Richard Harding QC has been described as “without a doubt the leading English barrister practising in the field of international arbitration of construction disputes in the Middle East and Gulf regions.” He studied Arabic and Persian at Oxford University and in Egypt, and was then called to the English Bar. He acts as counsel for governments, private employers, contractors and professionals, and is regularly appointed as an arbitrator in international commercial matters.
His cases have related to:
- Oil and gas projects – on and off shore
- Civil engineering
- Factories and process engineering
- Power generation
- Water infrastructure
- Commercial and residential property
- High rise buildings
- Coal mining
- Professional negligence
- Marine structures
- IT systems
- A theme park
Richard Harding QC has a working knowledge of Arabic, German, Spanish, French, and some Persian. He regularly acts in cases, as either counsel or arbitrator, under the laws of the Middle East, and has particular experience of the laws of the UAE, Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait and Jordan.
As counsel, he is instructed by law firms (particularly from UK, the Middle East and US) and also directly by in-house counsel and professionals.
He is the current and founder Chairman of the Society of Construction Law in the Arabian/Persian Gulf, and is the Middle East co-ordinator for the ICC Task Force on the enforcement of foreign arbitration awards. He is also an acclaimed conference chairman and speaker.
"Without peer or parallel on instructions with a Middle Eastern element"
“Without a doubt the leading English barrister practising in the field of international arbitration of construction disputes in the Middle East and Gulf regions.”
“An authority on construction matters in the Middle East.”
"A strong advocate, whose Arabic makes him great for arbitration in the Middle East."
"His Arabic language skills make him a valuable commodity.”
"Masterful cross-examination abilities."
“Persuasive advocate who is pithy and concise when doling out advice."
"Very impressive on his feet and has great technical ability."
"Effective, restrained style of advocacy."
“Undaunted attitude towards excessively document-heavy cases.”
"Extremely calm under pressure even when everyone else panics... he is a real asset to any team.”
“Considerable and very positive reputation as an arbitrator in both construction and non-construction cases."
“Depth of knowledge and experience of international arbitration always shines through"
"Especially sought out for his experience in arbitration, particularly in regard to issues arising out of the oil and gas industry.”
Chambers and Partners & Legal 500
(as leading or sole counsel)
Construction and Engineering
- Leading counsel for a Middle Eastern government agency in relation to multi-billion dollar claims arising out of the construction of the world’s largest fully automated urban light rail system. (Middle Eastern law).
- Representing a multinational company in a DAB hearing concerning the termination of a contract for a port expansion in Jordan.
- Representing a Chinese contractor in a $250m termination dispute relating to a high profile airport project in the Middle East. (ICC arbitration, Middle Eastern law).
- Acting for a facilities management company in a $30m dispute before the Dubai World Tribunal.
- Representing a Dubai contractor in relation to an AED 1 billion claim arising out of the suspension and termination of a mixed use development in Dubailand. (Arbitration in Dubai, UAE law).
- Counsel for an Australian contractor in a DIAC arbitration relating to the construction of Dubai Airport. (Arbitration in Dubai, UAE law).
- Representing a joint venture contractor in a $50m arbitration arising out of the construction of a new highway in Qatar. (ICC arbitration in Qatar, Qatari law).
- Representing a Middle Eastern government defending a $200m arbitration claim arising out of the construction of a road interchange. (Arbitration in the Middle East, Middle Eastern law).
- Advising an international consultant regarding the threatened termination of its appointment on a high profile airport development in the Middle East. (Middle Eastern law).
- Advocate for a joint venture contractor in a $35m arbitration concerning electrical works to a five star hotel development in the UAE. (Ad hoc arbitration in Dubai, UAE law).
- Representing a firm of UK architects in a $40 million dispute commenced in the DIFC Court concerning a major tower development in Dubai. (DIFC Court, DIFC law).
- Advising a joint venture contractor on a $50 million dispute arising out of the construction the new airport in Doha, Qatar. (Qatari law).
- Acting for a US contractor in a $50 million dispute arising out of the installation of information technology systems in Dubai Airport. (DIAC arbitration in Dubai, UAE law).
- Representing a Jordanian contractor in an arbitration against a US company arising out of the drilling of wells in Iraq. (LCIA arbitration in London, Texas law).
- Advising a Saudi company in relation to a $40 million LCIA arbitration arising out of contracts for feeding troops in Iraq. (Arbitration in London, Texas law).
- Acting for a UAE developer resisting an application for an injunction in arbitration proceedings concerning flagship commercial premises in Dubai. (DIAC Arbitration in Dubai, UAE law).
- Advocate for a UAE-South African joint venture in a substantial ICC arbitration against a joint venture partner, arising out of the construction of a prestigious hotel and office complex in Alexandria, Egypt (ICC Arbitration in Cairo, Egyptian law).
- Representing a UK-UAE joint venture contractor in relation to two arbitrations, over 7 years, concerning a $25 million claim arising out of the construction of a precast-clad residential development in Sharjah. (Arbitration in Dubai, UAE law).
- Advocate for the employer in a $25 million domestic arbitration in the UAE in relation to a complex city-centre road interchange project. (Arbitration in Dubai, UAE law).
- Advocate for a UK contractor in a $15 million dispute relating to a project in Saudi Arabia constructing X-ray equipment for containers at two sea ports. (ICC arbitration in London, English law).
- Advising a Far Eastern contractor in relation to disputes totalling $100m concerning a high profile monorail project in the UAE. (UAE law).
- Represented the employer in relation to a $10 million claim in connection with the construction of a steel processing plant in Egypt. (ICC arbitration in London, English law).
- Advocate for a US employer in LCIA arbitration proceedings against the Italian supplier of an olive oil processing plant in California (Arbitration in London, English law).
- Representing a supplier of docking fenders defending substantial claims in a multi-party TCC action relating to a new ferry terminal on Merseyside.
- Acting for the developer of a North Sea oil field in relation to substantial claims arising out of defective off shore equipment. (English law).
- Advising a Korean contractor in relation to delay and variation claims totalling in excess of $300 million arising out of an on- and off-shore oil and gas development in Kuwait. (Kuwaiti law).
- Obtained an interlocutory injunction in the TCC on behalf of the developer of a North Sea oil field against a contractor threatening to remove his pipe laying vessel from site, where the developer’s losses were anticipated as being up to $90 million.
- Advising a UK contractor in relation to the preparation of a $200 million delay, disruption and insurance claims arising out of an off-shore gas project in Egypt. (Arbitration in Cairo, Egyptian law).
- Advocate for an Arab contractor in a $45 million dispute relating to a project in Kuwait constructing oil pipelines and tanks. (LCIA arbitration in London, Kuwaiti law).
- Advocate for a Korean contractor in a multi-million dollar dispute relating to instrumentation works for a new oil installation in Kuwait. (Arbitration in London, Swiss law).
- Represented a Dutch contractor in a £20 million claim in the TCC arising out of the construction of the topsides for an FPSO to be used in Nigeria.
- Advising a Scottish pipe-laying contractor in relation to a substantial dispute with the developer of an off-shore gas field in the Black Sea. (English law).
- Represented a civil engineering firm in adjudication proceedings brought by a UK contractor alleging professional negligence in relation to the remediation of a substantial site in the North of England.
- Represented an American designer and contractor defending a professional negligence action in the TCC in relation to a VOC abatement plant installed at a printing facility in the UK.
Arbitration/DAB – arbitrator/board member
- Chairman of a three man tribunal, appointed by the ICC, in a reference concerning work carried out at US military bases in Kuwait. (Seat in Kuwait, Kuwaiti law).
- Chairman of an ICC tribunal in an arbitration between Greek and Bulgarian entities, concerning the construction of a mountain road. (Seat in Bulgaria, Bulgarian law).
- Sole arbitrator in an LCIA arbitration relating to the financing of a thermal energy project. (Seat in London, English law).
- Party appointed arbitrator in ICC proceedings between Qatari and European parties, concerning a road project in Doha (Seat in Paris, Qatari law).
- Party appointed arbitrator in ICC proceedings between Iranian and Swiss companies concerning the shipping of butane. (Seat in Geneva, Iranian law).
- Sole arbitrator appointed by the ICC in relation to a dispute between the parties to a Bahrain construction joint venture. (Seat in London, Bahraini law).
- Party appointed arbitrator in a substantial LCIA arbitration between UAE and Australian parties, regarding modifications to a petrochemical plant in Dubai. (Seat in London, English law).
- Sole arbitrator in an ICC arbitration between Egyptian and Indian companies, concerning the sale and shipping of rock phosphate. (Seat in Cairo, Egyptian law).
- Chairman of a three man DAB, appointed to determine a $400 million dispute as to the termination of a light rail BOT contract between a Middle Eastern government and a contractor from the Sub-Continent. (Middle Eastern law).
- Party appointed arbitrator in proceedings arising out of the construction of a new airport at Arbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. (Seat in London, English law).
- Sole arbitrator in a US$10m multi-party ICC arbitration between Finish and Indian companies, concerning the purchase of shares in a joint venture engineering company. (Seat in Paris, Indian law).
- Appointed by the ICC as sole arbitrator for a series of references relating to the termination of construction projects in Gaza.
- Party appointed arbitrator in a US$20m arbitration between a developer and contractor regarding the delayed construction of 2 residential towers in Dubai. (Seat in Dubai, UAE law).
- Party appointed arbitrator in an ad hoc arbitration between the Turkish supplier of prefabricated buildings for a project in Qatar, and the American/UAE purchaser (Seat in The Hague, hearings in Dubai, English law).
- Acted as an arbitrator in a CRCICA arbitration between an Egyptian contractor and an Egyptian/Lebanese joint venture concerning a residential and commercial development in Cairo (Arbitration in Cairo, Egyptian law).
- Acted as the sole arbitrator in an ad hoc reference relating to a dispute between parties from Abu Dhabi and Germany concerning water supply works in the UAE (Arbitration in London, English law).
- Contributor, Keating on Construction Contracts - 7th, 8th and 9th Editions.
- Various papers on construction law and Middle Eastern arbitration, delivered to and published by the Society of Construction Law (Gulf).
Richard Harding lectures on arbitration law and contracts to professional audiences in the UK and Middle East.
In 2008 he devised and co-ordinated a two day seminar for the commercial judges of Abu Dhabi, and gave lectures to them on UAE construction law.
Education and Professional Career
MA in Oriental Studies, Pembroke College, Oxford
(University of Alexandria, Egypt
Common Professional Examination
Called to the Bar (Middle Temple)
Richard Harding takes a close interest in all aspects of Middle Eastern culture, economics and politics, and follows cricket, rugby and motor sports.
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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Representing a Chinese contractor in a $250m ICC arbitration relating to a high profile airport project in the Gulf.
Acting for a Gulf contractor in relation to a AED 1 billion claim arising out of the suspension and termination of mixed use development in Dubailand.
Representing a Middle Eastern government defending a $200m arbitration claim arising out of the construction of a road interchange.
Leading counsel for the government on the Dubai Metro claims, probably the largest construction dispute in the world at the time.
Chairman of an ICC tribunal in an arbitration between Greek and Bulgarian entities, concerning the construction of a mountain road.
Party appointed arbitrator in ICC proceedings between Iranian and Swiss companies concerning the shipping of butane to China.