David Thomas QC

Call: 1982 Silk: 2002

Email: dthomas@keatingchambers.com

Tel: +44 (0)20 7544 2600

Practice Overview

David Thomas QC has a heavy weight practice in construction, engineering, energy and international arbitration as well as related disputes concerning bonds and guarantees.

David is known for his forceful advocacy, incisive cross-examination skills, commercial awareness and the clarity and practicality of his advice. He has been consistently recommended as one of the leading practitioners in his fields by Chambers UK, Chambers Global and the Legal 500 and he is frequently instructed on high value disputes before international arbitral and other tribunals including the Dubai World Tribunal, as well as the English Courts.

A large part of his practice now arises from GCC countries and Asia. In the UK, he is a regular and notably successful Court of Appeal advocate and frequently appears before the Technology and Construction Court on high profile matters.

In addition, David sits as an arbitrator, adjudicator and mediator both in the UK and internationally.

He is the Editor of “Keating on NEC3” (First Edition 2012) a regular conference speaker and a columnist in the IBA journal “Construction Law International”.

David Thomas QC was nominated for Silk of the Year 2013 and 2017 at the Chambers and Partners Bar Awards.

Practice Areas
  • Recent Cases
  • Construction & Engineering
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Professional Negligence
  • IT & Technology
  • Appointments
Recent Cases

David Thomas has won two Court of Appeal cases in 2012, the first concerned contractual indemnities in the long running Rust v. PB litigation and the second in the performance bond case of Hackney Empire v Aviva.

Other recent cases have been international arbitrations concerning a motorway interchange in a GCC country, a combined cycle facility and a major African highway; Dubai World Tribunal cases related to “The World” and “The Palm”. In the UK, PFI and PPP disputes in relation to roads, railways and hospitals; advisory work and in relation to the NEC 3 contract including in respect of the Olympic Park and other major infrastructure projects, adjudications of NEC 3 disputes. Long term advisory work in relation to a landmark London development.

Also in the UK and internationally disputes related to mechanical electrical and process engineering; energy sector work including construction of power stations and CHPs, oil and gas including FPSOs and pipelines, open cast coal mining and coal handling equipment disputes as well as nuclear waste disposal; railway engineering and train building contracts; and other major infrastructure projects for public and private sector clients including reservoir, road, dam, airport and stadium construction.

David Thomas frequently deals with highly technical issues which have ranged from soil mechanics, to the behaviour of powders in hoppers, stresses in steel members, lead contamination of water, the properties of concrete and turbine performance. He has a formidable reputation for cross-examination of experts. He has also dealt with a number of cases concerning accountancy issues arising from mergers and acquisitions and insurance issues.

David Thomas has experience of all major standard form contracts including the FIDIC, JCT, ICE, NEC and ECC forms, GC/Works/1, CCC/Works/1, ICHEME, MF/1 and SAJ.

Construction & Engineering
  • Appearing before the Dubai World Tribunal in relation to a claim by a Dubai World development  company against a number of land owners.
  • A Dubai World Tribunal Trial concerning a facilities management contract.
  • Acting for the main contractor on Wembley Stadium.
  • Acting for Greek contractors in relation to the construction of a major international airport.
  • An ICC arbitration concerning a power plant in the Middle East.
  • An ICC arbitration concerning a railway in Singapore.
  • A SIAC arbitration concerning industrial equipment.
  • Acting in an ICC arbitration regarding the construction of a factory in Siberia.
  • An arbitration on a major road building project in the Middle East.
  • An arbitration about remediation of a contaminated site including issues as to chemical analysis as well as measurement and valuation questions.
  • Acting for M&E contractors in a Hospital PFI project dispute, in adjudication, TCC trial and in the Court of Appeal.
  • Advisory work and adjudication on Schools PFI Projects.
  • A TCC trial for a German multi-national supermarket chain in relation to its’ obligations under a lease and agreement for a lease. Also engineering questions as to causes of subsidence.
  • Frequently instructed to advise on PFI and PPP contracts and has also carried out expert determinations in this field.
  • Acting for assignees in a dispute about accrued rights.
  • Acting for a local authority in respect of alleged defects at a sports centre.
  • An adjudication and expert determination in relation to a major City of London office development.
  • Advising architects and acting in an adjudication in a copyright licence dispute.
  • Acting for UK clients in an ICC arbitration in relation to the redevelopment of the harbour side in Gibraltar.
  • An arbitration about a collapsed waste tip involving technical soil mechanics issues.
  • An arbitration about the construction of a reservoir, valuation issues under the ICE Conditions.
  • A TCC trial for a train building company in a dispute as to quality with a train operating company. Issues as to the performance of metals.
  • Acting for engineers in the Ladbroke Grove Rail Inquiry. Consideration of Risk/Benefit analysis.
  • A TCC trial relating to the underperformance of a waste disposal plant. Issues as to the behaviour of powders in hoppers.
  • A TCC trial concerning the accounting treatment of profits earned by engineers on long term projects.
  • Advising on all related insurance points.
Energy & Natural Resources
  • A dispute related to the control equipment for an undersea gas supply pipeline.
  • An arbitration as to an electricity pricing dispute.
  • Acting for the manufacturers of coal handling equipment in an ICC arbitration against a mining company, involving factual and expert issues centred on the performance of conveyor belts.
  • Acting in an ICC arbitration in relation to the construction of a Power Station in the Bahamas.
  • An arbitration on a contractor’s delay and disruption claim arising from mechanical and electrical works at a nuclear facility.
  • TCC litigation about the construction of a CHP plant.
  • Various disputes about the construction of FPSOs.
  • Advising and TCC litigation for contractors in valuation disputes arising under open cast coal mining contracts.
  • An ICC arbitration concerning an LNG terminal.
  • Advising in relation to offshore wind farm projects.
  • An arbitration relating to a combined cycle power and water facility.
  • Advising as to quality issues in pipelines and contractual issues as to a lengthy subsea gas pipeline.
Professional Negligence
  • An arbitration for a local authority in a professional negligence claim against engineers in respect of the design of a new bridge. Technical issues as to the design of steel columns.
  • An adjudication on a claim against engineering consultants on a road building project.
  • A long running TCC matter for a specialist engineering company in a professional negligence claim against consulting engineers in respect of work carried out at the Sellafield facility.
  • Advising on a claim in relation to geotechnical engineering.
  • Advising on a claim relating to M & E engineering in an office development.
IT & Technology
  • Acting for contractors in a dispute about alleged under performance of technology at a computerised distribution centre.

David is a CEDR accredited mediator who has been appointed to act on construction related mediations and more general commercial disputes.

Examples of successful mediations:

As Mediator

  • A multi-party mediation in respect of conversion of a hospital to residential dwellings.
  • Defects case in a new block of flats.
  • International trade dispute regarding claims for unpaid freight and counterclaims for trading losses.
  • Dispute between main and sub-contractor about defective shopping centre floor.

As Counsel

  • Delay and disruption claim relating to construction of a power station. Counterclaim for defective work. Settlement achieved.
  • Claim related to defective floor in a warehouse. Remedial costs and trading losses.
  • Claim related to defective and late design in nuclear industry. Remedial costs and trading losses.
  • Defects claim in conversion of a hospital to luxury flats.
  • Delay and disruption claim and repudiation counterclaim relating to refurbishment of central London offices.

As Arbitrator and Adjudicator
David sits as an arbitrator and adjudicator. Examples of recent appointments:

  • An NEC 3 dispute arising from an infrastructure project
  • An electricity pricing dispute
  • A Dubai property development