BOOK REVIEW - Hudson’s Building and Engineering Contract
Hudson’s Building and Engineering Contracts (14th Edition), General Editors Nicholas Dennys QC and Robert Clay. Published by Sweet & Maxwell (2020). Pages 1,348. Hardback. £509.00. ISBN: 978-0-4140-7388-3.
Ever since its first publication in 1891, the text which now bears the name of its first author, Alfred Hudson, has occupied a central place in the study and practice of construction law. This status is reinforced with the release, in early 2020, of the 14th Edition of the text.
Hudson’s presents, in a single volume running now to 1,348 pages (or, online via Thomson Reuters’s licensed services), a comprehensive and accessible treatise on the law relating to building and engineering contracts. This is the third full edition published by the specialist set of construction barristers and arbitrators at Atkin Chambers, following on from the several decades in the latter part of the 20th century when the text was in the care of IN Duncan Wallace QC.
As was the case with previous editions, the primary focus of the text is on the UK. However, there continues to be significant coverage of other Commonwealth jurisdictions, including those in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore. This serves to emphasise not only the global reach of Atkin’s practice but also the continuing currency of Duncan Wallace’s observation a half-century ago that “[t]he law on building and engineering contracts can derive immense benefit from [the] process of international comparison”. 1
The text remains primarily of relevance to commercial construction law practitioners. There is little explicit coverage of the specialist body of laws relating to residential construction, and its price tag – currently exceeding £500 – places it out of the reach of the casual reader, student or general practitioner unless they are fortunate enough to be able to access a library copy. Those who do have such fortune will gain the benefit of the collective insights of no fewer than 15 barristers as editors (including Nicholas Dennys QC and Robert Clay as General Editors), with specialist contributions from Professor Doug Jones AO, Thayananthan Baskaran and others. 2
This collective effort means that the latest edition continues to embody the features which have given Hudson’s its central place in the library of generations of construction lawyers. These features include the text’s taxonomy of topics, its dual role as “primer” and “casebook”, its currency
1 IN Duncan Wallace QC, Hudson’s Building and Engineering Contracts (10th Edition, Sweet & Maxwell, 1970) at vii.
2 Nicholas Dennys QC and Robert Clay (eds), Hudson’s Building and Engineering Contracts (14th Edition, Sweet & Maxwell, 2020) (“ Hudson’s ”) at vii.
Pt 2] Book Review
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