Marc Rowlands QC was called to the bar in 1991 and took silk in 2012. He is a highly regarded and skilled advocate, whose extensive experience in front of a wide range of tribunals marks him out as formidable courtroom performer and a master of litigation tactics and strategy. A significant part of the success of any advocate is preparation: Marc is able to master enormous quantities of complex factual, technical and legal material and identify quickly the points that will carry the tribunal (or persuade the other party to settle, for that matter).
Having been awarded scholarships from his Inn and a leading commercial chambers, Marc chose to begin practice in a general common law set in order to learn the art of advocacy. This gave him experience in virtually every tribunal in the country, having conducted crown court jury trials, magistrates’ court prosecution lists, inquests, county court and High Court trials, appeals to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, Judicial Reviews in the Divisional Court, employment and lands tribunals and various professional disciplinary hearings. He has appeared in numerous arbitrations domestically and abroad, and is called to the Bar of the Bahamas. He is also a CEDR accredited mediator.
Marc began specialising in construction work when instructed by Clifford Chance as junior to Lord Falconer in the Channel Tunnel litigation in 1994. Since then he has retained an interest in rail related work, and has advised and appeared as advocate for rolling stock, infrastructure, operating and regulatory bodies all over the world (including the US, Canada, the Middle East, Taiwan and Singapore). His knowledge and experience of the UK rail regime is extensive.
More generally, since joining Keating Chambers in 2000 Marc’s practice covers all areas of construction and engineering disputes. He has done cases involving all the major, and many minor, standard forms of building and engineering contracts, in particular the JCT, NEC3 and FIDIC forms.
In addition to his reported cases, Marc’s recent work includes disputes arising out of the Dubai Metro project, the Shinkansen high speed train network in Taiwan, numerous domestic disputes involving insolvency of one or other of the parties, drafting amendments to the NEC3 suite of Contracts in relation to a major gas infrastructure project, and releasing from arrest a ship in Lisbon.
He is consistently rated as a leader in his field by Chambers and Partners.
“Very good to deal with, very bright and always on top of
everything”...“intelligent and of a calm demeanour”...“effective and a very
good courtroom advocate”first-class"..."progressive and intellectually superior to most"..."efficient, quick and creative advocacy”...“an accessible manner"..."terrific technical ability"..."broad experience of international arbitration"..."appreciated for his tenacity and technical expertise"..."the real deal"..."a natural advocate who is absolutely in his element. He has the combination of quick intellect and theatrical flair that makes him a real courtroom presence"..."excels in construction generally - the more technical the matter the better"..."an exceptional front-line advocate who is capable of absorbing huge amounts of information in a short period of time"..."very bright and great fun”…"rolls his sleeves up and gets stuck in"…"the lead analysis and management of client expectations”..."equally impressive on paper and in court”…"a respected barrister with extensive experience of complex cases”..."an impressive work ethic and doesn't play around”..."reads the papers and knows what he’s talking about”…"a calm and relaxed manner that defuses client’s anxieties”..."needs no encouragement to roll up his sleeves and become part of the team"..."well known for his keen attention to detail"..."charismatic advocate, fastidious about the details of a case"..."particularly hardworking"
Chambers and Partners/Legal 500
Construction and Engineering
- Advocate acting for the contractor in a $10 million arbitration in the Middle East in relation to a complex road interchange where completion of the works was substantially delayed including effects including associated utilities. (Arbitration in Dubai, UAE law).
- Acting for a major international airline in a dispute (approx value £30 million) arising out of a materials handling project, involving bonds, cross-claims for repudiation and limitation/exclusion clauses.
- Acted for a UK/Chinese/Japanese Joint Venture contractor against the Hong Kong Government in a Hong Kong arbitration arising from the construction of Chek Lap Kok airport, relating to roof tolerances and impossibility claims.
- Advised and drafted a defence for a major international contractor in an ICC arbitration against the Hong Kong Government concerning design in a road-building project.
- Retained as specialist construction counsel for the defendants, a major international contractor, in the Health and Safety Executive prosecution arising out of the Heathrow Tunnel Collapse.
- Advised a leading rolling-stock manufacturer on a US$100 million claim against Amtrak in the Washington DC courts.
- Acted as Counsel in connection with a US$3.5m dispute between contractor and hotel developer in Turks and Caicos.
- Appeared for design engineers against clients in a preliminary trial of construction, rectification and estoppel arguments arising out of the design of compressor facilities for a North Sea off-shore production platform.
- Appeared as counsel in a case concerning defects in a power station, involving on-demand bonds/guarantees, Environmental Protection Act issues and alleged fraud.
- Undertook pleadings and interlocutory work for the Government of a Caribbean state in an ICC arbitration relating to a petro-chemical plant.
- Appeared in a trial concerning the state of development and adequacy of oracle-based software, involving software development processes, business processes and the role of specifications.
- Acted in a repudiation case arising out of development and customisation of financial and facilities management software.
- Advised and drafted the statement of claim for a mass transit systems manufacturer in dispute arising from variations to user requirements for control systems and communications software.
Selected Reported Cases
- Straw Realisations (No 1) v Shaftesbury House (Development) Ltd 
- Fitzroy Robinson Ltd v Mentmore Towers 
- L Brown and Sons Ltd v Crosby Homes (North West) 
- R (on the application of Jeremy Guiney) (Claimant) v London Borough Of Greenwich (Defendant) & (1) Charlton Triangle Homes Ltd (Interested Party) (2) John Laing Partnership Ltd (Interested Party) (3) JLP Homes Ltd (Interested Party) (4) Intro Homes (Revisionary Interests) LTD (Interested Party) 
- Diamond Build Ltd v Clapham Park Homes Ltd 
- Multiplex Constructions (UK) Ltd Honeywell Control Systems Ltd 
- Rolls Royce Power Engineering Plc v Ricardo Consulting Engineers Ltd 
- McAlpine PPS Pipeline Systems v Transco 
- Hurstwood Development v Motor & General 
- Phillips Petroleum Co UK Ltd v Snamprogetti Ltd 
- Researcher, Keating on Construction Contracts - Eighth Edition (2006)
Education and Professional Career
|BA in Jurisprudence, Magdalen College, Oxford|
Called to the Bar (Gray’s Inn, Scholar)
4 Pump Court
CEDR Accredited Mediator
Called to the Bahamian Bar
Up to 2001
Society of Construction Law
Marc Rowlands is married with five children.
If you would like to discuss ways in which Keating Chambers can assist you or your organisation, please contact Senior Clerk, Nick Child
, in the first instance, on +44(0)20 7544 2600. The teams of Clerks will be pleased to advise you on the member of Keating Chambers appropriate to your requirements.
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