Stuart Catchpole QC is recognised as one of the leading advocates at the modern Bar, both internationally and in the UK. He has been consistently identified in the domestic and international legal directories as one of the best dispute lawyers in a variety of different fields including energy & natural resources, international commercial arbitration, construction & engineering, insurance and professional negligence. He is a Fellow of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Notre Dame University, Sydney, Australia.
Stuart has a proven track record of exceptional intellectual and analytical ability, leadership, decisiveness, hard work and excellent judgement; all of which is underpinned by an ability rapidly both to assimilate large quantities of information and quickly to gain a detailed understanding of new (and usually highly complex) legal, technical, commercial and factual situations. He is a formidable and highly persuasive advocate who can simplify and explain the most complex issues to a Tribunal. He has a well-deserved reputation as being highly effective in cross-examination, particularly of experts. Clients appreciate the fact that he takes ownership of their problem at an early stage, understands the bigger picture and gives clear advice based on a thorough review of the relevant material. He is user-friendly and is very much the type of advocate who, where appropriate, prefers to work from the client’s offices, as part of an integrated team since this is, in his experience, the way in which the best results are usually achieved.
The foregoing is reflected in the quotes set out at the beginning of this CV. A more detailed selection quotes from the Chambers & Partners’ Directories (UK Bar, Asia Pacific, and Global) and The Legal 500 from 2016 to 2022 has been set out below. The feedback that the Directories’ independent researchers have consistently received from clients and professional opponents over many years speaks for itself.
The majority of Stuart’s practice involves and has always involved substantial and complex litigation, arbitrations or mediations principally concentrated in the construction, engineering, mining, energy (mainly power generation, oil and gas, LNG and renewables) and infrastructure sectors, together with related areas such as shipbuilding (generally fixed production platforms, FPSOs and Semi-Submersible Drilling rigs), insurance / reinsurance and commercial disputes (again mainly connected to the principal areas of his practice).
Stuart Catchpole is a foreign resident member of Atkin Chambers and practices from Jersey.
As one would expect for an international practitioner, Stuart has extensive experience of all of the major UK domestic and international standard forms of contract and of arbitral rules and institutions worldwide. In the last few years, for example, these have included substantial international arbitrations conducted under the rules of ADCAC, DIAC, HKIAC, ICC, KLRCA, LCIA, LMAA, SIAC, the Swiss Chamber and UNCITRAL. Over a similar period, he has acted either as Counsel or Arbitrator in disputes where the relevant contracts were governed by or subject (wholly or partly) to the laws of Australia, Abu Dhabi, Azerbaijan, Chile, Dubai, France, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jersey, Jordan, Malaysia, the Maldives, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, Switzerland, and Turkey as well as England & Wales.
Although the majority of Stuart’s practice involves substantial and complex international private law disputes, particularly in Asia, Australia and the Middle East, he has also acted in a wide range of public law, public procurement, public international law, regulatory, environmental and health & safety matters, extradition and public international law cases. This work has been undertaken mainly for central governments or other public authorities (both in the UK and internationally), including acting in a variety of sensitive cases involving national security issues. He has also been involved in various public inquiries in the UK (including the Hillsborough Inquiry, the BSE Inquiry, one of the Inquiries into the Foot and Mouth crisis, and as adviser to various UK Government agencies in relation to civilian deaths during the Troubles in Northern Ireland and the Grenfell Tower Inquiry).
Stuart has advised and acted on behalf of clients in relation to nearly all forms of dispute resolution procedures. In addition to acting as Counsel, he acts as an international arbitrator and mediator, although he limits the number of appointments that he accepts to ensure that the majority of his work is as Counsel. As noted above, he is a Fellow of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration. Most of Stuart’s domestic cases and a proportion of his international cases involve mediations, early neutral evaluations, dispute boards or some other form of ADR. Stuart is a CEDR-qualified mediator and a TecBar-qualified adjudicator. Prior to moving to Jersey from London in 2012, Stuart sat as Deputy High Court Judge (in both the Administrative Court and Queen’s Bench Division), a Crown Court Recorder (in criminal cases) and was a part-time member of the Proscribed Organisations Appeals Commission which hears appeals against the designation by the UK of organisations as terrorist organisations. He is currently one of the two Deputy Chairmen of the States of Jersey Complaints Panel (the equivalent of the Ombudsman) and, until December 2019, was a trustee of a substantial charity, Jersey Hospice Care, which provides end of life care to terminally ill patients.
Stuart was one of six silks shortlisted for Barrister of the Year at ‘The Lawyer’ Awards 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012. He was awarded the Construction Silk of the Year 2008 at the Chambers & Partners Awards and was one of three silks shortlisted for the same Award in 2006, 2009 and 2010. He was one of three silks shortlisted for the International Arbitration Silk of the Year 2016 at the Chambers & Partners Awards. Chambers & Partners also included him in the “Chambers 100”, a list of the top 100 Silks practising at the Bar across all practice areas.
Visiting Fellow, Durham Law School, The University of Durham: 2021
Adjunct Professor of Law, Notre Dame University, Sydney, Australia: 2020
Fellow of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration: 2020
Trustee of Jersey Hospice Care: 2015
Deputy Chairman, States of Jersey Complaints Panel: 2014 States of Jersey Complaints Panel: 2013
Deputy High Court Judge (England & Wales): 2010
Governing Barrister Bencher of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple: 2008
Crown Court Recorder: 2004
Queen’s Counsel: 2002
Part-time Legal Member of the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission (one of 5 in the UK) to hear appeals under the UK Terrorism Act 2000: 2001
Attorney-General A Panel: 1999 Attorney-General B Panel: 1998
Treasury Supplemental Panel (Common Law): 1992
The Administrative Law Bar Association
The International Bar Association
The London Commercial & Common Law Bar Association
The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
The Technology & Construction Bar Association
The Commercial Bar Association
TECBAR Accredited Adjudicator: 2007
CEDR Accredited Mediator: 2002
Inner Temple Examination Scholarship: 1988 Maxwell Law Prize: 1986
BA Hons (Dunelm), Law, First Class (ranked 1st in year): 1986 Durham University: 1983-1986
Colchester Royal Grammar School: 1975-1982
The following are a selection of the quotes from clients as reported in, principally, the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners Bar (UK, Asia and Global) directories in the last few years. A full list, with relevant sources, can be provided on request:
“Truly a star of the Construction Bar.”
“He’s one of the top of the list for advocacy.”
“The silk of choice for heavyweight disputes. He’s a great team player, commits to the case and prepares thoroughly. His forte is cross-examination, and he’s outstanding at it.”
“Stuart is a phenomenally skilful barrister, with an exceptional ability both to seize the high-level points in a given dispute and to capture the most granular details in issue. He is relentlessly commercial in his approach, combined with a remarkable ability to persuade, at both the level of the client and the tribunal. He is one of the finest barristers of his generation.”
“He has an assured advocacy style.” “He is absolutely brilliant and very hard-working.”
“An outstanding advocate, probably the best cross-examiner in the energy field, his preparation is always outstanding and his work ethic is ferocious.”
“Tremendously intelligent and with exceptional judgement; Stuart is always able to see the wider picture, and to anticipate the court’s reaction to any line of argument. He is legally knowledgeable, his ability to master technical issues is nothing short of awe-inspiring, he is tremendously collegiate, and he always utterly masters his brief. Lay and professional clients absolutely love him – and with good reason.”
“Masterful construction silk extolled for his courtroom presence and intellectual prowess. He has a renowned domestic practice and is widely respected for his international arbitration work.”
“Decisive, authoritative and excellent with clients.” “If I had a bet-the-farm case, I’d go to Stuart Catchpole QC.” “A master cross-examiner.”
“He’s very good at pressing clients and shaking the tree before getting to the hearing.”
“Extremely capable, charming and a tough advocate.” “He is top drawer, and a very reasonable and measured advocate who is very thorough and detail-hungry.”
“Stuart understands the commercial and technical details of construction matters. He knows how construction projects proceed and is able to home in on the issues to get to the bottom of a matter. He is personable, easy to work with and incredibly hard-working.”
“…a star of the London construction Bar and “a go-to for complicated international arbitration” in the construction and infrastructure sphere across Asia generally.”
“He is a fearsome cross-examiner and a huge intellect. His ability to work as part of the large teams of lawyers also stands him out as one of the very best.” “He is very bright and analytical, a great strategist and a formidable presence in court. He combines a superb understanding of the law with a very commercial approach.”
“One of the premier construction silks at the bar, he is diligent and personable with deep commitment to achieving the best result.”
“Unbelievably hardworking and thorough, he leaves no stone unturned in finding solutions to complex issues and exceptionally well prepared for hearings.”
“He’s an advocate that the judge wants to hear from because his views are respected. He is also very meticulous.”
“Stuart Catchpole QC of 39 Essex Chambers enjoys an enviable reputation, both as one of London’s “top construction silks” and as one with “a well-deserved reputation around the world and a lot of work in Asia generally and the Far East in particular.”
“Masterful silk extolled for his courtroom presence and intellectual prowess”
“A pre-eminent silk who is renowned for his expertise in international arbitration, specialising in construction and engineering disputes but also covering cases arising in the transport, power generation and energy industries. He provides robust representation in arbitrations under the auspices of the LMAA, ICC and the LCIA. He is also highly regarded as an arbitrator.”
“Astonishingly quick and hard-working.” “Intelligent and pragmatic.”
“An outstanding barrister who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law and has the confidence of the court.”
“He is a fearsome cross-examiner and a huge intellect. His ability to work as part of the large teams of lawyers also stands him out as one of the very best.”
“He is very bright and analytical, a great strategist and a formidable presence in court. He combines a superb understanding of the law with a very commercial approach.”
“He has a good style of submissions and is incredibly persuasive.”
“He is a top choice for complicated and high-value claims.” “He is a forceful and great advocate in hard cases.” “he can change cases.”
“Very bright, analytical, a great strategist and a formidable presence in court. He combines a superb understanding of the law with a very commercial approach.”
“Fearsomely intelligent and incisive. Most impressive.”
“Perennially popular with peers, who extol his creativity and charming temperament” “Has a very, very inventive mind. He’s totally on the ball and extremely nice with it.” “Very tenacious, very hard working and very likeable. Judges warm to him.”
“A brilliant cross-examiner.”
‘He commands immense respect as ‘one of the pre-eminent practitioners” in the arbitration of construction and engineering disputes, where he frequently appears in cases arising in Asian jurisdictions’
“excellent presentation skills, one source calling him a ‘superb cross-examiner’.” “A pre-eminent counsel in the international arbitration field.”
“He has a huge capacity for detail and is a cross-examiner par excellence.’”
“One of the top three construction silks in the world and an outstanding advocate” ‘An “outstanding fellow in every respect”’
“He’s a devastating advocate and a fantastic cross-examiner, particularly of experts.” “A brilliant advocate and cross-examiner with an amazing command of the law.”
“As good as it gets for construction and infrastructure disputes.” “Exceptional – the overall package and the best around.”
“An excellent forensic mind and a formidable presence in any negotiations.”
“He has an unrivalled ability to work with instructing solicitors and clients as part of an integrated team.”
“He’s very intelligent, very hard-working and very commercial. A good tactician and strategist, he’s very good at getting the tribunal on his wavelength. In addition to being highly intelligent, he’s also very easy to work with and he’s a good team player.”