Atkin Chambers Barristers
James practices across a broad range of disputes in litigation, arbitration, adjudication and all methods of alternative dispute resolution. He has particular experience in energy and power related disputes and information technology disputes.
Much of his work is international in nature and throughout his career he has advised on disputes in Europe, Africa, The Middle East, Australia and across Asia. James has wide experience in advisory, preparatory and advocacy work for international arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution (using ICC Rules and other recognised arbitration rules such as UNCITRAL, LCIA and Stockholm Chamber of Commerce as well as ad hoc arbitration).
His experience of domestic disputes covers a wide range of technical disputes from construction and engineering to energy and power to telecommunications and computer systems and software. James has experience of all major (and many of the lesser used) construction and engineering standard forms of contract.
He is recognised as a leading junior by the legal directories, Chambers and Partners Guide to the Legal Profession and The Legal 500, in the fields of, Construction, International Arbitration, Information Technology and Professional Negligence.
James has experience of both domestic and international disputes regarding oil and gas exploration and exploitation and regarding power projects (conventional, hydro-electric and other). Recent case examples include:
o Acting on a c. £70 million claim in the UK Commercial Court relating to computer controlled drilling systems on a giant jack-up offshore drilling rig;
Amoco UK Exploration Company v British American Offshore Ltd
o Acting on a US $100 million professional negligence claim in UK High Court relating to the design of a power station in the Philippines including two successful results in response to appeals to the UK Court of Appeal;
Mirant Asia-Pacific Construction (Hong Kong) Ltd v Ove Arup and Partners Intl Ltd
o Advisory and advocacy work in respect of claims under Power Purchase Agreements relating to generation at a gas fired power station.
o Advisory work in respect of contract disputes relating to power purchase agreements relating to CHP plant in Cheshire.
o Advisory work in respect of contract and technical disputes relating to power purchase agreements relating to industrial CHP plant in distillery in Scotland.
o Acting on dispute regarding commercial arrangements for negotiation and obtaining UK Offshore exploration licences in the North Sea 25th round
o Advisory and advocacy work relating to various disputes regarding construction of LNG offtake and storage facilities in Kent and South Wales including;
Ledwood Engineering v Whessoe & Volker Stevin
o Advisory and advocacy work regarding claims for employer against offshore contractor arising from attempted installation of experimental offshore tidal generator at North Sea testing site;
Aquanos v Tidal Generation Limited
o Advisory and advocacy work for US contractor in respect of claims arising from design and installation of evaporators for bioethanol production facility;
Simon Carves v Anhydro
o Advisory work in respect of defects in pipeline coatings for new gas pipeline on Teeside.
o Advisory work and retained as advocate in relation to disputes arising from agreements relating to applications for offshore North Sea DECC petroleum licences.
o Acting on an LCIA arbitration for Oman oil company regarding disputes with US drilling services company arising from exploratory land prospects in Oman [Oman]
o Acting on an LCIA arbitration for Russian owned oil company regarding disputes arising from refurbishment and operation of drill ship in respect of offshore wells to be drilled in Gulf of Guinea [Ghana]
o Advising on an ICC rules mediation for a US engineering construction company regarding a dispute with the Abu Dhabi state valued at c. US$80million combined power and desalination plant under Abu Dhabi substantive law; [Abu Dhabi]
o Acting on an ICC arbitration regarding technical and commercial disputes over the construction of a power station for an Indian private power company against US and Indian state engineering and construction companies in respect of claims and counterclaims valued at c. US$60 million under English and Indian law; [India]
o Acting on an ICC arbitration regarding offshore dredging contracts for an Iranian contractor constructing offshore oil and gas facilities under English law and (in relation to bonds) Iranian law in respect of claims and counterclaims valued at US$2.1million; [India]
o Acting on an ICC Arbitration regarding onshore drilling contracts for UAE employer in Oman against claims for contract fees including demobilisation fee by US drilling contractor and counterclaiming for costs incurred as a result of poor performance and downtime. Claims and counterclaims valued at c US$2.5million; [Oman]
o Acting on an ICC arbitration concerning computer controlled longwall coal mining equipment in Siberia for Russian owners against US/UK equipment manufacturers in respect of claims and counterclaims valued at c US$20 million under English and Russian law; [Russian Federation]
o Advising on an LCIA arbitration relating to diving contracts for an offshore gas pipeline in the Gulf of Thailand for a diving contractor under Singaporean law in claims valued at c. US$3 million; [Singapore]
o Advising on an Ad hoc International arbitration broadly following UNCITRAL/IBA procedures. Claims for liquidated damages by owner for late completion c€70million. Counterclaim by contractor joint venture for extension of time and early completion bonus. Disputes relate to responsibility for delay caused by hydorcarbon contamination of ground affecting tunnel works. [Spain]
James has carried out preparatory, advisory and advocacy work for numerous large-scale domestic construction and engineering project disputes. Recent examples include:
o Advisory and advocacy work on a series of 8 linked arbitrations on behalf of local authority relating to planned maintenance of a local authority housing which gave rise to 3 arbitration applications to appeal awards and freezing injunctions to restrain dissipation of assets by contractor;
o Advisory and advocacy work in UK High Court proceedings relating to refurbishment of cladding for local authority housing towers;
MR Ltd v Lewisham
o Various advisory work for local authorities and housing associations relating to new build and refurbishment of housing stock including a number of disputes relating to the Thames Gateway redevelopment;
o Advisory work in respect of a number of engineering projects relating to the construction of UK LNG offloading and storage terminals and tanks;
o Advisory and advocacy work in respect of a number of UK process plants including construction and professional negligence disputes;
o Numerous disputes in litigation and domestic arbitration relating to construction disputes and professional negligence disputes relating to the design and construction of all forms of domestic and commercial property from high value residential homes to city office buildings involving building defects, defective fit out, delay and disruption etc acting for employers, residential occupiers, local authorities and central government, utilities and contractors and sub contractors to professionals.
o Advising on Interpretation of Partnering and Framework agreements relating to plannned maintenance of former local authority housing stock. Claim and counterclaim valued at c £4million.
o Advising on commencement of proceedings in a claim relating to a project to place underwater foundations for an experimental tidal generation turbine in North Sea. Claims currently valued at c£1million
o Acting in DIAC arbitration heard in Dubai regarding disputes in respect of commercial/residential development on Palm Jumeirah. Disputes (claims and counterclaims) valued at in excess of US$80 million [Dubai]
o Advising and acting on an ICC arbitration regarding the geotechnical design of underground LPG storage caverns under New South Wales substantive and procedural law; [Australia]
o Advising and acting on an ICC arbitration regarding dredging and land reclamation for an Indonesian employer under Indonesian substantive and procedural law in claims valued at US$40 million; [Indonesia]
o Advising and acting on an arbitration application in UK Commercial Court, Court of Appeal and House of Lords; [Lesotho]
Lesotho Highlands Development Authority v Impregilo
o Advising and acting on an LCIA arbitration concerning the manufacture and supply of process equipment and a plant for the manufacture of polypropylene and derived products in Russia under Russian substantive law for US based Russian controlled corporation in respect of claims and counterclaims valued at c. US$150 million; [Russian Federation]
o Advising and acting on a UNCITRAL rules arbitration concerning a contract to build and operate a process plant and supply products to the Thai subsidiary of a Swiss food company for a Thai contractor under Thai substantive law in claims valued at c.US$300million. [Thailand]
o Acting as Counsel in Adjudications and arbitration of claim (concurrent proceedings in Scottish Court of Session) under Scottish law and new Scottish Institute of Arbitrators Arbitration Model Rules in respect of claims and counterclaims arising from the collapse of ceiling in cinema auditorium. Great public notoriety in Scotland at the time of collapse due to public safety issues and extensive delays to completion of well known flagship lesiure facility. Highly complex technical and factual issues of causation arising from the contractual relationships between the parties due to the competing allegations that the collapse was the result of defects in the works by the landlord’s design and build contractor’s design and construction. Claim of c£13million, counterclaim of c. £8million. [Scotland]
o Arbitration commenced by subsidiary of Balfour Beatty for claims valued at c£22million in respect of marine works. Issues of Guernsey law, in particular prior to settlement application for disclosure, complex questions of private international law and Guernsey and English High Court procedures for assistance by Guernsey courts for disclosure in an international arbitration and of English courts’ assistance to foreign courts in support of international arbitration which had no authority in Guernsey or English law. Project had considerable political notoriety in Guernsey and was particularly sensitive during parliamentary elections. [Guernsey]
He has advised contractors on disputes arising from rail projects and infrastructures. Cases include:
o Acting on a series of eight linked ICC arbitrations relating to contracts to provide underground railway control, security and communications equipment relating to sub-contracts and sub-sub-contracts related to UK Public Private Partnership railway refurbishment and renewal contracts for UK telecommunications and electronic control specialist contractor in claims and counterclaims valued at c £10million;
o Acting on an ICC arbitration relating to railway network communications system linking trains, control centres and stations relating to technical radio and communications system design for railway employer in linked arbitrations between employer/contractor and contractor/sub-contractors in respect of claims to declarations as to meaning and effect of terms under PFI contract and related sub-contracts.
o Acting on an ad hoc arbitration relating to the construction of highway from Muscat into interior on behalf of Government of Oman. Contract and arbitration governed by Oman law [Oman]
o Leading junior counsel advising and preparation for arbitration of multi-billion dollar disputes relating to the design and construction of the new Dubai metro system [Dubai]
o Advisory work relating to disputes arising in respect of construction of new light railway system
o Advising defence contractor with respect to disputes with sub-contractor relating to design and construction of next generation naval vessels
o Advising defence contractor with respect to disputes with sub-contractor relating to design and construction of next generation naval vessels
o Advising European defence contractor in respect of potential international arbitration proceedings arising from design and supply of defence related ship based systems for naval vessels of South-Asian navy.
He has excellent experience in the IT and Telecommunications’ field acting for suppliers, manufacturers, contractors and users, including central and local government, in relation to telecommunication systems and computer software and hardware systems. Examples of his recent work include:
o Acting in UK Commercial Court proceedings for major US based global IT systems and software supplier in respect of commercial claims made by specialist software house and counterclaims relating to international IP protection for network internet security software solution;
Grupo S21 Sec Gestion SA v Internet Security Systems
o Acting in UK Commercial Court proceedings for US/UK software supplier in respect of commercial claims made by regional sales agent in respect of commercial disputes relating to onward sales to African government;
Cosin SA v Autonomy Systems
o Acting for Scandinavian financial services software supplier regarding commercial claims arising from supply of software to UK derivates trading house
o Acting on behalf of UK based subsidiary of a major global software and systems contractor in respect of claims relating to design, supply, integration and operation of IT system forming part of new nationwide IT solution for UK government claimed to be the largest global civilian ICT software project attempted. Claims against the UK government and against the sub-contracted software supplier.
o Acting in UK High Court proceedings for a UK based global financial information and enterprise systems supplier in respect of claim by software house relating to software for live financial data acquisition, management and manipulation; RCP Consultants v Reuters
o Acting in an LCIA arbitration concerning the design and implementation of a bespoke airline ticketing and hotel booking system for a global travel agent including web based functionality for a US software house and Danish subsidiary under English and Danish law;
o Acting on behalf of major US software and systems house in respect of claims by a sub-contracted bespoke software producer relating to software elements of a new system purchased by a UK government department;
o Acting on behalf of specialist seafood manufacturer in respect of claim relating to fitness for purpose of a computer controlled food batching, processing and packaging plant;
o Acting for Unisys in respect of claims relating to a UK private finance initiative project for the development and installation of national system for UK Courts Service;
Unisys Ltd v Fujitsu Services Ltd
o Representing Compass, a specialist IT benchmarking consultancy, in Part 20 claim by IBM for breach of contract and professional negligence in benchmarking exercises of leading to the termination of Cable & Wireless contract with IBM for outsourced IT services.
Cable & Wireless PLC v IBM UK Ltd and IBM UK Ltd v Compass America Inc & Compass Management Consulting Ltd
o Acting for LIFFE trading house regarding claim against software designer relating to fitness for purpose of LIFFE trading software.
Trafalgar Financial Futures Ltd v Easyscreen Ltd
o Acting for a UK telecommunications provider in a claim by a software house in respect of a dispute relating to bespoke telecommunications software.
o Advising UK systems services integrator in claims against UK government department in respect of commercial disputes arising from changes to UK government internet security standards
o Advising local authorities regarding the recovery of costs of re-programming welfare and administration systems from a ‘contracted-out’ software and maintenance supplier with respect to in-house and third party programmes.
Amoco UK Exploration Company v British American Offshore Ltd  BLR 135
MR Ltd v Lewisham  BLR 504
Mirant Asia-Pacific Construction (Hong Kong) Ltd v Ove Arup and Partners Intl Ltd  BLR 49,  BLR 187, CA
Lesotho Highlands Development Authority v Impregilo  AC 221 (HL),  BLR 347 (CA),  1 All ER (Comm) 97,  BLR 98
Penwith DC v V P Developments  TCLR 4
Ledwood Mechanical Engineering v Whessoe Oil and Gas & Volker Stevin Construction Europe  BLR 198
Mirant Asia-Pacific Construction (Hong Kong) Ltd v Ove Arup and Partners Intl Ltd (No 3)  BLR 304
University and College Scholar and Prizewinner at University of Cambridge and University of Oxford
1994 — 1997 Magdalene College, Cambridge Supervisor in EC Law (Teaching)
1995 — 1996 Christ’s College, Cambridge Supervisor in EC Law (Teaching)
1993 - 1994 Brasenose College, Oxford — BCL Oxon, First Class
1989 — 1992 Magdalene College, Cambridge — MA Cantab, BA (Hons) First Class
James was editor of Building Law Reports from 1998 -2000 and has taken on the role again from 2005 - present
He was editor Editor of Technology and Construction Reports from 2000-2002
Please contact our senior clerks, Simon Slattery and Justin Wilson, for further information.