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Set Back to Set Off

Paper number

Sir Anthony May

September 2013

A paper presented to meetings of the Society of Construction Law in Hatfield on 23rd October 2012, Bristol on 13th June 2013 and London on 10th September 2013

In this paper, Sir Anthony May sets his comments on set off in the context of his experiences during his long legal career (in particular as advocate, editor of Keating on Building Contracts and judge). He begins with consideration of the legal principles before moving on to the days of Dawneys v Minter and Gilbert-Ash and then the effect of the adjudication provisions of the Housing Grants Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 and the Court of Appeal decision in Geldof v Simon Carves.

Introduction - Legal principles (Rules of law and rules of construction) - Set off (Set off of mutual debts - Common law set off or abatement - Equitable set off - Payment on architect's certificates - Payments to subcontractors - Contractual set off - Contractual exclusion of rights of set off) - The 1996 Act (Background - The intention - A historic example ... - The 1970s and 80s - Summary judgment - Gilbert-Ash - `Common law set off - Equitable set off - Contractual set off - The effect of Gilbert-Ash - Adjudication - Remaining questions) - Postscript.

The authors: Sir Anthony May is a retired judge of the Court of Appeal, was President of the Queen's Bench Division from 2008 to 2011 and President of the Society of Construction Law from 2005 to 2012.

Text 15 pages.