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Paul Darling OBE KC

“a doyen of his area”

“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 and Partners Asia Pacific

Paul Darling OBE KC 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).

Areas of expertise

Construction and Engineering

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.


  • Alfred McAlpine Capital Project Ltd v Tilebox Ltd[2005] EWHC 281 (TCC); [2005] BLR 271; 104 Con LR 39, 21 Const LJ 539 (TCC)
  • Vector Investments v J D Williams [2009] EWHC 3601 (TCC)
  • James Elliott Construction Ltd v Irish Asphalt [2014] I ESC 68 (Irish Supreme Court)
  • Noreside Construction Ltd v Irish Asphalt [2014] 1 ESC 68 (Irish Supreme Court)
  • Northern Ireland Housing Executive v Healthy Buildings (Ireland) Ltd [2014] NICA 27, 153 Con LR 87 (Court of Appeal of Northern Ireland)
  • Walter Lilly & Co Ltd v Mackay and another [2013] EWCA Civ 142  [2013] EWCA Civ 142 (Court of Appeal)
  • Shepherd Construction Ltd v Pinsent Masons LLP [2012] EWHC 43 (TCC); BLR 213; 141 Con LR 232 [2012] PNLR 31 (TCC)
  • Fitzroy Robinson Ltd v Mentmore Towers Ltd [2010] EWHC 98 (TCC); [2010] All ER (D) 84 (Oct) (TCC)
  • Vector Investments v J D Williams [2009] EWHC 3601 (TCC)
  • Fitzroy Robinson v Anglo Swiss Holding Ltd (No 3) [2009] EWHC 3365 (TCC) 128 Con LR 103, [2010] BLR 165 (TCC)
  • London & Regional (St. George's Court) Ltd v Ministry of Defence [2008] CILL 2651 and [2009] BLR 20 CA, 121 Con LR 26 (Court of Appeal)
  • Plymouth and South West Co-operative Society Ltd v Architecture Structure and Management Ltd [2006] EWHC 5 (TCC); 108 Con LR 77; [2006] CILL 2366 (also reported on costs at [2006] EWHC 3252 (TCC); 111 Con LR 189; [2007] Lloyd's Rep IR 596) (TCC)
  • Blair & Anor v AWG Residential Ltd & Ors [2005] NIQB 68 (High Court of Northern Ireland)
  • Birse Construction Ltd v McCormick (UK) Ltd [2005] EWCA Civ 940; [2005] BLR 523; [2005] All ER (D) 366 (Jul) (Court of Appeal)
  • Hurst Stores and Interiors Ltd v ML Europe Property Ltd [2004] EWCA Civ 490; [2004] BLR 249; 94 Con LR 66 (Court of Appeal)
  • Mowlem plc  v Phi Group Ltd [2004] BLR421; (TCC)
  • Birse Construction Ltd v St David Ltd (No. 1) [2000] BLR 57, 70 Con LR 10 (Court of Appeal)
  • Birse Construction Ltd v St David Ltd (No. 2) (2000) 78 Con LR 121 (TCC)
  • Birse Construction Ltd v St. David Ltd (No. 1) 1999 BLR 194 (TCC)
  • Ascon Contracting Ltd v Alfred McAlpine Construction Isle of Man Ltd 66 CON LR 119 (2000); 16 Const LJ 216 (TCC)
  • Barking and Dagenham LBC v Stamford Asphalt Co Ltd (1999) CLC 929; 82 BLR 25; 54 Con LR 1 (Court of Appeal) (1998) 80 BLR 66
  • Mooney v Henry Boot Construction Ltd (1996) 12 Const LJ 37 (TCC)
  • Vascroft (Contractors) Ltd v Seeboard Plc (1996) 78 BLR 132, 52 Con LR 1 (TCC)
  • Property & Land Contractors Ltd v Alfred McAlpine Homes (North) Ltd (1995) 76 BLR 59, Con LR 74 (TCC)
  • Mooney v Henry Boot Construction Ltd (1996) 12 Const LJ 37 (TCC)
  • Christiani & Nielsen Ltd v Birmingham City Council (Queen's Bench Division) (Official Referee), (TCC)
  • MJ Gleeson Group Plc v Wyatt of Snetterton Ltd (1994) 72 BLR 15; 42 Con LR 14; (1995) 11 Const LJ 59 (TCC)
  • Temloc Ltd v Errill Properties Ltd (1988) 39 BLR 30; 12 Con LR 109; (1988) 4 Const LJ 63; (Court of Appeal)
  • Chatbrown Ltd v Alfred McAlpine Construction (Southern) Ltd (1987) ; 35 BLR 44; 11 Con LR 1; (1987) 3 Const LJ 104 (Court of Appeal)



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:

  • Enterprise Managed Services Ltd v East Midland Contracting Ltd [2007] EWHC 727 (TCC)
  • Ringway Infrastructure Services Ltd v Vauxhall Motors Ltd [2007] EWHC 2421 (TCC); [2007] All ER (D) 333 (Oct) (TCC)
  • David McLean Contractors Ltd v The Albany Building Ltd [2005] Lawtel 10/1/2006 (TCC)
  • CIB Properties Ltd v Birse Construction Ltd [2004] EWHC 2365 (TCC); [2005] 1 WLR 2252; [2005] BLR 173 (TCC)
  • Simons Construction Ltd v Aardvark Developments Ltd [2003] EWHC 2474 (TCC); [2004] BLR 117; [2004] TCLR 2; 93 Con LR 114; [2003] CILL 2053; [2003] All ER(D) 482 (Oct) (TCC)
  • Shepherd Construction Ltd v Mecrlght Ltd Queen's Bench Division [2000] BLR 489 (TCC)
  • KNS Industrial Services (Birmingham) Ltd v Sindall Ltd 3 TCLR 10, 75 Con LR 71, 17 Const LJ 170 (TCC)


Commercial Litigation and Sale of Goods

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:

  • James Elliott Construction Ltd v Irish Asphalt [2014] I ESC 68 (Irish Supreme Court)
  • Mirador International LLC v MF Global UK Ltd [2012] EWCA Civ 1662; [2012] All ER (D) 142 (Dec), Court of Appeal [2011] EWHC 683 (Comm) Commercial Court
  • Byblos International Fund LLC v IFX Markets Ltd [2009] EWHC 346 (QB); [2009] All ER (D) 08 (Mar) (Commercial Court)
  • Wärtsilä France SAS v Genergy Plc [2004] EWHC 1966 (TCC); 92 Con LR 112 (TCC)
  • Clegg v Andersson (t/a Nordic Marine) [2003] EWCA Civ 320, [2003] 1 All ER (Comm) 721 [2003] 2 Lloyd's Rep 32, (Court of Appeal)
  • Tower Housing Association Ltd v Technical & General Guarantee Co Ltd (1997) 87 BLR 74 (TCC)
  • Alfred McAlpine Construction Ltd v Unex Corp (1994) 70 BLR 26; 38 Con LR 63 (Court of Appeal)


Professional Negligence

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:

  • Shepherd Construction Ltd v Pinsent Masons LLP [2012] EWHC 43 (TCC); BLR 213; 141 Con LR 232 [2012] PNLR 31 (TCC)
  • Community Gateway Association Ltd v Beha Williams Norman Ltd [2011] EWHC 2311 (TCC); [2011] All ER (D) 59 (Sep) (TCC)
  • Community Gateway Association Ltd v Beha Williams Norman Ltd (Costs)  [2011] EWHC 2994 (TCC); [2011] All ER (D) 120 (Dec) (TCC)
  • Fitzroy Robinson Ltd v Mentmore Towers Ltd  [2010] EWHC 98 (TCC); [2010] All ER (D) 84 (Oct) (TCC)
  • Fitzroy Robinson Ltd v Mentmore Towers Ltd [2010] EWHC 98 (TCC); [2010] All ER (D) 84 (Oct) (TCC)
  • Fitzroy Robinson v Anglo Swiss Holding Ltd (No 3)[2009] EWHC 3365 (TCC) 128 Con LR 103, [2010] BLR 165 (TCC)
  • Plymouth and South West Co-operative Society Ltd v Architecture Structure and Management Ltd [2006] EWHC 5 (TCC); 108 Con LR 77; [2006] CILL 2366 (also reported on costs at [2006] EWHC 3252 (TCC); 111 Con LR 189; [2007] Lloyd's Rep IR 596) (TCC)
  • Blair & Anor v AWG Residential Ltd & Ors [2005] NIQB 68 (High Court of Northern Ireland)
  • Munkenbeck & Marshall v Kensington Hotel Ltd (2000) 78 Con LR 171 (TCC)
  • John Harris Partnership v Groveworld Ltd (1999) 75 Con LR 7 1999; PNLJ 697 (TCC)


Domestic and International Arbitration

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:

  • Issues about whether Notices of Arbitration have been properly served.
  • Applications for extensions of time.
  • Applications to remove Arbitrators for bias or misconduct.
  • Stays of court proceedings for arbitration.

Reported cases include:

  • Lafarge Aggregates Ltd v Newham London Borough Council [2005] EWHC 1337 (Comm); [2005] 2 Lloyd's Rep 577 (Commercial Court)
  • Van Oord ACZ Ltd and Harbour & General Works Ltd Joint Venture v The Port of Mostyn  [2003] Lawtel 19/09/2003; (TCC)
  • Miller Construction Ltd v James Moore Earthmoving [2001] EWCA Civ 654 [2001] 2 All ER (Comm) 598 [2001] BLR 322 (Court of Appeal)
  • Birse Construction Ltd v St David Ltd (No. 2) (2000) 78 Con LR 121 (TCC)
  • Birse Construction Ltd v St David Ltd (No. 1) [2000] BLR 57, 70 Con LR 10 (Court of Appeal)
  • Birse Construction Ltd v St. David Ltd (No. 1) 1999 BLR 194 (TCC)



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.

  • BFS Group Ltd v (1) Secretary of State for Defence (2) Purple Foodservice Ltd [2006] EWHC 1513 (Ch); [2006] EU. L.R. 1101 (Chancery Division)
  • R (on the application of the Law Society) v Legal Services Commission & the Lord Chancellor [2007] EWCA Civ 1264; [2008] 2 W.L.R. 803; [2008] 2 All E.R. 148 (Court of Appeal)


Health and Safety

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.

Energy and Natural Resources

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.



Paul has advised on and conducted many cases and disputes in the sports law area. The areas where he has acted include:

  • The dispute between the Welsh Rugby Union and the Regions about the financial relationship between them in relation to, in particular, internationals. This case settled shortly before trial in a considerable blaze of publicity.
  • Cases about football transfers.
  • Hearings at the Disciplinary Committee of the Jockey Club and the British Horseracing Authority.

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.” Chambers and Partners
  • “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.” Chambers Global
  • “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." Chambers and Partners
  • “He has a very bright and analytical mind and remains one of the leading advocates – very impressive on his feet.” Chambers and Partners