Laceys Solicitors Laceys is a leading, forward-thinking law firm with specialist experts serving both individual and business clients across a broad spectrum of practice areas.




Time is of the essence

30th May 2018 by Rob Kelly

Categories: What's New?

Does time for bringing a contribution claim begin to run when the extent of the remedial works was agreed in principle or when the settlement agreement was formally executed?

This was the question for the High Court in R G Carter Building Ltd v Kier Business Services Ltd [2018] EWHC 729 (TCC).

In 2001/2, R G Carter Building Limited built a new science block at Boston Grammar School. The science block was designed by Kier Building Services Limited. The block suffered problems with the ingress of water into the building and the client, Lincolnshire County Council, brought arbitration proceedings against Carter. The arbitration proceedings between Lincolnshire and Carter were settled in 2015 on terms that Carter would carry out remedial works at its own cost. The scope of the remedial works was eventually agreed on 25 June 2015 and a binding settlement agreement was entered into on 29 June 2015. Subsequently, on 20 September 2017, Carter issued proceedings against Kier seeking an indemnity or a contribution of over £200,000in respect of the cost of the settlement with Lincolnshire.

Kier argued that the claim was late because the remedial works were agreed by 16 April 2015, or 27 April 2015 at the latest, and it was therefore commenced outside the 2-year limitation period for contribution claims. Carter argued that there was no agreement as to the remedial works until Kier and Lincolnshire signed a settlement agreement on 29 June 2015, and that the claim was therefore brought in time.

The court ruled in Carter’s favour; the negotiations leading up to the agreement had been conducted on a subject to contract basis, and Kier and Lincolnshire had proceeded on the understanding that nothing was agreed until there was a binding agreement. Time therefore only began to run when the agreement was finalised and on that basis the claim had been brought (just) in time and it could proceed to trial. Kier’s limitation defence failed.

Tight time limits often apply in litigation and those who do not seek advice promptly are taking a serious risk that their valid claim will be defeated.

If you would like further information please contact Rob Kelly.


This article provides information and comments on legal issues and developments of interest. The contents of this article do not constitute legal advice, is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered, and should not be relied on as such. Legal advice should be sought about your specific circumstances before taking any action with respect to the matters discussed. Questions relating to this article should be addressed directly to the author.

Rob Kelly

Senior Associate — Dispute Resolution

Direct dial: 01202 755217


  • “A first choice for truly contentious Litigation in Automotive and Asset Finance and Leasing. His pure skill in tricky work wins through time and again and adds real value compared with the so called 'top tier' litigators. Truly capable, amenable and commercially minded business partners, the 'master chessmen' of their specialty.”

    Paul Maxted, previously the In house Legal Adviser and Company Secretary nearly 20 years, all Financial Services related companies in UK for Daimler, Mercedes-Benz

  • “I have had the pleasure of working with several members of the team at Laceys regularly over a period of years. I found Rob Kelly in particular, who worked on a successful litigation case for me over a period of several years to be outstanding in all aspects of the work he undertook, and the manner in which he did it. I now consider him a friend. I would not - and have not - hesitated to recommend Laceys to my family and friends, and continue to use them for all legal matters.”

    Dan Collins

  • “ I just wanted to thank you for your great work on the professional negligence case and other cases you have represented Indian Ocean and Tiien through the last few years.”

    Mehdi Vahdati, Director and Proprietor - Indian Ocean (Bournemouth) Limited

  • “I've worked with a fair few lawyers over the years and Rob Kelly is the most on the ball and efficient lawyers I've ever come across. I'm looking forward to working together for many years to come.”

    Roger Woodall, CEO - Diamond Sporting Group

Rob is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (September 2009).  Rob also holds an LLB (Hons) degree in law.  He successfully completed training as a mediator under the ADR Chambers / Harvard Law Project Scheme and was one of the first mediators to have been appointed an IMI Certified Mediation Advocate in the UK with a commercial practice.

Rob specialises in dispute resolution through litigation, arbitration and mediation, with particular emphasis on contractual disputes, claims involving allegations of professional negligence (which he has prosecuted on behalf of commercial and private clients and defended on behalf of insurers, re-insurers and Lloyd’s syndicates). He is regularly instructed in connection with substantial disputes involving contractual, professional negligence, contentious probate issues.  Rob also deals with contentious property and landlord and tenant issues.

Rob’s style is a mix of listening, asking (tough) questions, diplomacy and reality testing. He’s interested, flexible, and pragmatic. He offers a common sense, realistic approach to assist his clients in searching for solutions to their disputes and brings straight talking and integrity to his work.

Related articles

Aisling Scott, Laceys trainee solicitor, provides an insight into training from home

TRAINING FROM HOME. As the end of my second seat dawns, what strikes me is I have...

Read Article

Love Island’s Molly-Mae Hague breached ASA competition rules

Giveaways on social media are exceedingly common nowadays, and a great way for influencers and businesses to...

Read Article

Close X