James Davison

Called 1996

Tenacious, imaginative and empathetic – the perfect combination...



James Davison specialises in construction, engineering and commercial disputes and disputes about the financial arrangements that fund developments.

He advises Builders, Developers, Local Authorities, Housing Associations, Architects and QS practices.

In addition to the usual court based proceedings in the TCC and Chancery Divisions James has practical experience of leading disputes through arbitration, adjudication and mediation and enforcing adjudicators decisions.

He has worked on construction projects and disputes in the Netherlands, Denmark, Malta, Italy and the USA as well as numerous high profile UK projects and developments.

He also acts as adjudicator and mediator.

Areas of Expertise

Recent instructions as counsel include:

  • Partnership dispute in the Chancery Division of the High Court: The proceedings concern a partnership dispute and a final account on the property development and construction activity and is subject to an action for an account (over a seven figure sum).

The matter started with applications for injunctive relief brought by The Claimant with hearings listed before Sir Anthony Mann QC.  Since then the defence and counterclaim have been drafted in what is an intensely fought set of disputes.

  • Chancery Division – led by David Berkley QC and representing the borrower and guarantors defending an action by the funder following alleged defaults after a failed renewable power project.
  • Advising residents as to how to bring about the transfer of a local CHP plant to their ownership or control despite ongoing resistance from the property developer. This ultimately involved issuing injunctive proceedings in the High Court.
  • Advising a sub-contractor on a multiparty dispute concerning numerous aspects of the construction of a large power station in the UK with respect to claims and cross claims for and against the Sub-Sub Contractor and similarly with respect to the Main Contractor
  • James is regularly instructed by a number of utility (gas and electricity) companies in their actions involving commercial customers (unpaid debts) particularly including instances where injunctive relief is sought by debtors at short notice.

Construction and engineering

James frequently advises builders, developers and specialist sub contractors with disputes on NEC contracts, PPC 2000 and a whole host of various JCT contracts.

He has built up real experience from a great many adjudications and has expertise in ADR in construction and commercial disputes.

Key highlights

  • Successfully resisting c.£10M Adjudication claim against a Housing Association based in the North by its framework “partner” who provided planned and reactive maintenance for tens of thousands of properties. The action progressed with great intensity from a set of payment claims across two contracts to concurrent adjudication of the issues and, ultimately, after a successful defence, a clean break settlement
  • Counsel for a Steelwork Contractor in a 4 day Arbitration hearing with its Sub Contractor Employer
  • Trial Counsel for Main Contractor in a 6 day Multi Track Trial in Nottingham County Court issues included: formation of contract, scope of works, basis of price, final account
  • Trial Counsel for Employer in 4 day Multi Track Trial in Nottingham County Court issues included standard of works and final account – no common ground on an extensive Scott Schedule.
  • Junior Counsel to Mr David Berkley QC in a High Court Case (Chancery Division) concerning the financing of a renewable power plant (notable for early use of the disclosure protocol)
  • Advising unpaid environmental services Sub Contractor on HS2 to achieve a commercial outcome without litigating
  • Negotiation and drafting of contracts for prototyping and development of products for HS2
  • Advising a Sub Contractor working on one of London’s largest and high profile property and infrastructure developments
  • Trial Counsel for Builders Merchant in a Multi Track Trial in Central London County Court over the execution of personal guarantees.

Adjudication Summary Judgment applications examples include:

  • Successfully enforcing an adjudicator’s decision in the High Court (TCC) against a local authority who claimed that the decision had been reached by an adjudicator acting under the wrong rules (Sprunt v. Camden [2011] EWHC 3191) before Mr Justice Akenhead QC
  • Enforcing an adjudicator’s decision following summary Judgment with an Order for Sale, stayed on terms before Mr Justice Edwards Stuart QC
  • Advising an M&E Sub-Contractor working on a large power station with respect to high value claims both up and down the supply chain
  • Assisting an Academy operating from premises constructed as part of the “Building Schools For The Future” initiative to hold its partners to account for the rectification of major and minor defects. That meant working with the Local Authority and Contractor to break deadlock and achieve a commercial outcome
  • Advising a Housing Association on the conclusion of its framework agreements following extensive change and dispute during the course of the framework
  • Multi Track trial in Bristol County Court successfully securing judgment for an unpaid Sub-Contractor
  • Steering a developer client through the successful conclusion of a multi-phase/multi-unit resi scheme avoiding both adjudication and litigation despite a near total lack of traction with the procedures in the JCT contract used
  • Representing a specialist M&E main contractor in adjudication proceedings brought by its specialist M&E Sub-Contractor concerning a very high profile retail development in the City of London
  • Representing a specialist fire stopping contractor in an action brought by its Sub-Contractor concerning works on a new tower in the City of London. The matter was successfully resolved through mediation
  • Junior in a matter with serial adjudications between a government agency based in Wales and its contractor who were attempting (but entirely failing) to use an NEC3 contract but left with an unresolved final account
  • Advising a Developer/Contractor based in Essex in a series of disputes with its regular sub contractor across a series of new build projects in several jurisdictions. The case was successfully settled at mediation
  • Advising a Herefordshire farmer in a case of contaminated feed caused by defective plant. Difficulties in establishing causation were overcome with an extensive Scott Schedule making reference to the expert vet’s evidence. The matter was successfully resolved in mediation
  • Frequent appearances representing clients chasing (or contesting) payment on commercial contracts and sale of goods/supply of services agreements
  • Frequently acted on matters where High Court Enforcement Officers conduct of enforcement has been challenged and have appeared in the High Court and County Court for officers in such cases and on interpleader matters.



James acts as mediator and is an Accredited Mediator (London School of Psychotherapy and Counselling)

  • Current Chair of the King’s College Construction Law Association;
  • Member of the TECBAR Committee;
  • Member of Society for Construction Law;
  • Member of the Editorial Board for RICS “ISurv” service;
  • Member of Energy Arbitration Club
  • Tecbar Accredited Adjudicator and Member of the Tecbar Adjudication Panel

AIG Europe Ltd v. (1) McCormick Roofing LLP (2) McCormick Flat Roofing Ltd (3) Royal & Sun Alliance Ltd [2020] EWHC 943 (TCC)

Sprunt v Camden [ 2011] EWHC 3191 (TCC)

  • No Easy Escape from Negligence Trial for Fire Engineer (Avantage (Cheshire) v (5) WSP UK Limited) Lexis Nexis, 25 February 2022
  • The limits of disclosure under the Pilot—What you won’t get even if you ask (Curtiss and others v Zurich Insurance plc (t/a Zurich Building Guarantee and Zurich Municipal) and another [2021] EWHC 1999 (TCC) for Lexis®PSL, 16 August 2021
  • A Guide to Selecting and Using an Expert Witness in Construction Claims with Anne Wright of Lawrence Stephens Limited, 14 May 2020
  • James led the team that produced an advisory report to the Treasury’s Office for Government Commerce on how JCT 2005, NEC3 and PPC 2000 standard form contracts measured against the Government’s Achieving Excellence in Construction Agenda.
  • “JCT 2005: What’s New” James' guide to the JCT’s 2005 Standard Form Construction Contracts was published by the RICS (subsequent updates for later JCT Contracts were published by RICS online)
  • Edited a chapter of Frances Forward’s book “NEC Contracts Compared and Contrasted” on Consultancy Contracts published by Thomas Telford.
  • LLB (Hons), Wales
  • MSc King's College, Construction & Arbitration
  • Adjudicator (TECBAR Panel)
  • Accredited Mediator
  • Tecbar Accredited Adjudicator and Member of the Tecbar Adjudication Panel
  • Accredited Mediator (London School of Psychotherapy and Counselling)