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Steven Walker QC Barrister Atkin Chambers

Steven Walker QC


Silk 2012

“He's intelligent and a hard worker with a great eye for detail. He's a joy to work with."


Chambers and Partners

Steven Walker QC specialises in advising and representing parties to complex commercial contracts relating to a wide range of subject matter including the design and delivery of buildings, oil and gas installations, power generation plant, process and engineering plant, ships, IT systems, telecommunications systems, facilities management and professional services.

Steven has appeared as advocate in the Technology and Construction Court (TCC), the Court of Appeal, numerous arbitrations (including ICC, UNCITRAL, LCIA and LMAA) and adjudications, and in expert determination and mediation. His arbitration experience includes substantial international experience. He is a KLRCA panellist and TECBAR accredited Adjudicator.

“A “very impressive and very clever” advocate, who handles TCC and Court of Appeal cases. He focuses on a diverse range of contractual disputes including those relating to the construction of buildings, oil and gas installations, and ships.” (Construction, Chambers & Partners)

“Very user-friendly and great at analysing the facts. He’s very cool and calm under pressure.” (Construction, Chambers & Partners)

“He is responsive, user-friendly, approachable and quite direct in ensuring he does what needs to be done.” (Energy & Natural Resources, Chambers & Partners)

CONSTRUCTION, ENGINEERING AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Steven is instructed by employers, contractors, sub-contractors, consultants and insurers on all aspects of construction and engineering contracts and claims involving allegations of professional negligence. Recent cases include:

  • Acting for the contractor employed to construct a 101-storey residential skyscraper in Dubai. The case concerned the termination of the cladding subcontractor’s employment during the works. The subcontractor claimed additional payment for alleged extra materials supplied and counter claims for costs due to late delivery and delays arising from the delivery of goods. The sum in dispute was circa GBP20m. Undertook opening submissions, oral advocacy at the arbitration hearing in Dubai and closing submissions post hearing.
  • Acting for the contractor employed to construct a 122-floor 500m+ residential skyscraper in Dubai. The case concerned the contractor’s claims for termination of the contract, payment and loss of profit. The claims were for circa. GBP 200m. Issues included whether there was an entitlement to terminate and the sums due upon termination. Steven appeared at the arbitration hearing in Dubai and prepared closing submissions. The award was in the client’s favour.
  • Representing engineers at trial in the TCC in a claim alleging professional negligence (Goldswain v Beltec [2015] BLR 300).
  • Acting for the contractor in disputes under an NEC Contract relating to the design and construction of an airport runway and navigational aids.
  • Acting for the employer in disputes under an NEC Contract relating to the design and construction of airport facilities.
  • Successfully obtaining injunctions in the TCC to restrain the use of confidential plans pending a claim in arbitration. Drake & Scull entered into a contract with Saudi Arabian Oil Company (“Saudi Aramco”) for the engineering, procurement and construction of the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre being built in Riyadh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Seele agreed with Drake & Scull to produce, supply, deliver and install the façades to several of the buildings which make up the project. The relationship between Seele and Drake & Scull deteriorated and the subcontract was terminated. (Seele v Drake & Scull International).
  • Representing the contractor in a trial in the TCC concerning the lawfulness of the termination of a contract for the design and construction of a LDPE plant (SABIC v Punj Lloyd [2014] BLR 43).
  • Representing the main contractor (Lend Lease) in disputes arising under a target cost contract for the construction of military accommodation (Mi-Space (UK) v Lend Lease [2013] BLR 600).
  • Acting for subcontractors in proceedings in the TCC concerning the termination of a subcontract for the installation of pressure vessels forming part of a bioethanol plant under construction.
  • Acting for subcontractors engaged to fabricate offshore platforms for oil production and processing in connection with disputes relating to payment and quality in arbitration in London under the UNCITRAL rules.

ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES 

  • Acting for a subcontractor in an application under section 44 of the Arbitration Act 1996 to restrain calls being made on performance bonds provided in respect of a contract for the supply of plant for use in a power generation plant in Brazil, (Doosan Babcock v Comercializadora De Equipos Y Materiales Mabe Limitada [2014] BLR 33).
  • Deciding on a number of disputes between the principal contractor and an engineering contractor in relation to the expansion of an LNG import terminal. Appointed to act as adjudicator by agreement of the parties. The disputes concerned the alleged existence of variations, the definition of the Works and the correct method of valuation of variations.
  • Advising and acting for an EPC contractor engaged in the engineering and construction of an onshore plant for the processing of gas from offshore fields. Issues arose as to the operation of the payment provisions of a contract between the EPC contractor and a subcontractor, the assessment of sums due to the subcontractor, the existence and operation of rights of set-off on the part of the EPC contractor and the quantification of sums that might be claimed by way of set-off.
  • Representing the employer in an expert determination arising from the supply and installation of power generation plant.
  • Advising the developer of an offshore wind farm in various disputes concerning access to wind and weather data and pile installation.
  • Acting for the main contractor in relation to a project for the design and construction of a 65MW £200m biomass power plant. The dispute involved proceedings in the TCC relating to 3 adjudication decisions. There followed 3 arbitration proceedings relating to the specific performance of subcontract obligations.
  • Advising and representing the owner of an offshore wind farm (Greater Gabbard) in relation to arbitration proceedings under the LCIA rules. The proceedings concerned issues relating to the contractor’s alleged entitlement to additional payment (c.£300m), extensions of time and liquidated damages (c.£90m).
  • Advising the owner developing an offshore wind farm in relation to issues arising from design modifications to foundation structures.

IT AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Steven is instructed by purchasers and suppliers in numerous cases relating to the provision of advanced technology, either on its own or included as part of package of other works and services. His experience includes the following:

  • Obtaining specific performance of obligations under a contract for the supply of a tram operating system in connection with the extension of the Manchester tram network and representing the employer in relation to disputes arising under that contract (Transport for Greater Manchester v Thales [2012] EWHC 3717 (TCC) 146 Con LR 194).
  • Obtaining an interim injunction on behalf of Talaris BV restraining marketing of computer software which was alleged to be in breach of an exclusive distribution agreement (Talaris BV v Network Controls International [2008] EWHC 2930 (TCC)).
  • Acting for out-sourcing specialists in relation to disputes arising from a long-term outsourcing contract for the provision of (amongst other things) IT and management systems to a public body. Issues included the availability of injunctive relief to restrain the client from exercising termination provisions.

PROFESSIONAL NEGLIGENCE

He has extensive experience in claims involving allegations of professional negligence in the construction sector. Recent examples include Goldswain v Beltec [2015] BLR 300 which involved allegations of professional negligence against a firm of engineers in relation to the design of temporary works for the construction of a basement under existing premises. Steven successfully defended the claim. Other recent cases include:

  • A claim alleging professional negligence against surveyors retained by lenders to advise on a proposed development and to monitor the construction of the development.
  • A claim alleging that quantity surveyors had been negligent in the administration of a target cost contract.