Legal issues for UK construction businesses (UPDATED)


Our latest articles on recent issues and news affecting UK construction businesses.

  • Brexit – and the new trade and cooperation agreement
  • Construction law
  • Avoiding disputes (and dealing with insolvency and disputes if they arise)
  • Issues for commercial and HR directors
  • Energy issues: net zero and the government's ten point plan
  • Issues for those in the transport sector
  • Real estate
  • Planning
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the New Dynamic
Brexit – and the new trade and cooperation agreement
The UK exits the EU and the end of the Transition Period The UK ceased to be an EU member state on 31 January 2020. Many of the effects of that change were not felt thanks to the Withdrawal Agreement, which provided for a "Transition Period" from 1 February 2020 to 31 December 2020. During that time, EU law effectively continued to apply in and to the UK and the EU.
Retained EU law: the incorporation of EU law into UK law at the end of the Transition Period. Most EU law current at the end of the Transition Period on 31 December 2020 became part of UK law from 1 January 2021, thereby ensuring continuity in many areas. The way in which current EU law now applies in the UK has changed fundamentally and some of its content has been modified as a result of the UK's exit from the EU.

Dentons' guide to retained EU law provides an overview of the framework within which EU law (as it stood on 31 December 2020) became part of UK law, as well as the key differences, to aid understanding of retained EU law. It is available here.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement The UK and EU agreed a deal on 24 December 2020 to govern significant aspects of the trade relationship between the UK and EU from 1 January 2021 onwards. It is directly relevant to all businesses that trade in either direction between the UK and EU and indirectly relevant to others who deal with such businesses. In The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), we set out the framework and key elements of the agreement
Immigration and mobility issues Aside from the Transition Period, the Withdrawal Agreement covered other issues arising from the UK's withdrawal that continue to be relevant, including certain rights of UK and EU citizens and specific arrangements regarding Northern Ireland.

For more on immigration and mobility issues, read our summary here.

Dentons on Brexit For more on the effects of Brexit, visit our website:
Construction law
Legislation updates Our Construction team publishes a regular round-up of new and proposed legislation affecting the construction industry which is published as the "State of Play" column in Construction Law. Recent editions include:
Talk before suspending for non-payment The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (Act) (26 June 2020) introduced changes to insolvency law to help businesses manage the economic implications of COVID-19. In Talk before suspending for non-payment (UK construction focus) (previously published in Construction Law), Gurbinder Grewal considers how the Act interacts with the statutory right to suspend performance for non-payment under section 112 of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996.
New PPN focusing on social value in central government contracts Public bodies must now take account of social value in the award of central government contracts following the publication of Procurement Policy Note 06/20 – taking account of social value in the award of central government contracts (PPN 06/20). New focus on social value in central government contracts reviews PPN 06/20, which is effective from 24 September 2020 and the new evaluation model it provides to deliver social value through the government’s commercial activities.
Does omitting works under the NEC3 subcontract constitute a breach? First published in Scottish Construction Now, we consider whether omitting works under the NEC3 subcontract constitutes a breach.
Dealing with the effects of COVID-19 In Guidance on future-proofing UK construction contracts, we review the Construction Leadership Council (CLC)'s guidance on future-proofing contract amendments (which built on its COVID-19 Contractual Best Practice Guidance) which aims to help parties identify issues caused by COVID-19 and preserve parties' negotiated position within new contracts with appropriate drafting. 
Avoiding disputes (and dealing with insolvency and disputes if they arise)
The effect of remote working on dispute resolution In Some COVID-19 impacts are here for good (first published in Construction Law), we review our experiences of remote working since March 2020 and the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on dispute resolution procedures.
Insolvency – identifying and dealing with financial risks to your business and your supply chain  COVID-19 and the measures implemented to deal with its effects continue to impact on businesses, their employees and their finances. Both our Construction team and Restructuring, Insolvency and Bankruptcy team have published articles to help businesses understand the risks to their commercial operations and supply chains and minimise the damaging effects of disputes as follows:
The role of mediation in collaboration The government has recommended supply chain collaboration as a key way for businesses to navigate the issues being caused by COVID-19. In Time to reconsider compulsory mediation to encourage industry collaboration?, we hypothesise on whether compulsory mediation could help deliver that collaboration.
Dealing with cross-border disputes post-Brexit In Proceedings against defendants in EU member states – the case for starting court claims before the end of 2020, we provide an overview of the pre 31 December 2020 regime for cross-border recognition and enforcement of judgments.
Arbitration rules In New arbitration rules for new times: ICC, LCIA or MIAC? our Dispute Resolution team set out the main similarities and differences of these rules, given that they have each been recently modified or, in the case of the third, created.
Giving remote evidence Preparation is the key to success in giving evidence remotely, examines The Academy of Experts' Guidance on Giving Remote Evidence. The guidance sets out specific action to help parties keep to the timetable and focus on the expert’s evidence – rather than technical hitches and the occasional disruptions of home working.
Issues for commercial and HR directors
Corporate Our Corporate team has produced various articles to help businesses deal with the effects of COVID-19 on their commercial operations including:
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues Dentons' thought leadership materials and our ESG webinar series are now being shared here. Recent posts include:
Competition law – the new UK National Security Investment Bill Issues dealt with recently by our Competition team include:
Recent issues and news on employment law, immigration and health and safety Updates on employment, benefits, pensions and immigration are published on our UK People Reward and Mobility Hub. Recent articles include: For more articles or to sign up to our Employment team's blog, click here
Energy issues: net zero and the government's ten point plan
Net zero, Boris Johnson's ten point plan and carbon capture usage and storage Dentons' Energy team publishes articles on a wide range of energy issues on the Dentons Global Energy Blog. Recent articles include:
Issues for those in the transport sector
Getting the [UK rail] deal through: key issues for investors, operators and suppliers Lawyers in our Rail team recently authored the UK chapter in Getting the Deal Through: Rail Transport 2021 edition which provides an overview of key issues relevant to investors, operators and suppliers in the UK rail sector.
Rail devolution In A revolution for rail devolution?, our Rail team reviews the transport proposals in the March 2020 budget in which rail devolution played a key part.
Real estate
Dealing with the effects of COVID-19
Recent news and developments on planning issues and procedure Updates on government measures to deal with the effects of COVID-19 on planning laws and a variety of other planning issues and news are posted on our UK Planning Law Blog. Recent articles include:
Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the New Dynamic
Dentons' COVID-19 hub Dentons' COVID-19 hub is a valuable source of information relating to COVID-19 and includes a knowledge bank, sector hub and insights, webinar hub and useful links.
Supporting your business in the New Dynamic and ESG


There is no new normal for any organisation for the foreseeable future. Joe Andrews, Dentons Global Chairman, explains why we are now in a "New Dynamic" here.

Our New Dynamic Hub provides tools and insights to support your business, as well as the latest global legal news and guidance on:

You can read more here:

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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