My Role

International arbitrator, adjudicator and dispute board member primarily in the construction, infrastructure and energy sectors.

My Experience

I have over three decades of experience of structuring projects and resolving disputes.

My project advisory experience assisting governments, owners, contractors and lenders on some of the world’s largest construction, infrastructure and energy projects means I understand:

  • the industrial sectors involved;
  • the commercial, political, legal and practical issues arising on major projects;
  • the major forms of construction (and related) contracts, how the contracts are structured, and the balance of risk; and
  • the basis upon which commercial decisions are made.

My extensive experience dealing with people of many nationalities gives me an understanding of the different cultural approaches in international projects and to disputes. I have significant experience of civil law, particularly in conjunction with international English standard forms of contract (such as those issued by FIDIC).

I have acted as counsel, or been appointed as an arbitrator in international arbitrations under (inter alia) the ICC, LCIA, SCC, UNCITRAL and ICDR Rules of arbitration.

I was a partner in two international law firms (see below) for over 30 years in London and Hong Kong, advising clients on a range of major projects, before setting up my own practice in 2010 at chambers in Gray’s Inn, London.

I have advised in relation to some of the world’s largest infrastructure projects, from both a project advisory and a dispute resolution perspective. I have advised clients from the outset to the conclusion of projects, including project appraisal, tendering, bespoke contract drafting and negotiation and post-contract administration. I am qualified to practise English and Hong Kong law.

Positions include:

Independent adviser, 2010 – Present.

Consultant, White & Case LLP, London 1 January 2010 – September 2010.

Partner White & Case LLP, London 1994 – 2009.

  • Developed the construction and engineering practice in the London office.
  • Executive partner of White & Case LLP, London office 1998 – 2003.
  • Head of London Arbitration and Construction practice, White & Case LLP, London office.
  • Partner, McKenna & Co (now CMS Mckenna) 1976 – 1994.
  • Hong Kong to open office for McKenna & Co 1980 – 1983.
  • Returned to Hong with McKenna & Co to advise the Hong Kong Government on the construction aspects of the associated infrastructure for the new airport 1990 – 1994.

Legal Directory Recommendations

Prior to retiring from White & Case I have been described in the legal directories as:

“John Bellhouse is an experienced counsel in energy disputes … [and] is highly recommended for his work on contentious matters” – Chambers UK 2010

“an extremely bright and experienced lawyer who thinks quickly in tricky situations” – Chambers Europe 2008.

“John Bellhouse is … well-regarded for arbitration” – Who’s Who Construction Lawyers 2008

“John Bellhouse has a reputation as ‘one of the good guys – top notch’ combining a leading international arbitration practice with a focus on construction” Who’s Who Construction Lawyers 2007.

My experience includes:

Appointments as arbitrator, adjudicator and to Dispute Boards (“DB”)

  • Chairman of an ICC Tribunal in connection with a subcontract for the civil works relating to an Asian hydropower facility.
  • Chairman of an ad hoc arbitration under the UNCITRAL Rules in connection with a Middle Eastern shopping mall.
  • Chairman of an ICC Tribunal in connection with the contract for supply of services and equipment for the construction of a power generation facility.
  • Chairman of an ICC Tribunal in connection with the construction of a road in East Africa.
  • Chairman of an ICC Tribunal in connection with a subcontract in relation to the construction of a power generation facility in the Caribbean.
  • Chairman of an ICC Tribunal in connection with a middle eastern road construction dispute.
  • Adjudicator in a major transport dispute in London.
  • Chairman of a DB for two civil engineering contracts for a hydro electric scheme in Ethiopia.
  • Member of a DB in connection with a European metro project.
  • ICC appointed sole arbitrator in Hong Kong in relation to a commercial dispute between a Hong Kong company and a Korean company.
  • Party appointed arbitrator under the ICC Rules in relation to a hydro electric project in Malawi.
  • Party appointed arbitrator under the ICC Rules in relation to a urea plant in Vietnam.
  • Party appointed member of a DB for a hydro electric scheme in Uganda.
  • Party appointed arbitrator under the SCC Rules for a construction dispute in Eastern Europe.
  • Chairman of an ICC Tribunal in connection with the supply of equipment by a German company to an Indian wind farm operator.
  • Sole arbitrator appointed by the LCIA in connection with a subcontract for the provision of Engineering Procurement and Management Services in relation to a mining project.
  • Party appointed arbitrator in connection with a contract for the supply of engineering services in relation to a Middle Eastern power facility.
  • Party appointed arbitrator in connection with the construction of an apartment block in Eastern Europe.
  • Party appointed arbitrator in connection with an SCC arbitration relating to the construction of a road in Eastern Europe.
  • Party appointed arbitrator in connection with the construction of a refinery in the Gulf.
  • Chairman of an arbitration tribunal relating to the construction of part of an airport in the Middle East.

Dispute resolution

  • Lead counsel for one oil company against another in a dispute arising in relation to the development of oil fields in Kuwait under English law (London Court of International Arbitration).
  • Lead counsel for a Swedish contractor against a Peruvian company in three arbitrations in relation to a Hydroelectric Scheme in Peru under Peruvian law (UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules).
  • Lead counsel for a Trinidad and Tobago entity in relation to a desalination plant under Trinidadian law (ICC Rules).
  • Lead counsel for an Austrian Company in relation to a waste disposal scheme in Scotland, under Scottish law (Institution of Chemical Engineers Rules).
  • Lead counsel for an Italian Contractor in relation to the construction of a dam in Iran under Iranian law (ICC Rules).
  • Lead counsel for a Hong Kong contractor on an issue of contract interpretation under Hong Kong law (Conducted under the Hong Kong Arbitration Ordinance).
  • Joint counsel for a major listed Hong Kong company in substantial arbitration concerning a housing project which was settled by alternative dispute resolution procedures (mini-trial) under Hong Kong law.

Project advisory roles

  • Advising a Caribbean government upon, and negotiating a DBOM contract for, the construction of a US$2/3 billion commuter railway.
  • Acting for a wholly-owned government company in Trinidad and Tobago in drafting and negotiating a contract for the design and construction of four high speed passenger ferries and evaluating the tenders for owner’s representative on the ship building contract.
  • Acting for a wholly-owned government company in Trinidad and Tobago in drafting and negotiating a marine management agreement.
  • Acting for a wholly-owned government company in Trinidad and Tobago in drafting and negotiating four separate contracts for the purchase of passenger ferries.
  • Advising a Caribbean government in relation to the drafting of Design and Construct contracts and negotiation of project management consultancy terms for the first phase (US$2-3 billion) of a three phase project for the construction of multiple road/causeway packages.
  • Advising upon, drafting and negotiating the construction contract and associated documentation for the project sponsor of the Channel Tunnel between the UK and France.
  • Advising the Hong Kong Government on the Western Harbour Crossing which is the third privately financed road tunnel under Victoria Harbour, let on a 30 year franchise. Drafting the concession agreement and associated documentation and advising upon the legislation.
  • Advising the Hong Kong Government on Route 3 – Country Park Section, which is a privately financed toll road and tunnel from Kowloon to near the Chinese border. Drafting the concession agreement and associated documentation and advising upon the legislation.
  • Advising the Hong Kong Government on all construction related parts of the Port and Airport Development Scheme, including the drafting of standard forms of contract containing disputes “waterfall” provisions designed to encourage the resolution of disputes prior to arbitration.

Privacy Policy

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Qualifications & Memberships

Associations and Memberships

  • Member of the Council and Management Board of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre, 1981-1983 and 1991-1994.
  • Member of the Panel of Arbitrators of the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC).
  • International Bar Association.
  • Member of the Society of Construction Law

Education

BA (Hons) Economics, Trinity, College Cambridge (1968) Solicitor, England and Wales (1972) and Hong Kong (1980)