Litigation and things

International Construction Law Conference

Last month (24 September 2012) London hosted a major International ConstructionLaw Conference at The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), it was a joint bash, between the Society of Construction Law, TeCSA and TECBAR.  Many of you will remember the IET building on Savoy Hill as the HQ of the IEE.  It has a magnificent historic lecture theatre which was the centre piece of the action with its original Cuban mahogany with carvings of the great and good from the electrical world such as Michael Faraday, Baron Kelvin, Ampère, Ferranti and Alexander Graham Bell.  It was the glitterati of the law that had their say this time and construction lawyers in particular.

The event was attended by The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, by the President of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger, by the Master of the Rolls, Lord Dyson, Sir Antony May and Lord Justice Jackson now famous for his forthcoming changes to come to civil procedure and…all the London TCC Judges to name but a few who spoke. In fact judicially the current and past three Judges in charge of the TCC back to 1999 attended the event.

Active panel sessions from top lawyers around the world featured on four key areas, procurement from the perspective of what does the client want from the tribunal when challenging procurement outcomes -chaired by Mr Justice Coulson it featured lawyers and an international contractor perspective;International Advocacy chaired by Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC, Chair of TECBAR. This session went into the inner machinations of the process of effective advocacy, and witness examination. It debated the pros and cons of the adversarial and inquisitorial systems. Then a session on International Arbitration Tribunals chaired by Mr Justice Akenhead which included a fascinating debate about the conduct of construction arbitrations around the world, the importance of the choice of tribunal and the differences in approach between arbitrators from different disciplines and different cultural backgrounds; last but by no means least a spot on delay analysis – East meets West - chaired by Mr Justice Ramsey in which the death knell of the delay analyst was postulated and shot at, what fun and views from Australia to Blighty and in between, more South meets North in fact. The caliber of speaker and debate was nothing short of outstanding.

The conference included a fine Champagne reception at the Rolls Building – the new Court centre housing London’s TCC and where all the senior specialist judges who decide high value construction, business, financial and property disputes are working from a single building. The evening fittingly concluded with a splendid dinner in the Great Hall of the Royal Courts of Justice, a place that suffered its own construction delays in the 1880s!

Why do it you might ask? Well because London is the global leader in commercial dispute resolution, and is entitled to crow once in a while whether for the purpose of litigation or for dispute resolution through arbitration or mediation.English judgments are easily enforceable, not simply within the EU but also in most parts of the world, even when there are no reciprocal enforcement arrangements. Our judges have reputations for excellence, robustness, integrity and yes honesty.In general, newly-appointed judges in England have had 30 years’ experience as practitioners, arguing cases of the variety that they will now have to resolve judicially, which is why our TCC judges are so highly reputed. They are unlikely to be taken in by meagre arguments, however attractive they may appear on the surface. They know a thing or two about bonding, retention, tensile forces and checkerplate.

Also with more than 200 foreign law firms now in London it is an international legal destination par excellence.

The Rolls Building is the latest court to be constructed in the City. As a centre of excellence, it is truly 21 Century in its facilities and it now takes its place alongside another of the City’s world-famous seats of justice - the Old Bailey. It has already graced many international cases such as Berezovsky v Abramovich.

Londonalso has more international and commercial arbitrations than in any other city in the world. Ninety per cent of commercial cases handled by London law firms now involve an international party.

In England, there are now hundreds of mediators experienced in all types of disputes, both domestic and international, and construction and energy mediations are London centric too.

Flanking the many specialist solicitors and barristers who practise in London, there of course many renowned and experienced experts in all the fields in which disputes arise, including consulting engineers, mechanical and civil engineers, forensic accountants, scientists from every discipline, oil and gas technologists, specialists in computer hardware and software and yes, those delay experts.

Then of course barristers provide the vital advocacy service essential to success in arbitration and litigation, as well as a specialist advisory and case preparation services.

So that was why, we gathered a few hundred people from this industry and shared what we could do with clients, consultants, researchers, students and well you.

Witness Expert Course - 11 October 2012

We remind all TeCSA members and Adjudicators of the great opportunity to take part in a one day training session we have organised with Arup on 11th October 2012, titled ‘Delivering Better Expert Witness Performance’.  CLICK HERE for the course flyer.   

This unique one day session brings both expert witnesses and legal professionals together, providing the opportunity for solicitors to learn how to better instruct an expert witness, and to improve experts’ understanding of the requirements of legal professionals giving expert opinion evidence. The event will include interactive sessions with a focus on: 

-  Civil procedure, CPR Part 35, expert meetings and reports

-  ‘Better’ expert instruction and latest case law

-  Courtroom techniques

-  Common issues including payment, duties absent proceedings, expert combined with remedial design commissions 

This is huge value to all those who use experts in cases and who profess to be competent to give expert opinion evidence to tribunals.

You will also hear about court expectations from our keynote speaker, the Honourable Mr Justice Akenhead, Judge in Charge of the Technology and Construction Court. 

As many of you know the courts are not shrinking violets when it comes to issues with poor expert witnesses.

For more information or to reserve places at the event, please contact our organiser on


Adjudication Conference - 15 November 2012

The TeCSA conference in London on 15 November is dedicated to the legal and procedural landscape of Adjudication, the current version of the TeCSA Adjudication Rules and changes to the legislation now in force.

The conference will provide an update on the law and changes in our training of adjudicators brought in last year.

Cost:  Free to fully paid up TeCSA Adjudicator Panel Members & £50 for all others - no VAT applies.

RSVP:  Caroline O’Connor -

CLICK HERE for more information. 

International Construction Law Conference

 TCC International Construction Law Conference is to be held on 24 September 2012 in London. Details can be  can be downloaded here:

The conference, organised jointly by SCL, TeCSA and TECBAR in conjunction with The Technology and Construction Court features a unique gathering of international construction law professionals commemorating the opening on the specialist courts complex at The Rolls Building in London. Highlights includes sessions chaired by TCC judges, a conference session run by US and Canadian professionals, a drinks reception attended by the Lord Mayor of London and a Conference Dinner at RCJ.

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