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Isabel Hitching KC

Call 1992 • KC 2019

“Isabel is everything you want from a silk.”
(Chambers & Partners, 2024)

Isabel Hitching is a commercial silk with a long-established expertise in the issues arising out of large-scale, complex construction and technology projects.  With expertise not only in the construction field but in insurance, funding and corporate structure, professional negligence and property damage she is able to provide her clients with a joined-up service to achieve the optimal, overall outcome.  Reflecting her strength in all these fields she is ranked in the directories as a leading silk in five areas: technology and construction, professional negligence (technology and construction), professional negligence, property damage and insurance and reinsurance.

Isabel is known for combining intellectual rigour with a team working and commercial approach, identifying an effective strategy to achieve the best for her clients whether at trial or through ADR.

Isabel undertakes frequent trial work in the High Court and is regularly instructed in adjudications and arbitrations. She is known for her ability to analyse and marshal vast disclosure and work effectively with multi-disciplinary teams of experts.

With her academic background as a lecturer at Christ Church, Oxford University, Isabel is frequently instructed in cases raising novel and complex points of statutory and contractual interpretation. She has been involved in test cases at first instance as well as in the Court of Appeal, the House of Lords, Supreme Court and European Court of Justice.  Statutory interpretation cases range from the first case to be decided in the Supreme Court on adjudication (Aspect v Higgins [2015] UKSC 38) to the recent Mixed Injuries test cases Rabot v Hassam [2024] UKSC 11, and include the first case on the Building Safety Act 2022 to address the ability of a contractor to flow down loss LDC (Portfolio One) v (1) George Downing Construction Limited (2) ESL [2022] EWHC 3356 (TCC).  Recent contractual interpretation cases include University of Exeter v Allianz Insurance Plc [2023] EWCA Civ 1484, the first case to consider the applicability of a war exclusion clause to damage arising from a second world war bomb many decades after the war ended.

Prior to taking silk Isabel was the most senior commercial and construction specialist on the Attorney General’s panel and acted for the government in a large number of high value, factually complex and politically sensitive disputes. Isabel continues to act for the government as King’s Counsel, in matters including defective PPE claims totalling £3/4bn, the portfolio of Francovich claims arising out of the government’s non-implementation of the European Motor Insurance Defective (including Lewis v Tindale [2019] EWCA Civ 909) and a number of disputes under PFIs for the national road network (following her success in (Connect Plus (M25) Ltd v Highways England Company Ltd [2018] EWHC 140 (TCC)).

Isabel is a member of the Civil Procedure Rule Committee, chairing the project on simplification of the court rules and working with Asplin LJ on the integration of ADR.  She has been the editor of Emden on Construction Law for over 10 years, authoring the chapters on contractual interpretation and alternative dispute resolution.

Isabel is also instructed as both an adjudicator and an arbitrator in domestic and international insurance, commercial and construction matters.

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Qualifications


  • MA (First Class), Christ Church, Oxford
  • BCL, Christ Church, Oxford
  • Open Scholar, Open Exhibitioner, Radcliffe Exhibitioner and Dixon Scholar Christ Church, Oxford
  • Lord Justice Sachs Scholarship, Middle Temple
  • Queen Mother Scholarship, Middle Temple
  • Inns of Court Studentship
  • Former non-stipendiary lecturer in law Christ Church Oxford
  • Accredited Adjudicator (TecBar)
  • Accredited Arbitrator (LCIA)

Memberships


  • Civil Procedure Rule Committee
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association
  • Commercial Bar Association
  • London Common Law & Commercial Bar Association
  • Society of Construction Law (and past committee member)
  • Technology & Construction Bar Association (and past committee member)
  • Joint editor of Emden’s Construction Law
  • London Court of International Arbitration
  • Former member of Attorney General’s Treasury Panel. Continues to act for government as silk.
  • Past member of Bar Standards Board Equality & Diversity Committee
  • Past member and vice-chair of Bar Standards Board Qualifications Committee
  • Past member of Bar Council and Bar Council International Committee

Recommendations


“Isabel is everything you want from a silk. Her mind is just razor-sharp, she will spot things in huge mounds of paperwork and see a relevance in them to then map it all through.”… “She is particularly good in cases that are a bit novel and different.”

Chambers & Partners, 2024

‘Isabel has an innate ability to drill down to the main points and weed out irrelevant issues, from which instructing solicitors can then draw up a strong strategic approach which usually gets us to where the client wants to be.’

Legal 500, 2024

“Isabel is extremely astute, very careful and conscientious and always has a clear plan of action in terms of approach to the issues and getting the best out of the case for the client. She manages expectations in relation to delivering work and solicitors know exactly where they stand.”

Legal 500, 2024

“She is very knowledgeable of the construction sector, excellent with clients and a very persuasive advocate in court or arbitration.”

(Chambers & Partners, 2022)

“She always has a good grasp and understanding of the case, and is a confident and persuasive advocate.”

(Legal 500, 2022)

“Industrious, meticulous and convincing … always has a good grasp of the case, and is a confident and persuasive advocate”

Legal 500, 2022

“Very sensitive to the needs of the client, and adopts a realistic and commercial view in order to achieve the best result.”

(Legal 500, 2021)

“A standout barrister at the construction Bar.”

(Legal 500, 2021)

“She is clear and concise as an advocate, with the ability to see the bigger picture in disputes.”

(Chambers & Partners, 2021)

“Boasts a tally of appearances in important and high-value construction cases… She has a chess grand master’s great grasp of strategy.”

(Chambers & Partners 2020)

“She has a chess grand master’s great grasp of strategy.”

(Chambers & Partners, 2020)

“She has an awesome intellect and always examines issues from all angles.”

(Legal 500)


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