QC and Richard Liddell

October 2015

A paper presented to the Society of Construction Law at meetings in London on 1st December 2014 and Manchester on 11th May 2015

In this paper Ben Patten QC and Richard Liddell examine the modern approach to the construction of limitation and exclusion clauses.They discuss how the special 'rules' of construction formulated in previous times have been whittled down by the courts as a result of a more consumer friendly statutory regime and the importance given to ascertaining the objective intentions of the parties.With particular regard to the contra proferentem and Canada Steamship principles they ask the question: 'do the approaches to construction traditionally applied to exclusion and liability clauses still serve any useful purpose?'

Introduction - Traditional analysis - Statutory intervention - Judicial intervention - The treatment of the contra proferentem rule - The Alderslade principle - Recent case law.

The authors: Ben Patten QC and Richard Liddell are both barristers specialising in construction and professional liability, practising at Four New Square, Lincoln's Inn, London. The former is also the author of Professional Negligence in Construction and a contributing editor of Professional Negligence and Liability.

Text: 8 pages