John Blackburn

John Blackburn KC


"Immensely experienced, very well organised, and a man with a good incisive brain."

Chambers & Partners

From 1984 until 2006, John was in full-time practice as leading counsel based in London. During that period, he also developed an international arbitration practice as an arbitrator, and has acted in that capacity in London, Paris, Geneva, Stockholm, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Caribbean.

As well as appointments in ad hoc arbitrations, he has frequently been appointed either as chairman or as co-arbitrator in references under the International Chamber of Commerce Rules, under the UNCITRAL Rules and under the LCIA Rules.



He has sat as arbitrator in cases over the following disputes (amongst others):

  • Appointed as party nominated arbitrator (ICC, Paris seat) regarding the design and construction of a gas fired cogeneration plant located in numerous locations in the Middle East. Claims in excess of US$30million.
  • Appointed as party nominated arbitrator (ICC, London seat). Claims in excess of €150million for the construction of a pipeline and processing facility located in North Africa.
  • Appointed as party nominated arbitrator (SIAC, Singapore seat) regarding airside infrastructure and landside terminal improvements at two international airports in Southeast Asia. Claims in excess of US$150million.
  • Appointed as president of an arbitral tribunal (ICC, London seat) regarding defects and delay in the construction of a housing development in Middle East. Claims in excess of US$50million.
  • Appointed as president of an arbitral tribunal (ICC, London seat) regarding defects from the construction of an international airport in the Middle East. Claims in excess of US$50million.
  • A case about a power plant in Spain (Co Arbitrator) ICC London seat.
  • Hurricane damage to a hotel in Grand Cayman (Co Arbitrator) LCIA London seat.
  • Termination of a contract for an underground railway in central Asia (Co Arbitrator).
  • A contract for road work in Afghanistan (Co Arbitrator) ICC Paris seat.
  • A gas fired power generation plant in Estonia (Co Arbitrator) Ad-hoc appointment London seat.
  • Failure of piled foundations in Singapore (Co Arbitrator).
  • A dispute about a plant for special steel in Egypt. (Co Arbitrator).
  • A dispute over a major highway and bridge words in Dubai. (Chairman).
  • A dispute arising out of the development of the new airport in Hong Kong. (Sole Arbitrator) ICC Seat Hong Kong.
  • A case concerning the quality and suitability of reclamation works in Beirut. (Chairman).
  • Claims and Counterclaims arising out of the construction and operation of desalination plant in Trinidad. (Co Arbitrator).
  • Disputes connected with a contract for airport works in the Maldives arising out of the invasion of Kuwait. (Sole Arbitrator).
  • Cross-claims between a Japanese Contractor and a Hong Kong entity about a contract for the construction of teacher training establishment in Hong Kong. (Sole Arbitrator).
  • A multi-faceted dispute between American Contractors and a Lithuanian national entity over an oil terminal. (Co Arbitrator).
  • A dispute concerning an automated light metro system (sole arbitrator) seat London.
  • A dispute concerning an oil pipeline through various Eastern European countries (ICC party appointed arbitrator).
  • A dispute concerning programme and cost details in relation to an onshore processing facility in Russia (LCIA party appointed arbitrator).
  • Claims resulting from the design, supply and construction of a nuclear power plant in Northern Europe (ICC party appointed seat Stockholm).
  • A dispute concerning a gas/oil-fired combined cycle electric generation plant in the Middle East (ICC– Chairman).
  • A dispute over defective mechanical parts applied to wind turbines (Co Arbitrator appointed by the Danish Institute of Arbitration).
  • A dispute over the breaching of an agreement concerning the operation and maintenance of over 200km of a railway track in the Middle East (LCIA sole Arbitrator).
  • A dispute over the contract concerning the maintenance of over 750km of central reservations on the dual carriageway network in the east of England. (Sole Arbitrator).
  • A dispute relating to a metro system in the capital city of a Central Asian country (ICC Party Appointed).
  • A dispute relating to the supply of plant goods and services to an oil and gas field located in Central Asia (Party Appointed under UNCITRAL rules).


John has given decisions on large disputes arising out of the modernisation of the London Underground network (the Connect Project|) on 3 occasions. He has also acted as adjudicator in disputes under distribution contracts. He gave a decision as adjudicator over issues between the parties involved in the design and construction of the tram railway system in South London. He has also acted as adjudicator in civil engineering disputes arising out of the standard form contracts. John’s work as an adjudicator is helped by much experience about this means of resolving disputes (on a temporary basis) during his years of practice as counsel.