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David Johnson Barrister Atkin Chambers

David Johnson

Call 2010

"Super pragmatic, very knowledgeable and approachable. He gets things done quickly and is years ahead of his call." "Very helpful, proactive and keen to help out. I was always impressed by how thorough he was in a short period of time."

Chambers and Partners

David practises in the fields of domestic and international construction, engineering, energy, and information technology. David has been involved in numerous transport and infrastructure disputes, including several UK and international railway and urban railway projects. He is also acting as sole counsel in multiple disputes in relation to the CAPEX expansion programme at an international airport. In addition to these specialist areas he also advises and appears in respect of a range of other general commercial matters, both domestically and overseas.

David has experience of both project phase advisory and pre-action work, as well as all other stages of the litigation, arbitration and adjudication processes. He is instructed either as junior counsel or as sole acting counsel. David has also worked on-site with clients around the world where extensive on-the-ground support has been required.

David is experienced in dealing with all major standard form building contracts (JCT, FIDIC, NEC3, ICE) and has appeared in numerous interim and final hearings. David has recently acted as sole counsel in international arbitration proceedings in the Middle East and as junior counsel in relation to £700m information technology arbitration proceedings. David is also an accredited adjudicator.



  • Acted as sole Counsel for an Omani contractor in £14m proceedings relating to a waste water network. Appeared in a 3-day arbitration hearing in Muscat, Oman in 2018.
  • Acted as junior counsel on behalf of the employer in a dispute relating to the construction of a skyscraper in Dubai (ADCACC Rules; UAE law). The dispute, which related to delay and disruption claims and a claim for an extension of time, settled just prior to the final hearing.
  • Acting as junior counsel in relation to a £700m termination dispute on an information technology project which culminated in a six-week hearing on quantum in 2017.
  • Acted for a Singapore shipyard as sole counsel in relation to a termination dispute concerning the construction of a luxury ‘superyacht’ in China.
  • Carried out advisory work and drafted pleadings in proceedings concerning the construction of a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) rail station in Singapore.
  • Acting as sole counsel in a £1m claim relating to negligent design of a data centre cooling system in the South East of England.
  • Acted on behalf of a Singapore company as junior counsel in £2.5 million Final Account proceedings in respect of mechanical and piping works on a steam turbine project in the United Kingdom.
  • Drafting points of claim for an arbitration claim against an engineer concerning a defectively designed railway.
  • Drafting reply and defence to counterclaim arising out of a claim for damages following the refurbishment and operation of an offshore drill ship.


  • Portsmouth City Council v. Ensign Highways Ltd. [2015] EWHC 1969 (TCC): Appeared as junior counsel (with Peter Fraser QC, now Fraser J) for the successful claimant in Part 8 proceedings before Edwards-Stuart J. The claimant was held not to be under a duty to operate a service point regime in a 25-year PFI highways contract in accordance with express or implied duties of good faith, fairness or mutual co-operation;
  • Vivergo Fuels Ltd. v. Redhall Engineering Solutions Ltd. [2013] EWHC 4030 (TCC): Appeared as junior counsel (with Stephanie Barwise QC) for the successful defendant. The claimant’s termination of a mechanical and piping contractor on a biofuel plant was held to be a repudiatory breach of contract. The defendant successfully avoided the claimant’s threatened £20m claim as a result. David acted in all stages throughout from disclosure up to and including appearance and cross-examination in trial before Ramsey J.
  • Walter Lilly & Co. Ltd. v. DMW Developments Ltd [2012] EWHC 1773 (TCC): Appeared as part of the counsel team. Akenhead J made a number of wide-ranging pronouncements on the law relating to global claims, delay and disruption and claims for loss and expense, concurrent design liability and the operation of third-party settlement agreements.
  • Acted as sole counsel in Part 8 proceedings on behalf of Surrey County Council in respect of limitation period issues and claims under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998. David obtained an award of indemnity costs on behalf of his client and resisted enforcement of an adjudicator’s decision in parallel proceedings (Surrey County Council v. Chris Wheeler Construction Ltd, unreported).
  • Acted as junior counsel on behalf of the employer in relation to a £200m dispute over an NEC3 contract concerning the construction of a metropolitan railway, including a pre-action application for specific disclosure.
  • Acted as sole counsel in a dispute concerning the conversion works at the London Stadium in Stratford following the London 2012 Olympics.
  • Acted as sole counsel on behalf of a supermarket roofing sub-contractor defending and bringing multiple contract, tort and restitutionary cross-claims against the main contractor, employer and specialist designer. David also advised on a number of complex limitation issues throughout.
  • Acted as sole counsel from the pre-action stage through to successful settlement in a claim by residential homeowners against building contractors in a claim involving issues of contract formation, fraudulent misrepresentation, and corporate and personal liability.


  • Defending and subsequently commencing proceedings on behalf of an international airport in relation to a £36m dispute over an interim account on an NEC3 project concerning the construction and refurbishment of a crew reporting facility and coaching route.
  • Advising and acting on behalf of an employer in respect of a £12m NEC3 contract dispute.
  • Successfully defending a £5 million claim for wrongful termination brought against a managed services contractor by a number of housing trusts.
  • Acting as junior counsel for a joint venture PFI contractor in multiple linked adjudications concerning fire-stopping measures at a hospital.
  • Acting for the employer in a claim against an architect concerning design and contract administration issues. David appeared at the hearing and conducted cross-examination of the defendant and its expert witnesses.



  • Advising on the construction of the extension of time and loss and expense provisions in the JCT DB 2011 contract. David subsequently drafted adjudication submissions and provided tactical advice, running the case until settlement.
  • Advising on claims in respect of loss and expense following the delayed completion of a housing project.
  • Advising on the merits of claims by an employer against a project manager and structural engineer arising out of the delayed completion of a supermarket.


  • Acting in £3.5m arbitration proceedings involving allegations of defective construction and asbestos mismanagement in a luxury residential property in Warwickshire.
  • Acting as sole counsel in claims against an asbestos removal contractor and building contractor in relation to asbestos discoveries in a school.
  • Acting as junior counsel in defending a claim for fees by and bringing a counterclaim in professional negligence against an asbestos consultant in respect of over 500 properties across the United Kingdom.


  • Advising on the merits and on quantum in relation to proposed claims in negligence and associated limitation issues against a litigation solicitor.
  • Defending a claim involving the provision of architectural services in relation to a residential care home.
  • Advising on contribution proceedings and limitation issues in a claim arising out of the defective design of a warehouse floor.
  • Advising on quantum in relation to a claim against a residential property surveyor.
  • Preparing responses to requests for further information in a claim relating to the construction of a visual arts facility.


David has experience of a number of cases involving issues of private international law. Recent examples include:

  • Advising on serving proceedings on a number of defendants resident in Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, involving issues of private international law under the Brussels Regulation, the Lugano Convention and the English common law.
  • Advising on service of proceedings, enforceability of judgments and cross-border insolvency issues between English, Jersey and Cayman Islands jurisdictions.


  • Advising on and drafting particulars of claim in a claim against a developer of software and hardware for use in biomedical equipment;
  • Advising on the construction of a membership agreement subject to a group litigation order (GLO).
  • Advising on the construction of a telecommunications contract addressing the recoverability of damages following early termination.
  • Advising on the recovery of fees paid in respect of a bespoke aquarium and issues under the new Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.
  • Advising on the construction of a supply agreement relation to charges incurred under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme

In addition to all major standard contract forms, David has experience of numerous bespoke contracts in the construction, shipping and energy industries.



Portsmouth City Council v. Ensign Highways Limited [2015] EWHC 1969 (TCC)

Vivergo Fuels Limited v. Redhall Engineering Solutions Limited [2013] EHWC 4030 (TCC)

Walter Lilly & Company Limited v. (1) Giles Mackay & (2) DMW Developments Limited [2012] EWHC 1773 (TCC)



“Contractual Interpretation After Arnold v. Britton: What Does It All Mean?” ADR Digest, Issue 21, Autumn 2016

“Looking in the Right Direction? The Philosophy of NEC3” ADR Digest, Issue 19, Winter 2016

Contributing editor to ‘Hudson’s Building and Engineering Contracts’, 13th Edition (2015)

“Security of Payment and Adjudication in Hong Kong” ADR Digest, Issue 18, Spring 2015

“Defective Premises Law: Time for Remedial Works?” published by the Society of Construction Law, June 2011; (2012) 2 Construction Law Journal 131

David also gives talks and seminars at solicitors’ firms and to lay clients. He has recently given talks in Madrid, Doha and Dubai on subjects of concurrent delay, remoteness, liquidated damages, global claims and arbitration procedure. He has also given talks on topics including contractual and common law termination, adjudication enforcement, costs budgeting, design liability in construction contracts and legal professional privilege.