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James Pickavance handles complex construction and engineering matters. He represents contractors, owners, developers, and consultants in public and private projects, particularly in the energy, power, major infrastructure, and commercial development sectors. As well as acting in a project advisory and dispute avoidance capacity, he has experience in all major forms of dispute resolution, particularly international arbitration conducted under all major institutional rules and putative seats. He has acted under various applicable laws, both common and civil.

James is a member of the Society of Construction Law, a committee member of the Adjudication Society, and a board member of the International Construction Law Association. He is a Visiting Fellow at King's College London and teaches the Master's degree construction course. He has authored more than 50 articles in various publications and often speaks at and chairs conferences in the United Kingdom and internationally. He is author of the 740-page book A Practical Guide to Construction Adjudication (2015) and contributing author of Construction Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution: Theory and Practice around the World (2021).

James is listed in the Chambers and Legal 500 legal directories, where he is described as "exceptionally gifted and talented," and "one of the best construction solicitors in the market." Clients say "James Pickavance is an absolute star, and a first rate litigator and lawyer in every way; he is an obvious pick for the big cases because he is just brilliant — the kind of solicitor you would walk through fire for."


  • Global chemicals company responds to sanctions imposed on Russian factory ownerJones Day is advising a global chemical company on its ongoing obligations to a Russian entity in the context of sanctions that have been imposed on the provision of certain goods.
  • PIF seeks advice on procurement of one of its gigaprojects in Saudi ArabiaJones Day advises Sports Boulevard Foundation on the procurement of one of its gigaprojects in the country's capital, Riyadh.
  • Global equipment testing company defends disputes arising out of death and serious injury on construction siteJones Day is acting for a global equipment testing company in relation to a series of multi-party disputes arising out of a death and serious injury on a construction site in England.
  • Real estate developer brings £10 million action arising out of cladding defects in London buildingJones Day is acting for a real estate developer in relation to a dispute arising out of fire stopping defects and ACM cladding issues in a London building.
  • Engineering company brings action relating to construction of water and power plant in Middle EastJones Day is acting for an engineering company in a dispute arising out of the upgrade of four open cycle gas turbine engines as part of a project to construct a water and power plant in the Middle East.
  • Global construction company seeks counsel in US$400 million ICC arbitration arising out of oil refinery project in Middle EastJones Day is advising a global construction company in relation to Swiss law, Swiss seated arbitrations against international oil companies arising out of the construction of an oil refinery in the Middle East.
  • Real estate company brings TCC action relating to multistory property in LondonJones Day is representing an international real estate company in a dispute against a major construction company arising out of defects in the design and construction of a multistory development in London, United Kingdom.
  • The following represents experience acquired prior to joining Jones Day.

    Energy/Oil and Gas

    Acted in a project advisory capacity for a consortium of global oil majors in relation to a $40 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in British Columbia, Canada (Canada's largest ever infrastructure project).

    Acted for a global manufacturer and services power sources provider in a €50 million LCIA arbitration arising out damage caused by an explosion to a manufacturing plant in Wales.

    Acted for a China-based oil and gas company in a $175 million dollar dispute and $45 million bond call in relation to a contract for the construction of a power project in the Rumalia Oil Field in Iraq.

    Acted for a China-based oil and gas company in relation to a cross-border ICC arbitration on a $11 billion gas project in Abu Dhabi.


    Acted for a clean energy investment fund in a bond call and disputes relating to delays and variations concerning the construction and commissioning of a £80 million biomass plant in Lincolnshire.

    Acted for a French-based multinational energy company against a German manufacturer in a €100m German Arbitration Institute (DIS) arbitration arising out of the design and construction of four biomass plants in Brazil.

    Acted for a clean energy investment fund in disputes relating to gross negligence and willful misconduct, delays, claims for additional costs, bonds, termination, rejection, and insolvency arising out of the construction and commissioning of two £100m biomass plants in Wales and North England.

    Acted for a German-based solar company in a defects and delay claim arising out of a contract for the construction of Jordan's largest solar farm project.

    Major Infrastructure

    Acted for an international heavy lifting engineering firm in an ICC arbitration arising out of the construction of the "Chernobyl Arch" (the contract price was €800 million and the final cost is approximately €2.2 billion).

    Acted for Autolink Concessionaires (M6) in a £60m dispute in the Outer (first instance) and Inner (appeal) courts in relation to the construction of a motorway in Scotland.

    Acted for a London public rail authority in relation to disputes on a £15 billion project for the design and construction of a new railway line across Greater London.

    Acted for a U.S. headquartered global engineering firm in a $50 million ICC arbitration in relation to a dispute arising out of the design and construction of a mixed-use complex, "The Crescent Development," in Baku, Azerbaijan.

    Acted for a London public rail authority in a £500m dispute arising from the construction and refurbishment of an East London railway line.

    Acted for London Underground Limited in an ICC arbitration arising out of a £1.2 billion private finance initiative (PFI) project for the construction, installation operation, and maintenance of a new telecommunication and transmission system throughout the Underground network.

    Acted for a British defense contractor in a dispute arising out of the redevelopment of a nuclear submarine facility in the United Kingdom.

    Real Estate

    Acted for various clients following the fire at Grenfell Tower in London in relation to the design and construction liability associated with defective ACM (aluminum composite material) cladding and then commenced claims against relevant entities for the cost of remedial works.

    Acted for an international developer in a £20 million High Court litigation arising out of defective cladding and associated structural issues in its flagship United Kingdom shopping center development. Proceedings were brought by or against the contractor, architect, structural engineer, and tenant.

    Acted for an Abu Dhabi developer in relation to extension of time claims made by the contractor arising out of the refurbishment of an office block in super-prime London.

    Acted for a Japan-based telecommunications company in disputes arising out of the design and construction of a £90 million data center facility in Canary Wharf, London.

    Additional Publications

    • January 2021
      McMillian D., Puttre R., Pickavance J., Construction Projects and Dispute in the COVID-19 world: a look beyond the lockdown. American Law Institute, The Practical Real Estate Lawyer.
    • October 2020
      Pickavance, J., A Look Beyond the Lockdown, [2020] ICLR 353

    Publications Prior to Jones Day

    Some thoughts on succeeding in EPC projects
    International Construction Law Review

    Accessing Foreign Investment Protection for Construction and Engineering Projects
    International Construction Law Review, Part 3 (206-232)

    April 2016
    The Regulation of Misconduct in Adjudication and Arbitration
    Society of Construction Law

    Speaking Engagements

    • December 2020
      Instituto Brasileiro de Direito da Construção - IBDiC: Why is choice of governing law and arbitration seat so vital in major projects? Perspectives from the UK and Brazil
    • September 2020
      Chair and Moderator, International Construction Law Conference, Centre for Construction Law, King's College London and the Academy of Experts
    • October 2019
      Expert Problems in Arbitration, Seminar to members of the Chartered Institute of Arbitration and the Academy of Experts

    Speaking Engagements Prior to Jones Day

    October 2017
    Clarity on Concurrency: Concurrent Delay in Construction Contracts
    Presented at the 3rd Annual Global EPC Contract and Risk Management Conference

    October 2017
    Exclusions from Immunity: Gross Negligence and Willful Misconduct
    Society of Construction Law