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Katie Powell Portrait Image Barrister Atkin Chambers

Katie Powell


Call 2005

“an absolute star, with sharp intellect and an amazing work ethic”


Legal 500

Katie Powell specialises in commercial disputes with a particular emphasis on construction, professional liability and insurance disputes. She is recognised in the directories as “an absolute star, with sharp intellect and an amazing work ethic” and wins “universal praise”.  She has a formidable reputation both on paper and on her feet, being described as an “outstanding construction and construction related junior” and as being “very tough and persuasive, and incredibly good in court”. She is confident in conducting all major forms of dispute resolution on both a led and an unled basis.

Katie has substantial experience in large litigations, and arbitrations and appeals. She frequently is instructed in place of silks, and has appeared unled against silks in both the High Court and Court of Appeal.

As well as being a formidable advocate, her analytical skills are also sought after. She is described as “phenomenally bright” and as having a “really impressive ability to reduce complicated legal points into digestible prose”.

Katie’s outstanding reputation has been confirmed in both Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 for a number of years. They recently have described her as “pure class: super-clever and down to earth”, as “phenomenally bright” and as being “simply brilliant and passionate about everything she does”.

CONSTRUCTION, ENGINEERING AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Katie undertakes a wide variety of work both in a litigation and arbitration context concerning in both pure construction claims and claims against construction professionals. She was junior counsel in the Co-op v Birse litigation, which gave rise to some of the leading decisions on limitation in a construction context.

Examples of the cases she has been involved in include:

  • Representing an insurance syndicate in relation to a claim brought against it under the Third Parties (Rights against Insurers) Act 1930 arising from alleged defects in a mechanical biological treatment facility in the North West of England.
  • Acted as junior counsel for Carillion Construction in claim arising from the construction of the Norfolk & Norwich hospital; Octagon Healthcare Limited v John Laing Construction & Ors.
  • Acted (unled) for a structural engineering company in relation to a claim brought against it under the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978 in relation to the design of a major national museum.
  • Acted for a civil engineering and building company in connection with a claim arising from the construction of a basement level car park; Lagan v MV Kelly & Anor.
  • Acted for specialist flooring sub-sub-contracts in connection with the construction of concrete flooring in a major warehouse. Successfully argued that proposed amendments substantially increasing the amount claimed should not be allowed; Co-operative Group Limited v Birse Developments Limited & Ors.
  • Claim proceeding in the TCC arising from the construction of a hospital in the Rhondda Valley. Acting unled for the structural engineer; Cwm Taf University Local Health Board v Nightingale Architects & Ors.
  • Claim arising from contract for the installation of solar energy panels on council property; Preston County Council v Enterprise Managed Services Limited.
  • Advising in respect of liability for alleged defects in the ‘Cheesegrater’, a major London skyscraper.

PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY

Katie’s professional negligence experience is substantial, having practised for a number of years in a leading professional negligence set. She has acted for against a wide range of professionals, including architects, engineers, surveyors, solicitors, barristers and accountants and has been involved in some of the most important recent cases in this area.

Katie is rated as a leading junior in this field in both Chambers & Partners and Legal 500. Recent comments include: “[a] very smart cookie who will be a QC a few years down the road”; “incredibly dedicated”; “she did a really good job in front of a scary bench. One to watch”, “a very clear advocate who gets to the issues quickly”; and “bright, able, user friendly and definitely performs beyond her year of call.”

She is regularly instructed in relation to claims against lawyers, auditors and accountants, construction professionals, surveyors and valuers, practising both domestically and internationally.

Katie is the current editor of the financial services chapters of ‘Jackson and Powell’.

Examples of her cases include:

  • Acted for one of the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms in relation to proceedings brought in Hong Kong arising from various audit reports it provided; Moulin Global Eyecare Holdings Limited (in liquidation) v Olivia Lee Sin Mei & Ors.
  • Instructed as junior counsel in the high-profile appeals arising from identity fraud in property purchases; P&P v Owen White & Anor / Dreamvar v Mischcon de Reya & Anor (co-joined appeal) [2018] 3 W.L.R. 1244.
  • Acted in claim against Mischon de Reya in relation to claim arising from the sale of QPR Football Club; Caliendo v Mishcon de Reya [2016] EWHC 150 (Ch).
  • Acted for solicitors in relation to a claim arising from a lost arbitration; Fincantieri v Clyde & Co.
  • Acted for a firm of solicitors in a multi-party dispute arising from an alleged fraud perpetrated in connection with a major investment property transaction; Bank of Baroda & Anor v George Davies & Ors.
  • Acted in a multi-party claim defending multiple firms of solicitors in relation to alleged failures to advise about the adequacy of a property insurance policy; Rendlesham Estates v Jeffrey Myers & Ors [2014] EWHC 3968.
  • Acted for Nationwide Building Society in £2m claim against valuer arising from a commercial development in Cheltenham; Nationwide Building Society v APR Properties.
  • Acted for Strutt & Parker in one of the leading cases on the extent of a professional’s tortious liability to third parties; Hunt v Optima (Cambridge) Ltd [2014] P.N.L.R. 29.
  • Represented senior employee of WCUK (unled) in his appeal to the Court of Appeal; Weavering Capital (UK) Ltd (In Liquidation) v Dahbia [2013] EWCA Civ 71.
  • Acted for a barrister in defence of a claim brought against him in his capacity as an arbitrator.

PRODUCT LIABILITY

Katie is rated as a leading junior in this field in both Chambers & Partners and Legal 500, in which she is described as being “extremely bright and very good at deploying the material she has to her advantage. She delivers great written work”, “great with clients, and provides practical, commercial and robust advice”; “technically very competent, and approachable with clients”, “bright, able, user friendly and definitely ‘performing beyond her year of call’” and “‘incredibly dedicated’ as well as having ‘a very sharp mind’”.

She has been involved in some of the leading recent cases in the field, including in the long-running Atomic Veterans litigation and as junior counsel in the three-month commercial court trial of Kingspan v Borealis [2012] EWHC 1147.

Examples of her work include:

  • Defended an air conditioning supply company in connection with an allegedly defective air conditioning system installed in a BMW showroom; Knights North West v Adonis Construction & Anor.
  • Claim arising from the Ely derailment. Claim brought by Network Rail against (i) owner of wagon, and (ii) maintainers of wagon; Network Rail Infrastructure v CAIB & Ors.
  • Pharmaceutical company claim arising from a smoking-cession drug; the subject of multi-million class action claims in US.
  • Case arising from supply of plastic polymer used to produce plastic bags to contain wood chippings; Ron Hull & Sons v Palagan.
  • Claim arising from the supply of allegedly defective plastic resin for the purposes of the manufacture of oil storage tanks; Kingspan v Borealis [2012] EWHC 1147.

ARBITRATION

Katie has a substantial arbitration practice. She acted as junior Counsel in the groundbreaking decision in Secretary of State for the Home Department v Raytheon Systems [2014] EWHC 4375; [2015] EWHC 311, the first time an arbitral award was set aside in its entirety under s.68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 for serious irregularity.

Examples of her recent arbitration work include:

  • Acted for the Home Department in its dispute with Raytheon Systems the £75 million e-Borders technology system; The Secretary of State for the Home Department v Raytheon System.
  • Acted in claim between two Russian oligarchs arising from an alleged forced takeover of a building in central Moscow.
  • Acted in insurance coverage dispute arising from an international publishing company’s alleged failure to disclose material information prior to the inception of the policy.
  • Acted in claim arising from a contract for the installation of photocopiers at major UK supermarket.

COMMERCIAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION

Katie is regularly instructed in both domestic and international commercial dispute resolution. Examples of her work include:

  • Acting as sole counsel for a pharmaceutical company against one of its former directors, alleging, inter alia, breaches of duties s.171-7 of the Companies Act 2006.
  • Acting as junior counsel for the liquidators of Stanford International Bank against a well-known bank in connection with its alleged facilitation of a Ponzi scheme.
  • Acting as junior counsel in resisting an application for permission to appeal a judgment arising over a dispute over the ownership of a diamond mining company in Angola; Gaydamak v Leviev [2012] EWCA Civ 1561.
  • Acting as junior counsel for a South African company in relation to an international supply contract for the sale of sulphur to various companies in the Copperbelt.
  • Acting as junior counsel in an arbitration between two Russian oligarchs arising from an alleged forced takeover of a building in central Moscow.

INSURANCE AND REINSURANCE

A significant element of Katie’s practice comprises insurance disputes, both for and against insurers. She has particular expertise in Contractors All Risk insurance policies, having acted with Roger Stewart QC in the battle between the Contractors All Risk insurers and the professional indemnity insurers arising from the construction of the East Coast railway. She regularly acts in property damage claims.

Further examples of her insurance experience include:

  • Instructed in relation to a coverage dispute arising the construction of the West Coast Mainline. Gave rise to a number of novel insurance points, including the extent to which insurers can bring an assigned claim in circumstances where insurers have wavied rights of subrogation; Lexington Insurance Company v Tritech Rail.
  • Instructed by the former members of Cobbetts LLP in relation to a dispute concerning the extent to which insured members of an LLP are liable for excesses under policies entered into by an LLP of which they are members; Barbican Corporate Member Limited v Former Members of Cobbetts LLP.
  • Insurance coverage dispute arising from an international publishing company’s alleged failure to disclose material information prior to the inception of the policy.
  • Advising on coverage dispute and the scope of a of “coastal erosion” exclusion clause in a household insurance policy.
  • Advising on coverage dispute under a solicitor’s professional indemnity policy.

OTHER PROFESSIONAL INTERESTS

Katie is the current editor of the financial services chapters of ‘Jackson and Powell on Professional Liability’ (Sweet & Maxwell).

Katie is a member of COMBAR, LCIA, SCL, TECBAR, CHBA and PNBA.