2020 Essay Prize Competition

Society of Construction Law Essay Prize Competition 2020

First Prize: $3,000 Second Prize $1,500

The SCL New Zealand’s essay prize is modelled on essay prizes offered by other Societies of Construction Law, such as the Hudson Prize offered by the UK Society.
The competition is designed to encourage an interest in construction law amongst undergraduate or recently graduated students and is open to those who have graduated within the last 5 years.


Entry is available to persons who have an interest in construction law and who, as at 31 October 2019, will be New Zealand residents and:

 will be undergraduate students at a tertiary institution in New Zealand, or
 will have graduated from any tertiary institution with their first degree or diploma within the previous five years.

Essays are a maximum of 5000 words with an emphasis placed on contribution to the study or practice of construction law or to the application of construction law in the industry.

Important Dates:

15 November 2019 Proposed topics to be submitted for approval.

29 November 2019 SCL Council approves (or otherwise) topics and eligibility.
31 March 2020 Essay to be received

Download Conditions of Entry and Entry Form (seeking approval of topic due in by 15 November 2019)

2019 SCL(NZ) Conference

Fundamentals of Construction Law – the project lifecycle

held 23 July 2019 – North Stand, Eden Park, Auckland

Thank you to our speakers, members and guests who attended the SCL conference.  It was a very successful day and presented a wonderful opportunity for any involved in construction law. The conference covered all phases of a construction project, from procurement, insurance, performance, to termination and resolving disputes - it will be a high-paced whistle stop tour with experts presenting in each area.

Speaker presentations and papers published to the members only area.  

The programme included presentations from industry experts – broken into themed project lifecycle stages:

Forming: Planning your procurement; Legal considerations in procurement processes; Finance in Construction; Insurance in Construction

Performing: Contract administration; Construction Contracts Act 2002 – trends and recent developments

Storming: Termination – when, how, rights and remedies; Liability in Construction; Disputes – choosing the process and fighting the case

Reforming: Reforming at formation, performance, and storming stages - through continuing professional education


The New Zealand Society of Construction Law was formed in 2005 to promote research and education in the field of construction law and a means by which people from throughout the industry could come together to discuss issues relating to construction law.

The Society has over 800 members from all sectors of the construction industry, including:

  • lawyers
  • architects
  • engineers
  • quantity surveyors
  • contractors
  • project managers
  • insurers
  • academics


The Society meets regularly for presentations by speakers, and these meetings also provide an opportunity for informal networking. Meetings are usually held monthly in:

  • Auckland
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
We endeavour to host a couple of meetings a year in Hamilton and Dunedin and also livestream a meeting into these centres if possible.

There is no cost to members to attend these meetings. 

Copies of presentations, papers and some recorded sessions presented at these meetings are available to members in the 'Members Only' section of the website.

Upcoming SCL meetings

An Introduction to the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission – Te Waihanga and a discussion on the key findings of the report on the use of NZS Conditions of Contract

12 November – Wellington
19 November – Auckland
19 November – Hamilton via livestream
19 November – Dunedin via livestream
27 November - Christchurch


SCL(India) Conference

International Conference on Construction Law and Arbitration - CIArb

6 - 8 December 2019

Conference website

Retentions Regime Review:  A Legal Shemozzle?

Nick Gillies

save the date - registration will open in January 2020

2 March 2020 – Auckland 
3 March 2020 - Christchurch
4 March 2020- Wellington

Now in Members Only Area


Passive Fire the Burning Issues

Alan Page and Jonathan Laird

15 October 2019 Christchurch
17 October 2019 Wellington
22 October 2019 Auckland
Presentation and CPD attendance sheets


SCL Mock Mediation

24 September 2019 Auckland

Mock Mediation notes, Construction Industry Chapters

CPD Attendance Sheet

SCL Essay Prize Winners Presentations

Sarah Martin

The Development of the Law on a Builder’s Duty of Care

Carlos Smith-Diaz

Where are my Retentions? Insights from the Ebert Construction Insolvency and Practical Advice for Subcontractors

27 August Auckland
28 August Christchurch
29 August Wellington

Essays  |  CPD Attendance sheets


2019 SCL Conference

Fundamentals of Construction Law – the project lifecycle

23 July 2019 – Eden Park, Auckland

Presenters presentations and papers published to 2019 Conference page


Demystifying Delay

Emily Simnor

13 June - Hamilton
25 June - Auckland
25 June - Dunedin via livestream from Auckland
26 June - Wellington
27 June - Christchurch

CPD Attendance Sheets


Drafting Insurance Clauses in Construction Contracts

Donald Gardner, Marsh

30 April - Christchurch
1 May - Wellington
2 and 7 May - Auckland
14 May - Dunedin

CPD Attendance Sheets
Presentation and Paper


NZS3910 – it ain’t broke, so don’t fix it? 

Peter Degerholm & Paul O'Brien 

4 March - Auckland
5 March - Wellington
6 March - Christchurch

CPD Attendance Sheets
Presentation and video of Auckland session



The role of expert witnesses and common tensions that arise between experts and lawyers

Janine Stewart, Stephen Price and James White

6 November - Christchurch
8 November - Wellington
19 November - Auckland
27 November - Hamilton

CPD Attendance Sheets
Presentation and Chicago paper


Understanding construction procurement in NZ
A construction industry panel discussion

Chair: David Kelly, CE Registered Master Builders Association

8 November - Auckland
27 November – Wellington 
28 November – Christchurch

CPD Attendance Sheets
Auckland Panel Discussion video



What has changed from the NEC3 contract suite?

Fiona Bennett

2 October - Auckland
3 October - Wellington
4 October - Christchurch

CPD Attendance Sheets
Audio and Presentation


Earlier presentations in Members Only area

Visit Meetings & Events page for full list of 2018 meetings

Congratulations 2019 Essay Prize Winners

First Prize - Sarah Martin

The Development of the Law on a Builder’s Duty of Care

Second Prize - Carlos Smith-Diaz

Where are my Retentions? Insights from the Ebert Construction Insolvency and Practical Advice for Subcontractors

Recommended for Publication - Thomas Richards

Builder Beware?

Sarah and Carlos will present their essays in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington on 27, 28 & 29 August respectively

essays published to the members only area

Sarah Martin (centre) 2019 Essay Prize winner with Michael Taylor (Chair Essay Committee (left)) and Stuart Robertson, SCL President

New SCL(Intl) papers added to the SCL International website

SLC(NZ) members can access these papers on the SCL(Intl) website

26 papers presented at the 2018 8th Intl SCL North America Conference, Chicago are now available 

Need help accessing the members area of SLC(Intl)? 

Contact SCL(NZ) Manager Melanie Whittaker

SCL bestows Honorary Life Membership

SCL congratulates John Walton  who was awarded Honorary Life Membership of the Society in recognition for his valued contribution in the field of Construction Law

John Walton receives SCL HonLifeMembership award from Stuart Robertson

John Walton (left) with Stuart Robertson (SCL President) (July2019)

New Members Welcome

The Society welcomes new members

Anyone with a strong interest in construction law is invited to apply for membership.

2018/19 subscription rates (GST inclusive):

$143.75  individual or less than 3 in company
$115.00 for 3 or more in same company

Membership Application Form


The New Zealand Society maintains ties with its sister societies in other parts of the world so that members are kept up-to-date about news and upcoming events in the construction industry in those jurisdictions.

New Zealand members have access to papers published on the SCL(International) website.

2017 SCL Wellington Transmission Gully site tour

Transmission Gully site visit 

2015 Christchurch Key Projects in the Christchurch City Rebuild tour

Christchurch Town Hall site visit 

2017 SCL Wellington Transmission Gully site tour

Transmission Gully site visit 

SCL 2015 Christchurch city tour participants

The Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct site visit


2017: Identifying and Managing Obligations, Wellington - Wellington conference papers

15 June 2017: Site Tour - Transmission Gully

16 June 2017:  Conference at Te Papa, Wellington (keynote Richard Wilmot-Smith QC of 39 Essex Chambers, London)

2015 : Best Practice Procurement and Contracting in NZ Construction & Infrastructure - Christchurch conference papers

13 August 2015 : City Tour- Key Projects in the Christchurch City Rebuild (photos above)

14 August 2015 : Conference at The Chateau on the Park (photos below)

2014 : When the Contract Gets Dirty – applying the contract to on-site reality - Auckland conference papers

2012 : Construction Law Core Skills Seminar, Fundamental Topics in Construction Law presented by Leading Industry Practitioners - Auckland conference papers


2017 Identifying and Managing Obligations - Wellington

2015 Best Practice Procurement and Contracting in NZ Construction & Infrastructure Conference - Christchurch