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Nicholas_Baatz_QC Barrister Atkin Chambers

Nicholas Baatz QC


Silk 1998

“a first-class silk who delivers thoughtful and strategically relevant advice”


Chambers and Partners

Nicholas Baatz QC has extensive experience of commercial disputes in the infrastructure, technology, energy and professional negligence sectors. Recognised for many years by the legal directories as a leader in the fields of construction, information technology and professional negligence, clients comment he is “an excellent lawyer with absolutely brilliant client skills”, “very clever and well respected” and “a go-to person for super technical legal disputes”.

Nicholas acts in all forms of alternative dispute resolution, including as an adjudicator, mediator, arbitrator, early neutral evaluator and as an expert determiner.

He has been described as “ridiculously knowledgeable”, as having “a superb ability to grasp the technical and legal complexities of a case” and as “a creative thinker and a big thinker who is not afraid to approach things from left field”. He has been committed to quick and cost-effective private alternatives to litigation for many years and has been a qualified mediator since 2003.

Nicholas has acted in numerous cases involving UK or foreign laws in relation to disputes arising out of complex projects all over the world. He has acted for many overseas clients, including German, Italian, French, Spanish, Swiss, US, Canadian, Chinese, Kenyan, Japanese clients as well as multinational joint ventures.

DETERMINATIONS AND AWARDS

Nicholas has made determinations and awards under the auspices of the ICC, DIAC, CIArb, I Chem E and RICS including:

  • Awards in relation to jurisdiction.
  • Awards in respect of interpretation and rectification of contracts.
  • Awards in respect of the design and construction of buildings and industrial plant.
  • Awards in relation to disputes as to variations, delay and liquidated damages.

ADJUDICATION

Nicholas has extensive experience of acting for parties in adjudications and experience as an adjudicator. Significant adjudication decisions issued include:

  • Decision in relation to jurisdiction.
  • Decision in relation to the design of a city centre light rail infrastructure pursuant to a PFI Agreement (appointed by the parties).
  • Decision in a dispute concerning responsibility for the design of works to the Docklands office building of an international bank (appointed by the parties).
  • Decision as to termination and repudiation of cable laying contract, withholding of payments and loss and damage.

MEDIATION

  • Successful mediation of a delay dispute under the JCT conditions concerning delay analysis, principles governing loss and expense, and liability for defects.
  • Mediation of dispute concerning airport airside facilities.

EARLY NEUTRAL EVALUATION

Nicholas has provided various evaluations. Significant instances include:

  • Where project co was appointed by local authority for the design, construction, financing and operation of accommodation for 20+ schools. Issues as to scope of works and responsibility of services provider appointed by project co to provide services comprising soft facilities management services, the hard facilities management and life cycle maintenance.
  • Upon the effect of change in law provisions in a long-term contract to develop waste management facilities and provide waste management services.
  • Upon the effect of payment provisions of a contractor’s conditions in relation to section 110 of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 and section 113 of that Act.

CONSTRUCTION, ENGINEERING AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Nicholas has extensive experience of legal and practical problems arising out of contracts of all kinds including bespoke contracts and the principal standard form engineering and building contracts, FIDIC (Red, Yellow, Silver, White and Gold), ICE, I Mech. E, I Chem. E, JCT, including Contractor’s Design conditions, NEC 3, RIBA, ACE and Government forms of contract.

As counsel Nicholas Baatz QC has acted for employers, developers, national and international contractors, sub-contractors, consultants, and local and national governments.

COMMERCIAL INSTITUTIONAL AND RESIDENTIAL

  • Claims by social housing provider arising out of combustible cladding and cavity fire barrier defects; Stonewater Limited v BAM Construction Limited [2020] EWHC 2226 (TCC) and Stonewater Ltd v RPS Ltd 2021 (TCC).
  • Claims against insurer in connection with building guarantee scheme arising out of defects in numerous residential apartments; Zagora Management Company Limited v Zurich Insurance Plc Trading as Zurich Building Guarantee and Another, [2019] EWHC 257 (TCC) and [2019] EWCA Civ 2163 (CA).
  • Disputes arising out of construction of the Birmingham Bullring; The Bullring Limited Partnership and Others v Laing O’Rourke Midlands Limited and Others (TCC 2017-2018) see for interlocutory The Bullring Limited Partnership and Others v Laing O’Rourke Midlands Limited and Others [2016] EWHC 3092 (TCC).
  • Disputes about structural defects in city centre shopping, leisure and residential complex; CIP Properties (AIPT) Ltd v Galliford Try Infrastructure Ltd & Ors [2015] EWHC 481 (TCC).
  • Claims in respect of catastrophic spread of fire through university hall of residence attributed to lack of adequate fire stopping.
  • Claims for extensions of time and loss and expense arising out of disputed responsibility for electrical design at major educational and arts complex.
  • Claims in connection with a dispute about design and delay issues arising out of the restoration and regeneration of the heritage Bath Spa building.

PFI / PPP

  • Claims by PFI design and build contractor against structural and civil engineers in relation to the design of works to be undertaken in the provision of an educational institution.
  • Claims by project co in respect of NHS Trust claim against PFI project co for negligent design and construction throughout hospital complex of one of the largest acute and teaching hospitals in the UK. Project co claims against (a) original design and build contractor, (b) original maintenance contractor and (c) successor maintenance contractor. Claim for service deductions and remedial works in excess of £20 million. Legal issues arising out of interlocking contractual responsibilities in the PFI contractual network.
  • Claims by project co’s contractor in dispute concerning the demolition and construction of three new sheltered blocks, and the refurbishment of 16 blocks and 854 sheltered bungalows under a PFI scheme. Claims by employer against project co for unavailability deductions. Claim by project co’s contractor that compensation events were the cause of the unavailability because there were defects in properties not identified in the pre contract surveys.
  • Claims by project co in quadripartite adjudication pursuant to PFI schemes of contracts consequent on deductions by hospital employer based upon service failure points arising out of defects passed down by project co to contractor and contractor to sub-contractor.

INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Claims against piling contractor in dispute concerning one of Europe’s largest packaging and distribution centers; Accolade Wines v VolkerFitzpatrick Ltd and Others.
  • Claims by national government employer in relation to works comprising the design and construction by international joint venture of very large diameter road tunnels and approach roads (several kilometers long) and associated civil, structural and building works and incidental works. Complex technical and legal issues arose as to the legal responsibility for the effect of ground conditions upon the tunneling methods.
  • Claims by contractor in relation to works comprising the construction of underground railway tunnel in London. Claims arising out of uncertain ground conditions consequent upon London’s long and obscure history as a built environment. Technical issues as to whether ground conditions foreseeable, and legal issues as to where legal responsibility for the actual conditions encountered lay.

SPECIAL APPLICATIONS

  • Disputes about the “iconic” steelwork for a Premier League football stadium.
  • Disputes concerned extensions of time and loss and/or expense in connection with the construction of a rugby and athletics sports stadium
  • Claims by the Natural History Museum in connection with a fitness for purpose dispute in relation to an air-conditioning installation for the storage of ancient, preserved animals and artefacts.
  • Claims by coastal authority in connection with variations claims about sea defences. Disputes concerned piling and the preceding geotechnical investigation.
  • Claims in connection with a dispute concerning delays due to unexpected subsoil conditions arising out of the construction of a ready-made meal production facility leading to delay, loss and expense, loss of revenue and groundworks re-design costs.

Nicholas has experience of many other disputes on behalf of commercial, charitable and local government bodies in disputes concerning educational facilities, hospitals, housing estates and leisure facilities.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Nicholas Baatz QC has an excellent reputation for work he has undertaken in the IT and telecommunications field in disputes involving employers, suppliers, manufacturers and contractors in relation to telecommunication systems; computer software and hardware systems including microchip quality disputes, plant and machine tool control systems; bespoke software source code design and implementation for various applications including for relational database management systems.

  • Claim arising out of alleged faults in distributed control system designed and built by global IT company used to control co-generation power and process plant in Southeast Europe causing destruction of plant when “fail to safe” systems failed due to alleged software defect.
  • Disputes arising out of a framework agreement concerning Business Process Outsourcing services and information technology software for the financial services industry. Disputes in relation to construction and validity of restrictive covenant under restraint of trade and UK and EU competition law.
  • Disputes arising out of claims for damages of in excess of £500 million for repudiatory breach and for delay in connection with a multi-site IT implementation, supposed to be the largest civil IT implementation at the time.
  • Claims by employer arising out of a pan European software configuration, customisation and outsourcing implementation for car hire business. The case concerned the termination of a contract for the implementation of a Europe-wide ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software system.
  • Claims against an international defence contractor in connection with a dispute arising out of the fitness for purpose of a radio frequency based defence system (software and hardware).
  • Claims by a consortium of international banks in connection with a dispute about the design and construction of software for a worldwide banking settlement services organisation.
  • Claims involving a national software house in a dispute concerning the design and installation of a relational database management system. The issues raised included fitness for purpose, the number of ‘bugs’, time for performance and the boundary between specified requirements and change control.
  • Claims by a steel manufacturer in a dispute about a computer-controlled steel slab-cutting machine. The issues involved fitness for purpose and tolerances and the extent to which the slab cutting process was properly controlled by the computer hardware and software.

ENERGY, NATURAL AND WASTE RESOURCES, ONSHORE AND OFFSHORE STRUCTURES

Nicholas Baatz QC has wide experience of domestic and international disputes arising out of oil and gas exploration and exploitation, and the design and construction of power plants. Examples include:

  • Disputes in relation to a substantial Biomass project in UK
  • Disputes in relation to coastal oil refinery EPC contracts (offshore and onshore) in Europe.
  • Claims by employer in connection with construction of solar power farms in the Middle East.
  • Claims by employer in relation to feedstock and performance issues at waste-to-energy-plant.
  • Claims by arising out of employer’s termination of a contract for the substantial upgrade of a jack up oil platform operating in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Claims by sub-contractor for works for an EPC contractor in connection with power station project in Manchester, England.
  • Dispute concerning termination of contract for construction of a plant producing biomethane by anerobic digestion so as to qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.
  • Disputes concerning the supply and installation of steelwork as part of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) unloading and storage installation.
  • Claims by National Grid Gas concerning works for the construction of a gas pipeline in UK.
  • Claims by employers and contractors in several cases involving technical and legal issues concerning “fitness for purpose” of power station turbine sets and electricity co-generation plants, heat recovery boilers, gas, steam and multi-fuel turbines both in the context of pure power generation and in contexts ancillary to industrial and other commercial processes under various commonly used standard terms including Powergen Combined Heat and Power conditions and the I.Mech.E standard conditions.
  • Disputes involving a Japanese global contracting company concerning technical issues engaged by the alleged self-destruction of turbine blades due to harmonic stress caused by resonance at the operating frequencies of the UK Grid.
  • Appointment as an ICC arbitrator in a dispute between a Far Eastern contractor and Middle Eastern employer in respect of a claim in excess of US$200 million in relation to a power station.
  • Disputes concerning very large capacity LNG plant in Middle East;
  • Disputes in relation to the Milford Haven regasification facility.

Other cases have included; a dispute concerning the robustness of condenser tubing in a steam turbine power generation station; a dispute concerning the design and construction of super heaters and water chemistry and Taking Over and Acceptance issues; a dispute about the promised fuel efficiency of a combined heat and power plant; a dispute arising out of the refit of a drilling rig; a dispute about the fabrication of key components of a hydraulic jacking system for an offshore accommodation vessel in the Irish Sea; a dispute about the metallurgy of weld testing used in the construction of an oil rig for use in the North Sea; claims concerning an alleged discrepancy between the designed and actual efficiency of the process for the generation of electrical energy from the combustion of waste tyres; and claims concerning an Energy Recovery Facility (household waste to energy).

PROCESS PLANT AND INDUSTRIAL PROCESSES

Nicholas has experience of numerous disputes concerned with industrial processes including steelworks, and the processing of foods and materials such as paint and chemicals (for pharmaceutical and other uses).

  • Appointment as ICC sole arbitrator in connection with dispute concerning performance of furnaces in the Middle East.
  • Claims by car manufacturer in connection with dispute arising out of supply and installation of car production lines.
  • Claims against EPC contractor in dispute in relation to productivity of fertilizer production facility in the Middle East (offshore and onshore contracts).
  • Other cases concerning the efficiency of co-generation plant to supply electrical power coordinated with the requirements of a paper manufacturing plant; the manufacture of linings for steel blast furnaces; the construction of a 650 tonnes-per-day clinker plant; and the construction of a cement factory in East Africa.

SPECIALIST INFRASTRUCTURE

MINING

  • Disputes in connection with volume, productivity, and price disputes arising out of open cast coal mining in UK
  • Claims by a contractor in a dispute concerning the extraction of methane gas from exhausted mine workings.
  • The mining subsidence claim against the Coal Authority for alleged subsidence caused by deep and open cast coal mining in the Barnsley Fault, Yorkshire in relation to Wentworth Woodhouse, said to be the largest private house in Europe; Newbold v Coal Authority [2013] EWCA Civ 584; [2014] 1 W.L.R. 1288.
  • Claims arising out of the expected and actual rate of cut of tunneling machines through dolomitic conglomerate.
  • Claim by a national water authority in respect of a claim for the defective installation of a large subterranean water main.

MASS TRANSIT

Nicholas extensive has experience of disputes arising from road, mass transit rail, bridge and tunnel projects, and other infrastructures including ports.

  • Tunneling work for the sub-Thames section of the Channel Tunnel rail link (St. Pancras-Gare Du Nord).
  • Provision of rolling stock for the District Line on the London Underground.
  • Calculation of extensions of time arising out of the construction of a new city centre passenger terminal.
  • Design responsibilities under ICE Design and Construct conditions incorporating Network Rail conditions in relation to an upgrade of a commercial railway.
  • Track inspection and maintenance obligations following the Hatfield Rail disaster.
  • Sub-contractor’s landfill claim in connection with the construction of a trunk road.
  • Construction of the structural lining of a trunk road tunnel.
  • Design and construction of remote stands at an airport terminal under NEC 2 conditions.
  • Failure of cast steel components of the Clyde Arc Bridge.
  • Disputes arising out of the second Severn Crossing.
  • Dispute about the design of a bridge required for a river crossing to transport bauxite in West Africa.
  • Dispute about an estuarial bridge crossing in UK.

SHIPS AND PORTS

  • Claims in relation to works comprising the dismantling and removal of toxic material from a wrecked cruise ship.
  • Claims involving breaches of contract for the manufacture of onboard LNG storage containers vessels for fleet of bulk carrying vessels.
  • Port grain handling installation in East Africa.
  • Dredging and conversion of a dock to provide RORO terminal and ship breaking yard.

PROFESSIONAL NEGLIGENCE

Nicholas Baatz QC has wide experience in the professional negligence field in connection with disputes involving claimants, defendants and their indemnity insurers in relation to claims brought against a range of professionals.

  • Claims concerning professional negligence of project managers and quantity surveyors arising from the construction of a major commercial office development in central London.
  • Claims concerning the destruction by fire of a supermarket development.
  • Architects’ claims for fees for the design of a chain of cinema complexes.
  • Claims against contractors in cases concerning the collapse of building works and cranes.

GENERAL COMMERCIAL

Nicholas Baatz QC has experience of numerous disputes concerned with general commercial issues such as the interpretation of commercial contracts, bonds, guarantees, collateral warranties and assignments. This experience includes:

  • Claims for calls of performance bonds.
  • Claims by Contractor in connection with sub-contractor’s parent company guarantee (conflicts of laws).
  • Claim by manufacturer in a dispute about the interpretation of the payment terms of an agreement to supply energy in various forms.
  • Claim by data storage and handling contractor in relation to the terms of an agreement licensing the use of data for analysis for commercial purposes.
  • Claim by an international bank in connection with claims based on collateral warranty and financing documents.
  • Claim by an international power company in a dispute about the interpretation of price fluctuation clauses linked to the cost of gas in an energy supply contract.
  • Dispute involving a major services outsourcing contractor about set-offs under ‘umbrella’ term contract for services.

QUALIFICATIONS AND AWARDS

Nicholas Baatz QC is an accredited TECBAR adjudicator, mediator and dispute resolution board member.

Fellow of the Society for Advanced Legal Studies London

Fellow Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb) 2009-2015

M.A. (Jurisprudence) and Bachelor of Civil Law, Oxford University

LEGAL TEXTS

Nicholas Baatz QC has written and presented numerous papers including for the UK Ministry of Justice, UK and Hong Kong Societies of Construction Law, the Journal of the Society for Computers and the Construction Law Summer School, Cambridge and others.

“What are indemnity clauses for?”, Building Magazine, March 2018.

“Who gets the money?” when a main contractor goes into liquidation, Building Magazine, Jan 2018.

“Indemnities in Construction and Infrastructure Contracts following Arnold v Britton and Wood v Capita”, July 2017;

“Brexit means ………..Arbitrate not Litigate?” Building Magazine, December 2016.

“Factual: and “Legal” Causation in Construction and Infrastructure Law: A Thorny Subject. Society of Construction Law, London, November 2016.

Nicholas is a past editor of the Building Law Reports, the Technology and Construction Law Reports and Current Law. He was a contributing Editor to Hudson’s Building and Engineering Contracts (12th Edition)

RECENT RECOMMENDATIONS

“Very clever and well respected.”

Information Technology, Chambers UK Bar 2021

 

“A go-to person for super technical legal disputes.”

Construction, Chambers UK Bar 2021

 

“A creative thinker and a big thinker who is not afraid to approach things from left field.”

Professional Negligence, Chambers UK Bar 2021

 

“My go-to QC when facing awkwardly drafted contracts or a factually complex dispute…. Nick has a superb ability to grasp the technical and legal complexities of a case.”

IT and Telecoms, The Legal 500 2021

 

“Exceptional lawyer, easy to work with ……”

Professional Negligence, The Legal 500 2021

 

“Very approachable and is an excellent team player who communicates well at all levels.”

Construction, The Legal 500 2021

 

“He can master extremely complex issues easily….”

Energy, The Legal 500 2021

 

“A first-rate lawyer…….” “He is stellar. He’s ridiculously knowledgeable and able to grasp a lot of factual information and produce advice that is to the point.”

Construction, Chambers UK Bar 2020

 

“He’s extremely imaginative, very strong on the law, very determined and tireless in terms of pursuing points.”

Professional Negligence, Chambers UK Bar 2020

 

“Really impressive on his feet.”

Information Technology, Chambers UK Bar 2020

 

“Grasps complex, technical issues quickly.”

Construction, The Legal 500 2020

 

“He is particularly good on the details of a case and gets to the bottom of the issues.”, Construction, Professional Negligence, Chambers UK Bar 2019

“He has a massive command of all the detail, and clients find him very calm and reassuring.”, Information Technology, Chambers UK Bar 2019

 

“He formulates imaginative legal solutions…………”,

Construction, The Legal 500 2019

 

“An extremely talented silk; he formulates imaginative legal solutions……………”,

IT and Telecoms, The Legal 500 2019

 

“An extremely talented silk.”

Professional Negligence, The Legal 500 2019

 

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.