Parties do not conclude commercial agreements with a view to eventual dispute between them. However, in reality, issues invariably arise during the execution of projects, which issues require an experienced and deft touch to achieve mutually-acceptable outcomes.
As a litigator for nearly 20 years, our principal has that very experience and wisdom in order to guide parties to appropriate resolutions that preserve long-term relationships.
We advise clients in the evaluation of potential claims under project agreements, and assist in the expeditious and cost-effective resolution or determination of issues, negotiating settlements to advantage or assisting clients with formal dispute processes where these cannot be avoided.
In the event of a dispute proceeding to litigation or arbitration, we are well able to support such processes in order to achieve optimal outcomes, through assistance in formulating statements of claim/defence, evaluating opponent positions and data provided, assisting with effective discovery/disclosure, giving on-going strategic advice as cases develop, and assisting counsel at formal hearings.
Our recent work in this regard includes:
- Evaluating a multi-million dollar claim made against a client by its international EPC contractor in respect of substantial time- and cost overruns in the construction of major new liquid fuel storage facilities, advising the client as to rights, prospects, and options, and assisting the client to resolve the claims to significant advantage whilst preserving an important contractual relationship.
- Advising a client developing a project in the South African Renewable Energy IPP Procurement Programme with respect to an application brought by an association representing competing interests to halt and overturn the procurement, drafting the first draft of answering papers, and assisting counsel in settling the papers (matter ongoing).
- Advising the same client in the successful overturning of an interim interdict brought by associated competing interests preventing the signature of power purchase agreements in the fourth round of the same procurement, on detailed investigation of the merits of the applicants' case, drafting the first draft of the client's answering papers, and assisting counsel in settling the papers (case dismissed and interim interdict discharged).
Past experience in major disputes in the energy and infrastructure sector includes:
- Successfully representing the South African operation of an international oil company in opposing arbitration claims made by the contractor for 100% time- and cost overruns in the significant refurbishment and expansion of its local oil refinery (claims dismissed).
- Representing the South African national oil company in its dispute with its contractor regarding the offshore refit and refurbishment of its FPSO (contractor claims withdrawn).
- Representing the consulting engineers in relation to claims against them and the contractor arising from the collapse of the pavement at a new-build container yard (claims against the client settled to advantage).
- Member of the legal team representing the consulting engineers in relation to claims based on alleged negligent design arising from losses and damages suffered through a catastrophic fire resulting in the total destruction of a major cold store facility (claims dismissed).
- Representing the South African national oil company into the inquiry over a major and fatal explosion aboard the client's semi-submersible offshore drilling unit (client representatives exonerated from any responsibility).