Riaz Hussain QC
"Excellent in court, a top-notch legal mind and an excellent cross-examiner."
Chambers and Partners
Riaz is an experienced advocate covering Chambers’ core construction specialties. He is also experienced in general commercial disputes.
Riaz has been recommended in construction, professional negligence and international arbitration in both the Legal 500 and in Chambers and Partners, with comments recognising the forensic and impressive quality of his advocacy, the clarity of his advice and his commercial and pragmatic approach.
Riaz appears as lead counsel in high value and complex litigation and arbitration. He frequently appears as an advocate in the High Court and as counsel in international arbitrations, appearing in ICC, LCIA, DIAC, ICSID and bespoke arbitrations and PFI adjudications. He has presided arbitral tribunals and is also on the LCIA list of arbitrators.
Riaz acts in the full range of building and infrastructure disputes and building-related professional negligence disputes including residential, leisure, medical and educational developments; process plants, oil and gas refineries and pipelines and PFI projects. He regularly advises on the major standard forms such as FIDIC, JCT, NEC and ICE.
Riaz also acts in a range of general commercial disputes, including investment treaty claims, conflict of laws issues, insurance claims, bonds and guarantees, sale of goods, assignment issues, joint venture agreement and shareholder disputes, business consultancy agreements, enforcement of arbitral awards under the New York Convention, and cases involving allegations of corruption.
BUILDING AND INFRASTRUCTURE DISPUTES
Riaz advises on all aspects of the common standard form contacts including the various JCT, ICE, FIDIC and NEC standard forms. He has expertise in delay, variation, defects and final account claims. Riaz frequently appears as a trial advocate cross examining experts in building disputes. Also see the separate adjudication section below. Examples of recent work done include:
- USD$ 1 Billion plus claim regarding EPC contract for urban transport network
- USD$ 100 million plus Final Account Claim for a High Rise Development in the UAE –DIAC Arbitration
- USD$ 30 million claim for infrastructure upgrade UAE – ICC Arbitration
- USD$ 40 million claim for roadworks in Qatar – ICC Arbitration
- ICC Arbitration re turnkey upgrade of power development facility in the Middle East
- TCC Action regarding Development and subsequent Leasehold of Liberty Staidum, Swansea
- €150 million LCIA arbitration regarding the design and construction of a landmark retail and leisure complex in Moscow.
- TCC Action Successful strike out of claim by hotel owner against building contractor alleging breach of an implied term not to charge excessive or unreasonable rates.
- Ad hoc arbitral claim £100M plus re landmark hotel and apartment building in Qatar. The case involves complex issues re causes of delay and rights to terminate under Qatari law.
- DIAC arbitration under UAE law involving a final account claim for over £40 million
- DIAC arbitration under UAE law claim for negligent over-design of a cooling system for a major sporting complex in the Middle East.
- High-value disputes under PFI contracts, including in the health sector and waste management regarding interpretation of specification and levying of deductions. Instructed in a complex contractual adjudication under a PFI contract for negligent design and construction of a hospital. Successfully represented contractor in establishing that deductions in the sum of just under £3 million were wrongfully deducted.
Riaz has wide experience of conduct of adjudications and enforcement of adjudicator’s decisions under the 1996 Act. Examples of reported cases enforcing and resisting enforcement of adjudicator’s awards include:
- Lobo v Corich & Anor  All ER (D) 132 (Jun) Successful grant of charging order for failure to pay Adjudicator’s Decision. Important decision regarding proper notice and service of adjudication proceedings – Contractor claimed not to have been properly served with Adjudication Notice.
- Ground Developments Ltd v FCC Construccion SA and others  BLR 532. Successful enforcement of adjudicator’s award. Defendant ran seven objections to enforcement running the full range of jurisdictional objections.
- KNN Colburn LLP v GD City Holdings Ltd,  All ER (D) 33. Successful enforcement of adjudicator’s award. Defendant argued that the Adjudicator’s decision was out of time and a breach of natural justice.
- Clark Electrical v JMD Developments UK Ltd:  BLR 546. Successfully resisted enforcement of adjudicator’s award. Key case on when a party is taken to have submitted to adjudicator’s jurisdiction. YCMS LTD (T/A Young Construction Management Services) v (1) Stephen Grabiner (2) Miriam Grabiner (2009)  BLR 211. Successfully resisted enforcement of revised award. Held the adjudicator had gone further than correcting a slip and had recalculated the sums due using a different method by which he introduced a further error. As a result the revised award was invalid.
- Letchworth Roofing v Sterling Building Co  CILL 2717. Successful enforcement of adjudicator’s award. A defendant could not avoid the absence of a valid withholding notice if, by reference to the contract and on the facts of the particular dispute, the raising of the cross-claim in question required such notice.
Riaz has wide experience of acting in and advising on professional negligence disputes, acting for both claimants and their insurers in relation to claims brought against a wide variety of professionals, including engineers, architects and planning consultants. Recent experience includes:
- High Court action for negligent design of gas purification equipment in a biomass waste treatment facility. Case involved highly technical questions regarding design and working of innovative patented technology and important contractual issues regarding recovery of renewable energy payments.
- Multi-party High Court claim re defective and dangerous cladding in central London building.
- Multi-party High Court professional negligence claim regarding design, contract administration and quantity surveying services provided with regards to a school refurbishment.
- High Court five-party action regarding the design of a supermarket parking lot.
- High Court multi-party dispute defending mechanical engineer for claim for defective design of a gas supply system.
- High Court claim under the Contribution Act 1978 against consulting engineers for alleged negligence in supervision of water supply works.
- Advised on contemplated High Court proceedings for defective structural design of a television studios building considering the respective liabilities of the construction management contractor, design consultants and trade contractors.
- Instructed in High Court proceedings against Construction Manager related to the development and construction of an industrial distribution warehouse in particular the claim concerned a failure to properly ensure or advise on site clearance and disposal.
ENERGY, NATURAL RESOURCES RENEWABLES AND UTILITIES
Riaz has strong experience of advising and appearing in energy and renewables cases often with an international element. He often advises on where risk and liability lies under the contract, conflicts of law issues, calls on bonds and limitation of liability provisions. Examples of cases include:
- ICC arbitrations regarding upgrade of oil and gas refinery in the Americas. Total claim values in excess of USD$300 million.
- TCC professional negligence claim for negligent design of gas purification equipment. Successfully argued that the loss of renewables obligation certificates was direct loss not excluded.
- Employer’s rights under a major oil and gas refinery project in Saudi Arabia. Dispute value circa USD$60million.
- Contractor’s rights to payment under a bespoke EPC contract for the design and installation of a multi-billion dollar gas pipeline in the Middle East.
- Instructed by and advised a national petroleum organisation of an oil and gas exporting country on a number of contentious and non-contentious issues on an ongoing basis.
- ICC arbitration regarding a major gas pipeline through Central Asia. Total claim value over USD$100 million.
GENERAL COMMERCIAL AND INVESTMENT DISPUTES
Riaz is also instructed in general commercial disputes outside the construction Bar. His expertise includes general contractual disputes, sale of goods cases, conflict of law issues, joint venture agreements, assignment, bonds and guarantees, and investment treaty disputes.
Recent experience of general commercial cases includes:
- High Court proceedings against an insurer seeking indemnity under a building works insurance policy and whether the insurer is estopped from arguing an exclusion to cover applies.
- High Court proceedings regarding interpretation of an oral agreement for a seller’s agent commission on sale of property.
- High Court proceedings opposing enforcement of an arbitral award under the New York Convention involving conflicts of law issues, avoiding competing jurisdictions, and the public policy exception under Article V.
- USD$100million ICC Arbitration regarding rights and liabilities under a joint venture agreement.
- ICSID dispute representing a European investor seeking compensation for alleged treaty breaches by a West African state.
- ICC arbitration under Swiss law regarding rights under a business consultancy agreement for mobile telephone communications in Iran.
- ICC arbitration regarding a hotel management agreement between a government-owned subsidiary and a major hotel chain in the Caribbean.
- Sale of Goods dispute under Cayman law involving the sale of scrap metal in a tri-partite agreement between a Hong Kong and Cayman company and a Caribbean Government.
- Advised on rights and limitations of liability under an agreement for the sale of aircraft to a national carrier, advising on whether quality defects in supplied aircraft allowed for termination and also on a limitation of liability clause under the sale agreement.
- Advised on a number of disputes regarding sale of property in the Middle East and issues arising regarding termination, LAD’s, rights of forfeiture and choice of law including the application and construction of the UAE Civil Code and DIFC Law in Dubai.