Atkin Chambers Barristers
Widely regarded as a leader in her field, Stephanie’s expertise lies in commercial dispute resolution. Her practice is broad-based and comprises construction engineering and infrastructure, professional negligence energy and natural resources, transport, information technology and procurement. Her practice also includes general commercial disputes over matters such as performance bonds/guarantees and claims in restitution for moneys had and received.
Stephanie appears as an advocate in the Technology & Construction Courts, the Commercial Court, the Chancery Division and the Court of Appeal as well as in international and domestic arbitrations. She also has considerable experience in alternative dispute resolution methods including adjudication and mediation.
Stephanie has represented the UK Government and foreign Governments as well as a wide variety of other clients in high value and complex claims. She appeared for the manufacturer of both trains and the signal in the Ladbroke Grove crash public enquiry.
Amongst the first of the 1988 call to take silk, Stephanie has consistently been recognised as a leader in her field in legal directories such as Chambers & Partners, The Legal 500 and Legal Experts for construction.
Stephanie has been involved in cases concerning all aspects of building construction and civil engineering projects, including road and bridge building, representing contractors, employers and governments all over the world. She is fully conversant with the major standard form contracts used in the construction industry, and has extensive experience of the issues arising in construction projects of all types including party wall disputes, easements and interference with rights of support.
Examples of her work include:
o Obtaining a stay to Danish arbitration in the High Court. on behalf of a Danish architect who had carried out work for a Russian national renovating a property in England. The issues included whether the arbitration clause was validly incorporated into the agreement, and whether the client was dealing as a consumer within the meaning of the consumer protection legislation and whether the arbitration agreement would be unfair within the meaning of the Act. The Court also considered whether the architect was entitled to be sued in his own domicile (Denmark) by reason of the Brussels Regulation
o Heifer International Inc v Christiansen and Ors  Bus LR Digest D49 (obtaining a stay to Danish arbitration).
o Advising/Representing an Employer Claimant in High Court proceedings against contractors and the Engineer for substantial damages in relation to the defective design/installation of a roller- compacted concrete floor in a distribution centre in East Yorkshire.
o Acting for an owner/developer in its claim against an engineer for failure to achieve the required acoustic performance in the development of new apartments/houses within an existing historic courtyard complex (3 Cups Yard: Old Schools, Holborn).
o Advising and representing at a series of arbitrations, a leading mechanical and electrical engineering sub-contractor in claims made against it by a contractor in relation to the design and construction of the shell and core of a co-location Project for use by the Ministry of Defence. There had been various agreements supplemental to the main contract providing for the omission of outstanding work and making good defects. Issues arose as to both parties’ rights and obligations under the agreements as varied including the extent of the sub-contractor’s obligations to make good defective work/complete outstanding work, temporary disconformity and the extent of the sub contractor’s design obligations and its entitlement to payment of the retention.
o Advising sub-contractor responsible for laying duct for fibre optic cable under Brighton Road as to its rights and liabilities under the sub-contract including the depth to which the duct was to be laid;
o Representing, in the High Court, the designer of an award winning light industrial estate comprising block work units clad in troughed sheet aluminium with green glass reinforced plastic service modules attached. The claim against the designer was that the glass reinforced service modules were negligently designed such that they had aged too rapidly and were also impractical.
Castle Park, Nottingham
o Representing the Contractor at arbitration concerning its claim (under ICE clause 12) for significant additional monies arising out of the construction of an immersed tube tunnel with cut and cover approaches to the tunnel. The project also involved the construction of roads leading into and through the tunnel.
The Conwy Crossing, Conwy Estuary, Wales
o Acting for the Government on numerous contracts (all arbitrations) including:-
The total refurbishment of 6 barrack blocks with provision for phased Completion; (R.A.F. Upper Heyford)
A major road and bridge construction upon ICE terms - Clause 12 Claim; (Dinorwic By-Pass and A5 Glyn Bends)
A major road construction upon ICE terms — including Clause 12 claim; (A12 Gorleston Relief Road)
o Advising the former British Coal Board as to its rights and liabilities under a contract giving it 10 year possession of a site.
o Advising the MOD in claims for professional negligence arising out of the design of certain types of military installations
o Advising the Ministry of Defence regarding the procurement of the design supply and development of the man-portable remotely controlled land vehicle for use in war zones;
o Advising the Government on the acoustics work on the Aldermaston project;
o Advising the MOD in relation to various matters including significant claims for professional negligence against a design and build contractor for defects in the construction and mechanical and electrical engineering design at a property constructed for the MOD . Preliminary issues as to the legal effect of the various agreements between the MOD, developer and contractor including the nature and effect of an agreement to settle between the contractor and the developer upon terms that the contractor became entitled to the proceeds of any litigation as between MOD and the developer
London & Regional (St Georges Court) v MOD and Secretary of State for Defence  TCC EWHC 526 TCC
o Advising a company in the process of acquiring a construction and engineering company (“the target company”) as to the liabilities it would be taking on (by the acquisition) by reason of the target company’s liabilities under a series of partnering contracts. The contracts in question were various forms of NEC 2 contracts, and ACA PPC 2000.
o Advising a contractor operating under an amended form of NEC2 contract as to the nature of the categories of risks it had undertaken by way of certain amendments to NEC2 and a risk register incorporated into the contract documentation.
o Advising a contractor as to the effect of amendments to the adjudication provisions of an amended form of NEC2 contract
o Advising a local authority as to whether it had a claim against the contractor and/or Project Manager appointed under an NEC3 contract for the design and construction of an innovative design of bridge
o Advising contractors as to the proper evaluation of omissions under the Compensation Event provisions of NEC3
o Acting on a dispute concerning complex liquidated damages clause and defects in the construction of the fully computer-automated gantry cranes, the first of their kind in the world; [Hong Kong]
o Acting on a dispute concerning the adequacy of the concrete used in the construction of the docks and Port Rashid; [Dubai]
o Representing an Italian company at an ICC arbitration in its claim under its contract with an American engineering firm to recover additional monies for the installation of a pipeline on the Ghanaian coast by a method known as “bottom pulling”; The Engineer had made an error in its calculations making it impossible for the contractor to carry out its obligations; [Ghana]
o Representing at an UNCITRAL arbitration the Contractor responsible for a multimillion euro refurbishment of a flagship hotel in Kiev. The project was let under 4 separate contracts subject to 1 overarching contract. Difficulties arose and the project became delayed. The principle issues were whether time had been put at large, the effect of a suspension of work by the Contractor in accordance with the contract terms, and the Employer’s termination (and subsequent purported re-instatement) of the contract. There were also substantial claims against the Contractor for defects in the design of the structural and mechanical and electrical works and failure to achieve the acoustic specification. The contractor recovered substantial damages; [Kiev]
Stephanie advises public bodies and unsuccessful tenderers, in the UK and overseas, on all aspects of Public And Utilities Procurement including the application of the Public Works, Services and Utilities Regulations 1991 and the Public Contracts and Utilities Contracts Regulations 2006, and the Public Contracts (Amendments) Regulations 2009 and remedies for their breach and the impact of EU law on the field. Examples include:
Advising a major UK utility company as to the proper procedure for procurement by it of a programme of pipework repair and replacement under a Framework Agreement spanning a five year Asset Management Plan. Defending a claim brought in the High Court for breach of procurement rules; Holleran v Haswell Holleran v Southern Trent Water 2004 EWHC 2508 (Comm)
o Advising NHS trusts as to the procurement of new hospitals under PFI agreements. In one case a set of variations were to be funded separately out of a managed fund. Issues arose as to the process by which sums might be expended out of the fund, the evaluation process for ascertaining liability for certain changes which had occurred since BAFO and the baseline against which changes were to be measured;
o Assisting a UK contractor in its negotiation of a framework agreement for consultancy services to be provided to an airline industry body in respect of all UK airports;
o Advising an agency of the Government of Trinidad as to various aspects of the procurement process of a 15-20 million US dollar project for the construction of the Trinidad Rapid Rail Transit to allow mass rail transit across Trinidad;
o Advising the Ministry of Defence regarding the procurement of the design supply and development of the man-portable remotely controlled land vehicle for use in war zones;
o Advising contractors and procuring authorities as to their potential rights and liabilities under NEC2 and NEC3 contracts;
o Advising a local authority as to whether it had a claim against the contractor and/or Project Manager appointed under an NEC3 contract for the design and construction of an innovative design of bridge.
She has a great deal of experience in the professional negligence field, acting for claimants, defendants and their indemnity insurers in relation to claims brought against a wide range of construction industry professionals and solicitors. Case examples include:
o Acting for Ove Arup & Partners concerning the reconstruction of Grade II listed building involving retention of much of Edwardian Facade and extensive new construction. The principal issue was whether the engineer had been professionally negligent in certain calculations;
Whiteleys Shopping Centre and Cinema Complex, Bayswater, London
o Representing a local authority at arbitration in its claim against the architect for damages for breach of contract. The claim included a claim for negligence against the architect in its cost reporting role (which involved detailed analysis of the QS’ monthly cost reports/projections and the architect’s approval of those) for a very significant overspend relating to the redevelopment of a cultural quarter, including regency theatre within the city;
o Representing a local authority at arbitration in its claim against the architect for damages for breach of contract (including a claim for a very significant overspend) relating to the redevelopment of a cultural quarter, including regency theatre within the city;
o Representing the Local Authority in the High Court in its claim for damages against the contractor which had, in breach of contract substituted the specified welsh slates for a cheaper Spanish equivalent at Merseyside Docks. The Local Authority succeeded in recovering substantial damages;
o Advising a prestigious firm of architects in relation to a claim for professional negligence against them (and their counterclaim for fees) in relation to the redevelopment/reinstatement of a church and private dwelling house in Chelsea, London. The principal issues were whether the architect had been negligent and whether there had been contributory negligence by the Employer and/or a break in the chain of causation by reason of a settlement agreement reached between the Employer and the Contractor whereby Practical Completion had been deemed to occur prematurely to facilitate handover to the Employer;
o Defending in High Court Proceedings an engineer against claims for damages in respect of various aspects of his design of structural elements of a manor house and fitness complex in Yorkshire.
She has experience of both domestic and international disputes regarding the design and construction of oil rigs, on and offshore pipe-laying, off-shore wind farms and waste to energy plants. Case examples include:
o Representing in the Commercial Court a utility company (a licensee under the Water Act 1991) and one of its sister engineering companies in claims brought against them by a Contractor who had been disappointed in the procurement process (governed by the Utilities Regulations 1996) applied by the Utility company for its list of qualified contractors competent to carry out the specialised mains/pipe renewal within a specified period;
Holleran v Southern Trent Water 2004 EWHC 2508 (Comm)
o Representing the operator of the vessel concerning High Court proceedings arising out of the conversion of a vessel, Anasuria, into a floating production unit in North Sea. The case involved several contractual issues including exclusion clauses, variations and a contractor’s delay claim;
o Representing the Contractor in its claim in the High Court by a contractor for costs arising from the Design & Construction of Floating Production Units (conversion of a former vessel to an oil rig) in the North Sea. The issues concerned whether it was defective and the significance of defects;
o Representing (in High Court Proceedings) two developers involved in the construction of an off-shore wind farm near Norfolk. She successfully defended both companies on the grounds that they had not become parties to a Joint Venture Agreement so as to become jointly and severally liable with others;
Enertrag (UK) Ltd v Sea and Land Power and Energy Ltd 
o Advising a waste disposal company regarding a defective boiler system designed to incinerate hospital waste and thereby generate a stipulated level of steam to drive a turbine;
o Advising and assisting a power generating company at a CEDR mediation against a major electrical power supply company arising out of an alleged significant overpayment by the power supply company of the power generating company.
Stephanie has extensive experience advising governments and contractors on issues arising from the design and construction of rail and mass transit projects and infrastructures. This includes acting on disputes involving a variety of communication and signalling systems on over ground and underground rail networks. She has acted on several high profile matters such as the Ladbroke Grove Rail Crash Public Inquiry.
Examples of her work include:
o Representing LUL in an adjudication arising out of a claim against LUL for very significant damages as alleged variations to a PPP contract for the upgrade of the signalling on the Jubilee and Northern lines.
o Advising an agency of the Government of Trinidad as to various aspects of the procurement process of a 15-20million US dollar project for the construction of the Trinidad Rapid Rail Transit to allow mass rail transit across Trinidad;
o Acting for Adtranz (manufacturers of both trains involved in the Ladbroke Grove crash) and Adtranz Signals (manufacturer and installer of the signal in question passed at danger). Both companies were fully exonerated by the Inquiry;
o Representing a major contractor in its claims concerning railway working practices and communications systems involving the Tyne and Wear Metro extension;
o Advising a major contractor regarding the terms of its contracts with other members of a consortium tendering on the proposed London Underground maintenance restructuring (prior to the successful application for judicial review);
o Advising and representing a major European lessor of locomotives in claims against the german manufacturer for defects in several fleets of locomotives relating to gearboxes, turbochargers and coupling elements.
o Advising a major contractor (acting as sub-contractor) specialising in the design and supply of signalling and other equipment for use on London Underground trains in relation to an arbitration against the main contractor;
o Advising Cunard, the operator of QE2 concerning the proceedings arising out of the total refurbishment of Queen Elizabeth II and replacement of propellers carried out by German contractors.
Stephanie has represented contractors and Employers in claims arising out of defective or under-specified software and integration issues, e.g.:
Signalling upgrade for LUL against Tubelines : software integration issues
Fully computer- automated gantry cranes in Hong Kong Harbour defending designing contractor against a claim by Employer for defects in software/underspecification
In addition to the specialised areas above, Stephanie is also frequently instructed on general commercial disputes arising on varied issues (such as bonds and warranties and payments made under mistake of fact/restitution and defence of change of position). Examples include:
o Advising a Ukrainian Government agency as to return of monies paid out in error by leading UK commercial bank;
o Advising an electricity generating company as to its ability to retain sums paid to it in error but not claimed back promptly in circumstances giving rise to a defence of change of position.
o Advising a major international Bank which were constructing new premises in Hong Kong concerning whether Architect’s certificate effective to trigger a bond given by contractor’s parent company on a proper construction of the certificate and the bond;
o Advising a contractor as to its rights (including entitlement to an injunction) and liabilities concerning an on demand performance bond which had been called by the Employer in circumstances where the call was questionable and involving jurisdictional issues as the call was made by a Russian contractor on an Italian Bank in circumstances where there was an exclusive jurisdiction clause giving the Russian Courts jurisdiction and making the governing law Russian Federal Law.
Representing in the Chancery Division a purchaser of locomotives for use all over Europe in Part 8 proceedings as to whether the document under which it had made a call against a parent company was properly construed as a guarantee or an on-demand performance bond. Alpha v Vossloh  EWHC 2443 (Ch)
o Representing a contractor in the Court of Appeal on the issue of whether the Employer was entitled to set-off sums due to the contractor under a separate contract Geldof v Simon Carves Ltd (CA )  EWCA Civ 667
2010 Bencher of Middle Temple
2006 — date Teacher for Middle Temple’s Advocacy for New Practitioners Programme
2006 Appointed Queen’s Counsel
2001 — 2003 Member of the Professional Conduct and Complaints Committee
1996 — 1997 Secretary of ORBA (Official Referees’ Bar Association) now Tecbar
1989 Middle Temple Benefactors’ Scholarship
1988 Called to the Bar of England and Wales
1986 Middle Temple Harmsworth Entrance Exhibition
1986 — 1987 Master of Laws degree.(LLM)
1983 — 1986 Downing College Cambridge - Honours Degree in Law (MA)
Stephanie is fluent in French and German
She has lectured on the law relating to building contracts on behalf of the National Law Tutors and others.
Please contact our senior clerks, Simon Slattery and Justin Wilson, for further information.