“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.
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:
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.
“Excellent cross-examiner” Chambers & Partners
“An excellent advocate” Chambers & Partners
“A construction heavyweight.” Chambers & Partners; “A fantastically energising presence; as good as it gets for infrastructure disputes” Legal 500 2015
“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
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:
“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”
“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.”
“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”
“Quickly understands the detail in complex cases.”’
“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”
“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”
“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.”
“simply the best…so thorough it’s frightening”
“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”