Architects win invoice dispute after developer ends contract
Published: 8 December 2017
A firm or architects have won their dispute over the payment of a final invoice after a developer unexpectedly dispensed with their services.
The issue arose after the developer had accepted the
architects' fee proposal in relation to a housing project.
After a few months, the developer emailed the architects,
indicating that it intended to use another firm to prepare the planning
application and develop the layout of the project, but would still work with
them in relation to house styles.
The architects replied, indicating that their understanding
had been that they would be designing the layout and that they had submitted a
fee proposal for a full service. They stopped work on the project and submitted
an invoice for work up to that point on the basis that their agreed fee was no
The employer failed to pay so the architects obtained an
The developer took further legal action and the court ruled
in its favour. It said the developer’s
decision to use another firm was a repudiation of the contract, which the
architects had accepted. The contract had therefore been discharged.
The Court of Appeal has overturned that decision. It held
that the architects had not accepted the developer’s decision as a breach of
contract; they had treated it as a termination of the contract without the appropriate
Their final invoice was a claim for money due under the
contract, rather than a claim for damages for breach of contract.
The adjudicator's decision had plainly been correct and
Please contact Matthew Sigsworth in our Dispute Resolution
Team if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article
or any aspect of contract law.