Tel: +44 (0)20 7544 2600
Rachael O’Hagan specialises in high-value construction, engineering, technology, infrastructure, nuclear/energy along with professional negligence and insurance claims related to these sectors. Described as a barrister who is “unflappable” and “understands the issues straight away”, she prides herself on being approachable, commercial and client-focused. Rachael is recommended in leading directories for her work in both construction and international arbitration and was also nominated for International Arbitration Junior of the year at the 2019 Legal 500 UK Awards. Her experience extends to infrastructure, rail, energy, nuclear and local government.
Rachael is instructed as a junior and in her own right in complex high-value construction and commercial cases. She has represented parties in court litigation, arbitration (including under the Rules of the ICC, DIFC-LCIA and DIAC), adjudication (both under the HGCRA and the Scheme) and mediation. She has also been appointed as a legal advisor to a dispute advisory board (DAB) in respect of major infrastructure projects, has acted in various arbitration challenges in the UK Courts (under sections 68 and 69 of the 1996 Arbitration Act), and is currently representing a Core Participant in an Inquiry.
Rachael has taken an active role in the International Bar exchange schemes which have taken place over the past few years. These schemes have provided an excellent opportunity for Rachael to work alongside lawyers in other jurisdictions including China, Korea and Malaysia.
Rachael has a good working knowledge of the standard form contracts used in the construction industry, including the JCT, NEC and Maximum Price Target Cost (MPTC) contracts. Her recent work in this area includes:
- UAE, DIFC-LCIA arbitration – representing a supplier as sole counsel in a 5-day hearing concerning disputes about electrical equipment supplied for a cooling plant, and a 2-day hearing on delay and quantum.
- UAE, DIAC arbitration – representing a main contractor as sole counsel in a 5-day arbitration hearing concerning mechanical and electrical works to a car park.
- TCC case concerning claims brought pursuant to warranties for construction defects.
- Arbitration proceedings on a multi-million-pound construction dispute concerning payment issues and delay and disruption claims.
- Dispute concerning the payment of a bond under a JCT contract.
- Complex design and payment issues arising on a construction project.
- 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.
Rachael is vastly experienced in international disputes and has acted as sole counsel in international arbitrations. Examples of recent work include:
- UAE, DIFC-LCIA arbitration (value, about £3.5m) – instructed as sole counsel at hearing.
- UAE, DIAC arbitration (value, about £5m) – instructed as sole counsel at hearing.
- Claim for a major international telecommunications organisation relating to a dispute concerning a sub-sea fibre optic cable in Indonesia. Case concerned complex jurisdiction issues. Rachael also represented the claimant on a without notice application in the TCC concerning an application relating to CPR, Part 11.
- ICC arbitration concerning a brokerage contract where the applicable law of the contract was Swiss Law. In particular, instructed to consider Swiss Law in French.
- Major ICC arbitration concerning payment disputes and variation claims.
- 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 where Rachael was the sole advocate and her opponent was leading silk in the field.
- City Basements Ltd v Nordic Construction UK Ltd(Unreported, 14 April 2014), where Rachael successfully enforced an adjudicator’s decision in the TCC. The case also considered relief from sanctions in the context of an adjudication enforcement timetable.
- Statutory adjudication proceedings, where Rachael acted for the defendant and successfully defended a contractor’s claim for a multi-million pound payment.
- Lanes Group v Galliford Try Infrastructure Ltd(2011), where Rachael was 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Representing a Corporate Core Participant in the Grenfell Tower 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 and negligent design with regard to fire / smoke safety issues.
- TCC proceedings concerning defective render system on multiple tower blocks.
- 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.
- 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.
- A claim concerning a major facilities management contract under NEC3.
- Adjudications concerning major facilities management contracts.
- Rights to light dispute in the TCC/advised developers in relation to various rights to light issues.
- Property disputes including property damage, nuisance claims, interpretation of leases and contractual claims.
- 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 has been named by a number of solicitors as being in the top 10 most important property cases of 2017.