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Robert Clay Atkin Chambers

Robert Clay

Call 1989

"Extremely thorough, scholarly in his approach and a lawyer who has a lovely way with the clients."

Chambers and Partners

Robert Clay specialises in litigation and arbitration, domestic and international, in the construction, civil engineering, energy, oil and gas sectors. He handles cases for a wide range of clients, including governments, local authorities, main contractors, developers, manufacturers, energy companies, and professional firms.

He has extensive experience in arbitration both domestically and internationally. He is regularly involved in arbitrations in foreign jurisdictions including Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Middle East, and in long running London arbitrations between non UK parties.

He is familiar with all forms of dispute resolution, including mediations (he is an accredited mediator) and expert determinations. He regularly acts in construction adjudications, both before adjudicators and in enforcement and other court proceedings. His practice has included numerous and frequent adjudications since the statute requiring adjudication first came into force.

Robert is recommended in The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners Guide to the Legal Profession as a leading junior in the field of construction.

He is one of the general editors of the 13th edition of Hudson’s Building and Engineering Contracts.


Robert has conducted many complex, long running or high value international commercial disputes for clients in the UK and all over the world, including in Asia and the Middle East. Cases include:

  • Successive High Court proceedings and adjudications arising out of long term PFI contracts for running and upgrading public transport infrastructure.
  • High Court proceedings on whether time for completion of work to Wembley Stadium is ‘at large’, on grounds not previously considered in any English Authorities and acting on the main claim between the same parties. Multiplex v Honeywell [2007] BLR 195


He has broad experience acting for a wide range of clients in disputes arising out of the design and construction of a variety off shore installations all over the world. Examples include acting for:

  • Employers on a $150 million claim for delay and disruption costs in the development of two Middle Eastern offshore gas fields.
  • Employers on $100 million claim and counterclaim arising out of a termination of a contract to build offshore oil facilities in the South China Sea.


Robert’s construction practice requires detailed knowledge of the law relating to professional liability and he regularly acts in cases in the High Court and in arbitration where all issues are essentially issues of professional negligence. In addition to many of the cases mentioned above he acted in the following cases where professional negligence and related areas of the law formed the subject matter of the main claims:

  • English High Court proceedings on the construction of a professional indemnity policy relating to a design/build/operate contract for waste water treatment for an EU city, and the amount recoverable under the policy.
  • Hong Kong arbitration proceedings against an engineer for serious defects in piling for large development in Hong Kong.


In addition to the specialist areas above Robert is regularly instructed on other commercial disputes (often international arbitrations). He also has a well established practice advising and acting for both contractors and public authorities in the area of public procurement. Examples of his work in these areas include:

  • Representing the owners of a specialist vessel in a long running ICC arbitration against a Far Eastern Shipyard for hundreds of millions of dollars in damages arising out of a contractual termination half way through construction of the vessel, and in relation to numerous counterclaims made by the yard.
  • Acting for the House of Commons in relation to a damages claim for breach of EU public procurement provisions. Harmon CFEM Facades (UK) Ltd v The Corporate Officer of the House of Commons (No 2) (2000) 72 ConLR 21