Steve is a Senior Associate (non-solicitor) in FWJ’s Litigation & Dispute Resolution team. He has almost 40 years’ commercial litigation experience and has, for the last 16 years, specialised in handling construction & engineering disputes that are high-value, complex or involve technical issues.
Steve is an expert in bringing claims for homeowners against NHBC under the Buildmark Insurance Certificate.
He is experienced in undertaking cases where construction law and insolvency merge. R&S Security Services Ltd v Fire Defence Plc (below) was the first case to consider the impact of the new payment provisions under the Housing Grants, Construction & Regeneration Act 1996 (as amended). It held that absent a valid pay-less notice sums due under the Act are indisputable for the purpose of insolvency proceedings.
Steve’s work involves both commercial litigation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR). In line with his focus on construction law, Steve regularly advises and assists developers, employers and (sub and main) contractors with particular regard to adjudication proceedings and the enforcement of adjudicators’ decisions in the Technology & Construction Court. He is well-placed to advise on appropriate forms of ADR and has experience of mediation.
He is also experienced in arbitration proceedings commenced under the Arbitration Act 1996 and the Construction Industry Model Arbitration Rules 1998 (CIMAR). Additionally, Steve frequently advises clients involved in High Court proceedings (Claimant and Defendant) including in respect of compliance with the Pre-Action Protocol for Construction & Engineering Disputes.
Steve’s professional negligence caseload revolves almost exclusively around construction professionals. He has acted for and against architects, engineers, surveyors and project managers. Recently, Steve has acted for or against commercial lenders and monitoring surveyors.
Steve is a keen advocate of ADR. He is a member of the Adjudication Society, which promotes the resolution of construction disputes by means of adjudication.
Steve’s notable cases
R&S Security Services Ltd v Fire Defence Plc  EWHC 4222 (Ch); 
BCLC 92;  BLR 500
First case to consider the impact of the new payment provisions under the Housing Grants, Construction & Regeneration Act 1996 (as amended). It held that absent a valid pay-less notice sums due under the Act are indisputable for the purpose of insolvency proceedings.
Verrechia v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis  EWCA Civ 605
The leading case on the duty of a Judge to give reasons for a decision, specifically in relation to costs.
Thames Tideway Properties Ltd v Jack Serfaty & Partners  2 Lloyd’s Rep.
Contract - Incorporation - Standard terms and conditions - Breach of duty – Contract to store and load defendants’ wastepaper - Fire broke out in stock of wastepaper stored on wharf prior to shipment - Terms agreed by parties - Whether standard terms and conditions incorporated - Impact of terms and conditions – Whether defendant in breach of warranties - Cause of fire - Whether claimant in breach of duty to store wastepaper and failing to provide fire-breaks.
Bell Cablemedia Plc v Simmons  EWCA Civ 1549
Practice - Pre-trial or post-judgment relief - Disclosure - Defendant inadvertently disclosing information prejudicial to his defence to claimants - Defendant seeking to prevent use of information in proceedings - Defendant not entitled to rely on privilege against self-incrimination because not having been compelled to reveal information - Whether defendant entitled to equitable relief.
- Acting for homeowner in relation to a successful £1m claim against NHBC arising from defective basement works.
- Advising structural concrete subcontractors in a £16m time/cost claim relating to the 2012 Olympic athletes' village.
- Acting for the industrial lining contractor in a £1.2m delay and disruption claim arising out of works at the Grain LNG plant. Also acted in subsequent reasonable settlement claim against lining suppliers.
- Acting for an asset based lender in a £200k claim in relation to a supply and distribution contract for metal building envelope systems.
- Acting in a £1.2m adjudication arising in relation to waste carriage and muck-away.
- Acting in a c. £750k claim arising out of the negligent project management of works and the failure to take a detailed employer’s brief.
- Acting for the lender in a £2m claim against monitoring surveyors relating to negligent and fraudulent overvaluation.
- Acting for the employer in a long-running security for costs dispute in a domestic CIMAR arbitration.
- Acting for the employer in a domestic CIMAR Final Account dispute.
- Acting for the liquidator of a maintenance company in a c. £600k claim to recover monies wrongfully withheld by a main contractor.
- Advising main contractor in its £1.8m claim as to its potential exclusivity rights under a JCT Measured Term Contract.
- Advising employer under a Shipbuilding Agreement with a contract price of €7.7m and the applicable dispute resolution clauses including potential referrals to the relevant Classification Society and the London Maritime Arbitrators’ Association.
- Advising asset based lender in connection with General Conditions of Contract for Marine Construction Edition 2, October 2004 (LOGIC).
- Advising homeowner in relation to NHBC Buildmark cover with regard to a substantial claim arising from defective basement works.
- Acting for employers concerning their dispute with the contractor appointed under a JCT Intermediate Building Contract 2011 for basement extension works with a contract sum of c. £1.6m.
- Advising employer concerning TCC enforcement proceedings involving an adjudication decision in the sum of £180k and acting in relation to Final Account negotiations.
- Acting for employer in relation to his dispute under a JCT Standard Building Contract with Quantities 2011 and the contractor’s adjudication proceedings claiming in excess of £400k.
- Acting for employers in responding to a series of adjudications including the making of numerous jurisdictional challenges resulting in the successful forcing of resignations by adjudicators.