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Roberta Downey
Roberta Downey
Partner — International Construction Disputes
Partner — International Construction Disputes

Roberta Downey

Roberta Downey

20 Fenchurch Street
24th Floor
London EC3M 3BY
United Kingdom

start quote symbolRoberta Downey is London’s queen of construction disputes. Clients and counsel love working with her. One of the all-time greats. She may actually be without compare – the leading light of her generation perhaps. [Legal 500 U.K., 2022]end quote symbol
Roberta Downey

Experience Highlights

  • Conduct of arbitration proceedings (administered by the Arbitration Institute of the Finland Chamber of Commerce) regarding disputes between the main contractor and a subcontractor arising out of the construction of a data centre

  • Conduct of ICC arbitration (Geneva Seat) on behalf of a JV arising out of Middle Eastern petrochemical project. The value of the dispute is at $250m+ and covers a wide range of delay and disruption claims, together with over 400 smaller value additional cost claims and back charges

  • Conduct of English High Court proceedings, including successfully obtaining orders for injunctive relief against environmental activists

  • Advising main contractor on various disputes with subcontractors at various stages of maturity from pre-action to arbitration (administered by Netherlands Institute)

  • Advising the contractor consortium on an LNG receiving, storage and regasification terminal in Europe

  • Advising the main contractor to the redevelopment of a North Sea oil & gas project involving an FPSO with regard to issues arising both up and down the contractual chain, with particular emphasis on almost two years of COVID and hardline lockdown related delays arising out of fabrication in China

  • Conduct of ICC arbitral proceedings on behalf of an EPCM contractor arising out of a Middle Eastern world-class petrochemical complex, including issues relating to non-payment of invoices, delays, and the quality of engineering, procurement, and construction management services

  • Conduct of High Court proceedings and a series of adjudication proceedings following termination of a subcontractor relating to the construction of an onshore substation for the longest subsea interconnector in the world

  • Advising a turbine manufacturer in respect of delay claims and quality issues in a series of projects including Japan, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Iraq, and the UK

  • Conduct of DAB proceedings regarding the final account for construction work at a container terminal in Costa Rica

  • Advising a JV regarding quality issues in subsea cables

  • Advising wind turbine manufacturers in respect of various issues with blades

  • Acting for the main contractor in the widely reported High Court (Technology and Construction Court) proceedings of Fluor Limited v ZPMC [2018] EWHC 490

  • Advising on disputes relating to delay in commissioning a 1200 MW gas-fired power plant with CHP facilities in South Africa

  • Advising owner of a UK solar farm regarding its rights in respect of ongoing defects in the transformers

  • Advising on two iconic Central London regeneration projects in relation to issues arising out of the interfaces between major transport infrastructure and commercial and residential developments

  • Representing a European supplier in a dispute with its Australian customer arising of design and fabrication issues in a superheater for a fertilizer plant in Canada

  • Acting for the main contractor regarding serial defects in a fleet of transformers supplied for two phases of a solar power project in the Middle East

  • Advice in respect of cladding on tower blocks following the Grenfell Tower fire

  • Alstom Power Ltd v Ineos Chlor: Acting for contractor in High Court Proceedings relating to completion of a boiler plant project

  • Barking Power Ltd v Balfour Beatty Projects and Engineering Ltd (1) and GEC ALSTHOM Power Plants Ltd (2). Acting for consortium in High Court proceedings in respect of alleged defects to generators

  • Advising a multinational contractor on various issues arising out of the onshore and offshore work on the control and instrumentation packages for two power plants in Africa

  • Advising an international contractor in respect of valuation of a subcontractor’s work, termination of the subcontract and financial claims arising out of a Middle Eastern power plant

  • Henry Boot Construction Ltd v ALSTOM Combined Cycles. This case concerned a series of arbitrations and two appeals to the Court of Appeal

  • Advising the main contractor in respect of costs and delay issues arising out of the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of an offshore wind farm

  • Advising main contractor in respect of a defective meteorological mast for an offshore wind farm

  • Advising an international contractor of its rights under offshore contracts for supply and installation of equipment/services in respect of the conventional island of a nuclear plant project in Mexico

  • Advising on the decommissioning of a nuclear power plant in Eastern Europe

  • Advising owner of a UK solar farm regarding ongoing defects in the transformers

  • Acting for U.S. project management company in respect of the recovery of unpaid invoices for consultancy services on two process plants in the U.A.E, including enforcement proceedings

  • London Underground Ltd v CityLink Telecommunications Ltd. Acting for the EPC contractor under a PFI contract in respect of a series of disputes, arbitrations, and appeal to the High Court

  • ALSTOM Automation Ltd v British Airways plc. Acting for the main contractor in relation to BA’s multimillion pound air cargo handling headquarters at Heathrow. This involved claims for repudiatory breach of contract and delay claims, including disputes about the interface between different software systems, and automated equipment and control systems

  • Advising an EPC contractor how it might protect its position mid-project, regarding delay claims against the Chinese Government

  • Advising the main contractor on a Malaysian power station project, including potential claims under Bilateral Investment Treaties

  • Advising the EPC contractor on delay claims regarding a sewage and wastewater treatment scheme

  • Mostcash Plc & Ors v Fluor Ltd & Anor. Acting for an EPC contractor defending High Court proceedings regarding alleged defective design, ingress of water, and corrosion of a paper recycling facility

  • Advising English clients on joint venture disputes giving rise to litigation and arbitration in various jurisdictions including the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, British Virgin Islands, and Stockholm


  • King’s College London, M.Sc. Construction Law & Arbitration, 2003
  • College of Law, London, CPE and LSF, 1991 and 1992
  • University of Oxford, M.A., 1988
  • Who’s Who Legal, “Global Elite Thought Leader,” 2023; Construction, “Global Elite Thought Leader,” 2024
  • The Best Lawyers UK (BL Rankings, LLC), Construction Law, 2024
  • Part of the team that won the Arbitration Team of the Year – Legal Business Award 2022
  • Innovative Leader Private Practice 2023 – Women Influence & Power in Law UK Awards 2023
  • Legal 500 UK, Dispute Resolution: International Arbitration, 2023 and 2024; Real Estate: Construction, 2022–2024; “Leading Lawyer” in Real Estate: Construction, 2022 and 2023; “Hall of Fame” in Real Estate: Construction, 2024
  • Legal 500 UK, Tier 1 Leading Individual, 2020
  • Chambers UK, Tier 2 Leading Individual, 2020; Construction–Contentious, International Arbitration (UK–wide), 2022–2024
  • Global Arbitration Review GAR 30, 2024
  • Named in the International Arbitration Power List, Legal 500, 2019
  • Acritas Star, Acritas Stars Independently Rated Lawyers, 2018–2019
  • Highly commended entries in the Hudson Prize Competition 2002 and 2012 (“Offshore Wind Projects: Managing the Interface Risks”) (both published on Society of Construction Law Website)
  • England and Wales