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Matthew Finn has specialist expertise in the resolution of commercial disputes, with a particular focus upon disputes arising in the construction, engineering and energy industries. Recently, Matthew has been heavily involved in a series of PFI disputes, particularly those concerned with construction defects, performance failures and termination. His practice includes work in the High Court (TCC and Commercial Court), domestic and international arbitration, and adjudication. Recent examples of Matthew’s court work include ICE v EPIC  EWHC 281 (QB), in which Matthew was brought in at the appeal stage and successfully resisted the claimant’s appeal against judgment arising out of a preliminary issue hearing on limitation.
Matthew is presently Secretary to the Tribunal in a $2bn ICC international arbitration, as well as a contributor to the most recent edition of Keating on Construction Contracts and Keating on JCT. Matthew has completed the Keble Advanced International Advocacy Course at Oxford University and is a winner of the Jonathan Brock Memorial Essay Prize, run by the London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association.
Building upon his work in the construction, engineering and energy sectors, Matthew’s practice incorporates a large and ever-increasing amount of work in other areas of commercial dispute resolution. In that regard, Matthew is regularly instructed to advise and represent clients in disputes concerning the sale of goods, insurance, procurement, conflict of laws and sports law matters.
Recent examples of such work include:
- Advising a commercial party in relation to a restitution claim arising from the sale of a large-scale pharmaceutical plant.
- Representing a high-profile football club in a claim for agency fees arising out of a player transfer agreement.
- Advising a commercial party on the recovery of sums under a product liability insurance policy relating to damage to a bank in Zurich.
Through his considerable experience of resolving commercial disputes of the type described above, Matthew is adept at handling all commercial disputes that require both specific industry awareness and an in-depth knowledge of the law of contract, tort and restitution.
In each of the cases he is instructed upon Matthew combines incisive legal analysis of the issues involved with a pragmatic approach to dispute resolution, which takes account of the commercial reality of the parties’ relationship and the commercial client’s particular objectives.
- A multi-million pound technical dispute in relation to the testing and commissioning of power-generating equipment arising under a long-term EPC contract.
- A termination dispute in relation to a £4bn energy from waste PFI contract.
- Biffa West Sussex Limited v MW High Tech Projects UK Limited (TCC) – For the Claimant (with Jonathan Lee QC) in proceedings relating to the design and construction of a mechanical biological treatment plant in West Sussex.
- Acted for a property owner in successfully defending a factually and legally complex payment claim in a multi-track trial, arising out of substantial property development project.
- Kitt v The Laundry Building Ltd  EWHC 4250 (TCC) – For the Claimant in a successful application for summary judgment in respect of unpaid adjudicator’s fees and expenses in the TCC in London.
- Acting for a specialist contractor in successfully defending, at trial, a claim founded upon alleged breaches of contractual design and/or workmanship obligations.
- For the Defendant building contractor in proceedings concerning allegations of defective design relating to an offshore wind farm on the east coast of England.
- Rendlesham Estates Plc v Barr Limited (TCC) – For the Claimant (with Jonathan Selby) in proceedings relating to the development of 120 apartments in Leeds city centre, alleged to be unfit for habitation for the purposes of the Defective Premises Act 1972.
Amongst other matters, Matthew has also recently advised in relation to:
- appropriate wording for incorporation into a contractual indemnity, relating to ongoing construction works;
- limitation and merits in a claim concerning large-scale construction works;
- effectiveness of a pay less notice;
- termination of a JCT standard form contract;
- a prospective claim for loss of UK Government Feed-in Tariff payments for photovoltaic energy generation; and
- adjudication enforcement proceedings.
- Advised the Claimant vehicle owner in a commercial claim brought by a UK national living in Canada, regarding the misappropriation of funds by a Spanish company operating in Norway and Monaco.
- For the Claimant business owner in successfully concluded proceedings brought under the Third Party (Rights Against Insurers) Act 1930.
- NATS (Services) Limited v Gatwick Airport Limited (TCC) – For the Claimant (with Sarah Hannaford QC and Calum Lamont) in public procurement proceedings relating to the tendering process for air navigation services at Gatwick Airport.
- For the Claimant football club director in commercial claim arising out of the assignment of a £300,000 debt in a high-profile football club.
- Advised the Claimant building association in a multi-million pound claim pursuant to a personal deed of indemnity.
- For the Defendant football club in a sports claim relating to unpaid agency fees arising from the transfer of a well-known footballer.
- Advised the Claimant design consultant on merits of a proposed claim in contract and/or restitution in relation to professional consultancy services provided in connection with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
- Advised a professional football player in relation to a potential claim arising from a club’s failure to insure players against injury.
Amongst other matters, Matthew has also recently advised clients in relation to agency fees and a restitutionary claim arising from the sale of a pharmaceutical plant and associated land; product liability insurance, the Water Industry Act 1991, and the Football Spectators Act 1989.
- For the Claimant business owner in a case concerning its solicitors’ failure to instigate legal proceedings within a contractually mandated limitation period.
- For the Defendant architect in proceedings concerning professional negligence in the provision of architectural services.
- Advised the Claimant employer on limitation issues arising in respect of a prospective professional negligence claim that related to the provision of architectural services.
Matthew has spent most of the past year working upon a PFI dispute in the energy sector on behalf of a local authority. The contract value over the PFI term was over £4bn. The dispute value was over £500m. The case was principally concerned with the authority’s right to terminate the contract for contractor default. In the course of the dispute, issues included (but were not limited to):
- the interrelationship between works delivery plans and service delivery plans;
- failures to report upon performance failures;
- the proper operation of the paymech, including the possibility of making retrospective performance deductions;
- the proper accrual of performance points to the performance bank;
- the legal status and effect of completion and acceptance certificates;
- the relative financial outturns between authority voluntary termination on the one hand and contractor default termination on the other;
- allegations of promissory estoppel, said to preclude the authority from relying upon its strict contractual rights.
- Matthew is Tribunal Secretary in respect of an ongoing $2bn ICC arbitration.
- For the Respondent hotel owner in LCIA proceedings relating to the construction of a hotel in Libya.
- For the Claimant specialist contractor in ad hoc proceedings relating to the design and construction of headquarters for a boutique financial firm based in Jersey.
- For the Referring Party employer in a multi-million pound commercial claim for liquidated and ascertained damages and damages at common law.
- For the Referring Party plant owner in proceedings relating to the design and construction of a waste treatment plant in southern England.
- For the Responding Party contractor in a claim for payment pursuant to contract relating to office fit-out works.
- For the Claimant building association in the successful mediation of an insurance dispute in proceedings raising issues of non est factum.
- For the Claimant adjoining home owner in the successful mediation of a dispute under the Party Wall Act 1996.