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Michael Curtis QC

Call 1982 • QC 2008

"He is extremely clear, calm and persuasive when on his feet in court."
(Chambers UK 2016)

Construction & Engineering

Michael has an MSc in Construction and Arbitration from King’s College, London, where he won the Ranner Arbitration Prize. He is General Editor and a co-author of Emden’s Construction Law. He has extensive experience of construction and engineering disputes, acting for employers, contractors and construction professionals in disputes of all kinds both in litigation, arbitration and adjudication. Some of the claims concern property damage caused by or arising in the course of construction and engineering operations.

Selected Cases

  • Harrow LBC v Engie Regeneration QBD (TCC) Cockerill J, 25 May 2018: dispute about the interpretation of the insurance terms in a contract relating to the design and build of a number of school expansions.
  • Dawnus Construction Ltd v Marsh Life Ltd [2017] EWHC 1066 (TCC), 172 Con LR 162: adjudication enforcement / natural justice / affirmation.
  • Amey Wye Valley Ltd v Herefordshire DC [2016] EWHC 2283 (TCC), [2016] BLR 698: adjudication enforcement / jurisdiction.
  • Beumer Group UK Ltd v Vinci Construction UK Ltd [2016] EWCH 2283 (TCC), [2017] BLR 53: adjudication enforcement / natural justice.
  • Acting for the lead consultant in a dispute arising out of a refurbishment to a listed development.
  • Acting for a social housing landlord in an adjudication arising out of the redevelopment of a social housing estate.
  • Acting for a social landlord in a claim against the professional team arising out of a sinkhole that appeared after construction of a residential estate.
  • Acting for project managers in a dispute arising out of delay and disruption to a landmark development following a major fire.
  • Advising in a dispute concerning the payment provisions of a framework agreement for a major infrastructure project.
  • Acting in a number of related disputes concerning term contracts for highway maintenance.
  • Acting in a dispute concerning a term contract for repairs and maintenance for a public body.
  • Acting for the developers in TCC proceedings arising out of a £0.25 billion property development in Central London.
  • Acting for the defendant fit out contractors in a claim arising out of a burglary at a Central London jewelers.
  • Acting for sub contractors in a multi million pound TCC claim arising out of a fire at a mansion on a private island.
  • Acting for contractors in a multi million pound claim arising out of the construction of a distribution centre.
  • Acting for a consulting engineer in a TCC claim alleging professional negligence in respect of the engineer’s expert evidence in an earlier TCC claim.
  • Acting for contractors in a multi million pound TCC claim arising out of a fire at a warehouse in Wolverhampton.
  • Acting for the defendants in a multi million pound TCC claim brought by the Highways Agency arising out of damage to the M5 motorway in a road traffic accident.
  • Acting for hotel owners and insurers in a multi million pound Commercial Court claim arising out of a fire during the course of carrying out repairs to a hotel and holiday resort on the South Coast.
  • Acting for a sub contractor in respect of a multi million claim arising from a fire during the course of the construction of a landmark London development.
  • Acting for the employer in respect of a multi million claim arising out of defective piling at a major regional distribution centre.
  • Advising the contractor in respect of a £25-50m fire claim at one of the largest pharmaceutical distribution centres in Europe.
  • Acting for the employer in adjudication enforcement proceedings relating to a major central London residential refurbishment.
  • Acting for the contractor in a £multi million two-week final account / delay & disruption arbitration concerning a harbour bridge.
  • Acting for the developer in a 3-month $150m international arbitration concerning a hotel and condominium development in the Caribbean, which suffered hurricane damage during the course of construction. The arbitration settled in the second month of the hearing.
  • Acting for the developers in a claim against their structural engineers for an indemnity in respect of compensation the developers had to pay to settle actions brought against them by purchasers of property on a residential estate in Essex as a result of failed foundations. The claim was the subject of an unsuccessful early neutral evaluation in the TCC but eventually settled shortly before trial.
  • Acting for the Project Manager in a 2 month £30m multi-party arbitration concerning a commercial development in London. The arbitration settled in the first month of the hearing.
  • Acting for the claimant solicitors in a £2m claim for flood damage at their city offices.
  • Acting for the main contractors in a dispute with their subcontractors arising out of the failure of two storage tanks whilst being tested before handover. The case settled shortly before trial.
  • Advising on jurisdictional issues in connection with a claim arising out of a fire at a paper mill.
  • Murray Construction Ltd v Marino Family Trust Ltd [2012] EWHC 628 (TCC) – Acting for the employer in a final account claim arising out of a commercial development.
  • The Buncefield Litigation – Instructed on behalf of Total in a series of quantum trials in the TCC and the Commercial Court where the sums in dispute range from £5m to £50m.
  • Three Valleys Water PLC v London Fire & Emergency Planning Authority [2009] EWHC 3109 (Mr Justice Edwards Stuart) – Acting for London Fire in a claim concerning the respective responsibilities of water companies and fire authorities for the repair and maintenance of fire hydrants. Among other issues, the court considered the interpretation and effect of the British Standards relating to fire hydrants and whether they were determinative of the parties’ respective obligations under the statutory scheme.
  • Coal Pension Properties v Nu Way Ltd (2009) 124 Con LR 76 – Acting for the claimants in a £2m claim arising out of an explosion at their Oxford Street store caused by a defective gas booster.
  • Orange Personal Communications Services Ltd v Hoare Lea (A Firm) 117 Con LR 76,   Akenhead J – Acting for Orange in a claim for flood damage to Orange’s Bristol data centre.
  • Kajima UK Engineering Ltd v Volumetric Ltd & Others – Acting for subcontractors and   suppliers in a claim arising out of the construction and subsequent demolition of a block of flats in Leeds.
  • City & General (Holborn) Limited v AYH PLC [2006] BLR 55 Jackson J – Acting for the defendants in an application concerning the court’s powers under the Arbitration Act 1996 s 18 to order two arbitrations to be heard together.
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Qualifications


  • Ranner Arbitration Prize
  • MSc (Construction & Arbitration Law), Kings College London
  • MA in Law (Oxon)

Memberships


  • ACIArb
  • TECBAR
  • COMBAR
  • LCLBA
  • PNBA
  • LCIA
  • SCL

Recommendations


“A very able advocate, who is brilliant in court.”

Legal 500, 2017

“Extremely capable and user-friendly, with a fantastic attention to detail.”

Legal 500, 2017

“Excellent.”

Legal 500, 2017

“He is extremely clear, calm and persuasive when on his feet in court.”

Chambers UK 2016

“He is very measured and very sensible so you feel you are in safe hands”.

Chambers UK 2016


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