Marc Rowlands KC

Call: 1990 Silk: 2012


Tel: +44 (0)20 7544 2600

Practice Overview

Marc Rowlands KC’s practice covers the full range of construction, engineering and technology disputes, in the UK and internationally. Praised as “very slick and very good”, he is regularly instructed in the TCC, Commercial Court and Court of Appeal and in arbitrations in the Middle East, Far East and the Caribbean. Marc is a Part II DIFC registered practitioner and is called to the Bahamian Bar. In addition to his work as counsel, Marc has acted as adjudicator, arbitrator (ICC) and mediator.

Marc has particular expertise in the JCT, NEC, FIDIC and LOGIC forms, and PFI contracts, and his offshore experience includes a year off from his studies working onshore and offshore (in the Bay of Benin) for a wireline logging company. He is also highly regarded for rail related work, having acted in numerous high profile cases around the world relating to infrastructure, rolling stock and regulatory work. His recent experience also includes three significant cladding disputes related to fire stopping and fire barrier defects. Marc is particularly skilled at working with a team and managing large cases to achieve cost savings and the best commercial, practical outcomes for clients.


Practice Areas
  • Construction & Engineering
  • Rail
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Offshore Construction & Marine Engineering
  • MENA
  • International Arbitration
  • Infrastructure & Utilities
  • IT & Technology
Construction & Engineering
  • Represented the owners of mixed development high rise towers claiming against the contractor for cost of replacing external cladding and remedying fire stopping and fire barrier defects. Issues included compliance of the Sto cladding with building regulations, and BS standards and BRE tests. Claim form issued the day of the Grenfell fire. 2 week TCC trial settled at the door of the Court in January 2019.
  • Acted for the architect defending a £40 million negligence claim in the TCC following a large fire at a major housing development in Kent. Issues included scope of duty and design obligations in relation to fire stopping and barriers. 9 week trial in the TCC in September 2020.
  • Acted for the contractor defending a claim by the owners seeking the cost of replacing external cladding on two high rise residential blocks, together with decant and costs of sale of the flats. 2 week TCC trial in November 2020 settled at the door of the Court.
  • Acting for the contractor in a $10 million arbitration in the Middle East in relation to a complex road interchange where completion of the works was substantially delayed including effects including associated utilities.
  • Acting for a major international airline in a (circa £30m) dispute arising out of a materials handling project, involving bonds, cross-claims for repudiation and limitation/exclusion clauses.
  • Advised and drafted a defence for a major international contractor in an ICC arbitration against the Hong Kong Government concerning design in a road-building project.
  • Advised a leading rolling-stock manufacturer on a US$100 million claim against Amtrak in the Washington DC courts.
  • Acted as Counsel in connection with a US$3.5m dispute between contractor and hotel developer in Turks and Caicos.
  • Acted for Insurers in relation to the Cologne City Metro collapse.
  • Acted for Appellant in Court of Appeal in relation to complex estoppel and strike out arguments.

Marc’s experience of rail related work is unparalleled at the English Bar. He has acted for rolling stock manufacturers, infrastructure contractors, leasing companies, Train, Freight, Infrastructure and Concession Operating Companies, governments and regulatory authorities throughout the world. He has dealt with virtually every aspect of a railway (and most railway types, from tram and metro through to High Speed) from a technical point of view, both in relation to the permanent way and associated civil, structural and mechanical works and signalling systems, and rolling stock.

His UK cases include the Heathrow Tunnel and Chalfont tunnel collapses, the West Coast Mainline Upgrade, various derailment cases, the DLR Lewisham extension and the East London Line disputes, and numerous franchising and leasing contract issues (including, most recently, the Heathrow spur and Northern Rail).

Internationally, Marc’s cases include:

  • Advising a leading rolling-stock manufacturer on a US$100m claim against Amtrak in the US in relation to the Acela high speed system.
  • Acting in the Eurotunnel and TML litigation.
  • Acting for the Japanese joint venture concerning the building of the Taiwanese Shinkansen.
  • Acting in several international metro disputes in Hong Kong, Manila and Dubai.
Energy & Natural Resources
  • Appeared for design engineers against clients in a preliminary trial of construction, rectification and estoppel arguments arising out of the design of compressor facilities for a North Sea offshore production platform.
  • Appeared as counsel in a case concerning defects in a power station, involving on-demand bonds/guarantees, Environmental Protection Act issues and alleged fraud.
  • Undertook pleadings and interlocutory work for the government of a Caribbean state in an ICC arbitration relating to a petro-chemical plant.
  • Instructed by North Sea operator in litigation relating to design and construction of production platforms.

Marc has extensive experience of the complex contractual matrix and financial modelling inherent in PFI disputes, particularly in the healthcare field. He has acted for a number of healthcare trusts, contractors and lenders, both in relation to financial/transactional issues and technical disputes arising out of the construction agreements. Complex financial modelling is intrinsic to this work, and Marc’s experience in relation to rail franchising issues means he is adept at understanding both the underlying spreadsheets and the payment and change mechanisms that relate to them.

Offshore Construction & Marine Engineering

Prior to coming to the Bar, Marc spent a year working onshore and offshore for Flopetrol in France and West Africa.

Marc’s recent work in this area includes:

  • Junior Counsel in Phillips v Snamprogetti, a 6 week TCC trial relating to compressors in the North Sea
  • Counsel in Tubetech v Technip concerning pipelines in Nigeria.
  • Instructions in ongoing disputes concerning the design and construction of offshore production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea.
  • Litigation over the design of wind farm piles in the Irish Sea.
  • Resisting the arrest of a ship in Lisbon.
  • Successfully suing the designers of a superyacht in relation to specified range.

Marc has extensive expertise in the Middle East, having worked on projects in Dubai since 2001, when he represented the contractor building the Beniyas road interchange. In 2007 he spent 2 years representing the Joint Venture building the Dubai Metro.

His experience includes:

  • Acting in numerous arbitrations (principally DIAC) relating to various buildings along the Sheikh Zayed Road, an aluminium extrusion plant in Sharjah and, most recently, for a hotel developer in the Caribbean.
  • Representing the European Joint Venture contractor in a major irrigation scheme in Jordan.
  • Acting as an arbitrator in an ICC arbitration in Saudi Arabia.

He is very familiar with Civil Code law, having studied Comparative Law at Oxford, and from many years exposure to the UAE, Egyptian and Saudi codes.

International Arbitration

Marc acts as counsel in a diverse range of complex and high-value international arbitrations worldwide, but particularly in the Middle East, Far East and Caribbean. Recent instructions have included:

  • ICC Arbitration in Hong Kong in relation to a large process plant built in Russia by Far East Contractors.
  • ICC Arbitration in Geneva concerning a power station in East Africa.
  • DIAC Arbitration in Dubai relating to construction of building complex in Business Bay.
  • LCIA Arbitration in the Caribbean arising out of construction of resort complex.
Infrastructure & Utilities

Marc has experience of every conceivable type of infrastructure project: air, rail, road, power, process, telecommunications and building. He is particularly praised for his ability to deal with the voluminous and complex material that these cases often involve.

In addition to his extensive rail experience, he has acted for contractors, employers or lenders at Hong Kong and Dubai airports, on the A36 road project, Bridges in Hong Kong, on biomass, wind and cogeneration power facilities, chemical, waste and hydrocarbon process plants, satellite communication systems and numerous large building projects.

IT & Technology
  • Appeared in a trial concerning the state of development and adequacy of oracle-based software, involving software development processes, business processes and the role of specifications.
  • Acted in a repudiation case arising out of development and customisation of financial and facilities management software.
  • Advised and drafted the statement of claim for a mass transit systems manufacturer in dispute arising from variations to user requirements for control systems and communications software.
  • Acted for Claimant in High Court in trial of complex technical and contractual issues relating to satellite tracking systems.