Stuart Catchpole QC *

Year of call:
1987
Silk:
2002
Email:
stuart.catchpole@39essex.com

Clerks:
+44 (0)20 7832 1111

“A brilliant advocate and cross-examiner with an amazing command of the law.”
Legal 500 2016

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.

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 three 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 2011 to 2017 has been set out on page 4 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 has appeared as an advocate before a wide range of domestic and international tribunals, (including the House of Lords / Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and different divisions of the High Court in the United Kingdom). Most of the private law cases in which Stuart has been involved since taking silk in 2002 have been international arbitrations, with seats in many different jurisdictions. These have generally involved disputes in relation to the termination of the contractor/consultant’s appointment, allegations of negligent design and/or claims arising out of alleged delays and disruption. A detailed summary list of cases can be provided on request.

As one would expect, 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 three years, for example, these have included substantial international arbitrations conducted under the rules of ADCAC, DIAC, HKIAC, ICC, KLRCA, LCIA, SIAC and the Swiss Chamber. 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 Abu Dhabi, Azerbaijan, Chile, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jersey, Jordan, Malaysia, the Maldives, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Singapore, Scotland, Switzerland and Australia/Western Australia as well as England & Wales.

Although the majority of Stuart’s practice involves substantial and complex international private law disputes, he has also acted in a wide range of public law, public procurement, public international law, regulatory, environmental, health & safety and VAT matters. This work has been undertaken mainly for central governments or other public authorities (both in the UK and internationally). Stuart also had a particular interest in sensitive cases involving national security issues and, for example, acted on behalf of the UK Government in relation to the identification, detention, deportation or extradition of a number of persons suspected of being international terrorists, particularly following 9/11. In addition, he has 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).

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 currently 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. 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 Jersey Complaints Panel (the equivalent of the Ombudsman) and a trustee of a substantial charity, Jersey Hospice Care, which provides end of life care to terminally ill patients.

Public


As noted in the body of the CV, most of the work in this field has historically involved advising or acting on behalf of Government Departments although Stuart also undertakes work for local authorities and applicants.  Full details can be provided on request.   Examples of cases since taking silk include:

  • As noted above, advising a non-UK public authority in relation to claims made against it arising out of a very substantial public procurement project outside the UK.
  • Representing the Secretary of State in various appeals before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission
  • Advising the HSE and the Environment Agency in relation to potential challenges to the exercise of their regulatory powers/duties in connection with the importation of ships from third countries for breaking up in the UK
  • Acting on behalf of the Secretary of State in one of the first cases where Art 1F(c) of the Geneva Convention applied to a person alleged to have been involved in terrorist activities
  • Advising in 5 separate cases in which the extradition of individuals for alleged involvement in terrorist-related offences has been sought by foreign states
  • Advising various prison officers in relation to an investigation by the Commission for Racial Equality into the allegedly racist killing of an inmate at a Young Offender’s Institution
  • Advising a local authority in relation to a complicated public procurement problem
  • Advising the Secretary of State in relation to an appeal to the House of Lords in a case of allegedly wrongful detention (appeal withdrawn before hearing)

Alternative Dispute Resolution


Arbitration, Adjudications and Mediations

“The star of the show on construction and engineering matters” Legal 500

As indicated above, Stuart has extensive arbitration experience involving both domestic and international arbitrations and a variety of arbitral rules including ICC, UNCITRAL and LCIA arbitrations.  In the last two years these have included acting or advising in claims and arbitrations governed by the laws of Dubai, Cyprus, England & Wales, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Jordan and Nigeria.  Stuart is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the ICC and the LCIA.  He is registered at the DIFC.  Most of Stuart’s domestic cases and a proportion of the international cases have involved mediations, early neutral evaluations, dispute boards or some other form of ADR.  Stuart is a CEDR qualified mediator and a TecBar qualified adjudicator.  He has advised and acted on behalf of clients in relation to nearly all forms of dispute resolution procedures. He acts as an arbitrator and mediator and has recently been acting as Arbitrator in a number of international arbitrations.  He also has extensive experience of mediations and domestic (UK) adjudications.  As set out above, he also has considerable judicial experience in the UK.

Commercial


Excellent cross-examiner” Chambers & Partners

  • Acting on behalf of a contractor in a dispute relating to the generation of electricity from landfill gas
  • Advising in connection with the restructuring of a large PFI project
  • Advising insurers in relation to coverage disputes with various insureds for defective works
  • Advising insurers in relation to complaints that had been referred to the Financial Services Ombudsman
  • Advising a large developer in relation to the CITB levy
  • Advising a joint venture partner in relation to disputes arising from a substantial proposed development in the UK
  • Acting on behalf of a water utility company who were sued for breach of statutory duty, nuisance and negligence following the raising of a substantial dam following the substantial economic losses allegedly inflicted on a business depended on the water supply from the river downstream of that dam
  • Acting on behalf of Underwriters in claims arising out of the collapse of a nationwide scheme for ‘after the event’ legal expenses insurance
  • Acting on behalf of the owners of commercial property affected by the explosions at the Buncefield Oil Storage Depot in December 2005
  • Acting on behalf of the purchaser of two oil tankers in relation to claims arising out of the purchase and conversion of the tankers into FPSOs
  • Advising the Employer in relation to claims arising out of a very substantial public procurement project outside the UK
  • Acting on behalf of a franchisee in relation to a claim for breach of an exclusive distributorship and servicing agreement relating to the supply of commercial vehicles
  • Acting for a design and build contractor of offshore structures in relation to the successful defence a subrogated claim by an Operator/Employer arising out of allegedly defective subsea equipment on the basis that the contractor was entitled to the benefit of the CAR policy effected by the Operator/Employer
  • Acting on behalf of the insurers who have avoided a professional indemnity policy in relation to a claim brought under the Third Parties (Rights Against Insurers) Act 1930
  • Advising the Provisional Liquidators of the Independent Insurance Company in relation to various claims under policies by an insured train operator for losses following the Hatfield rail disaster and the scheme of safety works that were subsequently implemented
  • Acting on behalf of a manufacturer and supplier of software used for a widespread commercial application in a substantial claim brought by way of arbitration relation to alleged defects in the design of the software
  • Acting in a substantial commercial dispute in relation to the allegedly improper termination of an exclusive distributorship
  • Acting on behalf of a non-UK company in relation to a dispute arising out of the acquisition of a substantial number of infrastructure companies from the UK parent of those companies
  • Acting on behalf of a large firm of accountants in a claim for fees for their services
  • Acting for a substantial distributor of food products in relation to a dispute arising under their distribution agreement with a national retailer
  • Advising on issues of confidentiality in relation to the personal papers of an aide to a deposed former Head of State
  • Advising insurers in relation to policy wording/coverage disputes (often, but not universally, connected with one of the disputes outlined above)
  • Advising insurers on the effect of insurance clauses in standard building contracts on subrogated claims

Insurance


Professional Liability

“An excellent advocate” Chambers & Partners

  •  Acting for the designer of a Onshore Processing Facility in connection with a substantial claim for allegedly negligent design
  • Acting for a specialist design and build contractor in relation to the allegedly negligent design of a Car Park
  • Acting for a Fire Authority in relation to a claim for alleged negligence in fighting a fire at factory premises
  • Acting on behalf of a specialist cladding contractor in relation to alleged negligence in the design and installation of three cladding, curtain walling and glazing systems
  • Acting on behalf of a developer in a substantial claim against a firm of quantity surveyors for alleged negligence in advising as to the projected cost of a substantial refurbishment and redevelopment project
  • Acting in relation to a claim against the designer of anchors for a mooring system used in connection with an installation in the North Sea
  • Acting on behalf of a firm of engineers in relation to claims arising out of the design and construction of a leisure centre
  • As noted above acting on behalf of a firm of Consulting Engineers in relation to alleged negligence in the design of railway tunnel
  • Acting on behalf of a non-UK law firm in relation to a substantial claim brought against it for negligence in connection with the acquisition of various trading companies and the benefits of various Joint Venture agreements
  • Acting on behalf of Consulting Engineers in relation to a substantial claim for alleged negligence in designing and supervising the construction of a bridge and associated construction work
  • As noted above, acting in two different claims against software companies where one of the main claims raised was an allegation of professional negligence in the development of the software products in question
  • As noted above, acting on behalf of a main contractor in relation to a substantial claim for, inter alia, the negligent design of piles on an industrial site by the piling sub-contractor and a Consulting Engineer
  • As noted above, acting on behalf of a design and build contractor in a three-handed domestic arbitration relating to the design and construction of a sewage treatment plant including in a claim against the Consulting Engineers for negligent design of the plant
  • Acting on behalf of two international law firms in relation to claims made outside the UK arising out of the allegedly negligent drafting of power generation contracts for projects in the Far East

Infrastructure


“A construction heavyweight.” Chambers & Partners; “A fantastically energising presence; as good as it gets for infrastructure disputes” Legal 500 2015

  • Acting for an Asian contractor in relation to a large infrastructure project in Africa
  • Acting for the designer of an Onshore Processing Facility in a substantial claim for allegedly negligent design
  • Acting for the Employer in relation to substantial disputes arising out of the construction of an airport
  • Acting in a substantial arbitration in Hong Kong arising out of an infrastructure contract
  • Acting for a contractor in relation to substantial claims against an Employer arising out of an infrastructure repair and maintenance contract
  • Acting for a large engineering consultancy in relation to claims of allegedly negligent design in relation to railway infrastructure
  • Acting for a main contractor in a dispute relating to the maintenance and repair of railway infrastructure
  • Acting on behalf of a contractor in relation to a substantial road-widening scheme
  • Acting for the contractor and insurers in relation to a claim arising out of the defects in a design of a car park at a large retail shopping complex
  • Acting for a contractor in relation to substantial claims following the termination of a number of substantial construction and infrastructure projects
  • Acting for a contractor in a substantial claim against it for the allegedly negligent design of cladding and curtain wall systems
  • Advising and acting for a contractor in relation to various disputes arising out of a large PPP infrastructure project in the UK
  • Advising in relation to various claims and disputes arising out of the dredging and construction of new port facilities
  • Acting for a contractor in an international arbitration about the design and supply of gas compressors at various oil gathering centres
  • Acting for a contractor in an international arbitration concerning the design and installation of a gas turbine power generation plant
  • Acting in an ICC arbitration concerning claims arising out of the design, construction and procurement of offshore facilities
  • Acting for a contractor in a claim arising out of the refitting of a nylon plant
  • Acting for an Employer in an arbitration concerning claims arising out of the design and construction of railway infrastructure and tunnels
  • Acting in an arbitration in Dubai in relation to a substantial civil engineering claim arising out of an infrastructure project
  • Acting in three different arbitrations for the owners and operators of various open cast mines in respect of substantial claims made by the Contractors that had worked the mines in question
  • Acting on behalf of a main contractor in relation to a substantial claim for the negligent design and/or construction of piles on an industrial site by the piling sub-contractor and a Consulting Engineer
  • Acting on behalf of a firm of Consulting Engineers in relation to alleged negligence in the design of railway tunnel
  • Acting on behalf of a design and build contractor in a three-handed domestic arbitration relating to the design and construction of a sewage treatment plant
  • Acting on behalf of a joint venture in relation to potential claims against their consultants arising out of the alleged negligent design of various parts of a design and build contract for the construction of a road together with related infrastructure

Energy


“A scarily bright man. He gets on board with matters quickly, understands the issues and has a very good tactical understanding of how to run a case.” Chambers & Partners

“His mastery of the most minute detail makes him a superb cross-examiner of experts.” Legal 500 2015

  • Acting in relation to two separate arbitrations arising out of the construction of an major oil pipe line
  • Acting for a contractor in relation to a dispute with the Employer consortium in relation to the design and construction of a gas pipeline and facilities in West Africa.
  • Acting on behalf of a State-owned operating company in relation to a substantial dispute relating to the design and build of an oil pipeline [Confidential]
  • Acting for an Employer in relation to potential claims by and against it relating to the design, procurement and construction of an offshore production platform
  • Acting on behalf of a design and build Contractor in respect of various claims in relation to the design and construction of an FPSO for use in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea
  • Acting on behalf of a Contractor in respect of claims for extensions of time, variations and loss and expense in relation to the construction of an FPSO for use in the North Sea

Recommendations


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:

2016/2017:

“one of the top three construction silks in the world and an outstanding advocate”

‘An “outstanding fellow in every respect”’

“Masterful silk extolled for his courtroom presence and intellectual prowess”

“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.”

2015

“The star of the show on construction and engineering matters.”

“He is a force of nature. His ability to get on top of hugely complicated and technical material in no time at all is hugely impressive.”

“Frighteningly clever and a very hard worker who has the ability to run rings around the opposition’s QC and their experts.”

“Thorough and user-friendly, he is a very clever man. He has a great way with clients and he will have thought of 15,000 things you won’t have.”

“A very impressive performer.”

“He’s very client-friendly and really understands the commercial needs of the client.”

“An excellent advocate”

“Excellent cross-examiner”

“Quickly understands the detail in complex cases.”’

2014

“Top silk”

“simply excellent”

“He’s a highly talented advocate.”

“a street fighter with a fine touch”

“A scarily bright man. He gets on board with matters quickly, understands the issues and has a very good tactical understanding of how to run a case.”

“He’s phenomenally hard-working, and comes up with a strategy very quickly.”

“He has an amazing ability to make clients feel at ease, an impressive work ethic and the ability to swing a case in your favour with his powerful and technically superb arguments.”

“Extremely bright, he’s very hard-working and unbelievably thorough.”

“A construction heavyweight who tends to be extremely busy throughout the year. If you can get him, he’s great to have on your side.”

“pleasure to work with”

“extremely diligent in getting to know the detail of complex cases”

“works fantastically well as a member of a large team”

2013:

“Superb”

“A name that is universally revered by all who know him”

“His advice is always brilliant, and he understands the bigger picture much better than other barristers”

“Has an excellent reputation for his ‘devastating cross-examination of experts’ and ‘staggering ability to understand complex technical issues’”

“a fine legal mind and a strong strategic sense”

“He is able to grasp key the facts and surrounding details of a matter very quickly and distil them into a persuasive argument, and he commits fully to the case so that clients fell he is fully on their side”

“Undoubtedly the go-to QC in Construction right now”

“A devastating cross examiner”

“He will not give up”

“He is definitely someone you want on your side”

“a fine legal mind combined with great tactical acumen”

“He simplifies the most complex of issues”

2012:

“exceptionally talented and masterful in his contractual analysis”

“wonderful on his feet, clear minded and practical when preparing”

“firmly amongst the top construction silks currently at the Bar”  

“one of the driving forces behind the Bar’s increasing international presence”

“one of the best advocates in the UK for construction-related disputes.”

2011:

“Megastar”

“simply the best…so thorough it’s frightening”

“hugely intelligent”

“one of the leading construction silks by a very long way”

“an absolute standout”

“retains the absolute respect of the international arbitration market. Sources are full of praise for this ‘charming man – tribunals like him and he is an incredibly effective performer’”

“extremely hard working and has the ability to cut straight to the key issues and identify the shortest possible route to the answer”

“fantastic leader who really gets on top of the papers. He devotes every minute of his waking life to the case and once in court turns in brilliant performances”

Call +44 (0)20 7832 1111 for more information

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