“St John’s Chambers has unmatched firepower in this area. It is the foremost specialist construction chambers on the Western Circuit. Its team of highly skilled advocates regularly acts in the most prominent, high-value and heavyweight disputes in the region under the instruction of some of the biggest industry players. Members of St John’s demonstrate prowess across a broad range of construction matters including claims of defects, arbitration appeals and professional negligence-related cases.” Chambers UK, Construction (2017)
Our construction and engineering team have a broad base and can appropriately resource any level of case, and provide both traditional barristers services and also other roles such as Chartered Arbitrator, accredited Adjudicator or Mediator.
The clerks are able to recommend barristers who regularly appear in larger cases in the Technology and Construction Court both in London and in District Registries with specialist TCC Judges – most often in Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham and Exeter – and are familiar with the Courts and the Judges. They are also able to recommend appropriate members of the team for County Court disputes in commercial and residential building disputes.
We are involved in all types of construction and engineering projects – everything from international renewable energy projects to residential building disputes. Members act for end users, main contractors, subcontractors, and members of the professional team. We are able to provide appropriate and costs effective advice and representation from within the team at all stages of a construction, engineering or building project, however large or small.
Some members of the team are members of the specialist Bar association TECBAR, and of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Society of Construction Law and Adjudication Society.
The clerks are happy to suggest appropriate members for any particular case.
Adjudication and Adjudication Enforcement
The recent amendments to the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 have meant that 28 day Adjudication is now available in an even wider range of disputes.
We are able to assist in Adjudication, where written advocacy (a sometimes undervalued skill) has been the norm. The amendments to the Act may mean that attended hearings become more common, and as specialist advocates we are also well placed to assist in that respect. The short timescales involved in Adjudication can be challenging, so it is advisable to involve us at as early a stage as possible when a dispute arises.
Within the team there are some members with experience of adjudication enforcement. We appear in enforcement hearings in the TCC in London and around the country – for example, in the TCC Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, and Exeter. Members of the team have also been at the forefront of the use of Part 8 proceedings or hybrid proceedings in relation to (typically) jurisdiction issues, and have lectured widely on developments in the law relating to Adjudication.
Some members of the team are also accredited panel Adjudicators, and appointments as Adjudicator are accepted either direct by party agreement or on nomination by TECBAR or TECSA.
Members with expertise and experience in this field are:
- Richard Stead
- Robin Neill
- Andrew Kearney (accredited Adjudicator)
- Rebecca Taylor (accredited Adjudicator)
The advent of adjudication (and removal of arbitration as the default dispute resolution mechanism in many standard form contracts), has seen the use of arbitration reduce in England and Wales. In those cases where arbitration agreements are still made however, the need for specialist arbitration lawyers is as strong as ever – and there are fewer lawyers with arbitration experience than there were prior to the arrival of adjudication. Moreover, in the international context, arbitration remains the primary means for dispute resolution.
Our arbitration team includes a number of members with experience and expertise representing parties in arbitration, including some with significant international experience, and practicing Arbitrators.
Members with arbitration knowledge include:
- John Blackmore
- Richard Stead (ACIArb)
- Robin Neill (practicing Arbitrator)
- Andrew Kearney (FCIArb, Chartered Arbitrator, Presidential panel member CIArb)
- Rebecca Taylor (ACIArb)
- William Godwin (practicing Arbitrator, panel member CIETAC and DIAC)
Mediation is growing in use generally, but has long been a useful process in construction disputes. Multi party disputes can be particularly difficult to settle using traditional negotiation methods, and the availability of adjudication involving only two parties can tend to fragment multi party disputes. There is considerable experience within the team in this respect – both acting as Mediator and representing clients in mediation. Members have conducted numerous successful mediations both in multi party and more straightforward dual party disputes.
All members of the team are able to represent clients in mediation.
All members of the team are able to accept instructions direct from industry professionals under the Licensed Access scheme. This allows members of many licensed organisations – for example the RIBA, RICS and ICE – to instruct barristers without going through a solicitor.
This can be of particular assistance where advice is need on discrete points of contractual interpretation which arise mid project or during final account negotiations. We are also able to assist in house teams in adjudication or on adjudication enforcement (see above).
Where additional skills or resource are required, we can provide a team of barristers or can introduce Licensed Access clients to suitable solicitors with whom we are able to work.
Many members of the team are also available to act, where appropriate, for members of the public, as well as commercial and non-commercial organisations, under the Public Access scheme.
This can be of assistance in all of the same areas as Licensed Access. It can also be helpful is some lower value domestic building disputes. If it would be in the client’s best interests to have a solicitor acting as well or instead of a barrister we will always say so, and can assist in identifying suitable firms.
Members able to advise on a Public Access basis are:
Our team delivers workshops and seminars in Chambers, in association with solicitors firms and the Bristol Law Society and also via the Adjudication Society, Society of Construction Law and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. We can also provide tailored training for solicitors firms and for industry clients. If you are interested in arranging a lecture then please contact our clerks.
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Year of Call: 1986