Vinci Construction UK Ltd v Beumer Group UK Ltd The case concerned a subcontract, let by Vinci Construction UK Ltd ("Vinci") to Beumer Group UK Ltd ("Beumer"), for the performance of a package of works relating to the baggage handling system at Gatwick Airport’s south terminal. Guided by these established principles, the judge held that the technical and contractual documents made it possible (albeit challenging) to sufficiently allocate the works between the sections.
The provisions relating to sectional completion dates and liquidated damages were therefore enforceable.
She also noted that if there was still uncertainty or disagreement over the allocation of certain items as between the two sections, such uncertainty was capable of being resolved by factual and/or expert evidence.
It is important to note that the law in many states says that a Liquidated Damages provision will not be enforced if the penalty is unreasonably great in relation to the probable loss or injury.
If you are experiencing this situation, you may want to contact your state’s attorney general to file a complaint.
Introduction It is common for construction projects to be completed and handed over in pre-defined sections, at pre-determined times (otherwise known as sectional completion).
More often than not, under such structure, a separate completion is agreed in relation to each section, and separate liquidated damages apply to each section in the event of delay.
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For example, in the case of  EWHC 3319 (TCC), the judge held that the absence of a sensible mechanism in the contract for determining each section resulted in the inoperability of the liquidated damages provisions.
Hypothetically, had the judge found it impossible to allocate the work between the two sections, Vinci would have been left without liquidated damages, and possibly without a claim for general damages - at least until the expiry of the final date for completion, due to the resulting uncertainty around the completion dates for each element of the works.
Careful consideration is therefore required when drafting, so as to ensure that all of the necessary mechanisms are in place to give effect to the agreed regime.
English courts have the ability to review and consider the factual and commercial context behind a contract, as well as all of the contractual documents, where the meaning or effect of the words used in the contract are not clear.
If merchants cancel service before the commitment expires, they are often charged a cancellation fee.