Simon Tolson to Give the JCT Povey Lecture 2023

‘The Terminator’ will be the title of this year’s JCT Povey Lecture, taking place on Wednesday, 22 November 2023.

The webinar will be presented by Simon Tolson, senior partner at Fenwick Elliot LLP, and solicitor, chartered arbitrator and adjudicator.

In ‘The Terminator’, Simon Tolson will discuss the latest case law, developments, and legal issues surrounding the termination of construction contracts. There has been a number of important decisions in the courts since 2022, and Simon’s presentation will cover:

  • The termination remedy
  • Why and when
  • Background to the right to terminate
  • Remedy of last resort – is the threat enough?
  • Weighing up decision to terminate – behind the scenes; when to stick or twist?
  • Why reaching for trigger can backfire
  • Boston Deep Sea Fishing and Leafelis, etc
  • The Heisler exception
  • The JCT process
  • Two steps to glory or disaster – getting the termination right: termination notices
  • The attitude of HM Judges/TCC
  • The role of the common law – even exceeding the delay damages cap can amount to a repudiatory breach
  • Tips for drafters
  • How to dodge the bullet


Povey Lecture 2023 Summary

Nobody enters into a new relationship assuming it will fail but stuff happens – Simon will be addressing some of the key detail in that ‘stuff’.

Termination for breach of contract releases the parties from their contractual obligations to perform. It is a powerful and definitive device that discharges all unperformed primary obligations under the contract yet to accrue and ends the contractual relationship, often instantaneously.

Profound commercial and financial consequences for the parties can ensue. This can be acute for the defaulting party. Not only are they deprived of the benefit of the contract; in many cases they must also compensate the injured party in damages for losses caused by breach, possibly including the loss of the bargain. But equally getting it wrong for the ‘innocent’ party is also very dangerous.


About the Speaker

Simon Tolson, senior partner, Fenwick Elliott LLP
BA (Hons), FCIArb, FFB, solicitor, chartered arbitrator and adjudicator

Simon Tolson was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales in 1987. He has specialised in construction and energy dispute law for over 35 years on a huge range of project types and infrastructure developments in the UK and overseas. Most of his work has been involved with disputes and dispute resolution with extensive court, international arbitration, as well as construction adjudications and mediations. During his career he has led over 20 reported cases in the Courts.

Simon was made a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in 1995 and a Chartered Arbitrator in 2002. He is ranked amongst the top construction solicitors in Who’s Who Legal, Chambers UK, The Legal 500 UK (Hall of Fame) and the Legal Experts guides.

Simon takes a keen interest in building defects cases, the Building Safety Act, and related areas, and has lectured widely and appeared in many webinars.

Simon is a past chairman of the Technology and Construction Solicitors’ Association and now the Honorary President. In that time, he championed the TeCSA eDisclosure Protocol, the 2017 Pre-Action Protocol, CE-File, Technical Courses and is actively involved in the training, modernisation and diversification of adjudicators and arbitrators.

He has a huge interest in legal and construction technology, AI and the changing world of procurement and delivery.

Simon currently holds the TeCSA Clare Edwards Award for 2022, awarded to an individual demonstrating professional excellence and for making an outstanding contribution to the legal profession.

Simon is a Building Magazine commissioner on the Building the Future Commission sitting alongside leading figures from across the built environment.

He is also a long-standing visiting lecturer at King’s College London on their MSc in Construction Law and Dispute Resolution.


JCT Povey Lecture 2023 – Event Details

The JCT Povey Lecture is an online event hosted and presented by JCT chair, Karen Kirkham. Karen will give a welcome address and also host a post-event discussion/Q&A, for which audience members will be able to submit questions via the online interface.

For more information and to register, visit:

The JCT Povey Lecture was inaugurated in 2003 to acknowledge and pay tribute to Philip Povey, who served JCT for fifty years. The lecture is an annual event at which an eminent person is invited to give their thoughts on significant matters relevant to the construction and property industry. The purpose of the series is to stimulate thought and encourage ways of continuing to improve the quality and value of construction output. For more information and to view past presentations, visit: