Hugh has a broad commercial practice, with a particular specialism in construction and engineering matters. He has expertise in commercial and contractual disputes of all kinds including professional negligence claims in relation to professional and financial services, and a growing insolvency practice. A confident and persuasive advocate, he regularly appears in the High Court and the County Court on interlocutory matters as well as trials, and also acts in adjudications, arbitrations and mediations.

Hugh spent seven years at some of the world’s leading law firms before returning to the Bar in 2014. He also ran his own IT business before coming to the law. With this experience behind him, Hugh is particularly aware of the importance to clients of the commercial as well as the legal position and finding practical, cost effective solutions where possible, including alternatives to pursuing litigation.

Hugh has significant international experience, having represented domestic and international clients in China, the Middle East, Turkey and South Africa.

Areas of Expertise

Construction & Engineering
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Hugh has particular expertise in the field of construction and engineering (including construction-related professional negligence), having practised for over seven years in the specialist construction groups at Fladgate, Nabarro and White & Case. He has advised on contentious and non-contentious matters for a wide variety of projects in the UK and around the world, including petrochemical plants, LNG facilities, shipbuilding, PFI/PPP projects, power stations, data centres, hotels, shopping centres, office buildings and mixed-use developments. Having worked closely with employers, contractors, designers and other construction professionals and funding institutions, Hugh is familiar with the issues that often arise in complex construction and engineering projects and he understands that litigation or arbitration may not always be the best solution, especially in projects that are not yet completed.

Hugh has extensive experience of all of the major standard forms of construction contract, in particular the JCT suite and the various FIDIC forms used in international EPC projects. He is also familiar with issues arising in areas related to construction and engineering projects, including finance documents, bonds, guarantees, insurance and health & safety matters.

Examples of Hugh’s recent work include:

  • Advising on the restructuring of a US$2.2 billion petrochemical project.
  • Acting in an arbitration relating to a US$20 million claim for defects in the design, construction and maintenance of a luxury resort in east Africa.
  • Representing the owner, a major UK property fund, in a claim for defects in the design and workmanship of concrete hard standings at a regional distribution centre.
  • Acting for the landlord in a claim relating to defective fan coils in a central London office building.
  • Appearing on behalf of the defendant in an arbitration arising out of a £500,000 dispute about a profit share in a development agreement.
  • Acting for the defendant in an arbitration relating to a £1 million claim relating to a complex refurbishment project in Clerkenwell.
  • Advising on a claim arising out of defective maintenance of a jet aircraft.
  • Acting for a major German corporation in an inquest arising out of the death involving a piece of machinery made by the client.

In addition, Hugh is happy to accept instructions to assist and advise on “front end” non-contentious and drafting matters.

Public Procurement
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Hugh is experienced in advising on issues arising out of all kinds of public procurement, having acted for local authorities, developers and contractors on PFIs and other projects involving the Public Contracts Regulations and Utilities Contracts Regulations. His recent experience in this complex area of law includes:

  • Acting for a key member of a consortium bidding for the MoD’s £6-billion PFI for search and rescue helicopters and advising on compliance with the bid procedures and the consequences following irregularities in the bid.
  • Advising a local authority on the application of the public procurement rules to a proposed land-swap with a developer.
  • Advising on the application of the Utilities Contracts Regulations to a proposed construction project at a gas terminal in South Wales.
Information Technology
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As a former software engineer, Hugh is able quickly to understand complicated technology issues and advise accordingly. He acted for the contractor on a £70-million claim arising out of a major technology installation and upgrade project relating to public infrastructure in central London.

Commercial Dispute Resolution
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Examples of Hugh’s recent work in this area include:

  • A £1 million claim in the High Court arising out of a dispute between the owner of a country hotel and the management company contracted to run the business. The claim raised issues of fiduciary duties, fraud and accountancy practice.
  • A High Court claim for over £1 million relating to unpaid commissions for pension investments.
  • Acting in proceedings relating to the alleged mis-selling of carbon credits.
  • Appearing in the High Court to resist injunction proceedings brought against the officers of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association. The case involved complex issues about the proper construction of the rules of the Association, unincorporated associations and the appropriateness of the injunction sought.
  • Advising a Court in the Netherlands as to the effect of a jurisdiction clause in English law in a distribution agreement.
Professional Liability
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Recent experience in this area includes:

  • A claim against a national firm of solicitors relating to a disputed failure to issue proceedings in time to avoid a contractual time-bar. Issues included questions of contributory negligence by the claimant lay client.
  • Proceedings against a well-known firm of high-end estate agents for breach of their duty of care following a number of thefts from properties that they were marketing.
  • Advising a care home operator in relation to allegations of negligent care brought by the Care Quality Commission.
  • Acting in a number of claims relating to negligence by marine engineers in carrying out repairs and servicing to vessels ranging from long boats to ocean-going yachts.
Corporate Insolvency
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Hugh’s experience in this area includes

  • Advising on the effect of alleged repudiatory breaches preceding termination of a contract relating to a high-end car showroom which led to the insolvency of one of the parties.
  • Acting in a dispute between a statutory power undertaker and a consumer where the undertaker had issued a winding-up petition to enforce alleged debts under a deemed contract.
  • Appearing in a wide variety of contested and uncontested winding-up and bankruptcy petitions.
International Arbitration
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In addition to his court practice, Hugh also acts in domestic and international arbitrations. His recent experience includes:

  • Acting for the claimant in an arbitration relating to a US$20 million claim for defects in the design, construction and maintenance of a luxury resort in east Africa.
  • Appearing on behalf of the defendant in an arbitration arising out of a £500,000 dispute about a profit share in a development agreement.
  • Acting for the defendant in an arbitration relating to a £1 million claim relating to a complex refurbishment project in Clerkenwell.

Qualifications & Memberships

Hugh is member of:

  • TECBAR;
  • The Society for Construction Law;
  • The Professional Negligence Bar Association;
  • COMBAR;
  • the London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association; and
  • the South Eastern Circuit.

He was elected to the committee of TECBAR in 2014.

Education

LLB Law (First Class), University of Hertfordshire; BEng Software Engineering, University of Sheffield

VAT registration number: 176420606