Case Studies

Examples of Our Work

In House Support

The brief
Our client an electrical contractor faced problems across several contracts with a major contractor in the waste to energy sector. The problems ranged across a wide number of issues including disruption, poor scope, non-payment and failure to administer contracts and to deal with extensions of time, completion and defects rectification.

Action
To pursue all of these issues by instructing external claims consultants or lawyers was potentially very costly. It was agreed that Willis Consultancy and the Commercial Director would prepare lead and conduct dispute resolution or conduct adjudications in house. Lawyers would only be used for enforcement if needed or where adjudication was not available. An agreed list of priorities for dealing with the various contracts and strategy for each to reduce exposure and resolve issues was produced. A settlement was agreed to close out a delayed contract and agree final account and completion procedures. The agreement was enforced through adjudication. On other contracts adjudication of non-payment issues was successfully pursued and contracts completed.
Working with solicitors, High Court proceedings were issued and successfully settled an aged debt dispute.

Outcomes
The client recovered unpaid sums and closed out potential liabilities and exposure so it was able to conclude its involvement with a problem contractor and concentrate on other projects.

Adjudication / Litigation Support

The Brief
Our client a civil engineering contractor was faced with a large non-payment and counterclaim dispute from a major manufacturing organisation with internal budget problems. Our client needed to recover hundreds of thousands of pounds and to defend the counterclaims. The hope of the other party was that our client would not be able to contest their claims or recover its money.

Action
We agreed a strategy to pursue payment through adjudication and prevent the other party from relying on counterclaims. To do this Willis Consultancy worked with our client’s contracts manager to conduct the adjudications in-house. Willis Consultancy then worked with lawyers to enforce sums recovered in adjudication. This would allow our client the much needed cash flow to defend counterclaims and instruct an expert to defend counterclaims in high court proceedings.

Outcomes
Our client conducted two successful adjudications and recovered hundreds of thousands of pounds. Enforcement proceedings of the adjudicator decisions were settled before a hearing and full entitlement and costs recovered. There is now an agreed stay of proceedings and ongoing mediation of counterclaims using expert evidence to rebut unmeritorious claims. Our client has achieved its objectives of recovering sums due to it and stopping the tactical use of a counterclaim. Mediation will potentially resolve the dispute.

Tender / Business Support

The brief
Our client was tendering for a number of utilities and infrastructure framework contracts. The team needed bid support to assist the directors in deciding which of these were worth bidding for in terms of business opportunity and business risk. The commercial risks were spread across several volumes of documents including framework conditions, call-off conditions and call-off and management procedures.

Action
We agreed a process for review of the tender documentation with the team and to report on key commercial issues for high level review.

Outcome
A successful review to allow our client to concentrate on specific frameworks and not to bid on others. The bid team was freed up to concentrate on the best opportunities and to successfully convert those into new business streams.

Dispute Avoidance

The brief
Our client a small ductwork contractor was faced with non-payment, threatened termination and deduction of sums arising from disruption due to COVID 19 related supply chain and labour supply constraints. The contractor’s bespoke in house terms and conditions of sub-contract were very unclear as to risk allocation. Our client needed to recover cash flow and resolve the dispute.

Action
Due to the legal uncertainty over COVID risk, a non-payment dispute was threatened based upon the main contractor’s poor terms and conditions and failure to comply with Construction Act but at the same time offering the prospect of agreeing an agreed termination and payment as a settlement. This alternative would avoid the cost and uncertainty of adjudication and termination.

Outcome
A settlement was agreed dealing with all claims and counterclaims and the payment of a final sum to our client. Our client’s objective was achieved and the business cash flow protected leaving our client free to concentrate on other projects.

Public Sector Support

The brief
Our client, a local authority, was subjected to a number of adjudications and an arbitration in connection with a waste digestion facility. The contractor had assigned its entitlements to a third party who pursued the claims for profit and during the course of the project made numerous claims for compensation events covering additional time and cost.

Action
It was agreed that Willis Consultancy working with the project manager would assist with the ongoing management of the response to claims. Tim Willis, who was instructed through a law firm, also defended proceedings where so advised. After successfully defending a number of adjudications and the arbitration, Willis Consultancy was then instructed to reach a final account settlement to resolve all issues.

Outcome
A final settlement of all disputes was reached preventing further arbitration or adjudication at a fraction of the cost of the claims and the potential cost of future proceedings.

Public Sector Training

The brief
To provide commercial awareness training for delivery teams in a number of departments.

Action
A half day course was agreed to meet the authority’s needs and delivered at the authority’s premises.

Outcome
A better understanding of and ability to manage commercial risk in contract negotiations and procurement among team members.