“doyen of his area”
a “great advocate,”
“He’s the man you go to if you have a difficult case; he will always come up with an innovative solution and he won’t give up, even on the difficult points.”
Chambers & Partners Asia-Pacific 2020
Paul Darling OBE QC has established a formidable reputation as an advocate in all types and levels of tribunals all over the world. He specialises in complex cases which feature multiple parties, large teams, and high volumes of material, and is often brought in by clients at short notice, late in proceedings. An ability to work with colleagues from any jurisdiction, and to grasp detail, strategy, and tactics quickly has allowed Paul to develop a practice which has taken him to every major jurisdiction, appearing in a wide variety of construction, energy, and commercial matters. Adaptability and focus have contributed to Paul’s reputation as a gamechanger, brought in to direct some of the construction and commercial world’s most difficult cases. Paul has represented diverse clients in tribunals such as the Commercial Court, the Technology and Construction Court, and the Court of Appeal in London, the High Court and the Supreme Court in Dublin, the High Court in Northern Ireland and Arbitration Tribunals globally. Since the early 1990s he has conducted many arbitrations in Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Middle East. He has acted in ICC, LCIA HKIAC, SIAC and DIAC Arbitrations.
Paul is also called to the Northern Ireland Bar (2004).
Paul’s work has covered the full range of construction and engineering cases and topics in all forums (whether court, arbitration, adjudication or expert determination), all round the world, though of course, at different phases, different types of cases have predominated.
Set out below are examples of the areas in which Paul has recently worked and the reported decisions in which he has appeared.
Paul’s adjudication work has been wide and varied. He is regularly involved in Adjudications representing a party.
Paul has drafted adjudication documents, advised adjudicators, advised parties for the benefit of adjudicators and appeared at adjudication meetings and hearings. Some of those have involved submissions – some cross-examination.
He has been involved in advising and appearing in many court proceedings about adjudication.
His largest enforcement proceedings was a 8 day trial of enforcement proceedings in CIB v Birse. Paul’s work has involved the full range of issues from jurisdiction to enforcement via the time limit for delivering decisions and setting off against awards.
He has sat as an Adjudicator many times and is on the TECBAR Panel.
His cases include:
Paul has done many cases which would be described as “commercial”, some of which are about Sale of Goods.
The two Sale of Goods cases that he focused on are Clegg v Andersson in the Court of Appeal, in England and the Pyrite litigation in Ireland in the High Court and Supreme Court in Ireland.
Clegg was about an allegedly unsatisfactory yacht which the owner purported to reject over six months after he took delivery of it.
The Pyrite litigation in Ireland involved consideration of the Irish Sale of Goods Act (similar but not identical to the English version) and as to what was meant by merchantable quality and fitness for purpose.
He has appeared in two reported cases about the remuneration of foreign exchange dealers, one of which went to the Court of Appeal.
Paul has done cases about generators and whether they were satisfactory or fit for their purpose.
He has also done many cases about bonds and guarantees.
Examples of reported cases are:
Paul has conducted many cases, both on behalf of claimants and defendants in professional negligence cases. Most of them were “building cases”. Some were claims against engineers and architects in respect of defects or other construction problems. Some were claims against architects and project managers for failing to administer contracts properly. Some were against quantity surveyors and other construction professionals for negligent valuation.
Two highlighted cases are; The Rossory Quay litigation in Northern Ireland involving defective low and transfer platforms. This is one of the first cases in which the effect of a duty of care deeds and collateral warranties were considered. It was essentially a claim against an engineer for negligently recommending a proprietary ground treatment system. The second, was the Hills Road litigation variously known as McAlpine v Panatown, McAlpine v Unex, McAlpine v UIPL where he represented Alfred McAlpine. The final part of that case involved McAlpine and UNEX seeking to enforce duty of care deeds about negligence against each other and in McAlpine’s case against 36 defendants. This involved the full gamut of issues that any professional negligence mega dispute gives rise to.
Reported cases include:
Many of Paul’s cases over the years have been arbitrations, both domestic and international, some as Counsel and occasionally as Arbitrator.
He has also done a number of cases about practice and procedure in arbitration. They include:
Reported cases include:
Paul has done a number of cases about EU Procurement. The two cases set out below are the best known. The first concerned the propriety of the tender process for the delivery of food to the entirety of the British Army. The second related to the legality of a tender for the provision of legal services and in particular the relevance of a power to vary or amend the contract.
Paul has a considerable interest in Health and Safety in the public sector, having been Chairman of the Sports Ground safety Authority, the body set up after Hillsborough to prevent recurrence of that disaster. In that capacity he has considered and managed risk based regulation and disaster prevention in the public sector at the highest levels and providing advice to Ministers. His work covered design and construction of stadia and other structures and safety management generally. The SGSA was the authority responsible for licensing stadia and the contents of Safety Certificates. It was responsible for reviewing the contents of Safety Certificates issued by Local Authorities. He liaised extensively with all integrated groups including spectators. His experience involved issues of fire safety and management.
This follows on from his appearance as counsel for the Engineers at the Public Inquiry into the deaths caused by legionnaires disease at the Stafford Hospital. The inquiry set up after the death of 39 people from legionella considered all aspects of design construction and management of the hospital.
Paul represented a quarry owner in the Pyrite litigation in Dublin. In the High Court in Dublin, a building contractor sued the quarry owner for supplying material containing pyrite which was said to have expanded and damaged the structures under which it was placed. The case went on appeal to the Supreme Court. The trial occupied 60 days and the hearing in the Supreme Court, 5 days. The issues included whether the cause of damage to the building was defective design and construction or the expansion of pyrite, whether the pyrite in fact expanded, whether there were breaches of the Sale of Goods Act about merchantable quality and fitness for purpose, whether contractual terms applied and whether there were limitations on liability. Paul appeared in the Court of Appeal in Belfast on an appeal about the notice provisions under
the NEC 3 Variation Clauses.
One of Paul’s first ever energy cases was the arbitration between Motherwell Bridge v Highland Fabricators about the Hutton Tension Leg Platform, which focussed on welding and fabrication issues.
Many of his cases have been about the design, construction and operation of power plants and FPSOS.
Many other instructions have been about the full gamut of issues about mines and mining, both deep surface and opencast.
He has done cases about welding and corrosion, some in pipelines and some in other types of structures.
A number of Paul’s cases have involved Windfarms. Some were contractual claims about their construction and others to do with defects in them.
He has also conducted a very long and heavy case in the Chancery Division about nuclear reprocessing at Windscale.
Examples of reported cases are:
Paul has advised on and conducted many cases and disputes in the sports law area. The areas where he has acted include:
His sports work has also meant that he has advised on many cases about sports ground and stadia. Some are referred to in his section on Construction. He was involved in disputes about the National Stadium in Wales, Wembley, Aintree Racecourse, Sunderland Football Ground (the Stadium of Light), Newcastle United (St. James Park) and Leicester City.
This, in part, was why he applied to be Chairman of what was then called the Football Licensing Authority and, is now called, the Sports Ground Safety Authority.
He has particular expertise in the Green Guide and Multi-Use Stadia.
“He is pragmatic, reliable and a massive presence.” “Tenacious, a good advocate and tough in any case that you give to him.”
Construction, Chambers UK 2016
“He is extremely good, very practical and very down to earth”…”As a QC he just commands enormous gravitas and the very best respect for his advice and opinions.”
Construction, Chambers Global 2016
“As always, Paul’s advice is commercial, he is responsive and he turns the advice around quickly.” “A larger-than-life character coupled with a fearsome intellect.
International Arbitration, Chambers UK 2016
“He has a very bright and analytical mind and remains one of the leading advocates – very impressive on his feet.”
Professional Negligence, Chambers UK 2016