by Harvey J. Kirsh
A snapshot of the British construction industry in the early 1990s disclosed a myriad of problems relating to the significant expenses and unreasonable delays required to resolve complex construction claims, and about the shortcomings of the then existing dispute resolution methods. In 1993, Sir Michael Anthony Latham, a retired British Member of Parliament, was commissioned to lead an investigation into these issues, and his inquiry ultimately lead to the publication, in July of 1994, of a joint government and industry report, “Constructing the Team” (which came to be known as the “Latham Report”).
The Latham Report’s identification and critical evaluation of the inefficiencies in the processes and procedures in the construction industry set the agenda for reform. One of the major recommendations of the Report was that “Adjudication” should be the standard form of dispute resolution. This became the driving force for legislative reform which followed, in the form of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (known as the “Construction Act”), which received Royal Assent on July 24, 1996.