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Hannah McCarthy

“Hannah is brilliant at establishing rapport with both instructing solicitors and with clients. She is unflappable, pragmatic and works tirelessly to achieve the best results." Chambers UK Bar Guide, 2023

Hannah specialises in construction and engineering, energy, and professional negligence, as well as general commercial work. She is regularly instructed by domestic and international clients in Technology and Construction Court (TCC) proceedings as well as arbitration and adjudication. Hannah has substantial experience as junior counsel as well as sole counsel of a wide range of construction, engineering and infrastructure disputes, with particular experience of nuclear and energy matters. She works with FIDIC, NEC3 and JCT standard forms and bespoke contracts, and advises employers, construction professionals, local authorities, as well as private individuals.

Hannah speaks fluent French, in addition to German and Italian, which has helped in developing her international practice. In 2019, she was called to the Bar of Ireland (currently non-practising).

Areas of expertise

Construction and Engineering

Hannah has experience of disputes involving payment issues, defective workmanship as well as delay and disruption claims, and is familiar with standard form contracts used in the construction industry, in particular JCT and NEC contracts. She has additional experience of nuclear-related projects involving design, safety case issues and environmental issues. She also has a growing practice in energy matters, in particular oil and gas-related disputes. Notable cases include working as a junior in multi-million pound complex claims as well as contractual disputes (including arbitration and adjudication), professional negligence issues and statutory claims involving contractors and project designers.

Examples of recent work include:

  • Advisory work for local authorities and construction professionals on cladding issues and fire safety management
  • Acting for a management firm in a dispute arising from a private finance initiative (PFI) contract, including such issues as fire compartmentation, fire safety management and unavailability provisions
  • Acting for a contractor in a claim brought by the developers of a disused power station
  • Acting for a main contractor in delay and disruption claim arising in the course of a multi-million pound infrastructure dispute in East Africa
  • Advisory work for a local authority in respect of a waste treatment disposal plant
  • Acting for a contractor in a multi-million pound gas distribution dispute
  • Acting for the owner in a dispute in respect of glazed window units on a high-rise hotel
  • Advising on complex design and payment issues arising on construction of a residential construction project
  • Advising and acting for homeowners as well as contractors on a range of residential construction matters

Cases of note

  • Keadby Generation Ltd v Promanex (Total FM and Environmental Services) Ltd & Ors [2020] EWHC 2444 (TCC)] - Instructed by the second defendant in a damages claim arising from a fire at a coal-fuelled power plant. 
  • Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust v Three Valleys Healthcare Ltd [_[2018] EWHC 1659 (TCC)] - Instructed by an NHS trust in a contractual dispute in respect of a funders direct agreement. 


Hannah has wide adjudication experience, both as a junior and as sole counsel, and frequently appears in adjudication enforcement proceedings before the TCC. 

  • Acting for an employer in a multi-million pound delay and disruption dispute arising from a construction project at a nuclear site, involving nuclear-related design issues
  • Acting as sole counsel in enforcement of an adjudicator’s award against an off-shore company, requiring a freezing injunction to safeguard sums owed to a construction professional
  • Various disputes referred to adjudication under JCT and NEC standard forms, for both commercial and residential parties

International Arbitration

Hannah has a growing practice in international arbitration. She has been instructed on a variety of multi-million pound commercial disputes as well as construction matters.

Recent and ongoing work includes:

  • Infrastructure dispute in respect of an electric tramway system 
  • Acting for an employer in a multi-jurisdictional dispute with complex nuclear design issues
  • Acting for a contractor in a motorway infrastructure dispute in Eastern Europe
  • Partnership dispute between two international law firms


Hannah accepts a range of commercial instructions, including general contractual disputes, civil fraud and insolvency matters. She has advised and appeared before the TCC and Commercial Court for injunctions, both domestic and international. She also has experience of major insurance claims: 

  • Substantial commercial dispute which turned on the proper construction of a contractual payment mechanism.
  • Instructed as junior counsel for the Libyan Investment Authority in its litigation against Société Générale (The Libyan Investment Authority v Société Générale SA & ors (2017)), which settled shortly before trial.