Harry Smith

Call: 2014

Email: hsmith@keatingchambers.com

Tel: +44 (0)20 7544 2600

Practice Overview

Harry Smith was called to the Bar in 2014 and became a tenant at Keating Chambers on the successful completion of his pupillage in 2015.

Harry has a broad and busy commercial practice in line with Chambers’ profile, including construction & engineering, procurement, professional negligence, utilities, and insurance matters. Recent highlights include:

  • Acting (as junior counsel to David Thomas QC) for the main contractor in a very substantial dispute concerning the construction of a skyscraper in the Middle East.
  • Acting (as junior counsel to Jane Lemon QC) for a homeowner in a substantial payment dispute arising under a building contract involving allegations of bribery.
  • Acting (as junior counsel to Sam Townend) for an insurer in a £40 million professional negligence dispute.
  • Acting (as junior counsel to Calum Lamont) for a large engineering firm in a $20 million arbitration concerning a dispute over a micro-tunnelling project in the Middle East.
  • Acting (as junior counsel to Sarah Hannaford QC) for the Legal Aid Agency in a number of challenges to its procurement of legal aid services in the High Court.

Harry has worked on a large number of cases involving standard form contracts including the JCT, RIBA and NEC forms.

In addition to a substantial amount of work in the County Court and High Court (TCC), both led and unled, Harry’s experience in includes arbitration, adjudication, mediation, expert determination and various forms of settlement negotiations.

Harry is a contributor to Keating on Construction Contracts (10th edition, 2016), and has to date published two articles, one on estoppel by convention and concurrent delay respectively, on the Practical Law Construction Blog (accessible via the links under ‘Seminars and Publications’ tab on this page.)

Practice Areas
  • Advocacy
  • Construction & Engineering
  • Professional Negligence
  • Insurance
  • Arbitration
  • Adjudication
  • Mediation
  • Procurement
  • Bonds & Guarantees
  • Property
Advocacy

The recent hearings at which Harry has appeared as sole counsel include:

  • Case Management Conference (First-Tier Tribunal, Property Chamber). Harry appeared for the leaseholders in a service charge dispute arising in connection with a substantial development in Birmingham involving complex limitation issues.
  • Final hearing (Chelmsford County Court). Harry successfully defended a homeowner from a claim for payment of the final instalment of the price due under a building contract on the grounds that the contract was tainted by the builder’s illegal conduct (VAT evasion) and therefore unenforceable.
  • Application for summary judgment (High Court, London TCC). Harry appeared for the Claimant in an application for summary judgment in a claim for fees for pre-construction services amounting to just over £1 million.
  • Resisting applications for strike out and summary judgment (Romford County Court). Harry appeared on behalf of a specialist mechanical and electrical services contractor and obtained an order that the applications, which involved complex aspects of the law of set off, were dismissed in their entirety.
  • Strike out hearing (Winchester County Court). Harry appeared on behalf of the defendant supplier of telecommunications services and obtained an order that the claim be struck out.
  • Application for summary judgment (Taunton County Court). Defending a manufacturer of construction products in a claim for negligent misstatement. Harry obtained summary judgment for the Defendant on the grounds that the Claimant had no prospect of succeeding at trial without expert evidence, which the Claimant had not obtained and, having carried out remedial works, was no longer in a position to obtain.
  • Final hearing (Bridgend County Court). Defending a major telecommunications company in a breach of contract claim. Harry successfully argued that the term relied on by the Claimant had not been incorporated into the contract.
  • Telephone Case Management Conference (Cardiff County Court). Representing an architect in a claim for repayment of fees. Harry obtained an order that unless the Claimant filed an amended statement of case the claim would be struck out.
  • Directions hearing (Brighton County Court). Defending a major building contractor in a claim for distress and inconvenience. Harry obtained an order that the Claimant file Amended Particulars of Claim.
Construction & Engineering

Construction & Engineering

Harry’s recent work includes:

  • Acting (as junior counsel to David Thomas QC) for the main contractor in a very substantial dispute concerning the construction of a skyscraper in the Middle East.
  • Acting (as junior counsel to Jane Lemon QC) for a homeowner in a substantial payment dispute arising under a building contract involving allegations of bribery.
  • Acting (as junior counsel to Sarah Hannaford QC) in adjudication proceedings concerning the proper construction of a PFI contract relating to waste management.
  • Acting (as junior counsel to Calum Lamont) for a large engineering firm in a $20 million arbitration concerning a dispute over a micro-tunnelling project in the Middle East.
  • Advising an Austrian building contractor in relation to a dispute worth £11.5 million concerning the construction of the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
  • Acting (as junior counsel to Gideon Scott Holland) in a £3.5 million dispute concerning renovation and refurbishment works to a substantial private home.
  • Advising (as junior counsel to William Webb) an academy as to remedies and limitation in a dispute with a local authority concerning the proper allocation of responsibility for the disposal of asbestos in the school premises.
  • Drafting Particulars of Claim in a dispute relating to the unsuitability of the air conditioning and lighting systems installed in a bespoke laboratory for their intended purposes.
  • Advising a London local authority as to the merits of a claim against a building contractor in the context of a project to construct a library.
  • Representing a property developer in a claim for £130,000 concerning defective piling works.
  • Representing a building contractor in domestic arbitration proceedings concerning a final account claim worth £90,000.
  • Drafting Amended Particulars of Claim in a final account dispute worth £50,000 on behalf of a building contractor.
  • Drafting the Defence in a restitution claim arising out of a determination made by the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) involving complex procedural and limitation issues.
  • Drafting the skeleton argument in an appeal brought under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
  • Advising a supplier of telecommunications services in relation to a proposed appeal from proceedings brought under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
  • Drafting the Defence in a dispute concerning non-payment of fees allegedly due under air-conditioning maintenance agreement.
  • Drafting Particulars of Claim in a dispute concerning the fitness for purpose of a fire prevention system.
Professional Negligence
  • Acting (as junior counsel to Sam Townend) for an insurer in a £40 million professional negligence dispute.
  • Acting (as junior counsel to Jonathan Selby) for a large firm of architects in a claim relating to the production of designs for a substantial hotel complex.
  • Drafted a Defence in a claim brought against an architect, involving inter alia an alleged failure to put in place an appropriate contractual arrangement between the employer and the contractor.
Insurance
  • Advised a building contractor facing a claim of approximately £275,000 from an insurer as to how best to mount a challenge to the insurer’s standard terms of business.
  • Advised an insurer as to the nature of a building contractor’s right to suspend work in the absence of a valid less notice under the provisions of the amended Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996.
  • Representing an insurer in domestic arbitration proceedings concerning a claim for an indemnity.
  • Drafted submissions regarding the extent of the arbitrator’s jurisdiction in the context of an arbitration between an insurer and a firm of builders.
  • Advised an insurer as to the potential impact of various statutory requirements on the scope of risks covered by the wording of its insurance policy.
  • Assisted with advising an insurer as to the potential liability of a firm of geotechnical engineers in a claim involving a novel application of complex structure theory.
  • Drafted Particulars of Claim in a claim brought by an insurer against a building contractor arising out the defective condition of various new-build properties.
Arbitration
  • Acting (as junior counsel to David Thomas QC) in a very substantial dispute involving complex issues of delay concerning a major construction project in the Middle East.
  • Acting (as junior counsel to Calum Lamont) for a large engineering firm in a $20 million arbitration concerning a dispute over a micro-tunnelling project in the Middle East.
  • Acting (as sole counsel) for an insurer in domestic arbitration proceedings concerning a claim for an indemnity.
  • Acting (as sole counsel) for a building contractor in domestic arbitration proceedings concerning a final account claim worth £90,000.
Adjudication
  • Drafted the Response in adjudication proceedings involving a challenge to the adjudicator’s jurisdiction.
  • Appeared for the Responding Party at a contested adjudication hearing involving complex submissions relating to the contractual scope of work and delay.
  • Advised a building contractor in writing as to whether to pursue its claim via adjudication in circumstances where court proceedings were already on foot.
  • Drafted (during pupillage) the Referral in a substantial adjudication concerning a dispute worth £430,000 involving the NEC3 Option A contract.
  • Drafted (during pupillage) the skeleton argument for a TCC hearing resisting enforcement of an adjudicator’s award 815,000 euros.
Mediation
  • Acted (as sole counsel) for a building contractor at a mediation involving the alleged collapse of part of a residential property.
  • Assisted (during pupillage) at a mediation concerning the failure of piling during the construction of a substantial extension to a residential property in London.
  • Assisted (during pupillage) at a mediation concerning a dispute over fees payable in respect of interior design services.
Procurement
  • Acting (as junior counsel to Sarah Hannaford QC) for the Legal Aid Agency in a number of challenges to its procurement of legal aid services in the High Court.
  • Assisted (during pupillage) with drafting a skeleton argument resisting an application to strike out the claim form in circumstances where the Claimant had allegedly failed to comply with the procedural requirements of the Public Contracts Regulations 2006.
Bonds & Guarantees
  • Drafted Particulars of Claim seeking enforcement of a performance bond as security against a building contractor’s impending insolvency.
  • Advised on the enforceability of certain bonds in the context of a large waste management construction project.
Property
  • Appeared at a CMC in the First-Tier Tribunal (Property) on behalf of the leaseholders in a service charge dispute concerning a substantial residential development in Birmingham.
  • Advised a management company as to its prospects of successfully defending a complex claim arising pursuant to a determination given by the First-Tier Tribunal regarding the reasonableness of the service charges it had levied in previous years.
  • Advised a leaseholder as to the merits of a claim arising from the alleged unfitness for habitation of the leased property.
  • Drafted the Reply and Defence to Counterclaim in a dispute concerning the Claimant’s entitlement to payment of a commission arising from the successful sale of a residential property.
  • Drafted submissions to go before the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) in a dispute concerning the reasonableness of the service charge proposed to be charged by management companies acting pursuant to the right to manage provisions in the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002.
Case Reports
Case Date