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Jones Day Global Disputes partners Simon Bellas and Kenneth Hickman relocate to Melbourne to bolster construction disputes practice

The global law firm Jones Day has announced that Simon Bellas and Kenneth Hickman, partners in the Firm's Global Disputes Practice, will relocate to Melbourne, Australia to serve clients on major construction, engineering, procurement, and infrastructure disputes. Messrs. Bellas and Hickman, who have worked together for more than 15 years, are currently based in the Firm's Singapore and Perth offices, respectively, and serve clients across the Asia-Pacific region.

"For the last 30 years, favorable political and economic conditions have ensured that Melbourne has invested heavily in major public and private investment infrastructure projects," said Tim L'Estrange, Partner-in-Charge of Jones Day's Melbourne Office. "These conditions will continue into the foreseeable future, as Victoria (and Australia more broadly) invests in projects to spur growth post-COVID-19. Simon and Ken have substantial experience in disputes that arise out of such projects and will be of great value to our clients involved with these substantial investments."

Mr. Bellas is an international disputes authority whose practice is focused on large-scale construction projects, especially in the energy and resources and infrastructure sectors. He has particular experience working with owners and with overseas EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) contractors. Mr. Bellas is a highly ranked arbitration and construction lawyer and has managed some of the largest international arbitrations and litigations in the Asia-Pacific region.

Mr. Hickman's practice is also focused on large-scale construction, in addition to infrastructure, mining, energy, and transport projects. He has acted for owners and contractors in Australia and South East Asia in arbitration proceedings, litigation, mediation, and expert determination. Mr. Hickman is also engaged by clients prior to initiating formal legal proceedings to investigate and minimize claims and disputes, and he has significant experience in Australia acting for owners and contractors in high-value adjudications under various security of payment legislation throughout Australia.

Both Mr. Hickman and Mr. Bellas will maintain a substantive presence between Melbourne and Perth, where they have deep knowledge of the construction industry and the key issues affecting owners and contractors alike. They will be supported by a team of lawyers in Melbourne, notably Benjamin Holloway, a lawyer with a deep understanding of the construction industry and with whom they have worked for more than five years.

"Melbourne is growing rapidly and 'Victoria's Big Build' will include significant public and private investment in large public infrastructure, commercial, and residential projects to support Victoria's economic growth, and support the many companies that are contributing to Australia's national energy market," added Greg Shumaker, who leads Jones Day's Global Disputes Practice. "Simon and Ken both bring great knowledge to the resolution of construction and energy disputes through arbitration, litigation, and mediation in forums throughout Australia and around the world. Their move to Melbourne comes at an ideal time."

In addition to large-scale transnational disputes, Mr. Bellas is regularly engaged during project execution as "project counsel" with a mandate of avoiding and minimizing claims and disputes. With nearly 20 years of experience, notably in liquefied natural gas (LNG) and mining, he is a leading industry professional and has an in-depth working knowledge of many of the technical engineering and commercial issues that underpin projects and the claims that commonly arise from them.

"Ken and I are excited to be joining forces again and with our homecoming to Melbourne at a time when the challenges of cost and time blow outs on major public infrastructure are at their peak for the industry," Mr. Bellas said.

Mr. Hickman also has particular experience running complex and high-value construction-related litigation and international commercial arbitrations seated around the world under various institutional rules. His recent experience includes acting for a Spanish contractor on a $1.5 billion arbitration arising from the Roy Hill Project and he is acting for a dual-listed South African/Australian mining services contractor in a $300 million dispute in the New South Wales Supreme Court.

Jones Day's Global Disputes Practice has generated significant industry attention in recent months. The Firm's International Arbitration team received the elite "Band 1" ranking in the 2021 edition of Chambers USA, which praised the group as a "well-established team with expertise in commercial and investment arbitration that offers notable strength in handling disputes arising from the construction, energy and mining sectors." Jones Day was also recognized as one of the world's leading firms for international arbitration in the 2021 edition of the Global Arbitration Review 30, the sixth consecutive year in which the Firm was included in the prestigious list. Earlier this year, leading arbitration lawyers Michelle Bradfield and Michael Lundberg joined the practice as partners in London and Perth, respectively, and Amy Kläsener, a leading international arbitration lawyer in Germany, joined Jones Day's Frankfurt Office in May. In July, the Firm announced that Thomas Weimann would be joining in Düsseldorf, and that four additional lawyers joined Mr. Lundberg in Perth.

Jones Day is a global law firm with more than 2,500 lawyers in 42 offices across five continents. The Firm is distinguished by: a singular tradition of client service; the mutual commitment to, and the seamless collaboration of, a true partnership; formidable legal talent across multiple disciplines and jurisdictions; and shared professional values that focus on client needs.