Alexander Nissen was called to the Bar in 1985 and became a Queen's Counsel in 2006. He specialises in advisory work, adjudication, arbitration, litigation and the mediation of construction, engineering, energy and professional negligence disputes.
Alexander’s practice covers a wide variety of cases ranging from client/developer claims, PFI disputes, and adjudication enforcement to professional negligence cases (architects, surveyors, valuers, solicitors and civil, structural and geotechnical engineers). He deals with both contractors’ and sub-contractors’ claims and defects disputes. His work also covers rail projects, disputes relating to bonds (both domestic and international), power stations and oil and gas projects.
Alexander is a Chartered Arbitrator, an accredited adjudicator and mediator. His arbitration work covers both domestic and international disputes. He has been appointed both through party selection and by the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris. He was appointed as a Recorder in 2007.
“An exceptional barrister”...“has dealt with some fantastically difficult stuff in his time”...“superb, incredibly commercial and very client-friendly”...“a super brain who thinks of arguments the other side could make but which haven't occurred to them. He is always two or three steps ahead of his opposite number.”
"A regular stream of instructions relating to claims against construction professionals"
Chambers and Partners 2013
"Continues to be one of the most switched-on lawyers in the construction industry." “particularly well deployed on cases of high complexity”
"Cracking job" "helpful and constructive"
Chambers and Partners 2012
"Reliable and user-friendly"
Legal 500, 2011
"The embodiment of pure brainpower," "spots arguments the other side doesn't; he is very thorough, and his quiet, confident and assured style belies his tenacity and steely determination."
Chambers and Partners 2011
With a “brain the size of a planet,” Alexander Nissen QC is “particularly outstanding in the context of adjudication matters, where his knowledge and instinct is unrivalled.” In addition, he is “awfully steady and incredibly thorough - he often sees arguments that the other side fails to spot.”
Chambers and Partners 2010
"His knowledge and instinct is unrivalled in adjudications" and there is no doubt that he has acquired a reputation as someone who can handle difficult cases.
Chambers and Partners 2009
“One of the real stars amongst the newer silks”...solicitors and clients “would recommend him to anyone”...Peers agreed, asserting that “he always gives you a good run for your money.”
Chambers and Partners 2008
"Is a shrewd operator whom solicitors enjoy working with."
Chambers and Partners 2007
“Intellectually top-rate”...“knows his way around adjudication enforcement cases like nobody else.”
Chambers and Partners 2006
“A very challenging opponent who gets his successes from pure brainpower”...“he wipes the floor with many other juniors.”
Chambers and Partners 2005
“Pure brain power.”
Legal 500, 2003
Construction and Engineering
- Advised energy services supplier in relation to contract for the provision of heating and cooling services to the Olympic Park and neighbouring shopping centre.
- Advised contractor in relation to delay claim in respect of contract for provision of upgraded railway line.
- Acted for tenant in relation to substantial defects claim at warehouse premises (claim circa £50m).
- Acted for local authority in relation to claims made by contractor for rail improvement works (£4m).
- Acted in litigation for contractor in relation to final account claim for construction of art gallery (£5m)
- Acted for main contractor in litigation regarding the existence of contract for M&E works at a hospital.
- Acted in litigation for client in respect of a £20m claim for defective air conditioning installation at office accommodation.
- Acted for subcontractor in adjudication and subsequent litigation concerning the application of a pay when paid clause.
- Acted in litigation for contractor in respect of a £2m defects claim for defective installation of windows.
- Acted for client on a substantial defects claim in commercial premises, approximately £3m.
- Acted for client on structural defects claim in residential development, approximately £2m.
- Acted for client on adjudication enforcement claim for delay in relation to residential development.
- Joint instructions to advise both parties to a payment dispute in relation to contract for the design, construction and operation of police investigation centres.
- Dispute over scope of responsibility for maintenance services in relation to a hospital.
- Payment and termination dispute in relation to the provision of facilities management services at various healthcare facilities, leading to a series of multiple adjudications.
- Joint instructions regarding proposed amendment to a contract relating to the construction of a new development at an existing hospital.
- Dispute over calculation of payment due in relation to a contract for the provisional of operational and maintenance services at a hospital.
- In litigation, acted for civil engineer sued for £6m in respect of claim for defectively designed commercial premises which were the subject of heave.
- In litigation, acted for quantity surveyor sued for £14m in respect of negligent procurement and valuation.
- In arbitration proceedings, acted for contractor/designer on design and build project in which the client sued for the cost of demolishing and rebuilding industrial premises due to settlement conditions. Subsequently acted for contractor in passing on claim to the structural engineers in proceedings before the TCC.
- Acted for client in respect of a substantial claim against architect, engineer and contractor in relation to substantial defects in works in office premises in City.
- Acted for a developer in relation to a £26m claim for negligence and breach of warranty against various professionals and contractors in relation to a ground improvement and redevelopment scheme for a DIY superstore.
- Acted for contractor in professional negligence claim relating to architectural lighting feature.
- Acted for client in claim against engineers relating to supervisory obligations on an affordable housing development.
- Acted for subcontractor in arbitration
proceedings in relation to £16m final account claim for civil engineering
works at power station.
- Acted for company engaged in commercial
exploitation of natural gas produced at landfill site in relation to
proposed claim circa £20m.
- Acted for contractor in respect of claim for
installation of wind turbines in Scotland.
- Acted for contractor in respect of arbitration
claims for work done at mineral sands extraction process plant and
associated sub-station works in Mozambique.
- Acted for employer on £2m adjudication dispute
relating to the installation of a gas pipeline.
- Acted for contractor in respect of
dispute concerning the installation of an energy from waste facility,
including claim for £16m liquidated damages.
- Acted for contractor in respect of dispute
concerning conversion of wood to energy plant.
- Acted for contractor in TCC litigation
concerning £4.5m claim in respect of the design and construction of a
petroleum complex in Qatar.
- Acted for contractor in respect of loss and
expense claim for work done at a power station.
- Acted for subcontractor in respect of claims
relating to design work done on an offshore rig.
- Acted for contractor in ICC arbitration claim
relating to a power station in the Far East.
The dispute concerned claims for additional costs, extensions of time and
defective work. Value of US$100m.
- Acted for Korean shipbuilder in connection with claim for delay relating to a semi submersible drilling rig ($100m).
- Acted for party in connection with late delivery of vessel for use in North Sea.
- Acted for party in connection with claims (value circa £100m) under EPC contract for delivery of topsides, process and utility equipment.
- Acted for party in connection with diving services contract in North Sea.
- Acted in a matter regarding the installation, commissioning and post delivery of the two main propulsion thrusters fitted to a cable repair vessel.
Examples of Tribunal Appointments
- Appointed as arbitrator by Supreme Court of Turks and Caicos to determine dispute between contractor and hotel developer in Turks and Caicos.
- Appointed as sole arbitrator by the ICC in connection with a dispute concerning the audit of records on a project for the production and delivery of two off-shore production structures, production decks and related equipment in the Black Sea.
- Appointed by the parties as sole arbitrator in a £14m dispute relating to design manufacture, delivery, erection and commissioning of a bio diesel and glycerine production plant.
- Appointed as sole arbitrator by the ICC for a US$6m claim and counterclaim between international parties relating to a road building project in East Africa.
- Appointed as sole arbitrator on a JCT Arbitration between a contractor and hotelier relating to refurbishment works at a hotel.
- Appointed by parties as international adjudicator on a dispute concerning corrosion in a substantial tank used to treat water for drinking in Qatar.
- Appointed as adjudicator on dispute relating to payment, extensions of time and loss and expense.
- Appointed by parties as adjudicator in relation to a dispute over a collision involving a tube train.
- Appointed as mediator in respect of a Commercial Court dispute ($25m) about the partial collapse of a beam on a semi-submersible drilling rig in Singapore.
- Appointed as mediator in respect of TTC litigation over the outcome of a profit share agreement on two development schemes.
- Appointed as adjudicator by the parties in a dispute over variation claim in relation to a community school PFI project.
- Appointed as adjudicator by the parties in a dispute over termination in relation to a PFI contract for the design, construction and maintenance of new accommodation for the kennelling of military dogs.
- Appointed as adjudicator by the parties in a dispute over compensation event claim in relation to contract for the demolition and new build or refurbishment of sheltered and warden supported properties under a PFI contract.
- Appointed as adjudicator by the parties in a dispute over deductions made by an Authority in relation to contract for the demolition and new build or refurbishment of sheltered and warden supported properties under a PFI contract.
- Appointed as adjudicator by the parties in a dispute over further deductions made by an Authority in relation to drainage at sheltered and warden supported properties under a PFI Contract.
- Appointed as adjudicator by the parties in a dispute over scope of contractual obligations arising out of Project Agreement for the demolition and new build or refurbishment of schools pursuant to the BSF initiative (PFI contract).
Selected Reported Cases
- Priory Caring Services Limited v Capita Property Services Limited
 129 Con LR 81 (CA), and  EWCA Civ 226
- Priory Caring Services v Capita Property Services
 EWCA Civ 226, 129 Con LR 81
- William Hare Ltd v Shepherd
 EWCA Civ 283;  BLR 358,  12 EG 96, 130 Con LR 1,  CILL 2825,  22 EG 108
- William Hare Ltd v Shepherd Construction Ltd
 EWHC 1603 (TCC),  BLR 447, 125 Con LR 123,  CILL 2753,  BCC 332
- CR Reynolds Construction Ltd v Shepherd Construction Ltd
 EWCA Civ 283,  12 EG 96, 130 Con LR 1,  CILL 2825,  BLR 358,  22 EG 108
- LPI (Hotels) Ltd v Technical and General Guarantee Co SA
 EWHC 2049 (TCC), CILL 2926 TCC; Vol.132 Con LR 90
- CR Reynolds Construction Ltd v Shepherd Construction Ltd
 BLR 447 TCC
- VGC Construction Ltd v Jackson Civil Engineering Ltd
 EWHC 2082, LAWTEL TCC, (2008) CILL 2627
- Claymore v Nautilus Properties
 BLR 452 TCC and  EWHC 805 (TCC)
- Mott MacDonald Ltd v London & Regional Properties
 All ER (D) 431 TCC,  CILL 2481, 113 Con LR 33 and  EWHC 1055 (TCC)
- McConnell Dowell Constructors (Aust) Pty Limited v National
Grid Gas plc
 EWHC 2551, ALL ER (D) 27 (TCC), BLM Vol.24 No1 TCC and  BLR 92
- L Brown & Sons v Crosby North West Homes
 All ER (D) 63 TCC and  EWHC 3503 (TCC)
- Birse Construction Ltd v McCormick (UK) Ltd
 All ER (D) 366 CA;  BLR 523
- Newfield Construction Ltd v Tomlinson
 97 Con LR 148 TCC and  EWHC 3051 (TCC)
- GPN Ltd v O2 (UK) Ltd
 CILL 2285 TCC and  EWHC 2494 (TCC)
- Earl’s Terrace Properties Ltd v Nilsson Design Ltd
 94 Con LR 118,  BLR 273,  Lloyd's Rep PN 28 and  EWHC 136 (TCC)
- RSL (South West) Ltd v Stansell Ltd
 CILL 2012 TCC and  EWHC 1390 (TCC)
- Earls Terrace Properties Ltd v Waterloo Investments
 CILL 1889 TCC
- Discain Project Services Ltd v Opecprime Development
 80 Con LR 95 and  BLR 285 TCC
- ABB Power Construction Ltd v Norwest Holst Engineering
 17 Const LJ 246 and 77 Con LR 20
- Christiani and Nielsen Ltd v The Lowry Centre Development Co.
 TCLR 2 TCC
- Demolition Services Ltd v Castle Vale Housing Action Trust
 79 Con LR 55. TCC
- Darlington Borough Council v Wiltshire Northern Ltd
 1 WLR 68;  3 All ER 895
- Contributor, Keating on Construction Contracts - Eighth Edition (2006), supplement (2008) and Ninth Edition (2012).
- Editorial team, Keating on Building Contracts, (5th, 6th and 7th editions including supplement to 7th edition).
- Associate Editor of Construction Law Yearbook (1995 – 2000).
- Article: Construction Law Journal (2003).
Education and Professional Career
LL.B., University of Manchester
Called to the Bar (Middle Temple)
TECBAR Accredited Adjudicator
Public Access Training
Society of Construction Law (former Council Member)
Technology and Construction Bar Association (TECBAR) (former Committee Member and Treasurer)
Commercial Bar Association. (COMBAR)
Law Society Panel of Arbitrators 2006
Rights of audience: Dubai International Finance Centre Court (DIFC)
Alexander enjoys theatre and watching (but not playing) tennis.
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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