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Mek Mesfin

Call 2014

Construction & Engineering

Mek has a wide range of experience of construction disputes and is familiar with the main contract forms including JCT, NEC, FIDIC, IChemE, LOGIC and RIBA forms.

Adjudication

Mek has experience of all aspects of statutory and contractual adjudication from advising prior to initiating adjudication to the enforcement of adjudicators’ awards. Mek has also acted as an Adjudicator and he is on the TECBAR and Construction Plant Hire Association Panels of Adjudicators.

Selected Cases

Adjudication

  • Mek was instructed as sole counsel in a c.£2m final account adjudication relating to the refurbishment of a hospital wing.
  • Mek is instructed as sole counsel to defend an international contractor against a c. £3m claim brought against it by an M&E consultant for alleged misrepresentations.
  • Mek is advising an M&E consultant with respect to seeking retention sums and defending an intimated counterclaim for alleged defects on a £1.2m project.
  • Represented the responding party in a £850,000+ adjudication regarding conditions precedent, notice provisions, electronic service and valuation.
  • Advising a contractor on the most suitable method of pursuing a particular party in a near-insolvency situation; Mek is currently instructed in the adjudication in this £250,000+ dispute.
  • Instructed on behalf of an international contractor to draft submissions in an Adjudication relating to a £10m+ project; the dispute relates to whether £1m+ of liquidated damages were validly levied or whether the provisions were inoperable and/or penal.
  • Settling a Notice and Referral on behalf of a contractor in an Adjudication relating to (i) failed payments following interim payment applications (ii) losses suffered by employer caused delay and (iii) recovering the costs of adjudication.
  • Advising on grounds for resisting the enforcement of adjudicators’ awards.
  • Drafting a Response and Rejoinder in a multi-million pound claim against an architect and contractor on a substantial domestic construction project.
  • Drafting Particulars of Claim and skeleton arguments for the enforcement of adjudicators’ decisions; addressing issues including jurisdiction, dispute crystallisation, validity of the reference to adjudication, validity of adjudicator appointment, timetabling, waiver and natural justice.
  • Advising a parent company guarantor on its liability to indemnify its subsidiary in respect of an adjudicator’s decision made against the latter.

Arbitration

  • Mek is instructed in a $150m Arbitration relating to the construction of a rail system (Qatari Law)
  • Instructed as sole counsel for a sub-contractor in relation to a multi-million pound International Arbitration arising out of M&E works at an alcohol plant (Law: English; Seat: Milan). Mek is instructed as sole counsel for a 3-day evidentiary hearing in Milan.
  • Advising on the likelihood of obtaining specific performance during the final stages of a long-term contract; involved issues of jurisdiction or whether the arbitral tribunal or the Courts of the lex fori was the correct forum for the application.
  • Advising on whether an employer was bound by the valuations of variations which his architect had agreed with the contractor; involved issues of agency in the context of a JCT Minor Works contract.
  • Advising a contractor in an ICC arbitration on obtaining security for costs in a dispute about the refurbishment of a jack-up drilling unit in the Caribbean.
  • Advising a party in an ICC arbitration on a proposed claim for breach of a Joint Venture Agreement; involved consideration of contract formation, condition precedents, implied terms, good faith and loss of a chance.

Litigation

  • Mek is instructed (led by Ben Quiney QC) Ben is acting for engineers in a multi-million pound claim arising from a private development that appeared on the “Grand Designs” programme and is alleged to require significant remedial works. The claim involves difficult questions of scope of duty, technical evidence and quantification arise, along with the unique feature of the building having its own television programme about it.
  • Mek is defending an Approved Inspector in a large multi-party claim worth £250,000+
  • Mek represents a Claimant in a £300,000+ case arising out of a large residential fire; the case involves detailed expert evidence from multiple disciplines.
  • Appeared as sole counsel in the High Court (TCC; Leeds District Registry) before HHJ Raeside QC, successfully obtaining summary judgment for the enforcement of a c.£200k Adjudicator’s decision. The Court considered whether the dispute arose from a separate agreement or a variation to the original contract (Tolent Construction v Benchmark, 2017).
  • Advised on and appeared as sole counsel in the High Court (TCC) before Mr Justice Fraser successfully obtaining summary judgment for the enforcement of an Adjudicator’s decision worth £750,000+ (Willmott Partnership Homes Ltd v Bethel Retirement Villages-Herne Bay Court Ltd, 2017)
  • Advising an international contractor on several potential claims to be brought against various members of a professional team who worked on three multi-million pound projects resulting from widespread defects claims; raising complex issues of causation and proof in the context of a Biggin v Permanite claim against multiple defendants (ongoing).
  • Advising on and representing an employer in a matter relating to whether retention sums purported to have become due to a contractor were validly assigned to a third party following the contractor’s insolvency and termination of the building contract. Mek is concurrently instructed in both litigation and adjudication on the matter and is instructed to appear at an upcoming strike out / summary judgment application.
  • Advising on and settling Particulars of Claim for an employer following the termination of a £150,000+ contract; issues relating to orally agreed contractual terms and termination.
  • Appeared as sole counsel in the High Court (TCC) before Sir Antony Edwards-Stuart successfully obtaining summary judgment for the enforcement of an Adjudicators award along with interest at 8% and full costs; involved issues of jurisdiction, natural justice and allegations of fraud and other impropriety.
  • Appeared as sole counsel in the High Court (TCC) before Mr Justice Fraser successfully obtaining summary judgment for the enforcement of an Adjudicators decision as well obtaining interest at 8% and costs on the indemnity basis.
  • Settled Particulars of Claim for a c. £75,000 High Court Final Account dispute; included matters relating to contract formation, contractual terms and expert quantity surveyor evidence.
  • Advising a contractor on whether multiple parties intimating claims against it have valid causes of action; includes matters relating to the existence and extent of a contractors tortious duty of care and the existence and extent of collateral contracts.
  • Advising on and drafting a Defence and Counterclaim relating to the supply of allegedly defective ductwork required for a Hospital; included consideration of contractual terms following a “battle of the forms”, the implication of terms and expert evidence.
  • Settling a Defence and advising on an application for summary judgment against a claim by an interior designer for allegedly unpaid fees.
  • Defending a claim for extensions of time and variations due to unforeseen ground conditions in the construction of an underwater piling system.
  • Advising a contractor regarding a claim it was facing and the prospects of bringing an additional claim; involved issues including the cheque rule and its interaction with total/partial failure of consideration, assignment and contractual standard terms purporting to exclude negligence.
  • Successfully defended a plumber sub-contractor at a trial of a claim for allegedly defective work; the Court accepted Meks informal strike out / summary judgment application and dismissed the claim on the basis that there was no assumption of no responsibility/duty of care in relation to pure economic loss was owed.
  • Advising a contractor on whether its allegedly defective work amounted to negligence or breach of contract / its duty under the Defective Premises Act 1972; required consideration of expert quantity surveyor evidence and contractual terms.
  • Advising on the binding effect of various collateral warranties.
  • Advising on and drafting Particulars of Claim in a dispute over defects in a render system installed on a residential apartment development.
  • Drafting a Defence and Counterclaim to a claim for payment under a final account in a Target Cost contract.
  • Advising on limitation, breach of contract / duty and settlement parameters in a potential claim arising of a domestic development project.
  • Advising on whether the provisions of a Target Cost contract could be retrospectively operated after the end of the project.
  • Advising on obtaining injunctive relief in a Party Wall matter in order to prohibit further construction and mandate the taking of steps to ensure the property remained structurally sound.
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Awards


  • Best Memorandum (Honourable Mention), Willem C. Vis Moot (2014)
  • Monckton Chambers European Law Essay Prize, Finalist (2013)
  • Prince of Wales BPTC and Residential Scholar, Grays Inn (2013)
  • Bar Council Law Reform Essay Competition, Prize Winner (2012)
  • Herbert Smith/The Times Advocacy Competition, Prize Winner (2012)
  • David Karmel GDL Scholar, Gray’s Inn (2012)
  • One Essex Court / The Times Law Awards, Finalist (2012)
  • Oxford Law Society Essay Prize, Winner (2011)
  • Sir Isaiah Berlin Prize, Corpus Christi College, Oxford (2011)
  • Sharpston Scholarship, Corpus Christi College, Oxford (2010)
  • SSE Scholar, English Speaking Union (2009)

News


Qualifications


  • Bar Professional Training Course, City Law School (2013 – 2014)
  • Graduate Diploma in Law, City Law School (2012 – 2013)
  • BA (Hons), Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford (2009 – 2012)

Memberships


  • COMBAR
  • TECBAR
  • SCL
  • PIBA
  • PNBA
  • BILA
  • TECBAR Adjudicator
  • Member of Panel of Adjudicators for the Construction Plant Hire Association.

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