4 New Square

Paul J Cowan

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Practice Areas

National and internationally recognized specialist on major construction projects and appearing as counsel in relation to oil & gas, energy, transport and other major infrastructure projects, with particular emphasis on projects in civil law jurisdictions. Uniquely detailed, first-hand experience in relation to the licensing, design and construction of new-build nuclear power plants, having advised and represented clients on active new build projects over the last 12 years, notably the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant in Finland. This included the long-running arbitration that was successfully settled in 2018 following the rejection of the supplier consortium’s main claim for disruption (approx. €2 billion). Paul also has long experience on hydro-power projects. Particular specialism in relation to delay and disruption disputes, including leading conduct and advocacy on one of the world’s largest delay / disruption disputes as well as numerous major delay disputes on major UK projects.. These included appearing as lead counsel in Carillion v Woods Bagot & Others (2016 & 2017) establishing new case law (High Court and Court of Appeal) on the award of extensions of time in multi-party construction disputes. Specialist representation and advocacy in litigation, arbitration, adjudication, dispute boards, mediation and other forms of dispute resolution.

Alongside representing clients in construction disputes, also provides front-end advice on contractual risk allocation, drafting and negotiation in relation to international and domestic construction contracts. Experienced advising on disputes and / or project development all over the world including: UK, Scandinavia, Middle East and North Africa, West Africa, and South America.


Returned to the Bar at 4 New Square in 2014, formerly partner at White & Case LLP (2003-2011). 1996 Call (Inner Temple). Major Scholarship. University College, University of Durham, LLB (Hons).

Professional Memberships

International Bar Association. ICC. LCIA. International Nuclear Law Association. Society of Construction Law. Joint Contracts Tribunal, Council Member and Chairman of the JCT Construction Dispute Resolution Group. City of London Law Society, Construction Committee.


Co-author of standard form of novation agreement and guidance note, City of London Law Society Construction Committee. Regular speaker on international construction law and practice at IBA Annual Conferences (e.g. Tokyo 2014, Vienna 2015, Washington DC 2016, Sydney 2017 and Rome 2018). Speaker at the inaugural International Construction Law Association seminar in Paris, June 2016. Seminars for the Society of Construction Law about “Advising on International Construction Contracts Subject to Civil Law” (in London and in the Gulf). Lectured on risk allocation and dispute resolution in nuclear new-build contracts at the International Nuclear Law Association’s Congress in Toronto, Canada and INLA’s UK Nuclear Law conference in June 2018. CDR Spring 2017 and Autumn 2015 Arbitration Symposia. Numerous other construction and / or international arbitration seminars for CIArb, Kluwer (including in Turkey and UAE) and numerous other bodies. Published articles in Construction Law Journal, Building Magazine, Kluwer.


Motor sport and cars. History and literature. Amateur astronomy. Archery. Conversational French and German.