“Considerably experienced” yet “down-to-earth and approachable”, Hugh is ranked as a leading junior in construction, engineering and technology disputes.
Hugh’s expertise is recognised by Chambers & Partners, who say that he is a “junior with a rapidly growing reputation” and describe him as “up-and-coming” with“a successful practice covering various kinds of construction disputes, including those concerning mixed-use developments and infrastructure projects”, and say he gives advice that “is first-class, comprehensive and answers the question”.
Hugh also has significant experience in associated fields including professional negligence, insurance, bonds and guarantees, public procurement, injunctions, and insolvency. Although he is usually instructed as sole counsel, Hugh is often led (by silks both inside and outside chambers) and he is increasingly instructed to lead more junior counsel on significant matters. As a TECBAR-accredited adjudicator, Hugh has also been appointed to adjudicate in statutory and contractual adjudication.
A confident and persuasive advocate on his feet and on paper, Hugh regularly appears before the High Court (particularly in the TCC) and the County Court. He also has extensive experience in adjudications (including enforcements in the High Court) and in domestic and international arbitration. Hugh has acted for clients around the world, including in the Caribbean, China, Europe, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Turkey and throughout the Arabian Peninsula, both on matters within the UK and within their own jurisdictions.
Clients describe Hugh as being “very strategic and user-friendly” and say that he is “easy to work with, his drafting style is clear and precise and he just works well as an extension of the team”. He is also ranked as a leading junior in construction by Who’s Who Legal.
Before returning to the Bar in 2014, Hugh practised for over seven years in the specialist construction groups at some of the world’s leading law firms, including White & Case and Nabarro (now CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang), acting on a wide range of commercial matters and disputes. This background gives him a genuine understanding of the needs of his instructing solicitors and his clients’ commercial interests, and of the importance of finding practical, cost-effective solutions where possible, including alternatives to pursuing litigation, adjudication or arbitration. Hugh’s commercial experience means that he is still instructed to advise on non-contentious matters including contract drafting and procurement and he is familiar with all the major standard-form construction contracts including the JCT, NEC, FIDIC and LOGIC forms and SOPC-based PFI contracts.
Hugh is the co-author (with Ben Patten QC) of Professional Negligence in Construction(2ndedition, Informa) and he writes the RICS iSurv materials on Contract Administration. He is also a member of TECBAR (serving on the committee between 2014 and 2018), the SCL, the Adjudication Society (and a former editor of the Society’s newsletter), the PNBA and the BILA.
Hugh’s recent and current cases include:
- National Infrastructure Development Company Limited v Banco Santander SA  EWCA Civ 27, relating to the enforcement of US$38m under letters of credit issued by Santander. The case determined the proper test on a summary judgment application to enforce on-demand securities. Hugh appeared for the Claimant in the Commercial Court ( EWHC 2990 (Comm)) and the Respondent in Court of Appeal, led by Anneliese Day QC.
- National Infrastructure Development Company Limited v BNP Paribas  EWHC 2508 (Comm), also relating to the enforcement of letters of credit. Hugh acted as junior counsel for the Claimant, led by Ben Patten QC.
- BN Rendering Limited v Everwarm Limited  EWHC 2356 (TCC), appearing as sole counsel in respect of the enforcement of a number of adjudicators’ decisions arising out of a series of sub-contracts across Scotland.
- Acting for the defendant architect in relation to a claim by the owners of the world-famous Selfridges building in Birmingham (led by Fiona Sinclair QC).
- Acting for the Respondent in an LCIA arbitration relating to the termination of a FIDIC contract for the construction of a new, US$750m freeway in Trinidad (led by Anneliese Day QC).
- Acting for the claimant contractor in a highly-complex delay and disruption claim arising out of the refurbishment of the Lanesborough Hotel in London (led by Anneliese Day QC and Ben Patten QC).
- Acting for the Main Contractor in a complex adjudication claim against one of its engineers arising out of a PFI roads scheme (led by Garry Borland QC).
- Acting for one of nine defendants in a £15m claim arising out of a fire in a block of flats in south-east England.
- Acting in a £12m adjudication claim relating to an offshore windfarm procured on the LOGIC form.
- As leading counsel, acting in a £2m claim relating to the defective design and construction of a new £4m private residence (leading Ian McDonald).
- Acting for the claimant consultant in a series of adjudications arising out of the construction of a new hotel in London. The claims raised issues of delay and disruption, and allegations of professional negligence.
- Acting for a sub-contractor in an adjudication claim over a £1.2m final account dispute arising out of an NEC sub-contract relating to a highway project (leading Ian McDonald).
- Acting for a housing association in a £7m dispute arising out of the termination of a number of PPC2000 contracts (leading Ian McDonald).
- As leading counsel, acting for an international engineering firm in relation to a series of payment disputes (leading William Harman).
- Acting for the claimant in a US$20m arbitration relating to defects in the design, construction and maintenance of a luxury resort in east Africa.
- Acting for the claimant Main Contractor in a DIAC arbitration arising out of the construction of a new hotel in Abu Dhabi under a FIDIC contract.
- Advising a sub-contractor in Qatar in relation to termination and payment disputes arising under a letter of intent and FIDIC contract.
Commercial matters that Hugh has worked on, negotiating contracts or advising generally, include:
- Advising on, negotiating and drafting EPC contracts and finance agreements for a US$2.2 billion petrochemical project.
- Negotiating and drafting FIDIC contracts for the design and construction of new concrete plants in Africa.
- Negotiating and drafting project agreements and construction contracts for a number of PFI waste-to-energy projects in the UK.
- Advising on and negotiating the finance and construction documents for a £400m regeneration project in central London.
Hugh frequently acts for claimants and defendants in claims involving construction professionals including architects, engineers, and surveyors. He is the co-author (with Ben Patten QC) of Professional Negligence in Construction (2ndedition, Informa), and a member of the Professional Negligence Bar Association (PNBA). Hugh also writes the RICS iSurv materials on Contract Administration.
Hugh’s recent and current work in this area includes:
- Acting for the defendant architect in a claim by the owners of the world-famous Selfridges building in Birmingham (led by Fiona Sinclair QC).
- Acting for the employer in a claim against acoustic engineers arising out of the design of restaurant HVAC plant.
- Acting for the employer in claims against its architect and civil engineer in relation to negligent design of a housing development.
- Acting for the defendant architect in a claim relating to water ingress in a high-value new build residential property.
- Acting for a consultant accused of negligence in relation to the construction of a new hotel in London.
- Acting for the claimant employer in a claim against its architect and services engineer in relation to the residential conversion of a former office building.
Public Procurement, PFI and related fields
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 (in the UK and internationally) and other projects involving the Public Contracts Regulations and Utilities Contracts Regulations. He has negotiated numerous project agreements and associated construction contracts under SOPC3 and SOPC4. 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.