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David Sears QC

Call 1984 • QC 2003

"Absolutely brilliant, a great advocate and a tenacious fighter."
(Legal 500)

Construction & Engineering

David has been listed for a number of years in both Legal 500 and Chambers as a leader in the field of construction disputes. He has over 20 years’ experience involving the whole range of disputes that arise in connection with construction and engineering projects including disputes as to contract terms (including all principal main contracts including JCT, ICE, FIDIC, NEC, GC/Works, I CHEM E, sub-contracts including DOM/1, DOM/2 and numerous bespoke forms used in international and domestic construction, energy and infrastructure projects), loss and expense claims, delay and disruption, defective work and final account disputes.

Project Work

The disputes have included many different types of construction and engineering projects including highways, railways, airports, power stations, process plants, waste treatment plants, sports stadium, bridges, tunnels, shopping centres, office blocks, car parks and residential developments. He has also been involved in a number of technical engineering disputes concerning defective equipment, machinery and systems of all kinds.

Energy & Utilities

David also has wide experience acting for employers and contractors on disputes arising out of the design and construction of, among others, pipelines, power process and waste water treatment plants.

Public Procurement

David has also acted for both public bodies and contractors on all aspects of public procurement and publicly-funded tendering procedures, not only advising them in connection with the tendering process and practical challenges which they face and the steps to be taken to avoid breaching the regulations, but also acting for them when the tendering process goes wrong and an aggrieved tenderer wants to make a claim. He is the author of the chapter in Emden’s Construction Law on EU procurement law.

Transport

David has represented both employers (e.g. government departments, local authorities etc) and also contractors in connection with disputes arising from road, rail and tunnel building projects.

IT & Technology

David has been instructed by suppliers and contractors in relation to claims concerning telecommunication systems and computer software.

Selected Cases

Project Work

  • Acting for the contractor in a long running dispute with London Underground arising out of a contract for the installation and commissioning a new signalling and communication system on the underground network.
  • Acting for the contractor in its dispute with London Underground arising out of a contract for the upgrading and long-term maintenance of a number of London Underground lines.
  • Acting for one of two joint venturers defending a claim for about 70million in liquidated damages following the delayed completion of a new power station as a result of problems with the geology of the site as well as the tunnelling and maritime works which had to be completed.
  • Acting for the Employer against the engineers retained in connection with the construction of the DLR extension to Greenwich arising out of an explosion during the course of the tunnelling works.
  • Instructed on behalf of the employer in connection with its claim against the M&E designers of the air conditioning installationfor a new terminal at Heathrow Airport
  • Acting on behalf of the design and build subcontractor in a dispute with the main contractor concerning the late delivery of a major new baggage handling system for the South Terminal at Gatwick Airport
  • Instructed on behalf of the M&E subcontractor in connection with a dispute with the main contractor and employer arising out of the M&E works at Victoria Station required for the Crossrail Project
  • Acting for the main contractor in a dispute with the local authority employer arising out of the construction of a new hospital in South Wales

Energy & Utilities

  • Acting for the employer on a £ multi-million arising out the design and construction of a new sewerage treatment works for the city of Leeds.
  • Acting for a well known energy supply company in its dispute with a landowner arising out of the construction and operation of a new windfarm on his land.
  • Acting for the engineer in a claim made by an energy company for negligence in relation to the design of the foundations for a windfarm in Scotland.
  • Acting for the employer in its claim against the main contractor in a dispute arising out of the defective installation of the pipework in a fuel processing plant in South Wales
  • Acting for the employer in its claim against both the engineer and contractor in a dispute arising out of the construction and operation of a new plant to extract methane gas from a refuse tip in Leicestershire.

Public Procurement

  • Acting for an unsuccessful tenderer on its claim for damages for breach of the EU Procurement Regulations in connection with the award of a contract by Luton Borough Council for the construction of a mainly guided bus way between London Luton Airport and Houghton Regis.
  • Acting for an unsuccessful contractor on its application for an injunction to restrain the award of a contract to the successful tenderer on the grounds that there had been numerous breaches of the EU Public Procurement regulations in the course of the tender process.
  • Acting for an NHS Trust in the defence of a claim brought by an unsuccessful tenderer for the supply of diagnostic equipment for use in London hospitals and on its successful application to lift the automatic suspension on the making of the contract with the successful bidder.

Transport

  • Acting on behalf of the Highways Agency in a dispute with the Contractor concerning workmanship, delay and disruption in connection with the construction of a twin road tunnel for the A27.
  • Acting on a claim made by an earthworks sub-contractor against a well-known contractor for delay and disruption in the construction of the A303 road in the west of England.
  • Instructed on behalf of a design joint venture in its claim for non payment of fees and an extension of time for the provision of detailed design work in connection with the new A465 trunk road in South Wales.
  • Acting for a sub-contractor in its claim against the contractor for payment for works done in connection with the design, installation, testing and commissioning of telecommunication cable work and route work for a section of a new fixed telecom network which was being installed for Network Rail
  • Acting for the employers in a claim against the engineers for negligence in the design and supervision of tunnelling works on the DLR near Greenwich.
  • Acting on behalf of the engineers in a dispute with the employer arising out the installation of a new signaling system for the rail network in South Wales.
  • Representing one of two joint venture partners in a dispute concerning responsibility for problems in the design and construction of a new tram system in Nottingham.
  • Acting for the Secretary of State for Transport in a dispute with the main contractor concerning the delay and late opening of a bascule bridge on a major road in East Anglia.

IT & Technology

  • Advising Nokia Corporation in connection with its dispute with Siemens AG arising out of the terms and implementation of a framework agreement for the takeover and maintenance of a mobile telecommunications network
  • Acting in an adjudication for the sub-contractor in its claim against the contractor for payment for works done in connection with the design, installation, testing and commissioning of telecommunication cable work and route work for a section of a new fixed telecom network which was being installed for Network Rail.
  • Acting for a design and build contractor in a dispute with the employer arising out of a project to construct and fit out a new data centre for Microsoft in Ireland
  • Acting for the Secretary of State for Defence in a dispute with a contractor over the supply of a new IT system for the delivery of virtual artillery gunnery training.
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Qualifications


  • MA Oxon
  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Accredited mediator TECBAR and ADR Chambers
  • Accredited adjudicator TECBAR

Publications


  • Author of the chapter on Public Procurement in Emden’s Construction Law
  • Contributor to the section on Delay & Disruption, Liquidated Damages and Penalties in the 12th edition of Hudson’s Building and Engineering Contracts

Recommendations


“Provides strong, consistent and clear advice with a calm and thorough approach.”

Chambers & Partners 2018

“He is very approachable, very easy to deal with and a very straightforward barrister”

Chambers & Partners 2018

“Very clever, thoughtful, precise and unfailingly good humoured – in Court he is awesome”

Legal 500, 2018

“A calm, measured approach, he strikes a good balance between the details and big picture”

Legal 500, 2018

“A superb advocate”

Legal 500, 2018


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