Atkin Chambers is delighted to announce that Jonathan Acton Davis QC, Martin Bowdery QC and Professor Janet Walker CM have […]
19th Jan 2022
Jonathan specialises in domestic and international litigation and arbitration in the construction, civil engineering including geotechnical issues and energy sectors, and all related technical disputes. Throughout his career, he has handled many high-profile cases representing governments (British and overseas), contractors, and their professional advisers all over the world.
He regularly appears as counsel in English High Court litigation and arbitration, both domestic and international. He also acts as arbitrator, adjudicator and mediator, and in expert determination.
Internationally he has conducted ad hoc, ICC and UNCITRAL arbitrations in Asia-Pacific (Singapore), The Middle East (Dubai, Oman), Central Asia (Kazakhstan), the Caribbean and Europe (Paris, Brussels, Sweden, Switzerland and London) in relation to disputes arising out of projects in Europe, Africa, India, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Central and South-East Asia.
In addition to this, between 2005 and 2010 he advised and acted for the British government in a number of mediations and trials for DEFRA against contractors arising out of the foot and mouth outbreak and other epidemics. In 2009 he was appointed as Lead Counsel to the Al-Sweady inquiry, the public inquiry called to investigate allegations relating to the unlawful killing and mistreatment of Iraqi detainees by British soldiers at UK bases in 2004. Jonathan was appointed as a deputy high court judge in 2008 and sits regularly in the Technology and Construction Courts.
Jonathan has been recognised for many years as a leader in the field of construction law, including in the most recent editions of the legal directories, Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500.
Throughout his career Jonathan has dealt with the whole range of issues arising in the field including the interpretation of Standard Forms of Contract such as JCT, NEC, FIDIC and ICE, contractors’ claims for loss and expense, defects claims, residential and commercial buildings, housing estates, motorway widening schemes, road construction, town and city redevelopments, bottling plants, shoreline breakwaters, the construction of manufacturing and process plant, mining, the causes and effect of fire, landslips and building collapses, and local authority and central government work.
Jonathan has broad experience of both domestic and international disputes in relation to gas and oil pipelines, power stations and oilrigs. Case examples include:
He has represented, among others, governments and contractors on disputes arising from road and rail projects and infrastructures. Case examples include:
In addition to the specialised areas above, Jonathan is regularly instructed on general commercial disputes. Case examples include:
Jonathan has a great deal of experience in the professional negligence field, acting for claimants, defendants and their indemnity insurers in relation to claims brought against a wide range of professionals to include auditors, valuers, solicitors and construction professionals. He has worked on many high-profile cases including the landmark case Watts v Morrow  WLR 1421 on measure of damages in surveyors’ negligence disputes.
He has advised on a professional negligence action in the Royal Court, Samedi Division, Jersey. The claim concerned liability for refurbishment works which had overrun in time and cost.
From November 2009 he was appointed as Leading Counsel to the Al-Sweady Inquiry (Chairman Sir Thayne Forbes) which was charged by the Secretary of State to investigate and report on allegations of murder and brutality by the British Army of Iraqi Nationals following an ambush on 14th May 2004.
Considerable research and investigation had to be done into what was alleged to have occurred. The hearings lasted just over one year: a total of 282 witnesses were called. The Report was published on 17 December 2014.
2021 ADGM Arbitration Centre’s Panel of Arbitrators
2020 Accredited TECBAR adjudicator, arbitrator, and DRB member
2008-date Deputy High Court Judge
2004-2008 Member, Legal Services Consultative Panel
2001-2002 Chairman, Bar Council Professional Conduct and Complaints Committee (previously Vice Chairman)
2000 Recorder, authorised to sit in civil and criminal matters
1997 Assistant Recorder
1995 Bencher of Inner Temple
Petroleum Co of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd v Samsung Engineering Trinidad Co Ltd  EWHC 3055 (TCC)
Cofely Ltd b Bingham and Knowles Ltd  BLR 187
Savoye And Savoye Ltd v Spicers Ltd  EWHC 33 (TCC).
Lovell Partnerships Ltd & Anor v Merton Priory Homes  EWHC 1615 (TCC)  BLR 541.
Transport for Greater Manchester v Thales Transport & Security Ltd  EWHC 3717 (TCC).
Dubai Islamic Bank v PSI Energy Holding and others  EWHC 2718 (Comm)
States of Guernsey v Jacobs UK Ltd  EWHC 918 (TCC).
Gold Group Properties Ltd v BDW Trading Ltd (formerly Barratt Homes Ltd)  EWHC 1632 (TCC) and  EWHC 323 (TCC)
Ruttle Plant v DEFRA  1 All ER (Comm) 444,  1 All ER 448 and  2 All ER (Comm) 264
Farm Assist v DEFRA  BLR 399
Cumbria Waste Management v Lakeland Waste Management  BLR 330
Balfour Beatty v London Borough of Lambeth  BLR 288
Groundshire v VHE Construction  BLR 395
Mitsui Babcock v John Brown Engineering  51 Con. LR 129
Galoo Ltd v Bright Grahame Murray  1WLR 1360
Watts v Morrow  1 WLR 1421
Ascon Contracting v McAlpine (rep in the Construction Industry Law Letter)
Jonathan is a member of TECBAR, COMBAR, LCLCBA and PNBA.
He has a good working knowledge of French.
“A very good advocate. He’s very smooth and urbane when dealing with tribunals, and has an understanding of what will sway them.” “He has a voice like velvet, a fantastic demeanour and is very adept at judging a tribunal and persuading them with effective cross-examination.”
Construction, Chambers & Partners UK Bar 2021
“Jonathan is as smooth as silk and backs it up with perfect manners covering a steel core”
Construction, The Legal 500 2021
“A great courtroom tactician and advocate.” “Excellent, calm and controlled but deadly in cross-examination. He is a reassuring presence to have on one’s side.” “Gives strong, robust advice.”
Construction, Chambers UK Bar and Global 2020
“Calm, authoritative and incisive.”
Construction, The Legal 500 2020
“Has a calm and reassuring manner with clients and skilfully weaves a trap for witnesses with his thorough and deadly cross-examination.”
Construction, Chambers UK Bar 2019
“A most eloquent advocate.”
Construction, The Legal 500 2019
“Cool as a cucumber under pressure and has a calming influence on clients when they find themselves in difficult situations.” “Incredibly easy to work with, charming, persuasive and imaginative.”
Construction, Chambers UK Bar 2018
“Extremely charming and respected by clients, solicitors and the courts alike.”
Construction, The Legal 500 2017
“A very persuasive advocate. He is incredibly user-friendly for such a senior and experienced silk.”
Construction, Chambers UK Bar 2017
“Jonathan will find the way out of a dispute quickly, efficiently and with great client understanding.”
Construction, Chambers Global 2017
“He lives very much in a commercially real world.”
Construction, The Legal 500 2016
“He is incredibly good with clients.” “He is very approachable and easy to get hold of, even at awkward times.”
Construction, Chambers UK Bar 2016
“Plain-speaking and hardworking; clients like and trust him.”
Construction, The Legal 500 2015
“A strong courtroom presence” and “he excels as a cross-examiner”.
Construction, Who’s Who Legal 2016
The above are a selection of recent client endorsements from the leading legal directories, both UK and internationally. For a complete list of endorsements, please contact the practice management team at Atkin Chambers.