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Construction Law/right of Nominated Sub to claim directly to Owner and Contractor to indemnify from such action


Dear John
We are Project Managers on a Project under FIDIC 99 red book with amendments (COPA). There is one main contractor and nominated Subs that are back to back toward the Contract with the main contractor.
My Questions are:

1-Does a nominated Subcontractor have the right to claim or to sue an Owner directly without passing by the main contractor ?

2- Does the Main Contractor have the duty to indemnify the Owner in such case?

3- Can a claim for EoT and assoiated compensation initiated by a Subcontractor be subject to a law suit and allowing the juridical entity placing the hand on the Project ? What is the role/duty of the main contractor in such case?
Will the case be refuted by the judge?
Kindly refer to specific FIDIC Clauses


Dear Rex,

Thank you for this question. Unfortunately there is insufficient information to be able to provide you with any reasonable answer.

Firstly the terms agreed by the Employer with the nominated sub-contractor, before the subcontract is taken on by the Contractor, will be key. Secondly, the legal jurisdiction will be important, as some provide for third party rights, which may give rise to a subcontractor (even a domestic subcontractor) having a right of action against an Employer. Thirdly, the extent of the Contractor's liability to indemnify the Employer will be determined by the terms of the contract between the Employer/Contractor.

I am sorry that I cannot assist further at this time.

Kind regards,
John Dowse

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John Dowse


Legal; contract interpretation; quantum; delay analysis. Practitioner in arbitration, adjudication and mediation.


Thirty-three (33) years experience in building and construction, at all levels both within contracting and consulting organisations. Practising arbitrator, adjudicator, and mediator. Faculty approved trainer for the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Lecturer on construction contract forms and dispute resolution practices.

Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Institute of Directors Society of Construction Arbitrators

Various UK and International construction and legal publications.

LLB (Hons), Pg Dip (Legal Practice), MCInstCES MCIArb MIOD Barrister

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