Sarah Hannaford QC

Call: 1989 (2015 Northern Ireland) Silk: 2008

Email: shannaford@keatingchambers.com

Tel: +44 (0)20 7544 2600

Practice Overview

Sarah Hannaford QC is a leading commercial barrister whose work spans both the United Kingdom and international markets. She specialises in construction, engineering, infrastructure and energy disputes together with professional negligence work within these areas of expertise. She has also carved out a strong procurement practice in recent years. Sarah was called to the Northern Ireland Bar in 2015.

Sarah is widely regarded as a star of the Procurement Bar and is the natural choice for complex high value procurement issues. She is instructed in the most significant cases in this area, regularly advising Government bodies, local authorities, utilities and industry clients. Sarah has acted in numerous high profile procurement challenges, including the prominent case of NATS v Gatwick Airport, a dispute concerning the tender of air traffic control services. She recently acted for the UK Government in a multi party and high profile dispute relating to the procurement of criminal legal aid services, which was listed by the Lawyer as one of the top cases of 2016.

Sarah is recommended by Chambers UK Bar 2016 as a “multi-talented QC with a remarkably wide practice”. She is regularly instructed in complex construction and commercial disputes in the UK Courts, adjudication and international arbitration. She has experience in the full range of contractual claims which arise out of construction projects, including claims relating to defects, termination, delay and professional negligence. Recent work has included acting for the Ministry of Justice in relation to electronic monitoring claims against Serco and G4S, and acting for the Secretary of State for Defence in two substantial disputes relating to a nuclear submarine base. She also has considerable expertise in energy, offshore construction and shipping disputes, including acting high profile disputes such as the Solitaire and the Varg.

Sarah has experience in disputes involving most standard form contracts including the JCT standard forms, ICE, NEC, IChemE and FIDIC forms. She also regularly advises on PFI contracts, PPP contracts and facilities management contracts, including both the waste and health sectors.

Sarah is the author of a chapter in Keating on Construction Contracts (10th edition, 2016). She has also authored key publications on party walls and rights of light (another area in which she has considerable expertise). She frequently lectures on topical issues in construction and procurement law.

In addition to her work as Counsel, Sarah sits as arbitrator and is a trained mediator and accredited adjudicator.

Practice Areas
  • Construction & Engineering
  • Public Procurement
  • Commercial & PFI
  • Energy & Offshore Construction
  • Professional Negligence
  • Property
  • IT & Technology
Construction & Engineering
  • Secretary of State for Defence v Turner Estate Solutions Ltd – Acting for the Claimant in a substantial long-running dispute in relation to a final account and defects at a nuclear submarine base. Reported judgments related to the Secretary of State’s application under s.68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 and an application for determination of a preliminary point of law under s.45 of the Act.
  • AMEC Group Ltd v Secretary of State for Defence – Acting for the Secretary of State for Defence in a high value (£100m+) and long running dispute in relation to a nuclear submarine base, including an appeal under s.69 of the Arbitration Act 1996.
  • WW Gear Construction Ltd v McGee Group Ltd – Acting for the Defendant in Part8 proceedings in which the Claimant sought a declaration of the meaning of a clause in the amended form of the JCT Trade Contract.
  • Harrison v Shepherd Homes Ltd and NHBC – Acting for the NHBC in a substantial claim by c.70 home-owners arising out of foundation and infrastructure defects in a housing estate in Hartlepool.
  • Advising a council on claims and remedies against its developer and contractors in relation to concrete defects in 2 high profile new council buildings.
  • Acting for a Northern Ireland construction company in relation to the settlement of a quay.
  • Acting for London Underground in a substantial adjudication in relation to an NEC contract for station modernisation and upgrades.
  • Acting for the Secretary of State in relation to major defects arising from the design and construction of the Thelwall Viaduct under the ICE standard contract form. Reported decision included a judgment setting out the test for the meaning of “dispute”.
Public Procurement
  • Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust v NHS Swale Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley – Acting for NHS Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Groups in successfully lifting an automatic suspension.
  • Acting for the Legal Aid Agency (formerly the Legal Services Commission) in a number of challenges to its procurement of legal aid services, in the TCC, Administrative Court and Court of Appeal. Most recently, she was instructed to defend challenges brought by 115 claimants to a procurement by the LAA for contracts for criminal legal aid work.
  • Geodesign Barriers Ltd v Environmental Agency – Acting for the Claimant in a challenge to the procurement of flood barriers.
  • Solent NHS Trust v Hampshire County Council – Acting for the Claimant in this procurement challenge concerning alleged errors in the evaluation of the tenders in respect of £40m contract for substance misuse recovery services.
  • Heron Brothers Ltd v Central Bedfordshire Council – Acting for the Claimant in a challenge to the procurement of a construction project. The case concerned time limits for service of Claim Forms in procurement cases and whether a Court could extend the time for service or otherwise correct defects in the service .
  • NATS (Services) Ltd v Gatwick Airport Ltd –Acting for the Claimant in a substantial procurement challenge relating to the provision of air navigation services at Gatwick Airport. This is one of a small number of cases in which the claimant has been successful in resisting an application by the defendant to lift the automatic suspension.
  • DWF LLP v Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills – Acting for the Secretary of State in a Court of Appeal procurement challenge.
  • Travis Perkins Trading Company Limited v Caerphilly County Borough Council – Acting for the claimant in a substantial procurement dispute relating to a contract for the supply of building materials in Wales.
  • Covanta Energy Limited v Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority – Defending a claim concerning the procurement of a contract for a high profile waste disposal project. The case raised complex questions about the operation of the competitive dialogue procedure and the UK’s transposition of European Directives and was widely reported in the press.
  • BY Development Ltd & Ors v Covent Garden Market Authority – Acting for Claimants in relation to alleged flaws in the procurement process for a £2bn project to redevelop New Covent Garden Market.
  • Alstom Transport v Eurostar International Ltd – Acting for the Claimant in the high profile litigation concerning the award of a €1.2bn contract for supply of trains for the Eurostar service. The case raised issues under the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2006, including the definition of utilities.
  • Acting for National Express in the high profile cancellation of the Great Western train franchise competition (related to the West Coast Main Line dispute).
Commercial & PFI
  • Acting for the Ministry of Justice in claims for recovery of overpayments of some £200m under contracts with Serco and G4S for electronic monitoring/tagging of offenders.
  • Acting for a major facilities management company in high value adjudications in the health sector.
  • Acting for Government Department in adjudication claims arising from a contract for the provision of security services to the courts.
  • Acting for an NHS body in a major dispute over payment for patient transport services.
  • Acting for Government departments in relation to contract disputes for the provision of food to prisons and offender management services.
  • Advising on the termination of a facilities management contract.
  • Advising on a PFI contract for facilities management services at courts.
  • Regularly acting on PFI contracts cases in the waste and health sectors.
Energy & Offshore Construction
  • Advising on contractual issues in relation to the proposed development of windfarms.
  • Acting for the contractor in a substantial trial concerning the re-processing of spent fuel at Sellafield.
  • Acting of the Defendant in procurement challenges relating to de-commissioning of Sellafield.
  • Advising in relation to a contract for operation of a natural gas transmission pipeline.
  • Acting for the Singaporean shipyard Sembawang in relation to a long-running arbitration under LMAA rules concerning a pipe-laying vessel for the oil & gas industry. The arbitration was the largest marine arbitration ever held in London.
  • Acting for the contractor in disputes about the design and construction of a energy from waste plant in the UK.
Professional Negligence
  • Acting for a multi-disciplinary consultancy in a substantial claim for professional negligence relating to the design and construction works at a school.
  • Acting for the Claimant in a claim against engineers relating to defects in a warehouse including cracking concrete and water ingress.
  • Advising employers on professional negligence issues arising in public procurements.
Property
  • Kaye v Lawrence – Acting for the Appellant in this appeal concerning the extent to which security may be required under section 12(1) of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
  • Advising on party wall issues during an ongoing major central London development.
  • Frequently advising on party wall appeals, rights of light and other easements.
  • Professional negligence claim in relation to structural damage to three properties during
    construction of a substantial development.
IT & Technology
  • Acting for the Ministry of Justice in claims for recovery of overpayments of some £200m under contracts with Serco and G4S for electronic monitoring/tagging of offenders.
  • Acting for a Government department in relation to delays and additional costs of the implementation of a substantial new IT system.
  • Regularly advising Government departments and NHS bodies on procurement and contractual issues arising from contracts for IT services.
Case Reports
Case Date
Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust v NHS Swale Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley 27 May 2016
Geodesign Barriers Limited vs The Environment Agency 2015
Solent NHS Trust v Hampshire County Council 2015
NATS (Services) Limited v Gatwick Airport Limited 2014
NATS (Services) Limited v Gatwick Airport Limited 2014
AMEC Group Ltd v Secretary of State for Defence 2013
Covanta Energy Ltd v Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority 2013
Hossacks (A Firm of Solicitors), R (on the application of) v The Legal Services Commission 2012
WW Gear Construction Ltd v McGee Group Ltd 2012
BY Development Ltd & Ors v Covent Garden Market Authority 2012
Harry Yearsley Ltd v Secretary of State for Justice 2011
Exel Europe Ltd v University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust 2010
Croft House Care Ltd v Durham CC, Orchard Home Care Ltd v Durham CC, Kelly Park Caring Agency v Durham CC 2010
Alstom Transport v Eurostar International Ltd & Anor 2010
Alstom Transport v Eurostar International Ltd 2010
Kaye v Lawrence 2010
European Dynamics SA v HM Treasury (sued as Buying Solutions) 2009
Amaryllis Ltd v HM Treasury (sued as ogcbuying solutions) (No.2) 2009
VGC Construction Ltd v Jackson Civil Engineering Ltd 2008
R (on the application of the Law Society) v Legal Services Commission & the Lord Chancellor 2007
Mast Electrical Services v Kendal Cross Holdings Ltd 2007
British Nuclear Group Sellafield Ltd v Kernkraftwerk Brokdorf and others 2007
Environment Agency v Lewin Fryer & Partners 2006
BFS Group Ltd v (1) Secretary of State for Defence (2) Purple Foodservice Ltd 2006
CIB Properties Ltd v Birse Construction 2005
AMEC Civil Engineering Ltd v Secretary of State for Transport 2005
AMEC Civil Engineering Ltd v Secretary of State for Transport 2005
AMEC Civil Engineering Ltd v Secretary of State for Transport 2005
AMEC Civil Engineering Ltd v Secretary of State for Transport 2005
AMEC Civil Engineering Ltd v Secretary of State for Transport 2005
CIB Properties Ltd v Birse Construction Ltd 2004
RSL (South West) Ltd v Stansell Ltd 2003