Interpretation of a long term ‘relational’ contract

Amey v Birmingham City Council

Another case which touches upon whether ‘relational contracts’ (whatever they may be) are truly in a category of their own when it comes to contractual interpretation.


The parties had entered into a 25-year Private Finance Initiative contract to maintain Birmingham's road network. Three and half years into the arrangement, Amey decided that it was obliged to only maintain the roads identified in two contractual databases and that neither database required updating during the course of the agreement. The local authority alleged that Amey was obliged to update the databases to reflect the actual road network. It successfully referred the matter to adjudication. The contractor then began court proceedings in which the first instance court decided in its favour. The local authority appealed.


Points to Note:

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