Paul is a leading commercial practitioner specialising in construction, professional liability, property damage and insurance. He is regularly instructed in substantial, technical and complex civil, commercial, construction, insurance and professional negligence disputes. As well as being a popular and experienced advocate in court and in arbitration, he is also highly regarded for adjudication and advisory work.
Paul has an extensive domestic and international practice, working regularly in the Middle East, the Caribbean and the Asia Pacific region as well as other areas. He is known as an approachable and client-focused silk and a team player who gives clear and consistent advice.
He is also an occasional post graduate tutor and lecturer in construction law and arbitration at Kings College and a highly experienced mediator, adjudicator and arbitrator. He has been shortlisted as Construction Silk of the Year in the Legal 500 Awards.
Areas of expertise
- Construction & engineering
Paul is well known for his involvement in high value, high profile adjudications where his pre-eminence in construction and engineering issues makes him a formidable operator.
- Acting for distributor in linked Adjudications regarding termination of £900m distribution contract (followed by arbitration).
- Acting for National Assembly for Wales in the dispute over construction of the new assembly building.
- Adjudication relating to the design & build of a church and school.
- Acting for sewerage lining sub-contractor in a claim for damage to a row of houses.
- Acting for utility company in two linked adjudications relating to alleged defective dewatering works on a major civil engineering project.
- Adjudication relating to civil engineering works at a water treatment plant.
- Acting for major housing association in relation to multiple adjudications regarding delay.
- Acting as adjudicator in construction adjudications and in respect of apportionment of liability between insurers.
- Construction & engineering
Construction & engineering
Paul is renowned for his expertise and experience in construction and engineering disputes, be they litigated through the courts or referred to arbitration.
Over the last 20 years he has acted for almost all of the major construction companies and construction insurers as well as developers and governmental bodies. His engineering background combined with legal expertise means that he understands the complex nature of such matters and has given him a well-deserved reputation for his ability to identify quickly the key issues and then give sound, commercial advice.
“Methodical, commercial and someone with great advocacy skills”, he is recommended as a leading silk in Construction as well as Insurance and Reinsurance by Chambers UK and Legal 500 and in Property Damage by Chambers UK. He is also recommended for Construction in Chambers Global. Paul acts not only as legal counsel and as an advocate before the courts, arbitral tribunals and in adjudication but also as an arbitrator and adjudicator.
In addition to his legal practice, he is author of:
- Construction All Risks Insurance, the second edition of which was published by Sweet & Maxwell in 2017. The book is the definitive text for Construction and Engineering All Risks (CAR) insurance; and
- Construction Professional indemnity Insurance, published by Sweet & Maxwell in 2018.
Significant Reported Cases:
- Carillion Construction Ltd v Emcor Engineering Services Ltd & Anr  EWCA Civ 65. Guidance by the Court of Appeal on awarding Extensions of Time and calculation of loss and expense.
- Twintec Ltd v Volkerfitzpatrick Ltd  BLR 150, (one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 cases of 2014/15),a £150m dispute about the defective piling and floor slab in Europe’s largest wine warehouse.
- National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside v AEW Architects & Designers Ltd & PHL UK Ltd & Galliford Try Construction Ltd  EWHC 2403 (TCC)  1 Costs LO 39. A substantial claim against architects against a claim for negligent design of the Liverpool museum.
- MJ Gleeson Group PLC v AXA Corporate Solutions Assurance SA  Lloyd’s Rep IR 677. Defending insurers against substantial claim on a Construction Public Liability insurance policy.
- UK Highways A55 Ltd, Carillion Construction Ltd, John Laing Construction Ltd v Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd  BLR 95. Defending the designer of the A55 road in respect of £20m claim for negligent design of road.
- Smith & Others v South Eastern Power Networks PLC  EWHC 2541 (TCC). Defending electricity distributors in respect of multiple claims for damage caused by equipment installed in domestic premises.
- Cayman Insurance Company Limited v Lindo and Brown  (2) LILR. Defending Insurers in respect of claim under insurance policy.
- Chalcraft v Rivercraft Developments LLP v John Tompkins Associates Ltd  EWHC 2079. Claim against architect for the alleged negligent certification of building works.
- Kent County Council v Snohetta, Davis Langdon & Whitby Bird  TCC representing Kent CC in respect of a substantial claim for the negligent design and tender for the Turner Contemporary art gallery.
- Seele Austria GMBH & Co v Tokio Marine Europe Insurance Ltd (2007) EWHC1411 (comm), (2008) EWCA civ 441 (TCC),  BLR. 26. Dispute as to whether damage to the building at Paternoster Square, London was insured.
- Blackwell (contracts) Ltd v Gerling Allegemeine Verischerungs-AG  Lloyd’s rep IR 511 Dispute as to whether damage caused to the M62 motorway was insured.
- Associated British Ports v Hydro Soil Services NV, Dredging International (UK) Ltd & Haecon  EWHC 1187 (TCC). Claim for damage caused to dock at Southampton due to negligent design and construction.
- Gurney Structural Engineers v Gleeds Health & Safety and Gleeds Project Management Times 24 April 2006  EWHC 536 (TCC). Defending project managers resulting from catastrophic collapse of a number of buildings into a London street.
- Morgan Est (Scotland) Ltd v Hanson Concrete Products Ltd  BLR 218. Substitution of the Claimant outside the limitation period
- Navigators Insurance Co v Atlantic Methanol Production Co LLC  Lloyd’s Rep IR 418. The right to seek an anti-suit injunction to prevent forum shopping in the USA.
- London Fire & Emergency Planning Authority v Meritor Light Vehicle Systems (UK) Ltd  EWHC 2411 (TCC). Product liability claim in respect of the design of fire engines.
- Holbeck Hall Hotel Ltd v Scarborough Borough Council  2 WLR 1396. Liability in tort for the hotel collapsing into the sea at Scarborough.
- South Coast Shipping Co Ltd v Havant BC  3 All E. R 779.Coastal defence civil engineering arbitration.
- General Construction Ltd v Aegon Ins Co (UK) Ltd  APP.L.R The right to call performance bond in Mauritius.
- Construction arbitration
Paul is a well-known figure in construction arbitration circles, having been involved in some of the largest construction arbitrations of recent times.
- S v B (2018) product supply arbitration (UAE and London)
- AH (International contractors) v D (developer) (2015) ICC construction arbitration in Dubai.
- J v S M & E  FIDIC mechanical and electrical works arbitration in Dubai.
- PN v HS  £900m domestic arbitration regarding termination of supply contract.
- FJ v E (2013) $70m USD ICC arbitration regarding a process plant – Chile.
- M v CI  $20m hurricane damage arbitration in Cayman Islands.
- RC v A (2009) ICC $136m arbitration in Cayman Islands regarding damage to a hotel during construction.
- C v G (2008) £20m domestic arbitration regarding construction of a motorway.
- F v L (2007) £3m domestic arbitration regarding embankment failure.
- SCS v H (2000 to 2001) £10m domestic beach replenishment arbitration.
- HN v WA (1999) £2m domestic arbitration regarding the fit out of a central London department store
- Appointed as arbitrator in the UK and Dubai.
- Energy & renewables
Energy & renewables
Paul regularly advises upon and represents utility companies and contractors in relation to Energy and Renewables in the UK and overseas. He was described by Chambers UK as “A natural choice for big-ticket, international infrastructure disputes”.
- Adjudication (2018) in behalf of major electrify distributor
- Insurance coverage dispute (2018) regarding waste recycling plant.
- Advising on LNG and infrastructure projects in Australia (2018)
- Dispute regarding offshore wind farm (2018)
- Dispute regarding offshore platform, Nigeria (2017)
- Disputes regarding power generation, process plants and drilling platform in Saudi Arabia (2017)
- Dispute regarding extension to power station in Malaysia (2017).
- Dispute regarding recycling facility Hong Kong (2017)
- Property damage
Paul is ranked as a leading silk in Band 1 by Chambers Directory and is “A highly respected property damage silk” who is “regularly instructed in substantial, high-profile claims concerning multiple parties, and is noted for experience of handling fire damage cases.” He is considered to be “Very clear and incisive”.
- Acting for defendants in a substantial fire claim (2018)
- Advising clients with respect to the Grenfell Tower Enquiry .
- Acting for utility company in relation to major fire .
- Buncefield acting for a government body pursing claims for damage caused by the explosion at the oil storage depot.
- Spade Lane Cold Storage acting for first defendant in connection with a £22m claim for the cost of rebuilding.
- Kingmoor Park Industrial Estate acting for claimants in £10m claim for damage caused by fire at industrial estate.
- Insurer v RC: Cayman Islands arbitration regarding claim for $136m.
- B v Insurer: domestic arbitration regarding damage to university buildings.
- JV v Insurer: domestic arbitration regarding material damage to road £20m.
- G v BB domestic arbitration, failure of road embankments as a result of professional negligence.
- Construction insurance
Consistently recommended by The Legal 500 and Chambers UK for insurance and reinsurance as a “acknowledged market leader” in his field, there is a substantial international element to Paul Reed QC’s work.
He has written books on Construction All Risks Insurance and Construction Professional Indemnity Insurance published by Sweet & Maxwell. The books are unique reference guides offering a comprehensive and contextual analysis of Construction and Engineering insurance.
Paul regularly advises on coverage and avoidance issues for insurance companies and Lloyd’s underwriters particularly in relation to construction insurance including project insurance and policies of professional indemnity, product liability, public liability and all risks. His expertise extends to:
- Paul is acknowledged as a specialist in construction indemnity and project insurance and has acted for insurers in most of the leading cases on the standard DE and LEG clauses.
- Issues between primary and excess insurers
- Reservation of rights
- Conflicts of interest in relation to domestic and world-wide insurance and reinsurance
Examples of work
- 2017 Coverage dispute in relation to insurance cover for large infrastructure projects in Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.
- Banks v The insurance Company of the West Indies  Cayman Island Court of Appeal existence of common law restriction on the right of an insurers to avoid a policy for non-disclosure.
- 2016 Shipbuilding coverage dispute in South Korea.
- 2015 Coverage dispute in relation to petrochemical plant in UAE.
- Cayman Insurance Company Limited v Lindo and Brown  (2) LILR. Cayman Islands Court of Appeal and the right of Insurers to avoid a policy of insurance.
- Barrett v Attorney General of the Cayman Islands and Cayman Islands Insurance Association CICA 19 .
- Cayman Islands Court of Appeal, legality of conditional fee agreements.
- Kent County Council v Snohetta, Davis Langdon & Others 
- Coverage advice on a costs inclusive All Risks policy.
- Seele v Tokio Marine (2009) EWHC 1411 (Comm),(2008) EWCA Civ 441, (2009) EWHC 2066 (TCC) 2009 EWHC 255 (TCC), 2009 EWHC 2151 (QB)
Representing Insurers in a long running and complicated action regarding defective glazing at the Paternoster Square development.
- Northwick Park Hospital : Acting in a “guinea pig” clinical trial coverage dispute.
- Los Angeles race course  overage dispute.
- Castlepoint  coverage dispute.
- Pacific basin mining disaster  excess layer coverage dispute regarding $1bn damage claim.
- Kyle Bay Ltd (t/a Astons Nightclub) v Underwriters  EWCA Civ 57: Paul successfully represented Underwriters in the Commercial Court and in the Court of Appeal on policy coverage and on the finality of insurance settlements where an attempt is made to reopen them based on misrepresentation and mutual mistake.
- CA Blackwell (Contractors) Ltd v Gerling Allegemeine Verischerungs-AG  EWHC 94 (Comm) and 2007 EWCA Civ 1450: The claimant contractor claimed payment under an ‘all claims’ insurance policy provided by the defendant for damage to road construction works caused by rainfall. Acting on behalf of insurers in a dispute concerning the meaning of fortuity and the DE defect exclusions, now one of the leading case on the meaning of DE3.
- AMEC/Carillion v RSA  (TCC)
Paul was instructed in relation to a claim under an ‘all risks’ policy in respect of damage and delay caused during the construction of a new runway at Manchester Airport.
- Navigators Insurance Co & Others v Atlantic Methanol Production LLC  EWHC 1706 (Comm): Paul represented Navigators Insurance in relation to a coverage dispute over a methanol plant in Equatorial Guinea and a form dispute between Texas and England.
- Professional indemnity insurance
Professional indemnity insurance
Paul has written Construction Professional Indemnity Insurance published by Sweet & Maxwell. The book is a unique reference guides offering a comprehensive and contextual analysis of Construction and Engineering professional indemnity insurance.
His practice includes advising and representing architects, engineers, surveyors and project managers on their liability, often in cases with complex dimensions.
Paul has also advised and represented clients in a large number of product liability claims involving food additives. polymers, and other materials as well as products consisting of multiple components. He is regularly instructed by insurers, their clients and specialist insurance firms.
- Advising clients with respect to the Grenfell Tower Enquiry (2017 and 2018).
- Acting for design and build contractors in respect of £10m claim (2017)
- Carillion v Woods Bagot & Others 
- National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside v AEW Architects & Designers Ltd & PHL UK Ltd & Galliford Try Construction Ltd [2013 and 2014] A substantial claim against architects against a claim for negligent design of the Liverpool museum.
- Chalcraft v Rivercraft Developments LLP v John Tompkins Associates Ltd  EWHC
- Northwick Park Hospital  coverage dispute.
- Gurney Structural Engineers v Gleeds Health & Safety and Gleeds Project Management.  EWHC 43 (TCC) Defending project managers resulting from catastrophic collapse of a number of buildings into a London street.
- London Fire & Emergency Planning Authority v Meritor Light Vehicle Systems (UK) Ltd  EWHC 2411 (TCC): Representing vehicle door latch manufacturer in a product liability claim that the 60m latches produced were of a defective design which caused doors to open unintentionally.
- Insurance funded disputes
Insurance funded disputes
Paul is a leading practitioner in insurance, specialising in coverage disputes and recovery claims in the areas of construction, professional liability and property damage and insurance. He has an established international reputation for representing insurers and policyholders in disputes involving policy coverage and in substantial recovery actions involving technical and complex, construction, engineering and professional negligence disputes.
Paul is also appointed to determine coverage disputes under QC clauses, as Arbitrator and as an expert witness on English insurance law.
Paul is author of Construction All Risks Insurance, the second edition of which was published by Sweet & Maxwell in 2017 and Construction Professional indemnity Insurance, published by Sweet & Maxwell in 2018 which are the definitive texts on the subjects.
“Methodical, commercial and someone with great advocacy skills”, he is recommended as a leading silk in Insurance and Reinsurance by Chambers UK and Legal 500 and in Chambers Global. He is known as an approachable and client-focused silk and a team player who gives clear and consistent advice.
You can find details of his insurance dispute work under the Construction, CDR and Professional Liability tabs of his profile.
- Professional indemnity insurance
- Commercial dispute resolution
- Banking & finance
Banking & finance
For over 15 years Paul has acted for many of the major lending and banking institutions, including most of the clearing banks against solicitors and valuers for claims for negligence, breach of trust, breach of fiduciary duty and deceit. He has particularly extensive experience in relation to mortgage fraud.
He advises on a wide range of securities issue including guarantees, indemnities, standard form undertakings and bonds.
Examples of work
- Bradford & Bingley, Britannia & others : product misselling and fraudulent commission litigation.
- Singapore Aircraft Leasing PTE v Air Luxor  Comm: Paul was instructed in relation to a $10 million dollar dispute regarding aircraft A300 Airbus wet leases.
- Lloyds Bank v Cassidy  EWCA 1767 and  EWCA Civ 1427: Represented Lloyds TSB at first instance and in the Court of Appeal regarding the duties of Banks and Receivers.
- Civil fraud & asset tracing
Civil fraud & asset tracing
Paul is experienced in domestic and international fraud including world-wide freezing orders.
Examples of work
- Attorney General of Zambia v Meere Care v Desai  EWCA Civ 754: Acting for Swiss national on his successful appeal regarding conspiracy, dishonest assistance and fraud on the Zambian government.
- Perry v Princess Intl & others  EWHC 2042, LTL 5/10/2005: Clarification as to when a freezing injunction may be registered against real property.
- HSBC v Securicor 2003: Represented Securicor and their insurers in the Commercial Court in relation to the theft of $1.9m from Nairobi Airport.
- Commercial arbitration
Paul is an experienced advocate in domestic and international arbitration having undertaken a number of construction, commodity and ICC arbitrations.
See also his Construction Arbitration profile.
Examples of work
- S v B (2018) product supply arbitration (UAE)
- 2016 Infrastructure arbitration in UAE.
- 2015 Arbitration regarding oil platform in Saudi Arabia.
- 2014 Multiple Adjudications and Arbitrations regarding electricity operation contracts.
- Hayward v Thompson  Comm. Applications for removal of Arbitrator for misconduct and Appeals.
- Insurer v RC  Cayman Island Arbitration regarding claim for $136m.
- B v Insurer  Domestic Arbitration regarding damage to university buildings.
- JV v Insurer  Domestic Arbitration regarding material damage to road £20m.
- G v BB  Domestic Arbitration, failure of road embankments as a result of professional negligence.
- Commercial litigation
Paul has particular expertise in commercial disputes involving utility companies such as Veolia and EDF, which relate to contracts for turbines, generators, CHP and other plants, resistive heat failures, supply and distribution issues.
- Banking & finance
- Construction Professionals
Paul is ranked by both Chambers UK and Legal 500 as a leading silk in professional negligence who is “technically fantastic and approachable”. He is particularly well known for his expertise and experience in disputes relating to construction and engineering professionals.
Examples of work include:
- Associated British Ports v Hydro Soil Services NV, Dredging International (UK) Ltd & Haecon Claim for damage caused to dock at Southampton due to negligent design and construction.
- Gurney Structural Engineers v Gleeds Health & Safety and Gleeds Project Management. Defending project managers resulting from catastrophic collapse of a number of buildings into a London street.
- National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside v AEW Architects & Designers Ltd & PHL UK Ltd & Galliford Try Construction Ltd . A substantial claim against architects against a claim for negligent design of the Liverpool museum.
Paul is highly respected with a formidable international reputation for advising and representing construction, insurance and reinsurance disputes.
He is experienced in advising and representing individuals, companies and domestic and foreign insurance companies in England and overseas in ICC, LCIA and other arbitrations and has been appointed as an expert to give evidence on English insurance law in a number of jurisdictions.
Recently Paul has advised and represented employers in construction and commodities disputes in the UAE and in respect of oil and gas infrastructure and process plant disputes in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Nigeria and he continues to advise and represent insurers and policyholders in insurance disputes in jurisdictions throughout the world.
In the Caribbean Paul has acted as counsel in hurricane damage in a number of insurance arbitrations and for Insurers in Cayman Islands including the Insurance industry in the Court of Appeal.
Paul also recently advised in relation to coverage disputes in Africa, Korea, South America, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia.
“He's a brilliant advocate, both persuasive and forceful. His legal advice is spot on and always has an eye on wider commercial considerations.”Legal 500
“He is phenomenal. He has an inexhaustible appetite for work and an unbelievable eye for detail”Chambers UK
“Really impressive”Legal 500
“Clear, incisive and extremely good on the law, he's very good at thinking on his feet and making the very best of what's in front of him. ”Legal 500
“The go-to London authority for contentious construction insurance and all risks matters”Legal 500
“He has deep knowledge and will come up with practical solutions. His advocacy is just excellent”Chambers UK
Paul is recommended as a leading silk in Construction, Insurance and Reinsurance by Chambers UK and the Legal 500, in Property Damage and Professional Negligence – Technology & Construction by Chambers UK and Professional Negligence in Legal 500. He is also recommended for Construction in Chambers Global and in the Legal 500’s Arbitration Powerlist. Who’s Who Legal recommend him for Construction and Professional Negligence.
The directories state:
- “He’s a brilliant advocate, both persuasive and forceful. His legal advice is spot on, and always has an eye on wider commercial considerations.” (Legal 500)
- “A real expert in construction disputes with a deep understanding of the construction and insurance industries.” (Chambers UK)
- “A fantastic strategist, hard-working and dedicated to the entire litigation team.” (Chambers Global/Chambers UK)
- “A details man who gives real authority and credibility to any opinion that he provides. He’s extremely good on quantum. Paul is known as a go-to for insurers.” (Chambers UK)
- “A real expert in construction disputes with a deep understanding of the industry. Able to articulate complex technical issues in simple and easily digestible terms.” (Chambers UK)
- “He is very robust and is ever the pragmatist.” (Chambers UK)
- “Widely regarded as the leading authority in relation to Construction All Risks Insurance, and he has a compendious knowledge of the subject. ” (Legal 500)
- “Enormous technical ability, commands the respect of every court.” (Legal 500)
- “He is very sharp and incredibly thorough.” (Legal 500)
- “Really impressive.” (Legal 500)
- “The go-to London authority for contentious construction insurance and all risks matters.” (Legal 500)
- “Technically fantastic and he is also incredibly approachable.” (Legal 500)
- ”A natural choice for big-ticket, international infrastructure disputes” (Chambers UK)
- “He has deep knowledge and will come up with practical solutions. His advocacy is just excellent.” (Chambers UK)
- “His technical knowledge is way ahead of anyone else in understanding the underlying issues and the insurance points.” (Chambers UK)
- Technology & Construction Bar Association
- Society of Construction Lawyers
- Commercial Bar Association
- Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
- Insurance Assessor – Centre for Justice
- Dubai International Financial Court
- London Commercial Law & Commercial Bar Association
- Professional Negligence Bar Association
- British Insurance Law Association
- London Court of International Arbitration
Paul Reed QC is the author of the leading text on the subject, Construction All Risks Insurance (Sweet & Maxwell), with contributions from the Construction Team. Building on the reputation of the original work, the second edition incorporates updates on the Insurance Act 2015 and the Enterprise Act 2016. The CAR book is recognised internationally as the leading practitioners’ text on the subject and has found use in many other jurisdictions, particularly in Pacific rim countries.
Paul Reed QC has also written Construction Professional Indemnity Insurance (Sweet & Maxwell), the leading text on liability insurance for professionals with contributions from the Construction Team.
Editorial Board and contributor for Insurance Broking Practice and the Law, edited by CMS Cameron McKenna, Informa looseleaf.
Contributor to ‘Cases that Changed our lives’ published by Lexis Nexis.
- LLB (Hons)
- Accredited Mediator and Adjudicator