Atkin Chambers Barristers
Steven specialises in advising and representing parties to complex commercial contracts relating to a wide range of subject matter including the design and delivery of buildings, oil and gas installations, power generation plant, process and engineering plant, ships, IT systems, telecommunications systems, facilities management and professional services.
He has appeared as advocate in the Technology and Construction Court (“the TCC”), the Court of Appeal, numerous arbitrations and adjudications, and in mediation. His arbitration experience includes substantial international experience. He is a TECBAR accredited Adjudicator and has been appointed as an Adjudicator.
He is recommended by both Chambers and Partners’ and the Legal 500’s most recent editions as a leader in the field.
Steven is instructed by employers, contractors, sub-contractors and consultants on all aspects of construction and engineering contracts. Recent cases include:
Representing the contractor in a trial in the TCC concerning the lawfulness of the termination of a contract for the design and construction of a LDPE plant.
Advising and representing the owner of an offshore wind farm in relation to arbitration proceedings under the LCIA rules. The proceedings concerned issues relating to the contractor’s alleged entitlement to additional payment (c.£300m), extensions of time and liquidated damages (c.£90m).
Advising the owner developing an offshore wind farm in relation to issues arising from design modifications.
Acting for subcontractors in proceedings in the TCC concerning the termination of a subcontract for the installation of pressure vessels forming part of a bioethanol plant under construction.
Acting for subcontractors engaged to fabricate offshore platforms for oil production and processing in connection with disputes relating to payment and quality in arbitration in London under the UNCITRAL rules.
Advising and representing the operator of a rail network in respect of payment disputes with maintenance contractors.
Representing the JV developers of a gas and condensate field in Kazakhstan in arbitration proceedings in London concerning substantial disputes arising from an EPC contract.
Acting for the JV owner of a power station in an ICC arbitration concerning a US$150m claim for liquidated damages and extension of time arising from a bespoke turnkey contract made between the JV and a German contractor for the completion of a mixed fuel power station in the Philippines.
Steven acts for claimants and defendants (as well as their professional indemnity insurers) in respect of claims brought against a wide range of professional advisers including architects, engineers, IT consultants and surveyors. Recent cases include:
Advising the employer in respect of claims (c.£90m) against contract managers, architects and engineers arising from delay and cost overruns incurred in the procurement of commercial and residential developments.
Advising clients in a claim for professional negligence against architects and others arising from the design and construction of a new indoor swimming pool. Issues include liability for detailed design of the pipework and ventilation systems.
Representing a private client in a claim in arbitration against architects. Issues included the liability of the architect for delay and loss resulting from late or inadequate design information and for water ingress due to the defective design.
Steven is instructed in more general commercial areas including shipbuilding and insurance cases. Steven’s experience includes the following:
Representing the Dutch owners of the Solitaire pipe laying vessel in a complex dispute with a Singapore shipyard. Issues included the owner’s entitlement to recover the cost of completing the conversion of the vessel from a bulk carrier to a pipe laying vessel in the UK. The sums claimed were in the region of EUR350m. The dispute was dealt with in arbitration in London under the LMAA rules.
Acting for the owners of vessels constructed in China alleging that 6 cargo vessels were deficient in a number of respects. Issues included the effect of warranties of performance and entitlement to damages for breach. The disputes were referred to arbitration under the LMAA rules.
Advising and representing insurers of sub-contractors in defence of a subrogated claim made by the insurers of main contractors where the main contract had required the main contractor to effect all risks joint names insurance. Issues included whether the parties were co-assureds under the terms of a joint names all risks policy obtained by the main contractor.
Obtaining an urgent mandatory injunction on behalf of hotel owners for the delivery up of fittings which had been removed from a hotel at Gatwick by suppliers who alleged that they had not been paid by an insolvent main contractor.
Steven is instructed by purchasers and suppliers in numerous cases relating to the provision of advanced technology, either on its own or included as part of package of other works and services. His experience includes the following:
Obtaining specific performance of obligations under a contract for the supply of a tram operating system in connection with the extension of the Manchester tram network and representing the employer in relation to disputes arising under that contract.
Obtaining an interim injunction on behalf of Talaris BV restraining marketing of computer software which was alleged to be in breach of an exclusive distribution agreement.
Acting for out-sourcing specialists (Liberata) in relation to disputes arising from a long-term outsourcing contract for the provision of (amongst other things) IT and management systems to a public body. Issues included the availability of injunctive relief to restrain the client from exercising termination provisions.
Advising the purchaser on a dispute under a contract for data storage/retrieval. Issues included the ability of the suppler to terminate the contract for repudiatory breach.
Representing the owners of a large metro system in a £50m ICC arbitration arising out of an ongoing PFI contract for the delivery of a system wide communication system. The dispute concerned the supplier’s entitlement to extensions of time due to alleged failure on the part of the owner to perform enabling works to the network.
Represented a subcontractor engaged in the supply of a range of audio and visual automated passenger information systems for installation on passenger trains in an ICC arbitration. Issues included responsibility for ensuring the electro magnetic compatibility of the information systems with out on board systems.
HS Works v Enterprise  BLR 378: adjudication — natural justice — multiple adjudications and method of enforcement using set-off.
Speymill v Baskind  BLR 257 (CA): enforcement of adjudicator’s decision where fraud is alleged.
Supablast v Story Rail  BLR 211: enforcement of adjudicator’s decision — whether arguable defence there were 2 contracts.
Mouchel v Van Oord (UK)  BLR 492: claims for costs under the Contribution Act 1978.
John Youngs Insurance v Aviva  1 All ER (Comm) 1045: extent of fiduciary duty owed by a contractor to the employer.
Durham CC v Kendall  BLR 425: enforcement of adjudicator’s decision — waiver of objection — identity of claimant — whether contract terms in writing.
Transport for Greater Manchester v Thales  BLR 339: whether reports on performance subject to litigation privilege
1989-1992 University of East Anglia, LL.B Hons., First Class
1991 The Observer Mace Mooting Competition, Winner
1993 Hardwicke Scholar
1993 Wolfson Scholar
1993 Called to the Bar of England and Wales
2012 Appointed Queen’s Counsel
Steven is former joint editor of the Building law Reports 1996-1999 and editor of the Technology & Construction Law Reports 1999-2002
He is a member of TECBAR, The Society of Construction Law and the Commercial and Common Law Bar Association
Please contact our senior clerk, Justin Wilson, for further information.