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Dispute Avoidance & Management

The nature of the construction sector – large value and complex transactions, multiple interfaces and parties and an often long contract period – means disputes are commonplace. Our Construction & Engineering team are ideally placed to help you resolve the many disputes that may occur – whether through dispute resolution or, where necessary, litigation.

Our team has the expertise and experience in all methods of construction dispute resolution including:

  • Litigation 
  • Arbitration - both international and domestic
  • Adjudication
  • Dispute Review and Adjudication Boards
  • Bespoke ADR mid-contract mechanisms and tiered escalation provisions
  • Expert determination and early evaluations (binding and non-binding)

We have also developed tailored dispute resolution procedures designed to help you manage whatever difficult situations arise.

The Dispute Resolution Team

Construction disputes are often large and complex. As a result of this, you need a legal team with sufficient practical knowledge to understand how your business works and the objectives you want to achieve. Our team have both in-depth knowledge of the construction industry and the practical experience of working in-house. This has led to a leading dispute resolution practice, with lawyers holding expertise that covers the spectrum of the construction sector.

In addition to this, our team is genuinely global – with coverage throughout the UK, Europe, the US, Asia Pacific and the Middle East. This means our team is ideally placed to provide our dispute resolution services wherever your issue arises – whether that is locally, nationally or across borders.

Our Approach

Lawyers who understand why disputes arise and how best to manage and resolve them are better equipped to draft sound agreements and explain the contractual process across the negotiating table. Unlike the majority of our competitors, we do not separate contentious and non-contentious teams but, instead, give our lawyers all-round experience of all the issues they may face. This ensures our lawyers have wider and more in-depth experience and are aware of all the resolution avenues open to you.

Our expertise in contentious and non-contentious arenas means that you will benefit from a continuity of service. The team that reviews the contracts and, where necessary, engages in discussions about changes to current working arrangements will also be the team that works with you in managing any disputes. This provides an unrivalled level of continuity across the areas on which you may require legal advice, leading to a strong working relationship and ensuring our team always fully understands your objectives and the strategy designed to meet those objectives.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Should problems arise, we help clients understand the extent of their duties and obligations under contracts they have entered into – both when deals are done and when things go pear-shaped. We assist in the management of disputes and prepare strategies for dealing with claims. You can be assured that we can support you through any method of dispute resolution procedure – litigation, arbitration (including international arbitration), adjudication, expert determination, mediation and other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

International Arbitration

When clients need specialist construction and engineering lawyers, what is unique about our Engineering and Construction team is that not only can it advise you on the issues you face in your own jurisdiction but we also advise in complex international transactions and dispute resolution. Clients, we find, feel more confident when our international lawyers have support all over the world from people who understand the local environments, helping us tailor solutions to meet your needs in the local legal context as well as advise on cross border strategies.

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  • Advising the EPC contractor in relation to a contract for the construction of a US$9 billion pearl gas to liquid plant in Ras Lafan, Qatar. 
  • Acting for a UK pension fund in relation to a dispute involving defective design and workmanship caused by the original construction team for one of the portfolio assets, a £75 million mixed use retail, residential and leisure complex in the heart of Birmingham. 
  • Acting for a local authority, in relation to claims by the contractor for additional compensation in relation to the construction of a £60 million sea wall defence contract by way of NEC Option. 
  • Acting in international construction arbitration between contractor and buyer of two jack up drilling units, the largest and most advanced ever built. Contract disputed claims US$500 million plus. 
  • Representing in an LMAA construction arbitration between an Asia and Middle East ship owner and French supplier over supply of allegedly defective liquefaction plant on board 3 vessels. Disputes involving US$20 million. 
  • Advising Veolia Water Solutions under an NEC option C, target cost contract in relation to a contract for the construction of a waste treatment facility. Claims in relation to defective design and/or workmanship. Matter settled by way of facilitative mediation. 
  • Resolving multimillion dollar cost overrun claims against a team of design and engineering firms concerning the construction of a National Football League stadium. 
  • Representing the main contractor in arbitration concerning the design and build of a sports stadium. The claim was won after a four and a half month hearing. 
  • Representing a local authority in its multimillion dollar arbitration concerning the negligent design of a road bridge. 
  • Conducting two ICC Construction arbitrations acting for major communications company relating to engineering failures on the London Underground pursuant to two PFI contracts. 
  • Advising a major food process plant owner, one of the largest in Europe, concerning defects in the office complex and production facility under the NEC form of contract. 
  • Acting for a social housing association regarding claims by the contractor under a JCT form of agreement due to delays and additional costs brought about by the alleged default of the employer’s design team. 
  • Acting for a major contractor in relation to the design and construction of the superstructure of a shopping complex. Issues as to quality of the design/workmanship regarding concrete works and steelwork. Cross claims for additional costs by way of variations, delay and disruption.