Employer’s Agent/Contract Administrator’s Authority
Anna Wood looks at notices under the JCT suite of contracts and issues a reminder to make sure they are given by the right person.
Under JCT contracts, most notices are served by the EA/CA but, critically, some need to be served by the Employer themselves. Most notably, if the Contractor is in breach, the EA/CA can serve a notice (for example, under clause 8.4 of the JCT Standard) requiring the Contractor to remedy that breach. If the Contractor fails to remedy the breach, the notice of termination needs to be served by the Employer, rather than the EA/CA. (Confusingly, under the D&B, it is the Employer who serves both notices).
This, of course, makes perfect sense. An action as serious as terminating the contract should be carried out by someone who is actually a party to the contract. However, when most notices have previously been served by the EA/CA, it would be easy to assume that all notices can be.
A Contractor in receipt of a notice under a JCT should always check the contract to make sure the notice has been properly served (who, when, what). An Employer considering amending a JCT contract to give the EA/CA authority to serve all notices should think carefully about the consequences before delegating such an important power.
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These notes have been prepared for the purpose of an article only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.