construction disputes team at Hogan Lovells spans a range of other sectors, particularly offshore wind, rail and airports. International flavour There is a strong international flavour to the team’swork, meaning that Angus and his colleagues represent their clients in a range of forums: “At any one time, one of our partners might have several procurement challenges pending in theHighCourt, another might be in amediation, another about to launch an adjudication, or – increasingly – giving the client an ‘early case assessment’ when signs of trouble first start to appear on the project. However, given the large scale and cross-border nature of theworkwe do, more often than not international arbitration is the parties’ preferred method for resolving disputes that don’t settle.” Casescanusuallybetracedtothreekeyareasof contention. “Althoughwework forall sortsofclients on all sorts of projects inmany different countries, all the disputes we work on tend to boil down to a difference over quality, time and/or money,” he explains. “The types of problem you might encounterwhenhavingworkdoneonahouseare thesameonesonmega-projects, albeit scaled-up in terms of value and the complexity of the facts. But at their simplest, the parties’ complaints can be reduced to, for example, whose fault is it that the works are not finished by the agreed date; the quality of theworks is considered to be sub- standard; thecontractorwants tobepaidextra for something itscustomer considers tobealready includedwithinthe initial agreedprice, andsoon.” Project management Constructiondisputes tendtobetechnical and oftendocument-heavy: “There isoftenavast numberof technical drawings, formal and informal emails fromdifferentparties involved intheproject, formal lettersandmeetingminutes,whichhelpus topiecetogether thestoryofwhathasgonewrong intheproject.That in itself requiresa lotofproject management–the jobmustbedonethoroughlybut inanefficientandcost-effectiveway for theclient.”
Contentious construction work involves the resolution of disputes, principally through arbitration, litigation, or mediation. In addition, the construction world has some distinctive dispute processes of its own including adjudication and dispute boards. Non-contentious constructionwork involves strategicadviceonhowtostructuretheparties’ rolesandrisksintheproject,procurement processesbywhichpartiesbidtowincontracts, draftingandnegotiatingthosecontractsand advisingonrelatedmattersincludingfinancing, insurance, health and safety, environmental matters and insolvency. Clients range fromdevelopers, project owners, insurers, contractors, architects, engineers, industry associations,publicauthoritiesandgovernment bodiestomajorcompaniesandpartnerships. Agoodpieceofadvicefor thosehopingtoembark onanytrainingcontract is tobeopenmindedabout theseatsyouundertakeandthearea inwhichyou ultimatelyqualify.AngusRankinwasrightat theend ofhis trainingwhenhesethissightsonacareer in constructionandengineeringdisputes. “My fourth and last seatwas inconstruction, duringwhich I workedonacase involvingan incidentaboarda deep-waterdrillingshipoff thecoastofWestAfrica – I knewthenthat thiswaswhat Iwantedtodo,” herecalls. “Aswell asdoinga lotofpre-electronic disclosure, I enjoyedworkingcloselywithboth technical andquantumexperts.Thatcaseandthe excellentmentoring I receivedfromtheassociate, seniorassociateandpartner inthat teamwerebig influencesonme.” Following a secondment to the legal department of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) in Tokyo, then several years in anMHI subsidiary’s London office (latterly as general counsel and company secretary), Angus returned toHogan Lovells as a partner in 2017, re-joining the construction and engineering disputes teamwhere he had completed his training a decade before. Today he acts on disputes arising from large- scale infrastructure projects, principally in the power sector, all over the world. The
For more firms that work in this practice area, please use the “Training contract regional indexes” starting on p197.
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