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Robert Akenhead Portrait

Sir Robert Akenhead

Arbitrator, Adjudicator & Mediator

Sir Robert Akenhead was in full-time international practice as junior, from 1972 until 2007 and from 1989 as leading counsel, at Atkin Chambers based in London. During that period he also developed an international ADR practice as arbitrator, mediator and DRB board member, accepting appointments in London, Dubai and Pakistan under the International Chamber of Commerce Rules, UNCITRAL Rules and LCIA Rules.

In October 2007 Sir Robert was appointed High Court Judge sitting in the Technology and Construction Court in London and from 2010 – 2013 was Judge in Charge of the Technology and Construction Court. Some of his well- known judgments were Walter Lilly & Company Ltd v Mackay & Anor [2012] (delays, loss and expense and defects) and Obrascon Huarte Lain SA v Her Majesty’s Attorney General for Gibraltar [2014] (unforeseen ground conditions and termination).

Retiring from the Bench in December 2015, Sir Robert has returned to being an arbitrator, mediator, adjudicator, DRB member and adjudicator, involved in disputes both in London and around the world.

He is an editor of the Building Law Reports.


Sir Robert has sat as arbitrator in cases over the following disputes (amongst others):

  • A case about the design and construction of a magnesium oxide plant in the Middle East (Chairman) ICC, London seat;
  • Construction of a steel manufacturing plant located in the Middle East (Co-arbitrator) ICC, London seat;
  • Insurance claim resulting from a fire to a luxury hotel in Africa (Chairman) Tanzania;
  • Delays in the construction of a power station in UK (Ad hoc) Insurance claim resulting from a fire during the construction of a hotel in the UK (Ad hoc);
  • Disputes about defective welding in oil refinery in Kazakhstan (LCIA arbitration);
  • Disputes relating to oil pipeline dispute Middle East – ICC arbitration;
  • Mining infrastructure disputes – SIAC arbitration in Singapore (Chairman);
  • Insurance disputes in England – LCIA sole arbitrator.

Dispute Board

Delays in the construction of a hydro-power plant located in South Asia (DRB Chairman).


Sir Robert has given decisions on a number of matters ranging from the construction of a nuclear power plant in the UK through to the interpretation of building contracts.


Sir Robert has successfully mediated a number of disputes ranging from defects to a hotel in the UK through to a combined-cycle power plant in Africa.

Expert Determination

Sir Robert has acted as an expert determining a PFI financial adjustment dispute.