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The set boasts an excellent standing in this field. Its members handle a range of complex and high-value TCC disputes, representing and opposing architects, engineers and surveyors as well as building contractors. The set offers additional expertise in ICC arbitrations concerning major energy projects, notably in parts of Africa and the Middle East. Tenants have continued to represent a number of the design and engineering firms in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, and have acted in numerous pieces of litigation involving the design and testing of fire engineering in other developments throughout the UK.
Client service: "It's my favourite set because the clerks are so responsive and easy to work with, and treat themselves as part of the team. They provide good turnaround times and are great with fees." Carl Wall and Stewart Gibbs lead the team.
Alexander Hickey QC
Capable of advising on either side of negligence claims brought against surveyors, architects or engineers. He is regularly instructed in complex litigation proceedings regarding property developments, environmental risk assessment and property finance. He is also experienced in adjudications by and against construction industry professionals.
Strengths: "An extremely technical lawyer who has a very well-structured way of thinking. You know what he says will be right because he takes you along with his thinking process." "One of the most effective cross-examiners I've come across."
Recent work: Acted for Wandle Housing Association and Delta Homes in a claim against contractors concerning a housing development whose defects in fire stopping and other aspects were so severe that it had to be demolished. The litigation involved claims against various professionals.
Benjamin Pilling QC
Well-regarded silk who acts for claimants and developers in a wide array of professional discipline cases arising in the construction and information technology sectors. He is particularly well versed in claims against engineers. His clients include project managers, surveyors and architects.
Strengths: "He is very calm and level-headed. I go to him because he is a good team player and gives clear advice." "He argues his cases exceptionally well and is a very clear, persuasive and tenacious advocate."
Recent work: Instructed to represent the fire consultant Exova in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
Well regarded for her construction practice and instructed in negligence claims against architects, subcontractors and project managers. She has experience dealing with matters in the Middle East.
Strengths: "An excellent advocate who fights hard and is incredibly bright." "She has been extremely user-friendly."
Recent work: Defended a contractor in defects claims relating to a university building in Plymouth. The case involved consideration of negligence on the part of structural engineers and an MEP subcontractor.
Fiona Sinclair QC
Frequently instructed in high-profile disputes involving professional negligence claims relating to major property development projects. She acts for and against architects, consultants and other professionals in the construction sector. She is also knowledgeable about professional indemnity insurance. She has appeared in appeals before the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.
Strengths: "A really excellent advocate who did brilliantly in the Supreme Court."
Recent work: Acted for Laing O'Rourke in a claim against architects, attempting to recover losses after the NHS trust successfully claimed against the contractor for defects in two hospitals.
Has strong experience of construction disputes involving professional negligence claims, particularly those associated with large energy facilities, whether in the UK or overseas.
Strengths: "An exceptional lawyer. He has a diverse and international practice. He knows his cases and the procedure, and has an infectious enthusiasm." "Helpful and user-friendly and has immense knowledge of case law."
Recent work: Acted for HEC in a case concerning an EPC consultant appointment and allegations of negligent over- and under-design, in relation to an energy-from-waste plant in West Sussex.
James Cross QC
Handles an impressive array of professional negligence disputes involving property development. He is especially well versed in claims involving fires and other catastrophes caused by defective engineering and construction. He represents a wide range of clients including insurers, engineers, contractors and public bodies.
Strengths: "He understands the clients and how they operate, and is excellent at interacting with them in meetings and in his drafting and analysis of legal points."
Jeremy Nicholson QC
Vastly experienced silk who focuses on negligence claims relating to construction projects, particularly those with significant multiparty interests. He is eminently capable of handling highly technical cases concerning architects, engineers, surveyors and other construction professionals. He regularly handles proceedings in the Dubai International Arbitration Centre and other international seats.
Strengths: "Excels in international work and is a tough opponent."
Recent work: Defended Bureau Veritas, a construction testing consultancy, in a claim concerning the fire resistance of cladding installed on a hotel at Gatwick Airport.
Has a broad professional negligence practice which sees her acting in technology and construction disputes. She has appeared in multiple cases acting for civil and structural engineers.
Strengths: "Incredibly bright, incisive and commercially minded." "She is a good advocate who is firm and speedy and a very fair opponent."
Recent work: Instructed to defend a professional negligence claim against engineers concerning the unusual construction of five eight-storey timber-framed residential apartment blocks in London.
An impressive junior who represents architects, engineers, surveyors and other professionals in negligence claims which tend to be heavy on technical detail. His practice is notably strengthened by his engineering background.
Strengths: "He is very user-friendly and down to earth in his approach; he's flexible and takes solicitors' comments on board. He is imaginative, creative and pragmatic in his approach, and achieves good outcomes."
Recent work: Acted for one of the defendants in a claim concerning the fire resistance of cladding at a Premier Inn at Gatwick Airport.
Lynne McCafferty QC
Acts in negligence claims for and against a broad range of construction and technology-based clients, including surveyors, architects, computing consultants and software designers. She also has considerable experience advising professional indemnity insurers in associated coverage matters.
Strengths: "Did an amazing job in a tough case."
Recent work: Represented Max Fordham LLP, an engineering firm involved in the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower, in the Inquiry.
Michael Douglas QC
Has a wide-ranging professional negligence practice encompassing claims against various individuals, including IT professionals, architects, engineers, property surveyors, insurers and solicitors. He represents both claimants and defendants.
Strengths: "He is a very experienced silk and a very good advocate." "Very level-headed and has a talent for extracting what really matters in the early stages of a case."
Recent work: Acted for Exova, a fire safety contractor hired for the Grenfell Tower refurbishment works, in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
Rachel Ansell QC
Impresses with her handling of negligence claims brought against engineers, contractors and other parties in connection with large construction projects, and has developed particular expertise in cases involving geotechnical engineering. In addition to her strong domestic practice, she regularly handles cases in the Middle East. Some of her recent cases have included disputes in relation to schools, infrastructure and airports.
Strengths: "Very logical, clear and tenacious and incredibly thorough." "Puts up a really tough fight."
Recent work: Defended a professional negligence claim brought against structural engineers arising out of the construction of a school.
Sean Brannigan QC
Renowned professional negligence silk who acts in complex and high-value claims arising out of major infrastructure and construction projects. He handles domestic and cross-border disputes, and has particular experience in Northern Ireland. His practice additionally takes in disputes arising in locations such as the United Arab Emirates.
Strengths: "Has an absolutely huge reputation for guiding clients through litigation and championing their interests." "Has a charming, very relaxed manner."
A strong performer in the areas of construction and information technology, he is able to advise comprehensively on professional negligence matters within these fields. He is a particularly strong choice for defending IT companies in professional negligence disputes. He also regularly represents engineers and other professionals in the construction industry.
Strengths: "Provides clear, firm advice, has good judgement and is strong at the getting though the nitty-gritty points that turn on technical issues."
Recent work: Acted in a case concerning the appearance of a sinkhole in a housing development, which involved claims against architects, engineers and geotechnical consultants.