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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)

Construction & Engineering

Isabel has a long-established construction and engineering practice. She is instructed in contractual and professional negligence claims arising out of a wide variety of domestic, European and international construction and engineering projects. She acts for a range of contractors, commercial and luxury domestic developers and professionals. Recent and ongoing matters include interim and final account disputes, and liability disputes under all major standard term contracts (NEC, ICE, JCT, FIDIC etc).

She has extensive experience advising and acting in relation to government PFI and framework agreements.

Infrastructure and energy: Isabel acts for both government and private companies in relation to construction and maintenance of roads, rail, tram systems, flood defences, prisons, court premises, MOD premises (individual and Joint Services), airfields, power and utilities (on and offshore oil and gas, wind, renewables and waste energy).

IT: Isabel acts for government and private companies in relation to provision and operation of long-term hardware and software and IT support services for central and local government.

Isabel is also instructed in cases concerning shipbuilding.

Given Isabel’s commercial expertise she is able to provide construction and engineering clients a ‘joined up service’ acting in disputes over interpretation and enforcement of bonds in the context of sale of engineering plant and over finance obligations and structures (including offshore and bi-furcated Shariah compliant) in relation to property development.

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.
  • 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.
  • (1) White (2) Weybridge Enterprises Ltd v (1) PSM Residential Ltd et al [2017] EWHC 1925 (TCC) and [2017] EWHC 3500 (TCC) Isabel acted for developers of a high value private residential property seeking to set aside a settlement agreement reached with second level funders on the grounds of fraud including the fraudulent procuring and provision of a certificate of practical completion.   Acting in adjudications and negotiations for the Environment Agency in relation to a range of projects from footpaths to flood defences. Working effectively to lead a multi-disciplinary team of to ensure productive outcomes in context of long term projects.
  • GE Energy Power Conversion UK Ltd v Anixter Ltd et al Successfully acted for 4th party manufacturer of components which allegedly failed in generators manufactured by GE for use in the oil and gas industry. Issues of traceability of the components through the contractual chain and cause of failure.
  • Aspect Contracts (Asbestos) Ltd v Higgins Construction PLC Supreme Court: [2015] UKSC 38 Court of Appeal: [2013] EWCA Civ 1514 First instance: [2013] EWHC 1322 (TCC) – Preliminary issue concerning identification of the cause of action and applicable limitation period for a party paying monies following an adjudication decision to seek a final determination and, if successful, recovery.
  • Worked closely with an extensive legal and expert team in relation to claims for breach of a gas infrastructure agreement and abuse of dominant position.
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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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