Economic Torts and Construction Disputes – Palmer Birch v Lloyd

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Andrew Singer QC and Kelly Pennifer

August 2019

A paper presented to the Society of Construction Law at a meeting in London on 4th June 2019

This paper examines the recent TCC decision of Palmer Birch v Lloyd. Although economic torts are not usually considered to be within the construction lawyer’s armoury when pursuing non-paying parties, the paper explains how this decision could lead to increased use of economic torts against defaulting parties and their backers. It may also lead to an increased need to consider the structure of construction projects so as to protect financiers from possible action. The authors provide a brief overview of the economic torts of procuring or inducing a breach of contract; causing loss by unlawful means; and conspiracy to cause loss by unlawful means. They conclude with suggestions as to the possible lessons to learn for both sides of a construction project.

Introduction –Economic torts – Procuring/Inducing a breach of contract – Causing loss by unlawful means – Conspiracy to cause loss by unlawful means – Common elements – Palmer Birch v Lloyd: a case study – Lessons to learn

The authors: Andrew Singer QC and Kelly Pennifer are barristers practising at Kings Chambers.

Text: 13 pages

Paper number: 
August 2019, online, 1MB

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