Atkin Chambers Barristers
Peter practices across all areas of construction, engineering and information technology dispute resolution including related advisory work. Originally qualified as an engineer, prior to coming to the bar he gained 15 years experience across a broad range of industry sectors including power generation, construction, defence, oil and gas, financial and professional services and FMCG, initially as an engineering consultant and latterly as an IT consultant, manager and project manager.
Peter has experience advising in the areas of law commonly encountered in his areas of practice including issues of contract formation, letters of intent, construction of terms, scope of duty & obligations, termination, limitation, jurisdiction, conflicts of law and expert evidence. He is also experienced in all aspects of drafting.
In addition to his experience of litigation, Peter has experience of ADR including mediation, adjudication, adjudication enforcement, arbitration and arbitration appeals.
He is co-author of the Construction Adjudication and Payments Handbook (OUP 2013) and a TECBAR accredited adjudicator.
Peter has been involved with disputes that have ranged from single domestic dwellings to large commercial developments and he has experience of the following types of claim from all perspectives including owner, employer, main contractor, sub-contractor and professional advisor:
o Defects, including sale of goods
o Disruption, loss and expense
o Delay, extension of time and liquidated damages
o Final account and variations
o Professional negligence of engineers, architects, contractors and their advisors
o Performance bonds
o Contribution claims
Peter is familiar with the provisions of the JCT, NEC and ICE standard form contracts.
Recent examples of his work include:
o Acting for the defendant concrete superstructure contractor against a specialist subcontractor in the arbitration of a claim arising out of the alleged prolongation of almost one year in the construction of a 48 storey tower and a counterclaim for the costs of settling the main contractor’s claim arising from delay and disruption caused by failures in the specialist work. Successfully resisted an application for permission to appeal the award.
o Acting as junior counsel for a defendant developer in the litigation of a claim for increased professional fees by the architect and construction manager and a counterclaim for loss and expense arising from delay of around two years to the construction of two related commercial and residential developments.
o Acting as one of a team of counsel for the defendant structural engineer in a claim by the employer in respect of the significant delays in the construction of a major sports stadium.
o Acting for the respondent employer in an adjudication brought by the main contractor in respect of claims resulting from delays to the construction of a mixed use tower structure.
o Acting for a defendant main contractor in a dispute with the mechanical services sub-contractor arising from the construction of a major office development. Peter was instructed to draft an RFI and the defence and counterclaim to the sub-contractor's global loss, expense and delay claim, following which the matter was settled.
o Acting for a main contractor in a multi-party dispute relating to the structural integrity of a floor. The contractor was defending the claim by the employer and pursuing third party claims (directly and by way of contribution), including a professional negligence action against the structural engineer responsible for design of the floor.
o Acting in relation to a final account valuation dispute for a subcontractor employed to undertake groundwork and civil engineering works as part of the construction of industrial process plant. Peter drafted a Part 8 claim seeking declarations in relation to the construction of contractual notice provisions and advised in relation to a Part 36 offer.
o Advising a partitioning subcontractor in relation to the merits of its claim for payment and the main contractor’s counterclaim for delay.
o Advising an owner/employer in relation to resisting the enforcement of an adjudicator’s decision and the merits of its defects claim in respect of a residential development, including advising in relation to an NHBC Buildmark policy.
o Acting for an employer respondent to an adjudication brought by the contractor for payment for alleged additional works under a PPP contract in which the employer successfully defended over £7m of the contractor’s £10m claim.
o Instructed in relation to a multi-party dispute relating to an allegedly defective air conditioning installation in a large new office development. Peter appeared on behalf of the system designer defending a third party claim from the M&E subcontractor. Instructed to appear in the TCC at the CMC and PTR.
o Representing a homeowner in relation to a dispute arising from the supply of defective windows.
o Representing a product manufacturer in relation to its unpaid invoice claim and defending a delay and defect counterclaim.
o Advising a homeowner in relation to defective supply and installation of a wooden floor.
o Advising a civil engineering sub-contractor in relation to a dispute arising from basement waterproofing works, in particular advising in relation to design obligations.
o Advising a local council in relation to a dispute arising from an NEC3 contract for coastal defence works.
o Acting for the Management Contractor in insolvency proceedings arising from a contract based on the JCT Standard Form of Management Contract and Works Contract. Successfully struck out the Works Contractor’s winding up petition.
o Acting for a sub-contractor in an adjudication relating to a final account dispute.
o Represented the claimant employer in proceedings to enforce an adjudicator’s decision against an architect. Successfully enforced the £250,000 adjudicator’s award.
o Advising an outsourced services provider to a local authority in relation to the contractual payment provisions.
o Acting for the claimant engineering consultant (at trial and as junior counsel in the Court of Appeal) in its claim for outstanding fees and defence of a counterclaim for diminution in value of a property development arising from delay in the provision of roads, drainage and utilities design.
o Acting for the employer charitable trust defending a restitutionary claim relating to the provision of a security system at an historical property. The claims were successfully struck out.
o Successfully resisted an application for pre-action disclosure from a contract administrator where it was alleged there had been negligent over-certification of works under a refurbishment contract.
o Acting for an asbestos clearance specialist in an asbestos contamination claim by both the landlord and tenant of a residential property.
o Advising a local council in relation to the poor performance of the main contractor under an NEC3 contract for a major public garden refurbishment project. Successfully obtained a declaration on the correct interpretation of the contract from an adjudicator.
o Successfully mounted a challenge based on the s.105 plant exception to halt an adjudication brought by a pipework sub-contractor for payment in default of a pay less notice for works carried out at a facility that manufactured materials for incorporation in sterile medical dressings.
o Advised a steelwork fabricator in relation to its rights to payment in circumstances where it had carried out works in anticipation of a contract award but the contract was ultimately awarded to others.
o Acted for a housing association in relation to an application for an injunction restraining the presentation and advertisement of a winding up petition. The petitioner (a roofing contractor) withdrew its petition.
o Acted for a manufacturer of thermoplastic products defending a claim for the costs of replacing allegedly defective sulphuric acid storage tanks.
Peter has experience advising on the interpretation of IT contracts including termination provisions, in particular in the context of provision of defective software and services. He has acted for both employer and software supplier / systems integrator. Recent examples of his work include:
o Advising a logistics company in relation to the termination of a contract for the provision of a finance system following poor supplier performance.
o Acting as junior counsel for the defendant IT supplier in a 4 week TCC trial arising from the alleged rescission of an IT services supply agreement. The defence and counterclaim raised questions relating to delay and disruption to the services being provided by the IT supplier over the course of around one year.
o Acting for the primary IT services provider as one of a team of counsel in the arbitration of a major IT dispute (around £1bn in issue) arising from the termination by the employer of a contract (after three years of a nine year agreement) for development, multi-site deployment and ongoing hosting and support of third party software.
In addition to his experience of construction, engineering and IT contracts, Peter has experience of energy purchase, manufacturing and logistics services agreements. Recent examples of his work include:
o Acting for a dental franchise defending a claim for payment following termination of a contract for provision of clinical waste disposal services.
o Advising a local authority in relation to setting aside the expert determination of a claim for lost profit under an agreement providing for the running of a sports facility by a third party.
North Midland Construction plc v AE&E Lentjes UK Ltd  EWHC 1371 (TCC),  BLR 574
Interpretation of plant and machinery exception in s.105(2)(c) of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996.
De Beers UK Ltd (formerly The Diamond Trading Co Ltd) v. Atos Origin IT Services UK Ltd  EWHC 3276 (TCC)
Claim relating to repudiation of an agreement for the supply of software development services.
John Grimes Partnership Ltd v Gubbins  EWCA Civ 37, 146 ConLR 26,  BLR 126
Appeal concerning whether a consulting engineer was liable for losses resulting from a fall in the property market during a period of delay caused by the engineer’s breach of contract.
Contributing editor to Hudson’s Building and Engineering Contracts 12th Edition Thomson Reuters 2010
Co-author of Construction Adjudication and Payments Handbook Oxford University Press 2013.
Pro Bono: FRU employment representative.
2007 BPP Law School, Holborn
Bar Vocational Course: Outstanding
2006 College of Law, Guildford
Graduate Diploma in Law: Distinction
1989 St Catharine’s College, University of Cambridge
Engineering: MA 1st Class
1989 Mrs Payne Senior Scholarship;
DW Morgan Prize;
University Ricardo Thermodynamics Prize
1988 Mr Spurtstow Scholarship;
Engineering Members’ Prize
1987 Skerne Scholarship;
Cadbury Schweppes plc – EMEA Regional IT Centre (In-house IT function)
Principal Consultant (2001 - 2005)
Programme managed the definition and delivery of a £7m infrastructure replacement programme and the technical infrastructure aspects of a three-year SAP implementation programme.
marchFIRST Ltd (Professional services)
IT Director - EMEA (2000 - 2001)
Developed the applications strategy and managed the integration of IT infrastructure, applications and staff following multiple acquisitions; project managed an SAP Finance, Payroll & HR implementation.
ARCO British Ltd (Oil & Gas)
EMEA Systems Manager (1996 - 2000)
Managed the infrastructure operations team; project managed infrastructure and software projects.
Mackenzie Tribbeck Associates Ltd (IT Consultants)
System Consultant (1995 - 1996)
Developed software for a financial futures trader; performed the technical assessment of bids for a missile design & construction contract; worked on a major military command, control & information system bid.
British Maritime Technology Ltd (Wind engineering & offshore technology and consultancy)
Project Engineer (1990 - 1994)
Undertook scale model and computational testing (including finite element analysis and computational fluid dynamics) of major civil engineering projects; developed software for the offshore oil industry; provided technical evidence support to an expert witness and assisted with disclosure of technical documentation.
NNC Ltd (Design, research and project management support to the nuclear power industry.)
Sponsored Student (1985 – 1987: pre-university and vacation work)
Inspected reactor construction works; performed finite element analysis and researched heat transfer mechanisms of reactor components.
Please contact our senior clerk, Justin Wilson, for further information.