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Trouble for Builders

Remarkably, the builder of the Courts of Justice in the Strand, in London, became insolvent during and as a consequence of the work.
Many Irish builders are now becoming insolvent. That’s inevitable in circumstances where their employers, developers, are now insolvent and heading into NAMA.
Whatever the reason, this kind of difficulty is endemic for builders. In Marlborough v Strong [1721] 1 Bro. (P.C.) 175 the builder of Blenheim Palace was shortchanged by the Duke of Marlborough to the tune of £7,300 (an enormous sum).
The Duke refused to pay the shortfall on the grounds that his alleged agent, the Earl of Godolphin was not his agent. In fact the Duke had engaged the services of the Earl precisely to act for him in relation to the building; to employ people (including the architect, Sir John Vanbrough); and to enter contracts for the purpose. The Duke claimed that the Earl was acting as Lord High Treasurer of England and not as his private personal agent. The court thought otherwise and gave judgment for the builders.
(The Duke resembled some of Ireland’s developers; the Duchess reported him as not bothering, on one occasion, to remove his high riding boots in going to the task of “pleasuring” her.)