Frances Pigott has broad-ranging experience of litigation, arbitration, adjudication, ADR and non-contentious construction work.
Frances is described in Chambers & Partners as “a formidable advocate”. Market commentators consider her to be “practical, helpful and good value”. Solicitors see her as “thorough, efficient and an excellent cross-examiner in court” and “more than comfortable dealing with the most complex of cases”. She is described as “technically excellent and absolutely diligent in her approach” and is appreciated for “mucking in and making herself available to discuss strategy”.
Frances is appreciated for her ability to get to grips with technically complex issues, to organise and retain large quantities of information and to present key points in a clear and persuasive manner. She is more than happy taking on the most challenging of cases, sometimes at short notice, and has earned her reputation as “a good strategist” who is “very intellectually sound” and “very good at getting to the nub of the problem”. Also valued is her adroit handling of negotiations and mediations, as well as her written and oral advocacy.
Frances was briefed to represent the council in a 16 week trial in the Technology and Construction Court. The dispute arose out of a contract based on the Manual of Contract Documents for Highways Works to provide highways maintenance services, Amey LG Ltd v Cumbria County Council  EWHC 2856 (TCC) and  EWHC 2946 (TCC).
In CIP Property (AIPT) Ltd v Galliford Try Infrastructure Ltd  EWHC 3546 (TCC);  EWHC 412 (TCC) and  EWHC 481 (TCC) Frances was instructed to represent the registered proprietor of a multi-purpose development in the centre of Birmingham in a claim against the contractor under a warranty.
In Bluewater Energy Services BV v Mercon Steel Structures BV  EWHC 2132 (TCC) Frances was briefed to represent a Dutch sub-contractor in a six week trial in the Technology and Construction Court. The dispute arose out of a contract based on the BASIC form and involved disputes about a tower-based soft yoke mooring system that was constructed to form part of an offshore oil installation in the Caspian Sea.
Frances has appeared in the High Court, Court of Appeal and in international and domestic arbitrations. She has attended mediations and adjudication hearings.
In April 2017, Frances Pigott travelled with a small group from Atkin Chambers to South Korea on the invitation of law firm Kim & Chang to headline their conference for the International Contractors Association of Korea. Her talk “Take Notice – The Rules of the Game” in which she reviewed cases where the effectiveness of notices in construction and commercial contracts was in issue, was warmly received.
CONSTRUCTION, ENGINEERING AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Frances is an experienced court advocate acting in construction, engineering and infrastructure disputes. Topics covered include adjudication enforcement, loss, expense, delay, liquidated damages, defects, contract interpretation, valuation and certification issues, variations, termination, repudiation, assignment, limitation and warranties. Recent experience includes:
- Advising about a defective foundations claim including the scope of an insurance policy.
- Advising about a claim in respect of a defectively designed and constructed processing plant.
- Advising about a claim for the defective design and construction of a multi-purpose development.
- 16 week trial in the Technology and Construction Court concerning a contract based on NEC2 incorporating the Manual of Contract Documents for Highways Works, involving disputes about highway repair, reinstatement and maintenance Amey LG Ltd v Cumbria County Council  EWHC 2856 (TCC) and  EWHC 2946 (TCC). One of the main issues was whether it was possible to prove loss and damage by sampling. Both parties alleged loss and damage arising from Amey’s road patching works and based their pleaded claims on extrapolated outcomes from random (probabilistic) samples. This is the first reported case where the court has accepted the validity of sampling as a method of proving loss in a multi-million pound construction dispute.
- Multi-party multi-million pound action in the Technology and Construction Court brought by the assignee of a warranty for defects in a redevelopment of a hospital site. In CIP Property (AIPT) Ltd v Galliford Try Infrastructure Ltd  EWHC 1345 (TCC) Coulson J permitted only some amendment to CIP’s pleadings. The judgment provides a helpful summary on the procedure to be adopted for such applications made close to the trial date. It is referred to in Halsbury’s Laws Volume 11 Chapter 9 at 359. The earlier cost management judgment in this case is reported at 2 Costs LR 363, 158 Con LR 29 and  EWHC 481 (TCC). Coulson J considered the approach to cost management after a third case management conference when the litigation had been on foot for around 16 months. The case is referred to in “Costs and Funding Following the Civil Justice Reforms” 2nd Edition at 3.18, 3.19, 4.18, 4.40 and 4.51-4.53, and in the White Book commentary at 3.12.2. In the first of the three reported judgments, reported at  EWHC 3546 (TCC), Coulson J clarified the scope of the court’s discretion to cost manage TCC claims in cases where the value exceeded the mandatory limit for cost budgeting. This case is referred to in “Costs and Funding Following the Civil Justice Reforms” 2nd Edition at 3.04, 4.23 and 4.36 and in the White Book commentary at 2C-28.2 and 14-12 to 14-13.
- Six week trial in the Technology and Construction Court concerning a contract based on BASIC, involving disputes about a tower-based soft yoke mooring system forming part of an offshore oil installation in the Caspian Sea: Bluewater Energy Services BV v Mercon Steel Structures BV  EWHC 2132 (TCC).
- Adjudication enforcement in the Technology and Construction Court: Wales and West Utilities Ltd v PPS Pipeline Systems GmbH  EWHC 54 (TCC).
- Application in the Technology and Construction Court to stay proceedings to arbitration. There was a conflict between the dispute resolution provisions contained in the subcontracts and a subsequent settlement agreement Interserve Industrial Services Ltd v ZRE Katowice SA  EWHC 3205 (TCC).
- Acting for a subcontractor in a claim for rectification of a subcontract ordered on the grounds of unilateral mistake, Traditional Structures Limited v HW Construction Limited  EWHC 1530 (TCC).
- Acting for a builder in a claim that the building contract was determined by frustration Atwal v Rochester  EWHC 2338 (TCC).
- Acting for a local authority in relation to a claim about the design and construction of a new quay.
- Acting for local highways authorities in respect of claims by developers under Section 278 agreements.
- Acting for a local authority in connection with compensation events claimed by the contractor arising from the construction of a major public building project.
- Appearing at trial for a contractor where the court found deliberate concealment of building regulation breaches for the purposes of limitation.
- Acting for a subcontractor’s insurer in a multi-party action following the collapse of guttering on a large warehouse.
- Advising a football club on its claim in respect of design and workmanship problems at its new football pitches.
- Acting for a contractor’s insurer facing claims for damage to an adjacent property during the demolition phase of the development. The claim included allegations of nuisance, negligence, breach of contract, breach of statutory duties, trespass, misrepresentation, directors’ personal liability and deceit.
- Advising in respect of a contract for mechanical and electrical engineering services provided as part of a golf and ski resort development in Bulgaria.
Frances’ international and national arbitration experience includes:
- A claim about an offshore and onshore development, with disputes including structural engineering, design, mechanical and engineering, groundwork and piling.
- A claim about the design and construction of a multi-purpose development, including time and financial claims, tenant and business-related losses involving civil and structural engineering cladding, glazing mechanical and engineering claims.
- Claims arising from defective design and workmanship in the refurbishment of a mansion.
Frances has been instructed in a number of adjudications, and her experience includes strategic and procedural advice, drafting, advocacy at meetings with adjudicators and enforcement advice and proceedings. Topics covered include:
- Multi million pound claims for extensions of time, loss and expense, extensions of time and a disputed variations account.
- Claims relating to the design of a tram track.
- A claim about defective design of a waste-to-energy plant.
- Final Account disputes.
- A claim in relation to the construction of a harbour wall.
- Declaratory adjudications relating to the date of practical completion and rights to extensions of time and the effect and validity of notices.
ENERGY, NATURAL RESOURCES AND UTILITIES
Frances has been instructed in relation to a number of disputes concerning offshore installations and power stations involving:
- the construction of a 30 MWe net output biomass fired renewable energy plant;
- an offshore wind farm where the contract is based upon the LOGIC standard form contract;
- the supply and installation of a combined heat and power system for the vaporisation of natural gas;
- a waste to energy plant;
- A pipeline dispute; and
- scaffolding and insulation disputes at a power station.
Frances has been instructed to act in a number of professional negligence claims. Advice has covered issues such as the general principle in tort that loss classed as pure economic is not recoverable, the current position relating to the complex structure theory, the scope of duties of care between the client and the construction professional and whether those duties have been breached, the scope and interpretation of contractual duties owed by construction professionals to first purchasers, funds and tenants, and the liability of construction professionals where there is no enforceable collateral warranty.
Advice has included consideration of limitation periods, whether defects complained of are to be classified as latent or patent and the identification of the date when a cause of action accrued, as well as the position of construction professionals in contribution proceedings. She has been involved in litigation involving issues about the measure of compensable damage, and issues of remoteness, betterment and mitigation.
Frances has been instructed in a number of professional negligence claims involving:
- architectural services;
- building surveyors;
- structural engineer’s foundations design;
- structural engineer’s design for floor slabs in a warehouse built on reclaimed land;
- solicitors’ contract drafting;
- solicitors’ conveyancing and the identification of a boundary when carving out and conveying a parcel of land;
- solicitors’ advice and the conduct of an adjudication;
- a geotechnical report on the stability of a sloped canal embankment; and
- the project management of the refurbishment and conversion of a building into a dental surgery.
Frances has experience in the areas of commercial, real property and information technology litigation. She has represented clients on a wide range of interim application hearings, including applications for summary judgment, strike out for abuse of process, contested applications for late amendment to pleadings, and applications for specific, pre-action and non-party disclosure.
Frances has experience of cost management and case management hearings, applications for freezing orders and interim injunctions. On enforcement, Frances has appeared in court in relation to charging orders and final orders for sale. Real property litigation includes restrictive covenants, boundary disputes, Party Wall etc. Act claims, trespass to land, adverse possession, Leasehold Valuation Tribunal hearings, easements and Leasehold Reform Act claims.
Further experience includes:
- Acting for a supplier of agency workers in a claim of economic duress.
- Advising a tenant in a dispute about the exercise of a break clause in a commercial lease.
- Acting for a client in a commercial dispute about a share purchase agreement where there was an allegation of fraud.
- Appearing in the Court of Appeal on a case about Part 36 offers in monetary claims.
- Acting for a client to resist an application for an order for sale of a property.
- Acting for vendors under a share purchase agreement where the claim was for deceit.
- Acting for purchasers of a property seeking rescission for fraudulent misrepresentation made by the vendors concerning the flooding history of the property.
- Equine cases including claims of defective construction of a manège, a claim for injury to horses during transit and advising on horse loan and sale agreements.
- Advising and acting in respect of leasehold enfranchisement claims, appearing as counsel for the coroner at an inquest into a fatality on a construction site.
- Acting for a client in respect of a contract to acquire a centralised computer system to assist in the management of its business data, customer queries, quotations, sales, service, project management information and sales information (TCC).
- Acting for a client in respect of a contract to upgrade a hosted dialing system (TCC).
OTHER PROFESSIONAL INFORMATION
Frances is an associate of the CIArb and a member of the Society of Construction Law and TECBAR.