Call: 1989 QC: 2013
Shortlisted for Chambers & Partners Construction Silk of the Year 2015.
"She is able to change the way judges see the case." "She is a team player”…“has a very fine eye for detail and a very good legal brain", "she has a good manner with the court, is well prepared and takes a calm and measured approach. Her advocacy is pragmatic and persuasive.” (Chambers & Partners 2016)
“Technically brilliant and a real star”, Fiona Sinclair QC provides “excellent analysis of the issues” as well as “focus on the big picture” (Legal 500 2015)
“Combining high intellect and commercial mindedness”, “utterly fantastic in the defence of substantial claims” and “well known for her expertise in really complex points”, Fiona is praised for her "splendid courtroom performances" and "superb advocacy based on strong analysis". She “meets with universal acclaim” for the “excellent quality of her work”, is “a standout practitioner” who is “charmingly brilliant with clients” and “her drafting is second to none” (Chambers & Partners 2013)
“Judges listen to everything she says” and “A dream to work with – she’s committed, gets her hands dirty, is not afraid of detail and is very well liked by clients” (Chambers & Partners 2014)
“Truly first-rate” and “a joy to behold on paper” (Legal 500 2014)
“Very good at making complex issues understandable” and “very bright, very persuasive and very amiable”, Fiona has “notable expertise in financial and construction disputes” and is “controlled, thorough and resilient” (Chambers & Partners 2015).
Fiona is among the select number of UK barristers who are ranked as international leaders in their field. Recognised for her “considerable experience of handling multiparty construction disputes” she also has “a wealth of experience in professional liability matters.” (Chambers Global 2015: Construction).
Before taking silk in 2013, Fiona was awarded Chambers & Partners Construction Junior of the Year 2012. In a rare dual nomination success, she was also shortlisted for Professional Negligence Junior of the Year 2012.
Fiona’s practice focusses on commerce and construction. She brings excellent advocacy, impeccable paperwork and strategic insight to disputes concerning (1) construction and civil engineering, including transport, (2) professional liability and (3) insurance/reinsurance. Her advocacy and team-management skills have been honed in domestic and international arbitrations, trial and appellate courts, adjudication and mediation.
In early 2015, just two years into silk, Fiona led for the respondent in the Supreme Court in Aspect Contracts v Higgins Construction plc, a landmark case in which the Court addressed for the first time the interactions between construction adjudication, limitation, negative declarations and unjust enrichment. As she had in the Court of Appeal, Fiona succeeded for her clients on all issues in the Supreme Court and the appeal was dismissed.
In short, Fiona enjoys any case with a significant technical content (whether the technicality is financial, scientific or legal) and which involves working as a team with solicitors, experts and lay clients. She relishes the challenge of choosing and using different dispute resolution strategies to achieve the best result for her clients. She has particular experience in managing large, multi-party disputes.
Before taking silk, Fiona was consistently ranked as a leading junior in her specialist fields by both Chambers UK and The Legal 500. In Chambers UK (2012) solicitors reported that she provides "superb advocacy based on strong analysis", is "down to earth, reasonable and tough when necessary" and "excellent at professional negligence generally". Chambers UK (2011) noted that clients admire her “deep knowledge of the law”, her “pleasant and persuasive advocacy”, her “ability to analyse facts quickly and efficiently” and “the ease with which she deals with complex counterfactual scenarios”, so that she was "hugely in demand". Chambers Global (2011) reported that she is "highly impressive in court, with excellent skills of judgment." Chambers UK (2010) described her as “tough, charming and intelligent”, “gutsy and fearless” and “a force to be reckoned with”. While describing Four New Square as “without doubt the top set in the field of professional negligence”, the Legal 500 (2010) described Fiona as “particularly good” and (2011) as a "standout junior". In 2009, she was described in the Legal 500 as “fantastic, especially on paper. Her written arguments always look right.” In earlier editions of the directories, Fiona was described as “fearless in the courtroom and a wonderful orator”; “exceptionally bright and pragmatic”; “tough and very popular”; having “real presence in court" and “an impressive ability to handle difficult judges”; “an excellent advocate”.
Fiona appears regularly in the TCC and in the Commercial Court, on appeal, and in arbitrations and mediations. She acts as early neutral evaluator and as arbitrator, and is a TECBAR-accredited adjudicator.
Fiona has been an Editor of Jackson and Powell on Professional Liability since 1992 (she writes the chapter on Construction Professionals).
TECBAR (Committee Member), SCL, Combar, PNBA, ChBA, ICC, LCIA, Arbitral Women, Scottish Arbitration Centre, The Adjudication Society.
M.A. (Cantab) LL.M. (Cantab)