Nicolas Dennys QC Barrister Atkin Chambers

Nicholas Dennys KC


Silk 1991

“A superb advocate and a great team player.”


Legal 500

Nicholas is a leading specialist in construction, civil engineering, international arbitration, professional negligence and information technology together with related areas such as insurance, sale of goods, insolvency, transport and energy.

He acts as advocate and advisor domestically and overseas in court and arbitration proceedings concerning major construction, engineering, IT, road and rail transport, infrastructure, and oil and gas projects. Overseas disputes commonly involve international corporations and joint ventures, and governmental or quasi-governmental bodies. He has appeared in arbitrations conducted in various parts of the world under LCIA, ICC, HKIAC, SIAC and UNCITRAL rules.

He also acts as arbitrator, adjudicator and mediator. He has acted as party-nominated arbitrator, chairman and sole arbitrator on numerous occasions in domestic and international disputes, and conducts adjudications early neutral valuations and other forms of dispute resolution.

He has been involved in disputes involving foreign law including in India, Hong Kong, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Singapore, UAE, USA (including New York, Texas, California), Europe (including Spain and Poland), South Africa and Gibraltar.

Nicholas has been recognised for many years by the legal directories, Chambers and Partners (UK, Global and Asia) as well as The Legal 500, as a leading silk in the fields of construction, professional negligence, international arbitration, professional negligence and information technology.

CONSTRUCTION, ENGINEERING AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Nicholas has extensive and wide-ranging experience of construction and civil engineering disputes, involving major projects of all types. Case examples include:

INTERNATIONAL

  • Acted in a series of substantial arbitrations in Hong Kong relating to a dispute between the domestic developer and a local contractor concerning issues relating to government consents for tree felling defects loss and expense claims, final account and completion.
  • Acting on a UNCITRAL rules arbitration concerning a contract to build and operate a process plant and supply products to the Thai subsidiary of a Swiss food company for a Thai contractor under Thai substantive law in claims valued at c.US$300million due to be heard in Singapore.
  • Airport buildings for Middle East redevelopment of transport hub.
  • Bridge construction in the Far East.
  • European airport redevelopment.
  • Acted for a Portuguese joint venture against the Polish Government in an ICC arbitration in Warsaw arising out of major infrastructure project.
  • Acted for the ship-owners in a high-value and long-running dispute between Singaporean shipbuilders and Dutch ship-owners.
  • Acted in an ICC arbitration which was the subject of several hearings between two major Japanese corporations concerning claims arising from construction of state of art plastics in UK.

DOMESTIC

  • Destruction of confectionary factory by fire, Trebor Bassett Holdings Ltd v ADT Fire & Security [2011] BLR 661.
  • Termination/alleged frustration Redevelopment Agreement, Gold Group Properties v BDW Trading Ltd [2010] BLR 235.
  • Instructed to lead the counsel team to act for PC Harrington, the concrete sub-contractor, in part of the Wembley Stadium litigation, PC Harrington Contractors Ltd v Multiplex Constructions (UK) Wembley.
  • Dispute over environmental and fire controls at Heathrow Terminal 5. Final account dispute valued circa £80m.
  • Mixed office, retail and domestic development in Central London.
  • The development of large site in UK city centre.
  • Edinburgh tram project.

ENERGY, NATURAL RESOURCES AND UTILITIES

Nicholas has considerable experience of both domestic and international disputes regarding utilities and oil and gas particularly in relation to the design and construction of on and off-shore installations. Cases include:

  • Marine installation of power distribution system for offshore wind farm.
  • Petrochemical process plant in the North East of England.
  • Two thermal power plants in India.
  • Extraction and supply of marine aggregates to Russian Federation.
  • Acting for an oil company in disputes relating to offshore facility in Gulf of Mexico.
  • Bioethanol plant in the North East of England
  • Advising a contractor regarding a sewage disposal scheme in Hong Kong.
  • Advising a contractor regarding a delay claim for a sewage improvement facility in Hong Kong.
  • Representing a local authority in the High Court arising out of a PFI contract relating to a wastewater/sewage treatment plant in UK.

PROFESSIONAL NEGLIGENCE

Nicholas has acted in a number of disputes of alleged professional negligence between construction professionals and their advisors. A number of his leading cases include:

  • Co-Operative v John Allen Associates [CA 2011].
  • Acting for defendant architects in the TCC and in the Court of Appeal in relation to a claim by the occupier of a distribution warehouse arising out of a flood. Issues included the scope of an architect’s duty of care to ‘subsequent’ occupiers and the relevance of the opportunity for intermediate examination and discovery of design defects, Pearson Education Ltd v The Charter Partnership Ltd [2006] PNLR 14 (TCC), [2007] EWCA Civ 130 (CA).
  • Acting for the architects in an alleged negligence claim by Baxtall in relation to the proper approach to duties of care owed by design professionals to ‘subsequent occupiers’ for property damage, Baxall Ltd v Sheard Walshall Partnership & Others [2002] BLR (CA).
  • Acting on a claim for alleged negligence of architects for subsequent fire damage, E Turner & Sons v Watkins [2001] TCLR (CA).
  • Acting on a negligence claim regarding the obligations of developer, project manager and architect to a contractor for cost overruns, Jarvis Ltd v Castle Wharf & Others [2000] PNLR (CA).

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND TELECOMS

Nicholas has considerable experience in the IT and telecommunications field acting on disputes in relation to telecommunication systems and computer software and hardware systems for many big household names, including Accenture, LCH Clearnet, T-Mobile, Unisys, Liberata, BBC and UBS. Cases include:

  • Dispute over supply of broadband equipment in Far East.
  • Traffic control system in Middle East.
  • Implementation of a new Governmental software and hardware system in Far East.
  • IT systems failure at a major commercial and clearing bank based in UK.

ADR APPOINTMENTS

Africa

  • Appointed as President of an arbitral tribunal (UNCITRAL, South Africa) concerning the sub-contract relating to air-cooled condensers installed in a coal-fired power station in South Africa.
  • Appointed as party nominated arbitration (UNCITRAL Rules, Ethiopia) regarding a highway in Ethiopia.
  • Appointed to a three person DAB in respect of two power stations in South Africa.
  • Appointed as party nominated arbitrator (LCIA). The arbitration proceedings arise out of disputes related to an LNG development project in Mozambique.
  • Appointed as sole arbitrator (ICC) regarding a Hydropower plant in Rwanda. Claims in excess of USD15million.

Asia

  • Appointed as party-nominated arbitrator (ICC, Hong Kong) in respect of dispute relating to the supply and purchase of telecommunication equipment.
  • Appointed as sole arbitrator in respect of HK$ multi-million claims arising out of a project for one of the world’s longest cable-stayed highway bridges.
  • Appointed as party-nominated arbitrator (LCIA) in respect of claims resulting in the renovation of a thermal power plant in East Asia.
  • Appointed as sole arbitrator in respect of the implementation of a new governmental software and hardware system in Far East.
  • Appointed as party nominated arbitrator (ICC) regarding a hydroelectric project in South Asia. Claims in excess of USD20million.

Europe

  • Appointed as sole arbitrator in dispute arising from the design and construction of a UK water treatment facility.
  • Appointed as party nominated arbitrator (LCIA) relating to claims from the development of various airports in Europe. Claims in excess of USD30million.
  • Appointed as President in an ICC arbitration regarding various power stations in UK. Claims in excess of GBP100million.
  • A dispute regarding the construction of a thermal power station based within the UK under a PFI agreement (LCIA Chairman).
  • Appointed as adjudicator in dispute regarding the design, construction and commissioning of an offshore alternative energy project.
  • Appointed as party-nominated arbitrator (ICC) regarding and offshore wind project in the UK.
  • Appointed as sole arbitrator regarding claims on a PFI contract for the development, construction and operation of two mass burn energy from waste facilities.
  • Acted as adjudicator in various disputes relating to road and rail construction including the M6 Tollway and London Underground.
  • Acted as expert determinator in several cases including the A13 improvement work and an offshore wind facility.
  • Appointed as Adjudicator regarding a contract for the civil, installation and other works in connection with the refurbishment of various gas compressor sites in UK.
  • Appointed as adjudicator in connection with a dispute regarding the refurbishment of a 5-star hotel in London.
  • Appointed as adjudicator in connection with a dispute regarding the design and construction of a high-quality residential and premium quality hotel development in London, comprising of two Towers of 57 and 42 storeys.

Middle East

  • Appointed as party-nominated arbitrator (LCIA) relating to claims concerning the design, procurement, construction and commissioning of a nuclear power plant in the Middle East. Claims circa US$900million.
  • Party nominated arbitrator (International ad-hoc, UNCITRAL rules) regarding the dredging of channels for a project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Claims in excess of USD100million.
  • Appointed as party nominated arbitrator (LCIA) regarding a petrochemical plant in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Claims in excess of USD340million.
  • Appointed as sole arbitrator (LCIA) regarding an automated traffic enforcement system across three sites in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The project was to design, install a red light and a speed enforcement system which will also detect traffic volumes.
  • Appointed as sole arbitrator (DIFC-LCIA) regarding the transportation, handling of marine barge operations, port activities in Bahrain and delivery services for certain cargo items. Claims in excess of USD15million.
  • Appointed as party nominated arbitrator (DIAC) regarding an IT system for a Health Authority in the UAE. Claims in excess of AED435million.
  • Appointed as party nominated arbitrator (ICC) regarding a rapid transit system in the Middle East. Claims in excess of USD25million.
  • Appointed as chairman of an arbitral tribunal (Adhoc, DIAC rules) regarding a breach of contract resulting from the 2008 financial crisis for the construction and completion of over 2,000 villas, townhouses and associated infrastructure at a development in the Middle East.
  • Appointed as party-nominated arbitrator (LCIA) regarding the installation of pipelines in various power stations in the Middle East. Claims circa £1.5billion.
  • Appointed as party-nominated arbitrator (DIAC) relating to claims during the construction of a luxury beachfront resort in the UAE. Claims circa AED$150million.
  • Appointed as party-nominated arbitrator (SIAC) relating to claims following the construction of a ring road in Afghanistan. Contract sum US$470million, claim circa US$67million.
  • Appointed a party-nominated arbitrator (ICC, Oman) regarding a major international airport in the Middle East. Claims in excess of US$400million.
  • Appointed as party-nominated arbitrator (ICC, Paris) regarding the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a domestic solid waste management centre located in the Middle East. Claims in excess of US$230million.
  • Appointed as party-nominated arbitrator (ICC) in respect of dispute relating to a dredging / engineering project.
  • Appointed as party-nominated arbitrator (DIAC) concerning the design and construction of a mixed-use development comprising over 70 structures in the Middle East.
  • Appointed as President of an arbitration (ICC) concerning a sewage treatment plant in Oman.
  • Appointed as party nominated arbitrator (LCIA) regarding the construction, operation and maintenance of a sewage treatment plant and sewer conveyance system in the Middle East.
  • Appointed as party appointed arbitrator (ICC) in a dispute concerning the renovation of an airport in the Middle East.
  • Appointed as party nominated arbitrator (ICC) regarding claims resulting from the design, execution and complete refurbishment of a 5 star hotel in Qatar. Claims in excess of USD80million.
  • Appointed to three-person DAB regarding the construction of a high-value, mixed-use commercial and residential development in Middle East.
  • Appointed as party appointed arbitrator (Ad-hoc) regarding the construction of waste water and treated water networks. The project consolidated the collected sewer flows to a major Sewage Treatment Plant in the Middle East.

QUALIFICATIONS AND AWARDS

2003: Bencher of Middle Temple

2000: Recorder

1997: Assistant Recorder

1970-1973: Brasenose College, Oxford (PPE)

RECENT RECOMMENDATIONS

“Nicholas is an experienced barrister and arbitrator. He is efficient in dealing with complicated legal
issues.”

Construction, Energy and Infrastructure, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2023

 

“He’s client-friendly and confident, and his written advice is very strong.”
“Nicholas Dennys is very able, experienced and personable.”

Construction, Chambers UK Bar 2023

 

“He’s really good on the strategy and the big picture. He’s good on the technical side but he’s also really focused on being commercial, strategic and astute.”

Energy & Natural Resources, Chambers UK Bar 2023

 

“Nick is super-experienced in construction dispute resolution.”
“He’s a very good arbitrator – very nice and extremely thorough.”

International Arbitration: Arbitrators, Chambers UK Bar 2023

 

“Nicholas provides very high-level advice and is a fantastic mediator. He has the ability to make complex areas of law seem more straightforward and always develops a strong rapport with clients.”

Construction, The Legal 500 2023

 

“He uses his experience to his client’s benefit by thinking about and working the problem, and he has
a very rare ability to find new lines to take.”

Energy, The Legal 500 2023

 

“Nicholas uses his accumulated experience wisely in the interests of his clients. He often brings fresh
insights to complex matters and is convincing and brief at explaining complicated things simply.
Excellent.”

International Arbitration: Counsel, The Legal 500 2023

 

“He is an excellent strategist and highly regarded advocate.”

Construction, Energy and Infrastructure, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2022

 

Enormously experienced and internationally savvy.” “Smart and incisive.”

Construction, Chambers & Partners UK Bar 2022

 

“He is very conceptual thinker and so he comes up with interesting and productive angles, which
helps to make sure the case is being looked at in a complete way rather than standard procedure
way.”

Energy, Chambers & Partners UK Bar 2022

 

“He is very measured, very thorough, and I have a lot of respect for his ability as an arbitrator. As co-
arbitrator, he is prepared and a pleasure to work with.”

International Arbitration, Chambers & Partners UK Bar 2022

 

“A great silk.”

International Arbitration, The Legal 500 2022

 

“He has an intuitive understanding of important areas and an impressive strategic overview.”

Energy, The Legal 500 2022

 

“He sees things differently, bringing a useful fresh angle to some tricky problems.”

Construction, Energy and Infrastructure, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2021

 

“He is outstanding in preparation.” “He is impressive and definitive in advice, strong on his feet, strong
on legal arguments and very clear in his responses to clients.”

Construction, Chambers & Partners UK Bar 2021

 

“Got that super KC status! I would always use him.” “He likes to win the unwinnable battles.”

Energy, Chambers & Partners UK Bar 2021

 

“He’s a top-rate arbitrator and is particularly impressive on high-value, multiparty arbitrations. He is super intelligent, responsive and turns things around very quickly.”

“A very experienced, easygoing, super smooth arbitrator.”

International Arbitration: Arbitrators: Chambers & Partners UK Bar 2021

 

“Really on top of his game.”

Information Technology, Chambers & Partners UK Bar 2021

 

“He is in high demand for his work as an advocate in construction-related cases.”

Professional Negligence, The Legal 500 2021

 

“Brings a useful fresh angle to some tricky problems.”

International Arbitration, The Legal 500 2021

 

“He is a very bright lawyer who sees the pattern of things with the benefit of many years of intense
experience and does not follow the herd.”

Energy, The Legal 500 2021

 

“He is authoritative and extremely hard-working.”

Construction, The Legal 500 2021

 

“A fair minded arbitrator who has the ability to keep order as chairman.” “A very well-experienced arbitrator.”

International Arbitration, Chambers & Partners UK Bar 2020

 

“His advocacy is very strong and he is a capable speaker. He distils the information well and presents the case very strongly.” “He is insightful about contracts and how to interpret them.”

Energy & Natural Resources, Chambers & Partners UK Bar 2020

 

“Very intelligent.”

Construction, Chambers & Partners UK Bar 2020

 

“Extremely knowledgeable, fair and straightforward.”

Information Technology, Chambers & Partners UK Bar 2020

 

“A stand-out silk for APAC-related instructions.”

Construction, Energy & Infrastructure, The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific 2020

 

“He is held in very high regard for professional negligence work.”

Professional Negligence, The Legal 500 2020

 

“A standout barrister.”

International Arbitration, The Legal 500 2020

 

“An independent and strategic thinker with an ability to see things differently to the crowd.”

Energy, The Legal 500 2020

 

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.