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Dr Robert Gaitskell QC practises from Keating Chambers specialising in engineering and construction disputes, often of an international nature. He was called to the Bar in 1978, appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1994 and appointed a Recorder (part-time judge) in 2000. Robert Gaitskell predominately acts as an arbitrator, adjudicator, dispute board member and mediator. He is both a lawyer and a professional engineer. He is the editor of ‘The Construction Dispute Resolution Handbook’ (2nd edition) May 2011; and a former Vice President of the IEE/ IET (Europe’s biggest professional engineering institution). He is a member of the Singapore National Electricity Market Dispute Resolution & Compensation Panel. Dr Gaitskell is the chairman of a dispute board for a Euro 4 billion nuclear energy project.
Dr Gaitskell is currently acting as chairman or member of various ICC, LCIA, UNCITRAL, EDF, DIAC, Dubai RTA and other arbitral tribunals, dealing with matters such as oil and gas installations and pipelines, power stations, oil and gas plants, petro-chemical works, and other complex engineering and process projects. As example, he is the Chairman of an Uncitral arbitral panel dealing with a Russian oil/gas processing facility dispute; a tribunal member for a Dubai road construction dispute, and for a Korean infrastructure arbitration, and for a Qatari utilities dispute. He was the expert determinator for an Omani power station. He mediated a Saudi Arabian energy dispute. He has also advised on a dispute concerning a Russian floating nuclear power facility. He was recently a co-arbitrator on an ICC panel dealing with a dispute concerning a sub-sea gas pipeline bringing energy supplies from Russia to Europe. He is also conducting an African Mining arbitration, and chairing a dispute panel dealing with defence projects in the UK. He has recently advised the Corporation of London on a major structural project and represented the Isle of Man Government in the Privy Council in an infrastructure project.
In addition to his practice at the Bar, Robert Gaitskell is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and is a former Senator of the Engineering Council. He is also a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Robert Gaitskell's wide experience as an engineer, both in the UK and abroad, has included power generation, transmission, distribution and application, motor control and oil rig design.
Robert Gaitskell writes extensively and lectures throughout the world on legal/engineering subjects. He has lectured on The University of London (King's College and Queen Mary’s) LLMs in International Arbitration, dealing with Infrastructure Arbitrations. Chambers & Partners’ Directory consistently recommends him as a leading international arbitrator.
He also regularly carries out expert determinations involving complex engineering disputes. He is Chairman of the IET/IMechE Joint Committee on Model Forms, which produces the MF/1-4 suite of contracts used for major electro-mechanical projects worldwide. His doctorate from King’s College London concerned standard form engineering contracts. He is a Bencher of Gray's Inn and a member of the Council of the Inns of court (COIC) Tribunals Appointment Body.
"Recommended as a very thoughtful and careful arbitrator."
Chambers and Partners 2013
"He works determinedly to explore different possible angles."
Chambers and Partners 2013
"Formidable arbitrator and mediator"
Chambers Asia Pacific 2012
"Extremely proactive in his preparation prior to the mediation"...“skilful in bringing intransigent parties to the negotiating table when others might give up."
Chambers and Partners 2012
"A delightful man who brings enormous charm and stature to his mediations."
Chambers and Partners 2011
Dispute Resolution - Mediators
Esteemed arbitrator Gaitskell also undertakes appointments as a mediator across a mix of construction, engineering and commercial matters. He has worked across the world, with particular experience in Asia and Africa.
"Sensible, proactive, insightful and a very good person to work with."
Chambers and Partners 2011
"Attracts praise as counsel and arbitrator, and has extensive knowledge of the construction and engineering sectors.
Chambers Asia Pacific 2011
"Totally organised, thoroughly agreeable and very intelligent." Gaitskell is not only a highly praised barrister but also a professional engineer, which affords him particular insight into engineering and construction disputes.
Chambers and Partners Global 2010
“Is in demand”...“insightful international perspective.”
Chambers and Partners 2010
"A fantastically good arbitrator in detailed work"...“an excellent grasp of the technical issues of construction and is highly adept at organising proceedings in a clear way.”
Chambers & Partners
Current Arbitration Appointments
- Dr Gaitskell has conducted over 100 arbitrations, throughout the world. He regularly lectures on the subject, including for the ICC: eg 12.3.12 and 4.6.12 (both in Paris)
- Member of arbitration tribunals dealing with inter alia, disputes concerning an under-sea fibre-optic cable, an Indian housing project, an Iraqi power station, and a Russian oil and gas project.
- Chairman of ICC arbitration tribunals hearing, amongst other things, multi-million pound disputes concerning offshore oil exploration, a Ukrainian infrastructure project and a US military facility.
- Sole arbitrator dealing with an Omani power station, a Caribbean hospital, a Middle East commercial building, an infrastructure project in the D.R of the Congo, a gas engineering plant and a Hong Kong public works project.
- Acted as adjudicator on over 50 major disputes relating to engineering, energy and infrastructure disputes. He is the named adjudicator in various Channel Tunnel Rail Link contracts, and has conducted a number of adjudications on this ongoing project.
- Regularly appointed by the President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IEE/IET) in respect of electrical and mechanical engineering disputes and by CEDR on domestic and international adjudications.
- Advised the construction industries in two foreign countries as regards the introduction of statutory adjudication, and lectures widely on the subject.
- More detailed information is available on request.
Dispute Board Appointments
Dr. Gaitskell is the chairman of the European ITER nuclear fusion project Dispute Board. He is an experienced Dispute Board (DB) Chairman who lectures and writes upon the process. Robert Gaitskell gave an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Lecture on Dispute Boards at the launch of the ICC's new DB Rules in 2004, and recently (21.2.12) gave an ICC lecture on Dispute Boards. A paper by him on the subject is available on the Society of Construction Law website. He recently lectured at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators on DBs.
Robert Gaitskell is also the Editor of The Construction Dispute Resolution Handbook (2nd edition 2011) Thomas Telford, in which he deals with the DB procedure in international disputes.
His current and recent DRB appointments include:
- Conducting a Dispute Board relating to the Caribbean oil industry.
- Acting as Dispute Review Board Chairman in respect of a World Bank funded telecommunications project in India.
- Acting as Sole Member for a DB procedure concerning a defence installation project.
- Acting as Dispute Board Chairman in respect of two major (£0.5 billion each) construction projects involving the British MOD. Both projects extend well into the future.
Robert Gaitskell has carried out over100 mediations in the commercial, construction, engineering and intellectual property sectors many abroad including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and South Africa. He is one of the Bar Council’s recommended experienced mediators at the Bar. He is recommended by ‘The Legal 500’ as a leading mediator.
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Recent appointments (drawing on Dr. Gaitskell’s status as a Chartered Engineer) concern a Zambian mine plant and a Middle East power station.
Arbitration and Litigation (As Counsel)
- Advised an European contractor on claims regarding power station desulphurisation conversion.
- Advised a major Scottish engineering contractor on delay and loss and expense claim.
- Advised the Corporation of London on a multi-million pound professional negligence claim in a complex engineering project.
- Advised on the decommissioning of a major UK power station.
- Represented a foreign government in the Privy Council in a sewerage project dispute.
- Advised a foreign government on a major national library project.
Dr Gaitskell has worked in (amongst other places) the United States, Canada, Mexico, Denmark, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Mauritius, Switzerland, Belgium, France, New Zealand, Australia, Zimbabwe, Taiwan, Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, the Dominican Republic, Dubai, Oman and Abu Dhabi.
Selected Reported Cases
More recently Robert's practice has been largely in arbitration and acting as an arbitrator, adjudicator and mediator, but more detailed information about his reported cases is available on request.
- New forms of energy: Nuclear fusion - Dispute boards for the ITER project: OGEL 10th Volume Special Issue, March 2012
- Forthcoming: 'Trendsetters: Asia-Pacific Juristrictions lead the way in Dispute Resolution,' Penn State University, 'Yearbook on Arbitration and Mediation', 2012
- Trends: dispute resolution in the credit crunch: Construction Law International (IBA) Robert Gaitskell QC Vol.6, Issue 3, October 2011
- Construction Dispute Resolution Handbook 2nd Edition Editor: Robert Gaitskell QC May 2011, Thomas Telford
- Mediation in three dimensions’, Construction Law Review 2010
- Oil, Gas & Energy Disputes: Trends in Tough Times Robert Gaitskell QC 5 October 2009
- Break It Up! At a time when disputes are becoming all too common it’s vital to know how to manage them without destroying your company Robert Gaitskell QC 27th February 2009 Building Magazine
- Legal Update colummist for Engineering Management Jounal.
- Editorial team member for Construction Law Yearbook. Nos. 1 -3.
- Publication on MF/1 model form: Power Engineering Journal Dec 2001.
- Publication on "Technological literacy in China: The international role of professional engineering institutions", Cambridge Review of International Affairs Vol XIV No.1, 2001.
- Publication on engineering and scientific forensic experts, Engineering Management Journal Jan 2000.
- Publication on legal and other implications of information technology, Engineering Management Journal Feb 2000.
Robert Gaitskell has lectured to a wide variety of professional audiences including the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (California), the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the Society of Construction Law, the Engineering and Technology Board in Mauritius, the European Particle Physics Establishment in Geneva, and the New Zealand SCL. He has been visiting Lecturer at King's College and at Queen Mary's College, London.
Education and Professional Career
BSc in Electrical Engineering, University of Cape Town
Working as an electrical engineer in the UK, Zimbabwe,
S Africa and projects for North Sea oil rigs and the Thames Barrier
Called to the Bar (Gray’s Inn)
Fellow of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (FIEE/FIET)
Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb)
PhD, King’s College, University of London
Fellow of Institution of Mechanical Engineers (FIMechE)
CEDR Accredited Mediator
Recorder (part-time judge)
Master of the Bench of Gray’s Inn
Member of the Dubai International Arbitration Centre
CEDR Adjudicator Panel
Approved Arbitrator, Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre
Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators
NEMS (Singapore National Electricity Market): member of Dispute Resolution & Compensation Panel.
Approved Arbitrator, Engineers Ireland Panel of Arbitrators
Council of the Inns of Court Tribunals Appointments Body
Approved Mediator, Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration
Approved Arbitrator, Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration
Chairman of the Joint IET/IMechE Committee on Model Forms (which produces the MF/1-4 suite of contracts)
Heilbron Committee on Civil Procedure
Technology and Construction Bar Association (Committee Member 1987-1993),(TECBAR)
London Commercial & Common Law Bar Association (Committee Member 1987-2000)
Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR)
Singapore International Arbitration Centre 2006 (Fellow)
CEDR Adjudication Panel
Dr Gaitskell is a Bencher of Gray’s Inn. He was also a member of the Bar Council's Information Technology and Services Committee, and serves on various other professional committees. He is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Engineers, and of the Company of Arbitrators and is a member of the Court of Assistants of the latter.
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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