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Isabel Hitching KC

Call 1992 • KC 2019

"industrious, meticulous and convincing … always has a good grasp of the case, and is a confident and persuasive advocate"
(Legal 500, 2022)


Isabel has extensive experience of acting in commercial disputes, including:

  • Business interruption (i) how contractual terms under PFIs and other domestic and trans-national contracts allocate loss (impact on payment mechanisms, delay and force majeure) (ii) recoverability of loss from third and (iii) recoverability under insurance policies.  Matters have included calculation of losses due to catastrophic failure of power generators in SE Asia region (GE Energy Power Conversion UK Ltd v Anixter Ltd et al), interpretation of payment mechanism under a PFI contract for long term steam turbine outage at power plant in UK (ongoing) and the recoverability of contractual payments for business interruption under national rail franchises (Network Rail v Handy and Network Rail v House of Goodness).  (see further Property Damage and Insurance below.)
  • Domestic and trans-national commercial contract disputes (sale of goods, provision of professional services, restrictive covenants, scope of guarantees and warranties)
  • Isabel has particular specialism in issues of interpretation of contract terms, and related issues of implication and rectification. She publishes and lectures in this field and has been involved in leading cases at first instance and on appeal including Aspect Contracts (Asbestos) Ltd v Higgins Construction PLC Supreme Court: [2015] UKSC 38.
  • Isabel has a growing specialism in payment and performance provision disputes under complex PFI contractsroad, infrastructure and defence.
  • Civil fraud and misrepresentation Isabel is frequently instructed in cases involving allegations of fraud, breach of directors’ duties and misrepresentation. Recent matters have included allegations that a Tomlin Order was secured by fraud, fraudulent management of a £60m property development and diversion of funds and fraudulent mis-accounting of royalty payments. Isabel is also acting for the government in relation to investigations into mismanagement of Academies.
  • The validity, construction and enforcement of financial instruments issued by domestic institutions, overseas banks and hedge funds. She is regularly instructed in cases connected with the financing of construction and engineering projects: bi-furcated finance, on-demand bonds and guarantees.

Selected Cases

  • Connect Plus (M25) Ltd v Highways England Company Ltd [2018] EWHC 140 (TCC) Successfully acted on behalf of the Highways Agency, led by Anneliese Day QC (Fountain Court), identifying and interpreting the regime for calculation of sums due to the operating company in respect of critical incidents under the PFI for the maintenance and operation of the M25
  • Acted for developers of a high value private property seeking to set aside a settlement reached with second level funders for fraud. White et al v PSM Residential Finance Limited and Pluto Finance Limited. Judgment on preliminary point [2017] EWHC 1925 TCC.
  • Successfully acting for prospective deponents in relation to the AG of California’s pursuit of Morgan Stanley for alleged wrongful marketing and wrongful procuring of a Standard & Poor’s AAA rating for sub-prime investment vehicles which collapsed in 2007 with the notorious property crash resulting in the State investors losing many hundreds of millions of dollars, resulting in substantially reduced number and scope of depositions.
  • Tetronics (International) Ltd v (1) HSBC Bank plc (2) BlueOak Arkansas LLC [2018] EWHC 201 (TCC) Isabel acted for Tetronics, who sold engineering plant to a US company. Obtained and preserved an interim injunction against HSBC preventing it from paying out on an on demand bond until the conclusion of an arbitration. Satisfied the court that HSBC was on notice of fraud – the first reported case where this has been achieved in the English courts. Interim injunction subsequently discharged on balance of convenience.
  • Acting for bus company pursuing regional transport authority for substantial underpayments under regional transport scheme.
  • Acting for MoD in relation to a number of naval, military, airforce and joint services contracts and construction projects.
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  • 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
  • Previously non-stipendiary lecturer in law Christ Church Oxford
  • Accredited Adjudicator (TecBar)
  • Accredited Arbitrator (LCIA)


  • 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


“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)

“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)

“A superb tactician, who is masterly with the game plan.”

(Legal 500)

“An extremely competent tactician who provides very strong strategy.”

(Legal 500)

“A specialist in construction, with regular High Court appearances.”

(Legal 500)

“A highly intelligent and practical barrister.”

(Chambers & Partners)

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