Contractor fails to prove materials were unfit for purpose (Tayside Contracts v D Geddes)

Contractor fails to prove materials were unfit for purpose (Tayside Contracts v D Geddes)


A contractor’s claim that materials supplied to it were not of satisfactory quality, or fit for purpose, failed, as the court was not satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that certain characteristics in the materials were responsible for failures on the project. The court was also unwilling to conclude that, by process of elimination, the materials must have in some way or another been the cause of the failures.

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Case name

Dundee City Council, Angus Council and Perth and Kinross Council, carrying on business together under the name and style of Tayside Contracts v D Geddes (Contractors) Limited [2017] CSOH 108

What are the practical implications of this case?

It is well-established that, in civil proceedings, the burden is on a claimant to prove its case on the balance of probabilities. This decision acts as a reminder that, where failures have occurred and a claimant seeks to prove what it considers to be the cause of those failures, it may not be enough for it to do so by process of elimination. Ultimately, the court will step back and ask itself whether the alleged cause is more likely than not to be the true cause of the failures. For another recent exa

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About the author:

Jon is a Professional Support Lawyer at LexisNexis, specialising in construction law.

Jon trained at Hogan Lovells and qualified into the construction disputes team there in 2011. He joined LexisNexis in February 2016. Jon has experience of acting for various parties (including employers, main contractors, subcontractors and project managers) in relation to disputes arising out of construction and engineering projects in various jurisdictions. Jon has acted for clients in TCC litigation, arbitration, adjudication and mediation as well as providing advice on various aspects of construction and engineering projects.