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Douglas James

Call 2015

Construction & Engineering

Douglas acts in all forms of construction dispute resolution, including adjudications and claims against construction professionals. He has wide experience of many standard contracts, including JCT, NEC, FIDIC, and IChemE forms.

Douglas has completed secondments to various major City firms, where he assisted on matters including a £14m claim under a PFI facilities management contract and a £7m claim on a latent defects insurance policy.

Douglas is a contributing editor to Emden’s Construction Law: he wrote the chapters on misrepresentation, estoppel and frustration. Douglas is a co-editor of the Adjudication Society’s newsletter and on the Society’s London sub-committee. He has presented to the SCL on delay analysis.

Douglas is a member of the SCL and TECBAR.

Selected Cases

Douglas’s current and recent instructions include:

  • Acting for the respondent employer in a c. $70m ICC arbitration on a delayed combined-cycle power plant project in the Caribbean (led by Mark Chennells KC).
  • Acting for an eastern European state entity in a c. $66m ICC arbitration on a delayed infrastructure project (FIDIC; led by Roger Stewart KC and Richard Liddell KC).
  • Part of a large team of counsel acting for the engineer in a c. $5bn ad-hoc arbitration about the design of a hub airport in the Middle East.
  • Acting for the contractor (in liquidation) in Part 8 proceedings to overturn an adjudicator’s final account decision: ML Hart Builders Ltd (in liquidation) v Swiss Cottage Properties Ltd [2021] EWHC 3420 (TCC) and [2022] EWHC 1465 (TCC).
  • Acting (until settlement) for the main contractor in a cladding case in Manchester; the claim progressed to trial to consider the insolvent sub-contractor’s liability and the reasonableness of the settlement: LDC (Portfolio One) Ltd v George Downing Construction Ltd and European Sheeting Ltd [2022] EWHC 3356 (TCC) (led by Isabel Hitching KC).
  • Acting in a subrogated recovery following an alleged over-delivery of domestic fuel oil: Pilgrims Management Company Ltd v Birlem Ltd [2023] EWHC 508 (TCC).
  • Acting for the main contractor in a c. £20m multi-party claim concerning subsidence at a Midlands warehouse (led by Andrew Rigney KC).
  • Acting for an engineer in a claim about a fatal crane collapse (led by Richard Liddell KC).
  • Acting for the D&B supplier of modular office units for the HS2 project in a c. £9.6m delay and damages dispute (NEC3, including a claim under a CAR policy; led by Richard Liddell KC).
  • Acting for the hard services facilities management company in TCC proceedings about fire safety defects in a PFI development (settled shortly before trial; led by Crispin Winser KC).
  • Acting for a D&B contractor in a c. £2.5m design and delay adjudication about a major civil engineering project in Bristol harbour (NEC3).
  • Acting for the main contractor in a £2.6m adjudication about an allegedly defective warehouse sprinkler system (led by Charles Pimlott).
  • Acting for a PFI hard-services contractor in a c. £900k adjudication for withheld payments.
  • Acting for the parent company in a £2.1m claim on a parent company guarantee for delayed and defective M&E works.
  • Advising the lessors of biogas boilers on a £1.7m claim against their lessees for breaches in respect of Renewable Heat Incentive payments.
  • Acting for a sub-subcontractor in a €900k payment dispute in respect of the supply and testing of HV cables for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power project.
  • Advising main contractors about delay on a water treatment plant project in Surrey (IChemE Burgundy).
  • Acting for the employer in a £350k claim under the Third Party (Rights Against Insurers) Act 2010.
  • Advising on the enforceability of an adjudicator’s decision following insolvency – the matter was later litigated in Bresco Electrical Services Ltd (in liquidation) v Michael J Lonsdale (Electrical) Ltd [2020] UKSC 25.
  • Acting for the employer in 2 c. £250k interim and final account adjudications (led by the late David Sears KC).
  • Various TCC adjudication enforcement proceedings (including before O’Farrell and Pepperall JJ).


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City University and Lincoln’s Inn

  • Eastham scholar (Pupillage award, Lincoln’s Inn, 2015)
  • Buchanan Prize (BPTC award, Lincoln’s Inn, 2015)
  • Berwin Leighton Paisner Prize for best law-school team, Worshipful Company of Arbitrators arbitration competition, 2015 (representing City University)
  • Lord Denning scholar (BPTC scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn, 2014)
  • Monckton Prize for EU Law (City University, 2014)
  • Winner, University of Southampton IV moot (representing Lincoln’s Inn, 2014)
  • Lord Bowen scholar (GDL scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn, 2013)
  • Hardwicke scholar (Entrance award, Lincoln’s Inn, 2013)

King’s College London

  • Wellcome scholar (full stipendiary PhD scholarship, 2010-13)
  • Society for the Social History of Medicine bursary (2012)
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council scholar (MA scholarship, 2009-10)


  • Elizabeth Margaret Dale Cast Prize (top overall degree, 2009)
  • Dean’s List (2009)
  • Professor Joel Hurstfield Prize (top in 2nd year, 2008)
  • Dolley Prize (top in 1st year, 2007)




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  • 2015 – BPTC – City University – Outstanding
  • 2014 – GDL – City University – Distinction
  • 2013 – PhD History (Portraits of early-modern patients) – King’s College London
  • 2010 – MA Early Modern History – King’s College London – Distinction
  • 2009 – BA (Hons) History – University College London – First Class (top in year)


  • SCL

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