Katie Powell has a practice specialising in commercial litigation and arbitration, with a particular focus on construction, costs, product and professional liability disputes. She has a considerable amount of experience in dealing with large, multi-party disputes and group actions.

Katie is highly rated as a confident, robust and tenacious advocate, and has appeared unled against silks in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal. She has been consistently ranked in the legal directories for a number of years. Recent comments from Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 include:

  • “Simply brilliant and passionate about everything she does.”
  • “A very smart cookie who will be a QC a few years down the road.”
  • “She is super bright and picks up technical points quickly.”
  • “One of the smartest people I’ve ever met.” “Has a practice beyond her call.”
  • “An absolute star, with sharp intellect and an amazing work ethic.”
  • “A very clear advocate who get to the issues quickly.”
  • “Phenomenally bright.”

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Areas of Expertise

Construction & Engineering

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Katie is rated as a leading junior in this field in both Chambers & Partners and Legal 500.  Recent comments include: “one of the smartest people I’ve ever met,” “has a practice beyond her call”,  an “outstanding construction and construction-related professional indemnity advocate”, “super bright and picks up technical points quickly.  She was willing to test points and get down to the nitty gritty”; “Simply brilliant and passionate about everything she does’; ‘pure class: super-clever and down to earth’; phenomenally bright’; ‘an absolute star, with sharp intellect and an amazing work ethic.’  Her “research skills and ability to reduce complicated legal points into digestible prose” are described as “really impressive.”

She undertakes a wide variety of work both in a litigation and arbitration context concerning in both pure construction claims and claims against construction professionals.  She was junior Counsel to Mark Cannon QC in the Co-op v Birse litigation, which gave rise to some of the leading decisions on limitation in a construction context.

Examples of the cases she has been involved in include:

  • X v Y (confidential): Representing an insurance syndicate in relation to a claim brought against it under the Third Parties (Rights Against Insurers) Act 1930 arising from alleged defects in a mechanical biological treatment facility in the North West of England.
  • Octagon Healthcare Limited v John Laing Construction & Ors: Acted for Carillion Construction in claim arising from the construction of the Norfolk & Norwich hospital. Led by Garry Borland QC.
  • A v B (confidential): Acted (unled) for a structural engineering company in relation to a claim brought against it under the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978 in relation to the design of a major national museum.
  • Lagan v MV Kelly & Anor: Acted for a civil engineering and building company in connection with a claim arising from the construction of a basement level car park.
  • Co-operative Group Limited v Birse Developments Limited & Ors: Acted for specialist flooring sub-sub-contracts in connection with the construction of concrete flooring in a major warehouse. Successfully argued that proposed amendments substantially increasing the amount claimed should not be allowed. Led by Mark Cannon QC.
  • Cwm Taf University Local Health Board v Nightingale Architects & Ors: Claim proceeding in the TCC arising from the construction of a hospital in the Rhondda Valley. Acting unled for the structural engineer.
  • Preston County Council v Enterprise Managed Services Limited: Claim arising from contract for the installation of solar energy panels on Council property.  Led by Fiona Sinclair QC.
  • I v J (confidential): Advising pre-action in respect of liability for alleged defects in major London skyscraper.  Led by Anneliese Day QC.

Commercial Dispute Resolution

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Katie is regularly instructed in both domestic and international commercial dispute resolution.  Examples of her work include:

  • Acting (unled) for a pharmaceutical company against one of its former directors, alleging, inter alia, breaches of duties s.171-7 of the Companies Act 2006
  • Acting (with Justin Fenwick QC) for the liquidators of Stanford International Bank against a well-known bank in connection with its alleged facilitation of a Ponzi scheme.
  • Acting (with Justin Fenwick QC and Nicole Sandells) in resisting an application for permission to appeal a judgment arising over a dispute over the ownership of a diamond mining company in Angola (Gaydamak v Leviev [2012] EWCA Civ 1561)
  • Acting (with Ben Elkington QC) for a South African company in relation to an international supply contract for the sale of sulphur to various companies in the Copperbelt.
  • Acting (with Murray Rosen QC and Ben Patten QC) in an arbitration between two Russian oligarchs arising from an alleged forced takeover of a building in central Moscow.

Costs

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Katie has over a decade of experience in costs work.  She has substantial experience in the vast majority of costs litigation, including in relation to applications under the Solicitors Act 1974, wasted cost applications, cost budgeting and estimates and security for costs applications.  She particularly excels in contentious costs work.  Recent experience includes:

  • Defending a solicitor subject to a wasted costs application arising from her non-attendance at trial.
  • Representing an international law firm against former clients for unpaid fees incurred in pursuing various litigation across a number of jurisdictions (appearing, unled, against Nicholas Bacon QC).
  • Advising in relation to solicitors’ lien being exercised over a former client’s file.
  • Advising in relation to a proposed non-party costs order.
  • Advising in relation to a solicitor’s failure to provide costs information / adequate retainer letter.
  • Appearing in numerous cost budgeting hearings.

Professional Liability

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Katie is rated as a leading junior in this field in both Chambers & Partners and Legal 500. Recent comments include: ‘[a] very smart cookie who will be a QC a few years down the road’;  ‘incredibly dedicated’;  “she did a really good job in front of a scary bench. One to watch”, “a very clear advocate who gets to the issues quickly”; and “bright, able, user friendly and definitely performs beyond her year of call.”

She is regularly instructed in relation to claims against lawyers, auditors and accountants, construction professionals, surveyors and valuers, practising both domestically and internationally.

Examples of her cases include:

  • Moulin Global Eyecare Holdings Limited (in liquidation) v Olivia Lee Sin Mei & Ors: Acted for one of the Big Four accountancy firms in relation to proceedings brought it in Hong Kong arising from various audit reports it provided. Led by Justin Fenwick QC.
  • P&P v Owen White & Anor / Dreamvar v Mischcon de Reya & Anor (co-joined appeal): Instructed to act for the vendors’ solicitors in the high-profile appeal to the Court of Appeal (February / March 2018) arising from identity fraud, engaging claims in negligence and for breach of trust, warranty of authority and breach of undertaking. Judgment awaited. Led by Ben Patten QC.
  • Caliendo v Mishcon de Reya [2016] EWHC 150 (Ch): Acted in claim against Mischon de Reya in relation to claim arising from the sale of QPR football club. Led by Alan Gourgey QC.
  • Fincantieri v Clyde & Co: Acted for solicitors in relation to a claim arising from a lost arbitration.
  • Bank of Baroda & Anor v George Davies & Ors: Multi-party dispute arising from an alleged fraud perpetrated in connection with a major investment property transaction. Led by Roger Stewart QC.
  • Rendlesham Estates v Jeffrey Myers & Ors [2014] EWHC 3968: Multi-party claim against various firms of solicitors arising from an alleged failure to advise about adequacy of property insurance policy. Led by Fiona Sinclair QC.
  • Nationwide Building Society v APR Properties:Acting (unled) for Nationwide in claim £2m against valuer arising from a commercial development in Cheltenham.
  • Hunt v Optima (Cambridge) Ltd [2014] P.N.L.R. 29: Acted for Strutt & Parker in this one of the leading cases on the extent of a professional’s tortious liability to third parties.
  • Weavering Capital (UK) Ltd (In Liquidation) v Dahbia [2013] EWCA Civ 71:  Represented senior employee of WCUK (unled) in his appeal to the Court of Appeal.
  • A v a Barrister (confidential): Acted for a barrister in defence of a claim brought against him in his capacity as an arbitrator.

Katie is the current editor of the financial services chapters of Jackson and Powell.

Product Liability

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Katie is rated as a leading junior in this field in both Chambers & Partners and Legal 500,  in which she is described as being “extremely bright and very good at deploying the material she has to her advantage. She delivers great written work”,  “great with clients, and provides practical, commercial and robust advice”; “technically very competent, and approachable with clients”, “bright, able, user friendly and definitely performing beyond her year of call’” and ‘incredibly dedicated’ as well as having ‘a very sharp mind’.

She has been involved in some of the leading recent cases in the field, including in the long-running Atomic Veterans litigation and as junior to Justin Fenwick QC in the three month commercial court trial of Kingspan v Borealis [2012] EWHC 1147.

Examples of her work include:

  • Knights North West v Adonis Construction & Anor: Defended an air conditioning supply company in connection with an allegedly defective air conditioning system installed in a BMW showroom.
  • Network Rail Infrastructure v CAIB & Ors: Claim arising from the Ely derailment.  Claim brought by Network Rail against (i) owner of wagon, and (ii) maintainers of wagon. Led by Roger Stewart QC.
  • X v A Pharmaceutical Company(confidential): Claim arising from a smoking-cession drug, the subject of multi-million class action claims in US.  Instructed with Leigh-Ann Mulcahy QC.
  • Ron Hull & Sons v Palagan: Case arising from supply of plastic polymer used to produce plastic bags to contain wood chippings.
  • Kingspan v Borealis [2012] EWHC 1147: Claim arising from the supply of allegedly defective plastic resin for the purposes of the manufacture of oil storage tanks. Led by Justin Fenwick QC and Ben Elkington QC.

Insurance & Reinsurance

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A significant element of Katie’s practice comprises insurance disputes, both for and against insurers. She has particular expertise in Contractors All Risk insurance policies, having acted with Roger Stewart QC in the battle between the Contractors All Risk insurers and the professional indemnity insurers arising from the construction of the East Coast railway.  She regularly acts in property damage claims.

Further examples of her insurance caseload include:

  • Lexington Insurance Company v Tritech Rail: Instructed in relation to a coverage dispute arising the construction of the West Coast Mainline. Gave rise to a number of novel insurance points, including the extent to which insurers can bring an assigned claim in circumstances where insurers have wavied rights of subrogation.  Led by Roger Stewart QC.
  • Barbican Corporate Member Limited v Former Members of Cobbetts LLP Led by Roger Stewart QC: Instructed by the former members of Cobbetts LLP in relation to a dispute concerning the extent to which insured members of an LLP are liable for excesses under policies entered into by an LLP of which they are members.
  • C v D (confidential): insurance coverage dispute arising from an international publishing company’s alleged failure to disclose material information prior to the inception of the policy. Led by Ben Hubble QC.
  • G v H (confidential): Advising on coverage dispute and the scope of a of “coastal erosion” exclusion clause in a household insurance policy.
  • K v L (confidential): Advising on coverage dispute under a solicitor’s professional indemnity policy.

Arbitration

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Katie has a substantial arbitration practice. She acted as junior Counsel to Roger Stewart QC and Leigh-Ann Mulcahy in the ground-breaking decision in Secretary of State for the Home Department v Raytheon Systems ([2014] EWHC 4375; [2015] EWHC 311), the first time an arbitral award was set aside in its entirety under s.68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 for serious irregularity.

Examples of her recent arbitration work include:

  • The Secretary of State for the Home Department v Raytheon System: Acted for the Home Department in its dispute with Raytheon Systems the £75 million e-Borders technology system.
  • A v B (confidential): Acted in claim between two Russian oligarchs arising from an alleged forced takeover of a building in central Moscow.  Led by Murray Rosen QC and Ben Patten QC.
  • C v D (confidential): Acted in insurance coverage dispute arising from an international publishing company’s alleged failure to disclose material information prior to the inception of the policy. Led by Ben Hubble QC.
  • E v F (confidential): Acted in claim arising from a contract for the installation of photocopiers at major UK supermarket.  Led by Ben Hubble QC.

Financial Services

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Katie is the current editor of the financial services chapters of Jackson and Powell.  She has substantial expertise in FSMA claims and claims against IFAs, and has acted on behalf of both accountants and IFAs in various film finance claims.  She appeared (unled) in the Court of Appeal decision of Weavering Capital (UK) Ltd (In Liquidation) v Dahbia [2013] EWCA Civ 71, a claim arising from the Weavering fraud.

Qualifications & Memberships

Katie is a member of COMBAR, LCIA, TECBAR, CHBA and PNBA.

Education – B.A. (Oxon), Dip.Law (City)

Publications

VAT registration number: 898812360