Christopher Lewis QC practises principally in the fields of construction and engineering, energy and utilities, information technology, and related matters.
He is an experienced trial advocate, and is usually also involved at earlier stages of a case. His experience includes, therefore: advisory work; settling pleadings, submissions and notices; pre-trial advocacy (including advocacy in mediations); and trial advocacy. That experience spans a range of different forums, including: mediation, adjudication, expert determination, arbitration, County Courts, the High Court (principally the TCC and the Commercial Court) and appellate courts.
He has represented clients from, and advised on disputes relating to, a number of different jurisdictions throughout Europe, the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. A number of those disputes have been subject to arbitration, under differing arbitration rules. He has a particular interest in disputes which have a conflict of laws element (whether as to jurisdiction, or choice of law, or otherwise).
Very often his cases will involve complicated issues of law, fact and/or expert evidence; and those issues have arisen in a range of different types of project across a range of different disciplines.
Christopher is recommended in the most recent editions of both The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners as a leading junior in the fields of Construction, IT, International Arbitration and Energy & Natural Resources.
CONSTRUCTION, ENGINEERING AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Christopher has experience of disputes arising out of general construction projects (involving both domestic and commercial property, as well as other types of structure); a wide range of different engineering specialisms; and transport and other infrastructure projects. Very often the disputes will involve issues relating to delay, loss and expense, variations and/or defects. The legal issues will almost always have some contractual element, and Christopher is familiar with the major standard forms used in the industry, but is also accustomed to dealing with problems arising from more bespoke contracts.
By way of an example, Christopher was recently instructed as sole counsel in a TCC case (which began life in the Commercial Court) concerning the defective welding of portable modular units. The expert evidence spanned a number of different fields (welding; structural engineering; French law; and quantum), and the case also involved the proper construction of a sale and purchase agreement.
ENERGY, NATURAL RESOURCES AND UTILITIES
Much of Christopher’s international arbitration work falls under this heading, and he has been instructed in LMAA, LCIA, ICC and ad hoc arbitrations. He has experience of disputes relating to the construction of oil and gas platforms (fixed and semisubmersibles), FPSOs, pipelaying vessels and other offshore engineering equipment. In relation to onshore projects, he has been instructed in cases concerning utilities and the mining and exploitation of natural resources.
A recent example of his work is the drafting of a substantial defence and counterclaim in an LMAA arbitration concerning the design and construction of an FPSO for use off the west coast of Africa.
Christopher has experience in the professional negligence field in relation to claims brought against a range of professionals in the sectors in which he specialises. It is not unusual for such claims to raise issues relating to insurance, and he has been instructed to act for and against insurers, including in cases where there is a dispute as to coverage.
By way of example, he acted for insurers in a case involving an allegation of professional negligence against a firm of architects in relation to the design of a roofing system.
IT AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
A substantial part of Christopher’s practice is in this area. He is familiar with the issues which arise in complex IT projects, including disputes in relation to hardware, the preparation of detailed specifications, defects in coding and at the different testing stages, variations, delay and termination.
Most recently he acted for Atos in De Beers v Atos: this was a four-week TCC trial before Edwards-Stuart J concerning the repudiatory breach of a software supply and development contract, in which the claimant customer claimed in excess of £8m.
OTHER PROFESSIONAL INTERESTS
Read law at University College, Oxford – distinction in Law Moderations, first class degree in Finals and first class degree in BCL; winner of Eldon Law scholarship. Graded outstanding in Bar Vocational Course. Sometime tutor of law at Wadham College, Oxford and LSE.
Editor of Building Law Reports; Contributing editor of Hudson’s Building and Engineering Contracts, 12th edition.