Catherine is a successful commercial and insurance specialist with a particular focus on construction and engineering disputes, property damage and professional liability. She has a busy court and adjudication practice, acting for insurers, contractors, employers, construction professionals and insolvency practitioners. Catherine has an incredible rate of retention of clients, which shows that not only is she committed to fighting her client’s case to ensure a positive outcome, but that she is personable and works well as part of the team.
Catherine appears in all levels of tribunal in procedural applications, substantive hearings and trials. Catherine has appeared in the all of the TCCs and acted in adjudications and mediations. Catherine is not only instructed when a dispute has arisen, but, as a result of the rapport she builds with her clients, she is often asked to advise client’s when they believe a dispute may be about to arise.
Catherine is “innovative and commercially minded” and has a client focused and commercial approach to resolving disputes, giving “good, practical advice”. She effectively manages the legal, expert and client teams to achieve the most favourable outcome for her clients. She is described by her clients as “exceptional” and “phenomenally hardworking”. Chambers UK describes her as having a “great strategic mind” and “proactive, brilliant with clients and gives no-nonsense advice."
Catherine won Construction Junior Barrister of the Year by Chambers UK Bar Awards 2019. She has previously also been shortlisted for “Best Woman in Construction Law” by the Women in Construction and Engineering Awards.
Areas of expertise
- Construction & engineering
As Catherine’s core practice area is construction and engineering, she is regularly instructed in adjudications for both referring and responding parties. Catherine has experience in substantial, as well as small, final account disputes, technical payment disputes, substantial professional negligence claims, defect claims and delay and disruption claims.
Catherine is particularly skilled at leading the client, expert and legal team to produce the required material in the short time available, without compromising on the depth of analysis or technical detail required to achieve a successful outcome.
- Representing a subcontractor in a multi-million pound final account dispute in relation to a landmark London development, which involved the full range of issues including contract interpretation and claims for variation, delay, loss and expense and liquidated damages.
- Representing a main contractor in a c£9m claim against its structural engineering subcontractor in relation to defective design and construction works to the roof of a care home, which resulted in the site being closed due to safety concerns.
- Representing an employer in successfully resisting a claim for payment pursuant to payment notices which Catherine persuaded the Adjudicator were invalid.
- Representing a firm of professional consultants and their insurers in relation to a multi-million pound professional negligence claim as to the design and contract administration services provided in respect of works to a Grade II listed building. The Referring Party discontinued the adjudication after receiving the Response.
- Representing a subcontractor in relation to a notice based payment dispute, recovering substantial sums due for works carried out to a major London development.
- Representing a charity (employer) in relation to a c£2.5m final account dispute concerning the construction of a world class final account dispute.
- Representing a subcontractor in relation to a breach of contract claim concerning the installation of a specialist roof to a school. The Referring Party discontinued the adjudication after receiving the Response.
- Representing the consultant quantity surveyor in relation to a payment dispute in an adjudication under the fixed fee scheme.
- Construction & engineering
Construction & engineering
Catherine’s core practice is in construction and engineering disputes and she is recognised as a leading junior in this field by Chambers UK, Chambers Global and Legal 500. She regularly acts in cases concerning defective works, payment disputes, final account disputes and prolongation claims as well as professional negligence claims made by and against construction professionals.
Catherine excels at understanding and analysing the technical aspects of such claims, in order to provide an appropriate strategy for the case designed to achieve the best outcome for her clients. Catherine acts for contractors, employers, subcontractors, construction professionals and their insurers and has also acted for insolvency professionals in relation to construction disputes.
- Representing the cladding sub-contractor in a claim brought by Premier Inn Hotels against the main contractor who has, in turn, issued additional claims against the project team. Catherine was initially instructed as sole counsel and is now led by Anneliese Day QC (Premier Inn Hotels Limited v McAleer & Rushe Limited v KTD Facades Limited and others)
- Representing the refrigeration contractor in relation to a claim concerning the alleged defective installation of refrigeration equipment in an abattoir. The value of the claim is said to be in excess of £10m (Morrisons v Lorien and others).
- Advising a property developer in relation to claims made by the residents of a block flats concerning a range of issues alleged to have resulted in the flats being uninhabitable under the Defective Premises Act (The Residents and Management Company of Herons Court v Heronslea Limited and others).
- Representing a cladding contractor in relation to a dispute concerning contract terms and payment (Everwarm v BN Rendering)
- Representing a specialist sub-contractor in relation to the installation of a high-pressure water mist system in the basement of the Houses of Parliament (The Corporate Officer of the House of Commons and House of Lords v CBRE Managed Services Limited v Marioff).
- Representing structural engineers in relation to a claim for defective design and construction of the structural steel to a hotel, which allegedly resulted in masonry falling causing personal injuries (Shepherd Construction Limited v Billington Construction Limited).
- Representing an employer at trial in relation to a claim for damages for defective works causing substantial water ingress to the basement of a high spec residential property.
- Representing a subcontractor in relation to a multi-million pound claim concerning the construction of hardstanding at a major car manufacturer’s premises (Volvo v Lindum v Breheny).
- Advising the main contractor in relation to adjudication and arbitration proceedings in which a subcontractor was claiming £3.5m in relation to the construction of a temporary dock facility
- Representing a charity in relation to c£2.5m final account dispute concerning the construction of a world class standard sports centre.
- Acting for the employer in relation to a £1.1m claim for liquidated damages arising out of the delayed construction of a substantial residential property.
- 9-13 Grosvenor Street (GP) Limited v Carillion, acting as junior counsel for the employer in relation to a c£32m recovery claim against the project team arising out of damage to the party wall with a neighbouring property during the course of construction works.
- Acting as junior counsel in litigation concerning the defective construction of a major road in Wales (UK Highways A55 Ltd v Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd  EWHC 3505 (TCC)). The case also provides guidance to as to the consequence of staying proceedings on the time for service of the Particulars of Claim.
- Successfully represented the contractor in the leading case on the definition of “residential occupier” in Westfield Construction Limited v Clive Lewis  EWHC 376.
- Representing and advising a liquidator in seeking to recover monies due to an insolvent contractor in relation to a number of construction projects.
- Defending a major national housebuilder in relation to a claim concerning defective works and sewage contamination.
Catherine is also a contributor to Construction All Risks Insurance (2014, Sweet & Maxwell) and a contributor to the Practical Law Construction Blog.
- Construction arbitration
As a result of her busy construction practice, Catherine is regularly involved in arbitrations involving construction disputes.
- Advising a main contractor in relation to recovery of sums from a structural engineer (and its insurers) for defective works to a care home, rendering it structurally unsafe.
- Advising the main contractor in relation to adjudication and arbitration proceedings in which a subcontractor was claiming £3.5m in relation to the construction of a temporary dock facility.
- Acting on behalf of homeowners in relation to defects in the construction of their new home, in particular concerning the ventilation system.
- Advising a home owner in relation to arbitration proceedings concerning the defective tiling installation to their high-end property.
- Advising insolvency professionals of a main contractor in relation to a series of arbitration claims made by different employers.
- Property damage
As a result of her reputation and excellent understanding of technical issues in construction claims, Catherine is regularly instructed at an early stage to advise on and act in claims concerning damage caused by fire, floods, leaks and explosions.
Catherine’s clients include both insurers and property owners. As a result, she is well placed to understand both sides of the litigation, ensuring she is able to provide the best advice to her clients in relation to both merits and strategy.
- Acting on behalf of a facilities and maintenance contractor in respect of proceedings issued by ITV concerning the defective installation of a generator, causing smoke damage, and a power outage
- Representing a piling subcontractor alleged to have caused damage to a sewer which, in turn, caused property damage. The claim has been issued by United Utilities
- Advising a train manufacturer in relation to the recovery of damages for remedial works necessary to a train following a fire caused by defective engineering works.
- Advising the owners of an energy waste plant in relation to a multi-million pound fire damage claim.
- Advising a home owner and their insurers in relation to a multi-million pound claim concerning damage caused by repeated sewerage leaks.
- Advising the owner of a warehouse in respect of property damage caused following the explosion of a roller during treatment works.
- Advising a college in relation to fire damage caused by the installation of solar panels during the construction of a further education building.
- Advising a major high street pharmaceutical store in relation to a fire damage originating from a cosmetics stand.
- Advising a plumbing subcontractor in relation to substantial water damage following a repair to pipework.
- Advising a home owner in relation to a potential claim following an extensive fire emanating from a boiler which spread to a neighbouring property.
- Acting for a drainage contractor alleged to have caused an escape of sewage at a luxury Mayfair property causing the extensive property damage.
- Acting for insurers in relation to a flood damage claim in respect of a residential property.
- Construction insurance
Catherine’s Construction profile outlines her extensive experience of construction and engineering claims, many of which involve insurers.
Catherine has developed a particular expertise in claims concerning new home warranty policies, acting for both insurers and their insureds.
- Representing the insurers who provided new home warranty policies in respect of a block of flats in relation to a multi-million pound claim proceeding through the TCC.
- Advising freeholders and leaseholders in relation to claims under new home warranty policies in relation to works to common and external areas.
- Advising insurers in relation to recovering sums from an insolvent, but potentially insured, subcontractor. Advising an insurer of residential property as to the obligation to act promptly and the indemnity cap for providing alternative accommodation.
- Advising a contractor’s professional indemnity insurers in relation to claims made for defective design, workmanship and personal injury.
- Advising home owners in relation to defect claims under new home warranty policies.
- Advising insurers in relation to defect claims by home owners under new home warranty policies.
- Catherine is a contributor to Construction All Risks Insurance (2014, Sweet & Maxwell).
- Construction Professionals
Catherine regularly acts in professional negligence disputes concerning architects, contract administrators, quantity surveyors, project managers and structural engineers in all aspects of professional negligence claims against construction professionals, including cases concerning negligent design, overvaluation of works, inadequate contract administration and failure to inspect/supervise.
Catherine accepts instructions from clients directly and also from insurers in respect of subrogated claims and provides advice, draft protocol letters and pleadings as well as representing clients in court.
Her recent work includes:
- Representing the M&E designer in a multimillion-pound claim brought by Southend Hospital concerned allegations of negligent design (Southend Hospital v WSP and others)
- Defending a claim brought against a structural engineer concerning the allegedly designs provided in respect of a housing development (Sansom v Bentley Design).
- Acting as sole counsel for the main contractor in relation to a c£9m adjudication concerning structural engineer’s negligent design and construction of a care home. Catherine achieved an excellent result for her client, despite the structural engineer appointed a silk and junior counsel team (Willmott Dixon v EOS).
- Defending a contract administrator in relation to professional negligence allegations relating to overvaluing works and failing to identify defective works.
- Defending a project manager in relation to a professional negligence claim concerning the failure to ensure the contractor had suitable insurance in place and to obtain collateral warranties. The Claimant discontinued its claim following service of the Defence Catherine drafted (Camperman v Cube).
- Defending an architect in relation to allegations of negligent design of a substantial residential property (Lloyd v Blair).
- Defending an architect in relation to the alleged negligent design of a heating system and the alleged inadequate supervision of the works (Victoria House Properties v ARH).
- Defending a consultant contract administrator and quantity surveyor in relation to alleged negligent services provided during the course of the renovation of a heritage property. The employer discontinued the adjudication following service of the Response drafted by Catherine.
- Defending a solicitor in relation to allegations of professional negligence, conflict of interest and breach of fiduciary duty.
- Defending a solicitor in relation to the failure to advise a client as to the value of a charging order over a freehold property which was subject to a long lease.
- Acting for a lender in relation to a breach of warranty of authority claim against a prominent firm of solicitors.
- Professional indemnity insurance
Professional indemnity insurance
Catherine acts for professional indemnity insurers primarily in relation to claims against construction professionals. However, Catherine also has experience in claims against other professionals, including solicitors and valuers.
- Insurance coverage
Catherine advises on coverage issues in relation to various consumer, commercial and reinsurance policies.
- Acting as junior counsel to Nigel Jones QC in relation to an arbitration seeking to recover sums from an insurer pursuant to the Third Party (Rights against Insurers) Act 1930
- Advising insolvency practitioners in relation to a claim against insurers for the destruction of an energy waste plant caused by a fire
- Advising insurers in relation to seeking to recover a payment made to an insured which was also paid by an insurer to its subcontractor that caused the damage, but such payment was not passed on before the subcontractor became insolvent.
- Advising and representing the underwriter of a new home warranty policy as to the scope of the indemnity under the Policy in respect of proceedings issued by a freeholder.
- Advising on quantum issues in respect of business interruption, loss of stock and property damage.
- Assisting in a coverage dispute in respect of motor insurance arising as a result of modifications made to the vehicle and incorrect answers on the Proposal Form.
- Insurance funded disputes
Insurance funded disputes
Catherine regularly acts in relation to disputes involving insurers, details of which can be found in the Construction, Professional Liability and CDR sections of her profile.
- Professional indemnity insurance
- Commercial litigation
As a result of Catherine’s extensive experience of analysing, interpreting and advising on lengthy construction contracts, she is regularly instructed to advise individuals, companies, lenders and funders in relation to the governing contractual rights and obligations in broader commercial matters.
- She was recently instructed by a funder in relation to stakeholder proceedings in the Commercial Court concerning sums due under a debenture, where proceedings had already been issued by a lender pursuant to its receivables finance agreement.
- She also acted for a company in relation to a dispute under an aircraft management agreement in the Mercantile Court.
Catherine has particular knowledge of the finance documents involved in lending and share sale agreements as a result of her time with the finance team of a major US law firm.
“Simply exceptional: very bright, understands complicated technical issues and is very good at cross-examination.”Legal 500
“Very clever and down-to-earth.”Chambers UK
“Her written work is brilliant and she's incredibly good with clients.”Chambers UK
“Understands both the law and the industry. She is very quick and thorough and really grasps construction-specific disputes”Chambers UK
“Bright, hard-working and responsive.”Chambers UK
“Her experience and abilities are beyond her year of call.”Legal 500
“She is incredibly intelligent and able to get to the heart of a claim quickly”Legal 500
“She is extremely approachable, knowledgeable and a persuasive advocate.”Chambers UK
“She is extremely approachable, knowledgeable and a persuasive advocate.”Chambers UK
- Adjudication Society
- British Insurance Law Association
- Society of Construction Law
Contributor to Construction All Risks Insurance, published by Sweet & Maxwell.
- LLM European Law (University of Nottingham)
- BA (Hons) Jurisprudence (University of Oxford, St. Catherine’s College)
- Bar Vocational Course
- Lord Astbury Scholar, Middle Temple
Catherine is recommended by Chambers UK, Chambers Global, Who’s Who Legal and Legal 500 as a leading junior in construction and professional negligence. She is also recommended by Chambers UK for property damage. She won Junior Construction Barrister of the Year at the Chambers UK 2019 Awards.
- “A rising star in construction law – catch her while you can” (Chambers UK)
- “She is incredibly intelligent and able to get to the heart of a claim quickly.” (Legal 500)
- “She is extremely approachable, knowledgeable and a persuasive advocate.” (Chambers UK)
- “She has a great strategic mind and works phenomenally hard, and is as charismatic as she is hard-working.” (Chambers UK)
- “Catherine Piercy is excellent. She is proactive, brilliant with clients and gives no-nonsense advice.” (Chambers UK)
- “Able to think quickly on her feet and offer strategic advice” (Legal 500)
- “Very hard-working and enthusiastic,” she “understands both the law and the industry.” (Chambers UK)
- “She is very quick and thorough and really grasps construction-specific disputes.” (Chambers UK)
- “Fights really hard for her clients and works incredibly hard. She’s an excellent advocate who produces top-notch written work.” (Chambers UK)
- ‘Simply exceptional: very bright, understands complicated technical issues and is very good at cross-examination.’ (Legal 500)
- “An outstanding advocate who is resolute and remarkable in leading a long-term strategy.” (Legal 500)
- “Her written work is top class…She is very commanding and highly effective when dealing with clients and the other side.” (Chambers Global)
- “An extremely hard worker who always comes up with helpful, pragmatic advice.” (Chambers UK)
- “She has a quick grasp of technical claims, a great client manner and is strong on her feet in court.” – (Legal 500)
- “She rolls her sleeves up and clients really like her. She’s down to earth and user-friendly, with good attention to detail and the ability to make points clearly.” (Chambers UK)
- “Very robust and technically excellent.” (Legal 500)
- “Her written work is very good and she is known as a strong advocate.” (Chambers UK)
- “Impressive.” (Legal 500)
- “‘She has very strong communication skills that inspire confidence and bring a positive energy to the room.” (Legal 500)
- “She is brilliant – super smart and super on top of it. She is an excellent barrister all round” (Chambers UK)
- “She’s exceptionally hard-working and great with clients.” (Chambers UK)
- “A first-class advocate.” (Chambers UK)
- “She always provides good, clear analysis.” (Chambers UK)
- “Bright, hard-working and responsive.” (Chambers UK)
- “Her written work is brilliant and she’s incredibly good with clients.” (Chambers UK)
- “Very clever and down-to-earth.” (Chambers UK)
- “Clever, incredibly industrious, very easy to work with and utterly reliable.” (Chambers UK)
- “She’s very bright, very accommodating, and very good with clients. Both her writing and advocacy skills are impressive.” (Chambers UK)