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Robert Stokell

Call 1995

Robert Stokell specialises in substantial construction and engineering disputes, insurance-related advice and litigation, product liability, professional negligence and property damage. He is well placed to advise where a case raises issues in more than one of these areas. He appears regularly in the High Court (particularly the TCC) and the County Court and has acted in the Court of Appeal, in adjudication, arbitration, mediation and settlement meetings.

Robert also holds talks and seminars. Previous topics have included:

  • Going for Broke(rs) or The Liability of Insurance Brokers
  • The Terminator: Frustration, Termination for Breach & Termination pursuant to Contract
  • Professional Negligence in Construction Disputes – PNLA Annual Conference 2016 (Bristol) and PNLA Conference (London) 2016
  • The Insurance Act 2015 – Crown Office Chambers Roadshow and In House Lawyers’ Forum 2016 – with Richard Lynagh QC
  • Remoteness of Damage: The Achilleas – with Andrew Rigney QC
  • Joint Names Insurance: Tyco – with Roger ter Haar QC

Construction & Engineering

Robert specialises in substantial construction and engineering disputes, pursuant to JCT and other contracts, dealing with (for example) delay and disruption, defects, final accounts and liquidated damages. He has acted in the TCC and the Court of Appeal, and in adjudication, arbitration and mediation.

Selected Cases

  • Acting for a major engineering company in an adjudication relating to the use of intumescent paint in a coastal location. Issues included jurisdiction, the construction of a settlement agreement, construction of the contractual documents specifying the paint, causation and quantum.
  • Advising the provider of social housing in a claim against a developer pursuant to the DPA in respect of defective boilers and flues.
  • Acting for an engineer in an adjudication relating to the design of more than 2,000 precast concrete elements.
  • Structure Consulting v Maroush Food Production (2017) (TCC): acting for Maroush, the defendant in an enforcement claim, and the claimant in a Part 8 claim for declarations mainly relating to whether or not the parties had agreed a JCT contract, and whether a pay less notice was valid.
  • Advising on mistake, frustration and termination in a claim arising out of a vegetation clearance contract.
  • Advising whether an engineer owed a duty of care in tort in respect of the adequacy of its design to a tendering contractor.
  • Advising on suspension of performance, LADs and provisional sums under a JCT Design and Build Contract 2011.
  • Acting for the homeowners (with Andrew Bartlett QC and Crispin Winser) in the TCC and in the Court of Appeal in claims against a major housebuilder relating to piled foundations, defects and nuisance in a housing development.
  • Acting for an M&E contractor against the supplier/ commissioner of an air-cooled water chiller, in relation to water damage.
  • Acting for a contractor in a case concerning a retaining wall and alleged damage to a warehouse and drainage, and dealing with contribution claims against the engineer and the designer/ builder of the retaining wall.
  • Acting for the owner of commercial premises in a claim against a contractor for loss caused by damage to asbestos panels during roof works.
  • Acting for an occupier of commercial premises in a claim against an M&E maintenance contractor in relation to damage caused by a fuel oil leak.
  • Acting for a residential owner in a claim for defects against a major house builder based on the NHBC Buildmark Policy.
  • Acting for the owners of a substantial London property with a defective basement and a leaking roof, in a case against the architect, structural engineer and building contractor.
  • Acting for the owner of a lorry park with surface and drainage defects claiming damages from the structural engineer and contractor.
  • Acting for a contractor responsible for the construction of a basement and the installation of a damp proof membrane.
  • Acting for an engineering and earthworks contractor facing a claim for alleged vibration damage.
  • Acting for the contractor in a £1.2m final account claim pursuant to a JCT 1998 Contract (Private with Approximate Quantities).
  • Defeating claims for additional scaffolding hire costs and for damages for loss of scaffolding from site.
  • Defeating an application for summary judgment to enforce an adjudication, where the court accepted that the homeowners had not contracted on the JCT Minor Works terms (MW 2011) so as to agree to adjudication.
  • Defeating a £1.9m adjudication claim against a building surveyor in respect of alleged loss following major design changes.
  • Establishing that a claim for damages had been settled in the run-up to trial by an oral agreement between the principals.
  • Successfully opposing a claim in misrepresentation/ deceit in respect of a cabling contract, dealing with an application for security for costs, and obtaining an order for payment of costs by a non-party.
  • Goldsworthy v Harrison [2016] EWHC 1589 (TCC) – Defeating an application for summary judgment to enforce an adjudicator’s decision, on the basis that the Court was not satisfied that the parties had agreed the JCT Minor Works terms were to apply.
  • Harrison v Shepherd Homes [2014] EWHC 2786 (TCC) – Costs in a multi-party con-struction dispute.
  • Harrison v Shepherd Homes Ltd [2012] EWCA Civ 904 – Acting successfully for the homeowners (with Andrew Bartlett QC) in the Court of Appeal on an appeal in relation to quantum.
  • Thameside Construction Co Ltd v Arthenella Ltd [2011] EWHC 2695 (TCC) – Establishing that the claim had been settled in the run-up to Trial by an oral agreement between the principals.
  • PMP Electrical Services Ltd v Henley Homes (East) LLP [2011] EWHC 599 (TCC) – Successfully opposing a claim in misrepresentation/ deceit in respect of a cabling contract.
  • Harrison & Ors v Shepherd Homes [2011] EWHC 1811 (TCC); 27 Const LJ 709 – Acting successfully for the homeowners (with Andrew Bartlett QC and Crispin Winser) in the TCC (Mr Justice Ramsey) in claims against a major house builder relating to piled foundations, defects and nuisance in a housing development.

Insurance & Reinsurance

Robert’s experience includes coverage disputes, non-disclosure, misrepresentation, late / non-notification, and fraudulent claims.

Selected Cases

  • Acting for contractors (with Andrew Bartlett QC) in a £10m claim arising out of a fire. Issues include joint insurance and the construction of project insurance policies.
  • Acting for the home owners (with Andrew Bartlett QC) in a hearing against the NHBC concerning section 3 of the Buildmark Policy and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.
  • Acting for PL insurers (with Roger ter Haar QC) in an arbitration before Gavin Kealey QC dealing with coverage, rectification and estoppel, in a claim by a major housebuilder for fire damage.
  • Acting for insurers (with Andrew Rigney QC) in an action arising out of a house building policy, with issues relating to coverage, waiver and estoppel.
  • Acting for a residential owner in a claim for defects against a major housebuilder based on the NHBC Buildmark Policy.
  • Advising the landlord of a large London property on notification and coverage in respect of claims under a PL policy relating to numerous water leaks.
  • Advising insurers on declinature based on fraud in a claim for fire damage to the premises of a vehicle maintenance business.
  • Advising EL insurers in relation to the identity of the policyholder.
  • Advising PL insurers on misrepresentation, non-disclosure and breach of warranty in a claim for damage to a yacht.
  • Harrison v Shepherd Homes Limited [2010] EWHC 1398 (TCC) – Acting on behalf of the homeowners (with Andrew Bartlett QC) to defeat an application by the NHBC for summary judgment.

Product Liability

Robert has acted in a wide range of product liability and commercial disputes dealing with issues including sale of goods, supply of services, personal injuries, insolvency, conversion, bailment, breach of directors’ duties, and agency agreements.

Selected Cases

  • Acting for a transport company claiming against a lorry repairer for accident damage caused by the defective repair of a lorry’s air brakes.
  • Acting in an LCIA Arbitration (IBA Rules) (before Dominic Spenser Underhill) in a case arising out of the carriage of goods by road, dealing with issues relating to the formation of the contract, the letter of credit and repudiation.
  • Acting for a major engineer in an arbitration (under the Electricity Industry Arbitration Association rules) relating to the installation and operation of commercial electricity meters.
  • Acting for the operator of retail premises in a product liability claim against the manufacturer and the supplier of a commercial refrigerator.
  • Acting for a major lorry manufacturer in a product liability case concerning fire damage allegedly caused by a component in a lorry engine.
  • Acting for a major lorry manufacturer defending a claim for personal injury allegedly caused by defects in a steering mechanism.
  • Acting for a stairlift installer in a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
  • Acting for a contractor defending a claim in misrepresentation/ deceit in respect of a cabling contract.
  • Acting for the covenantor in a claim for the repayment of a loan contained in a legal charge.
  • Advising the installer of defective diesel generators in respect of a €2.5m claim by way of ICC Arbitration against the genset manufacturer.
  • Advising a bicycle supplier on a claim against its former solicitors for failing to advise adequately on the effect of the ‘longstop’ under the Consumer Protection Act 1987.

Professional Liability

Claims for and against professionals, including engineers, valuers and surveyors, solicitors and barristers.

Selected Cases

  • Acting for the surveyor in a claim arising out a rent review.
  • Advising on the construction of a settlement agreement, and the expiry of limitation, in a claim for underinsurance due to allegedly negligent advice by a surveyor.
  • Acting for a building control surveyor in relation to the issue of certificates for a building converted into residential apartments.
  • Acting for an engineer in an adjudication relating to the design of more than 2,000 precast concrete elements.
  • Advising on a claim against solicitors for paying out client money, in reliance on an email, to a bank account set up by a fraudster.
  • Acting for consulting civil and structural engineers in a claim for alleged defects and water damage in a car park.
  • Acting for a contractor responsible for the construction of a basement and the installation of a damp proof membrane, in a claim concerning water damage.
  • Acting for the owner of a lorry park with surface and drainage defects claiming damages from the structural engineer and contractor.
  • Advising a bicycle supplier on a claim against its former solicitors for failing to advise adequately on limitation, and on a claim for contribution from a supplier in the Far East.
  • Advising homeowners on a claim against a surveyor relating to subsidence.
  • Defeating a claim in an adjudication seeking £1.9m from a building surveyor in respect of alleged loss following major design changes.
  • Representing surveyors / valuers in a case brought by a lender against several solicitors and valuers concerning £8m of claims for alleged negligent / fraudulent valuation of numerous residential properties.

Property Damage

Robert acts in claims concerning a wide range of damage to property, including damage by fire, water, oil and tree roots.

Selected Cases

  • Advising and acting in a mediation for the supplier of a commercial drinks chiller alleged to have caused a fire due to an electrical fault.
  • Advising on the incorporation and effect of exclusion/ limitation clauses in a contract for security services following loss and damage caused by theft.
  • Acting for a local authority in respect of flooding and water damage allegedly due to a defective drainage pipe.
  • Acting for a local authority in a tree roots claim, defending principally on the basis that the damage was not reasonably foreseeable. The claimants discontinued just before trial.
  • Acting for an M&E contractor against the supplier/ commissioner of an air-cooled water chiller, in relation to water damage.
  • Acting for an occupier of commercial premises in a claim against an M&E maintenance contractor in respect of damage to the premises and neighbouring premises caused by a fuel oil leak.
  • Acting for a welder in a claim relating to fire damage.
  • Acting in a claim for fire damage to straddle carriers.
  • Acting (with Michael Curtis QC) for the installer of a woodburner and flue in a warehouse damaged by fire.
  • Acting for the operator of retail premises in a fire claim against the manufacturer and the supplier of a commercial refrigerator.
  • Acting for consulting civil and structural engineers in a claim for alleged defects and water damage in a car park.
  • Acting for a contractor responsible for the construction of a basement and the installation of a damp proof membrane, in a claim for water damage.
  • Acting for an engineering and earthworks contractor facing a claim for alleged vibration damage to a house.
  • Acting for insurers of an archive building against the contractor who installed a sprinkler system which failed, causing water damage.
  • Acting for a residential owner/ insurer in a tree roots claim.
  • Advising insurers on a claim relating to fire damage against the manufacturer of a washing machine, and the electricity company.
  • Defeating a claim for fire damage to commercial premises alleged to have been caused by the spontaneous ignition of linseed oil.
  • County Motor Works (Chelmsford) Ltd v PBFW Ltd [2014] EWHC 3392 (QB) – Defeating a claim for fire damage to commercial premises alleged to have been caused by the spontaneous ignition of linseed oil.
  • Siddiqui v Hillingdon Borough Council [2003] EWHC 726; 89 Con LR 13 – Acting for the homeowner / insurers in respect of property damage allegedly due to tree roots.

Events


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Qualifications


  • Eastham Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
  • Hardwicke Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
  • Sir Thomas More Bursary, Lincoln’s Inn
  • Boulter Exhibition (Law), Christ Church, Oxford University
  • MA (Hons), Christ Church, Oxford University

Memberships


  • Commercial Bar Association
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association
  • Society of Construction Law
  • Technology & Construction Bar Association

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