Dr Robert Gaitskell KC

Call: 1978 Silk: 1994

Email: rgaitskell@keatingchambers.com

Tel: +44 (0)20 7544 2600

Practice Overview

Dr Robert Gaitskell KC practises from Keating Chambers,  specialising in technology, engineering and construction disputes, often of an international nature. He was called to the Bar in 1978, appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1994 and sat as a Recorder (part-time judge) from 2000 – 2010. Robert Gaitskell predominantly acts as an arbitrator, adjudicator, dispute board member and mediator. He is both a lawyer and a professional engineer. He is the editor of ‘Keating Construction Dispute Resolution Handbook’ (3rd edition 2016); and a former Vice President of the IEE/ IET (Europe’s biggest professional engineering institution). He is a member of the Singapore National Electricity Market Dispute Resolution & Compensation Panel. Dr Gaitskell has recently been the chairman of a dispute board for a Euro 20 billion nuclear energy project. He writes extensively and lectures throughout the world on legal/engineering subjects, including at CERN in Geneva and  Xerox PARC in Silicon valley.

Current Activities

Dr Gaitskell is currently (or until recently has been) acting as chairman or member of various ICC, LCIA, UNCITRAL, SIAC, ACICA, AICA/KLRCA, EDF, DIAC, ICDR/AAA, Dubai RTA and other arbitral tribunals, dealing with matters such as oil and gas installations and pipelines, power stations, oil and gas plants, petro-chemical works, and other complex and high-value engineering and process projects. As examples, he is presently involved in, amongst other arbitrations, a major S.E. Asian oil refinery dispute, a dispute concerning a Central American shipping canal, a Middle Eastern infrastructure dispute, an African rail dispute, a Dubai construction dispute, and a Korean infrastructure arbitration. He is the sole arbitrator for a major railway dispute. He was the expert determinator for an Omani power station. He has recently mediated a Singaporean hi-tech dispute and chaired a tribunal dealing with energy pricing in S.E. Asia. He has also advised on a dispute concerning a Russian floating nuclear power facility. He was recently a co-arbitrator on an ICC panel dealing with a dispute concerning a sub-sea gas pipeline bringing energy supplies from Russia to Europe. He recently conducted an African mining arbitration and chaired a dispute panel dealing with defence projects in the UK. He advised the Corporation of London on a major structural project and represented the Isle of Man Government in the Privy Council in an infrastructure project.

In addition to his practice at the Bar, Robert Gaitskell is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and is a former Senator of the Engineering Council. He is also a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Robert Gaitskell’s wide experience as an engineer, both in the UK and abroad, has included power generation, transmission, distribution and application, motor control and oil rig design.

Robert Gaitskell has lectured on the University of London (King’s College and Queen Mary’s) LLMs in International Arbitration, dealing with Infrastructure arbitrations. Chambers & Partners’ directory consistently recommends him as a leading international arbitrator.

He also regularly carries out expert determinations involving complex engineering disputes. He is Chairman of the IET/IMechE Joint Committee on Model Forms, which produces the MF/1-4 suite of contracts used for major electro-mechanical projects worldwide. His doctorate from King’s College London concerned standard form engineering contracts. He is a Bencher of Gray’s Inn and a former member of the Council of the Inns of Court (COIC) Tribunals Appointment Body. Robert has recently been appointed to the panel of mediators for the Japan International Mediation Centre in Kyoto (JIMC-Kyoto).

Practice Areas
  • Arbitration
  • Adjudication
  • Dispute Board Appointments
  • Mediation
  • Expert Determinations
  • Arbitration & Litigation (As Counsel)
  • Dr Gaitskell has conducted over 100 arbitrations, throughout the world. He regularly lectures on the subject, including for the ICC, SIMC, CIArb etc.
  • Party Nominated Arbitrator in an ICDR Arbitration under AAA Rules regarding an oil rig (Seat in Houston). Robert Gaitskell is on the AAA Roster of Arbitrators.
  • ICC arbitration regarding disputes arising out of the construction of the Panama Canal (seat Miami).
  • Member of arbitration tribunals dealing with inter alia, disputes concerning an under-sea fibre-optic cable, an Indian housing project, an Iraqi power station, and a Russian oil and gas project.
  • Chairman of ICC arbitration tribunals hearing, amongst other things, multi-million pound disputes concerning offshore oil exploration, a Ukrainian infrastructure project and a US military facility.
  • Sole arbitrator dealing with an Omani power station, a Caribbean hospital, a Middle East commercial building, an infrastructure project in the D.R of the Congo, a gas engineering plant and a Hong Kong public works project.
  • Acted as adjudicator on over 50 major disputes relating to engineering, energy and infrastructure disputes. He is the named adjudicator in various Channel Tunnel Rail Link contracts, and has conducted a number of adjudications on this ongoing project.
  • Regularly appointed by the President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IEE/IET) in respect of electrical and mechanical engineering disputes and by CEDR on domestic and international adjudications.
  • Advised the construction industries in two foreign countries as regards the introduction of statutory adjudication, and lectures widely on the subject.

More detailed information is available on request.

Dispute Board Appointments

Dr. Gaitskell has for a number of years, until recently, been the chairman of the European ITER nuclear fusion project Dispute Board. He is an experienced Dispute Board (DB) Chairman who lectures and writes upon the process. Robert Gaitskell gave an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Lecture on Dispute Boards at the launch of the ICC’s DB Rules, and recently gave an ICC lecture on Dispute Boards. A paper by him on the subject is available on the Society of Construction Law website. He recently lectured at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators on DBs.

Robert Gaitskell is also the Editor of the Keating Construction Dispute Resolution Handbook (3rd edition 2016), in which he deals with the DB procedure in international disputes.

His current and recent DRB appointments include:

  • conducting a Dispute Board relating to the Caribbean oil industry;
  • chairing two dispute boards concerning one of the world’s largest power stations, based in Africa;
  • acting as Dispute Review Board Chairman in respect of a World Bank funded telecommunications project in India;
  • acting as Sole Member for a DB procedure concerning a defence installation project; and
  • acting as Dispute Board Chairman in respect of two major (£0.5 billion each) construction projects involving the British MOD.

Robert Gaitskell has carried out over100 mediations in the commercial, construction, engineering and intellectual property sectors; many abroad including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and South Africa. He is one of the Bar Council’s recommended experienced mediators at the Bar. He is recommended by ‘The Legal 500’ as a leading mediator. He has recently lectured in Singapore, Kuala Lumpar and at the IBA conference on oil and gas mediations.

Expert Determinations

Recent appointments (drawing on Dr. Gaitskell’s status as a Chartered Engineer) concern a Zambian mine plant and a Middle East power station.

Arbitration & Litigation (As Counsel)
  • Advised a European contractor on claims regarding power station desulphurisation conversion.
  • Advised a major Scottish engineering contractor on delay and loss and expense claim.
  • Advised the Corporation of London on a multi-million pound professional negligence claim in a complex engineering project.
  • Advised on the decommissioning of a major UK power station.
  • Represented a foreign government in the Privy Council in a sewerage project dispute.
  • Advised a foreign government on a major national library project.

Dr Gaitskell has worked in (amongst other places) the United States, Canada, Mexico, Denmark, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Mauritius, Switzerland, Belgium, Panama, France, New Zealand, Australia, Zimbabwe, Taiwan, Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, the Dominican Republic, Dubai, Oman and Abu Dhabi.