Rachael O’Hagan

Call: 2006

Email: rohagan@keatingchambers.com

Tel: +44 (0)20 7544 2600

Practice Overview

Recently described as: ”an extremely bright and effective advocate, and a real hit with clients”;very intellectual, she gets to the heart of a dispute quickly and is very engaging”; and an “unflappable” barrister “who understands the issues straightaway”. Rachael specialises in high-value construction, engineering, technology, infrastructure, nuclear/energy along with professional negligence and insurance claims related to these sectors. She also acts in procurement disputes. She is instructed as a junior and in her own right, including acting as sole advocate in international arbitrations. Her clients are domestic and international, and she has experience in the English Courts and also representing parties under various international arbitral rules, including: ICC, LCIA, DIFC-LCIA, UNCITRAL and DIAC.

Rachael is recommended in leading UK and Global directories, including for her work in construction, professional negligence and international arbitration. She is nominated as “Junior of the Year” at the 2023 Legal 500 UK Awards and was nominated for International Arbitration Junior of the year in 2019. She is recognised as a Future Leader in the WWL Global Guide.

Rachael advises clients on all forms of commercial dispute resolution and has represented clients in mediations (including under the Court Scheme), adjudications and disputes under the Railway Industry Dispute Rules. She has been appointed as the legal nominee on a Dispute Advisory Board and is also a TECBAR Adjudicator. Rachael has also represented a Corporate Core Participant as part of the Grenfell Inquiry.

Rachael has contributed to various construction legal texts, including: two chapters of Keating on Construction Contracts (11th Edition); and writing a Chapter for “Construction Law, Costs and Contemporary Developments: Drawing the Threads Together – A Festschrift for Lord Justice Jackson”, Edited by Julian Bailey.

Practice Areas
  • Construction & Engineering
  • Offshore Construction and Marine Engineering
  • Domestic / International Arbitration
  • Adjudication
  • Professional Negligence
  • Rail Infrastructure
  • Nuclear and Energy
  • Procurement
  • Commercial Law
  • Property
Construction & Engineering
  • Sole barrister representing a party at a two-week hearing concerning disputes arising in relation to a major PPP infrastructure project.
  • Acting for parties in cases concerning fire defects:
    • Representing a Corporate Core Participant in the Grenfell Inquiry.
    • Two related sets of TCC proceedings arising out of a fire which broke out at a warehouse causing substantial losses.
    • Various cases concerning fire-stopping defects/negligent design giving rise to fire / smoke safety issues.
  • TCC proceedings concerning defective render system on multiple tower blocks.
  • Numerous multi-million-pound final account disputes in the TCC and in arbitration proceedings, involving (for example): leisure centres, residential homes, tower blocks, MOD sites, railway infrastructure.
  • Representing a party in a multi-party dispute concerning an escape of water at a sewage treatment plant.
  • Adjudications concerning disputes arising under major facilities contracts.
  • Representing a supplier as sole counsel in a 5-day arbitration hearing concerning disputes about electrical equipment supplied for a cooling plant, and a 2-day arbitration hearing on delay and quantum.
  • Representing a main contractor as sole counsel in a 5-day arbitration hearing concerning mechanical and electrical works to a car park.
  • Acting for a party in ongoing disputes concerning alterations and extensions to a luxury home.
  • Instructed in high-value TCC proceedings relating to construction defects and claims under collateral warranties.
  • Arbitration proceedings on a multi-million-pound construction dispute concerning payment issues and delay and disruption claims.
  • Domestic arbitration (5-week hearing) concerning a final account dispute and issues arising following termination of a sub-contract.
  • Member of dispute avoidance board (DAB) for major infrastructure projects.
Offshore Construction and Marine Engineering
  • Sole counsel on a c.£30m insurance coverage dispute concerning construction works for a quay wall.
  • Represented a party in significant disputes concerning the expansion of existing harbour facilities in Africa.
  • Represented a major international telecommunications organisation in relation to a dispute concerning a sub-sea fibre optic cable in Indonesia.
  • Acted in lengthy proceedings concerning the construction of a nuclear jetty facility.
  • High-value arbitration relating to the construction of a LNG jetty facility in South America.
Domestic / International Arbitration
  • ICC arbitration – sole barrister instructed in relation to a two-week hearing concerning a €150m infrastructure dispute. Issues in dispute concerned delay, financial relief and claims for compensation. Law of the contract was Slovak law and the seat of the arbitration was Vienna.
  • UNCITRAL arbitration – instructed as sole counsel in relation to proceedings concerning points of principle on the proper interpretation of the contract.
  • ICC arbitration – the disputes concerned complex design and engineering issues. Seat of the arbitration was Geneva.
  • ICC arbitration – instructed in respect of delay and payment disputes concerning a project in West Africa.
  • UAE, DIFC-LCIA arbitration – instructed as sole counsel at 5-day hearing.
  • UAE, DIAC arbitration – instructed as sole counsel at 5-day hearing.
  • AMEC Group Ltd v Secretary of State for Defence (2013) (as a junior), where Rachael acted for the SSD and successfully resisted AMEC’s application pursuant to section 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996 for permission to appeal against the majority decision of an arbitral dispute review board.
  • Proceedings in the TCC (Secretary of State for Defence v Turner Estate Solutions Ltd (2014) brought under section 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 where the claimant challenged an arbitral award on the basis of serious irregularity.
  • An adjudication – acting as junior counsel for a major employer organisation which successfully defeated (in its entirety) a claim brought by a contractor for some £40m. Also, instructed in respect of a directions/jurisdiction hearing as sole advocate.
  • Statutory adjudication proceedings – acted for the defendant and successfully defended a contractor’s claim for a multi-million-pound payment.
  • City Basements Ltd v Nordic Construction UK Ltd (Unreported, 14 April 2014) – successfully enforced an adjudicator’s decision in the TCC. The case also considered relief from sanctions in the context of an adjudication enforcement timetable.
  • Lanes Group v Galliford Try Infrastructure Ltd(2011) – instructed as a junior in the Court of Appeal proceedings.
  • Multi-million-pound delay and disruption dispute which was referred to adjudication.
  • Various disputes referred to adjudication under the NEC3.
  • TECBAR Adjudicator.
Professional Negligence
  • Multi-million-pound professional negligence claim concerning a derailment and liability for the design of railway infrastructure.
  • Multi-million-pound professional negligence case involving design issues and termination disputes on a substantial leisure complex.
  • Instructed in respect of various cases concerning fire-stopping defects and negligent design regarding fire / smoke safety issues.
  • TCC proceedings concerning defective render system on multiple tower blocks.
  • Court of Appeal proceedings on important issues concerning the scope of a sub-sub-contractor’s duty of care and liability for economic loss in tort: Southern v How Engineering(2010).
Rail Infrastructure
  • Appointed as legal representative on Network Rail’s Dispute Avoidance Panel.
  • Acted as sole counsel in respect of a derailment and proceedings brought under the Railway Industry Dispute Rules.
  • Arbitration concerning a final account dispute in relation to works carried out at a railway depot.
  • Procurement disputes concerning railway franchising contracts.
  • Advising in respect of limitation and defects arising in relation to substantial railway contracts.
Nuclear and Energy
  • Disputes concerning the decommissioning of a nuclear power plant.
  • Disputes concerning a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal.
  • Disputes concerning a construction project at a nuclear site.
  • Project with complex nuclear related design issues.
  • Proceedings concerning the construction of a power plant.
  • Claim concerning the proper interpretation of an oil and gas contract.
  • Acted as junior counsel in the high-profile public procurement dispute concerning the 2019 Railway Franchising Litigation. The case was recognised by the Lawyer as being in the Top 20 cases of the year.
  • Acted as junior counsel in the high-profile public procurement challenge concerning the procurement of diagnostic software for the mass testing of COVID-19.
  • Acted as junior counsel in a public procurement dispute concerning the provision of medical services.
Commercial Law
  • Claim for monies due under a bond.
  • Substantial commercial dispute which turned on the proper construction of a contractual payment mechanism.
  • Impact of the Bribery Act 2010 on international commercial transactions.
  • Rights to light dispute in the TCC/advised developers in relation to various rights to light issues.
  • Metropolitan Housing Trust Ltd v RMC FH Co Ltd (2017) – A case which has resulted in substantial commentary in the fields of rights to light and property disputes and was identified as being in the top 10 most important property cases of 2017.
  • Property disputes including property damage, nuisance claims, interpretation of leases and contractual claims.
Case Reports
Case Date
Kellogg Brown & Root Limited v MOPAC & MPS 9 December 2021
2019 Rail Franchising Litigation 17 June 2020