Alliancing contracts

It is not uncommon for contractual negotiations to commence on an adversarial footing, particularly over terms and conditions. Parties are often concerned with their respective obligations and identifying the liabilities that each does or doesn’t bear. Indeed, most standard forms of contract are structured on this basis.

This attitude often carries on long after the agreement is signed. It can have a negative effect on the project in terms of the participants' relationships, well-being and, ultimately, the successful attainment of the project's objectives.

An alternative to this potentially destructive approach is alliancing, which fosters a more collaborative experience. In alliances, contracting parties are encouraged to:

  • work towards a set of agreed goals through a series of processes and
  • avoid oppositional behaviours and practices.

This section examines the concepts behind alliancing, its key features and how to use it successfully. It also considers quasi-alliance and hybrid alternatives, which may have similar or overlapping aims.

This section is written and maintained by Francis Ho, Partner at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP, and Louise Forbes, Senior Associate at CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP. Zoe Norton, Trainee at Druces LLP, assisted with the 2022 update.

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