Roll up roll up – The issue with ‘global claims’

Rather than separately particularising each breach of contract and the loss claimed as a result, contractors often present rolled up ‘global claims’ for the composite loss that they have incurred as a result of various breaches of contract. Historically such claims were treated with scepticism by the courts and often failed, however, in more recent times the approach has become more lenient.

The issue of ‘global claims’ has recently been considered again by the court in the case of John Sisk & Son Ltd v Carmel Building Services Ltd (In Administration) [2016] EWHC 806 (TCC). This particular court action arose out of an arbitration in which John Sisk & Son Ltd (“JSS”) had presented two claims, the first (higher value) claim was presented as a ‘global claim’ whereas its second (lower value) claim was presented on an itemised basis. The arbitrator rejected JSS’ first claim as Carmel Building Services Ltd (In Administration) (“Carmel”) had cast sufficient doubt upon it. JSS appealed to the TCC, which upheld the arbitrator’s decision. The court acknowledged that although ‘global claims’ can succeed, the party bringing such a claim carries a greater evidential burden than if it were bringing the claim on an itemised basis.

The decision illustrates the fact that contractors put themselves in a much stronger position if they present itemised claims that highlight the causal connection between each individual breach of contract and the loss suffered as a result of those individual breaches.

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