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Helena White
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"uses her knowledge of construction law to excellent effect and communicates her ideas in a way that is easily understood"

Client

"very bright and a pleasure to deal with"

Client

"a rock solid construction professional who offers sound advice in an accessible way which clients can relate to"

Client

Helena is an insurance and commercial practitioner, with a particular focus on construction and engineering disputes, professional negligence and property damage. Her experience includes public procurement and utilities work.

As well as being a robust trial advocate, Helena is known for providing clear and accessible advice either in writing or in conference. She is regularly instructed by a range of clients, including employers, contractors, construction professionals, insurers and insolvency practitioners to act in litigation, both in the TCC and the county courts, as well as arbitration, adjudication and mediation.

Helena accepts instructions on a direct access basis and under the Hardwicke Adjudication Fixed Fee Scheme, in appropriate cases.

Helena is a keen sportswoman and can often be found running around in Hyde Park even in the windiest and muddiest of conditions. She is an avid film fan and also sings in a choir.

Adjudication

Helena regularly acts for contractors and Employers, as well as a range of construction professionals and consultants, in a wide variety of adjudications including payment disputes, Final Account disputes, claims involving delay and disruption, as well as defective work or design.

Helena understands the pressures that can arise as a result of the invariably tight adjudication timetable. As a result, she ensures that the advice she provides before, during and after the adjudication is incisive and commercial and that she works collaboratively throughout the adjudication process to make sure the client achieves the best result possible in the challenging circumstances often thrown up in adjudication.

Helena appears regularly in the TCC Enforcement both to enforce and to defend against the enforcement of Adjudicator’s decisions. Recent cases include:

  • Gosvenor London Ltd v Aygun Aluminum UK Ltd [2018] EWHC 227 (TCC)
  • PFG Design Ltd v Masma Ltd QBD (TCC) (Fraser J) 15/11/2017
  • Structure Consulting Ltd v Maroush Food Production Ltd [2017] EWHC 962 (TCC) – Helena successfully enforced an adjudicator’s decision, in the face of an application under Part 8 that the enforcement should be stayed pending the determination of the issues raised, namely issues relating to the formation of the parties’ contract and the validity of a payless notice.
  • Trident Maintain Ltd v Falcon Investment Ltd QBD (TCC) (Fraser J) 22/06/2016 – instructed in respect of an employer’s hotly-fought attempt to resist enforcement of an adjudicator’s decision under Wimbeldon v Vago

Helena accepts instructions on a direct access basis and under the Hardwicke Adjudication Fixed Fee Scheme, in appropriate cases.

Construction Litigation

Helena has a busy court and adjudication practice and regularly acts for employers, contractors and other professionals before a wide range of tribunals, in a variety of disputes including payment disputes, Final Accounts disputes, termination, delay and disruption, defective work or design claims, extension of time claims, claims for loss and expense and liquidated damages. Helena is conversant with the JCT, NEC3/NEC4 and FIDIC standard forms, the RIBA terms of appointment as well as bespoke contracts.

Helena also has broad experience of the water, sewerage and waste disposal industries, including public procurement and regulatory issues. In particular, Helena has been seconded to Veolia and was involved in advising a statutory undertaker appointed to an inset area in relation to the termination of a Private Finance Initiative contract with the MOD.

Helena was also seconded to UKPNS, where she gained significant experience of the electricity distribution industry. She carried out an extensive review of contracts relating to the distribution of electricity at the London airports and was later instructed to carry out a review of the suite of contracts governing the supply of all utility services to MOD property in Wiltshire.

Helena accepts instructions on a direct access basis and under the Hardwicke Adjudication Fixed Fee Scheme, in appropriate cases.

Recent Work

  • Representing a high net worth individual in a claim against multiple defendants relating the defective design and construction of a substantial refurbishment project in Central London
  • Gosvenor London Ltd v Aygun Aluminum UK Ltd [2018] EWHC 227 (TCC)
  • PFG Design Ltd v Masma Ltd QBD (TCC) (Fraser J) 15/11/2017
  • Structure Consulting Ltd v Maroush Food Production Ltd [2017] EWHC 962 (TCC) – Helena successfully enforced an adjudicator’s decision, in the face of an application under Part 8 that the enforcement should be stayed pending the determination of the issues raised, namely issues relating to the formation of the parties’ contract and the validity of a payless notice.
  • Trident Maintain Ltd v Falcon Investment Ltd QBD (TCC) (Fraser J) 22/06/2016 – instructed in respect of an employer’s hotly-fought attempt to resist enforcement of an adjudicator’s decision under Wimbeldon v Vago
  • Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited v (1) Condek Holdings Limited and others [2014] EWHC 2016 (TCC) – Helena struck out a £5 million claim relating to the design and construction of modular car park in the TCC.
  • Instructed as junior counsel, led by Sarah Hannaford QC (Keating), on a £200m arbitration in relation to a long running dispute over the refurbishment and rebuilding of a government military base.
  • Led by Paul Reed QC on the instruction of a Polish designer and manufacturer of freight wagons. The case concerns the derailment of containers from a train during Hurricane Emma and whether the design of the wagons complied with relevant national and international standards. Helena was required to attend a two day client conference in Poland in order to investigate the technical aspects of the claim.
  • Led by Paul Reed QC in a claim made by a business customer against UKPN, on the basis that the customer’s supply had been unlawfully disconnected.
  • Acting in relation to a Party Wall etc Act dispute and claims arising out of allegedly defective works, including a hotly contested 3-day trial between neighbours, where Helena successfully defended the claim resulting in an order for indemnity costs being made against the claimant.
  • Successfully representing a contractor in a 5 day trial against substantial allegations of defective work.
  • Representing a firm of Project Managers in a multi-handed £1.5 million dispute concerning a project where it is alleged that no proper regard was given to the planning permission obtained from the Local Authority.
  • Advising policyholders in disputes concerning the NBHC Buildmark Policy.

Energy & Renewables

Helena was seconded to UKPNS, where she gained significant experience of the electricity distribution industry. She carried out an extensive review of contracts relating to the distribution of electricity at the London airports and was later instructed to carry out a review of the suite of contracts governing the supply of all utility services to MOD property in Wiltshire.

Helena’s recent work includes being led by Paul Reed QC in a claim made by a business customer against UKPN, on the basis that the customer’s supply had been unlawfully disconnected. Helena is advising a Local Authority on a long-running dispute with multiple utility providers arising out of a project to build a leisure centre.

Property Damage

Helena is regularly instructed by companies, individuals and insurers in relation to claims arising out of damage to property caused by fire, flood, heave and water penetration. She has acted for insurers in subrogated recovery claims and for defendants and their insurers in defending claims and passing liability on to other parties. Her technical expertise and commercial approach means that she is ideally placed to provide pragmatic and commercial advice in respect of any claim.

Recent Work

  • Junior to Paul Reed QC in a substantial coverage dispute under a CAR policy in respect of oil pumping works in Abu Dhabi.
  • Advising a group of leaseholders about coverage for defective works under a decennial policy, where there are complex issue on limitation.
  • Advising a homeowner in respect of the insurance provisions of a JCT standard form in respect of a fire caused during the currency of the works, where inadequate insurance had been obtained.
  • Assisting as part of the successful legal team on Smith & Others v South Eastern Power Networks Plc [2012] EWHC 2541 (TCC): five test cases brought by domestic and small commercial electricity consumers against the electricity distributor for negligence relating to resistive heating fires in supply side electrical equipment.
  • Acting for the insurer of a freeholder in a claim brought by a leaseholder in respect of alleged water damage to her property.
  • Acting for an insurer in respect of claim by a residential occupier arising from subsidence.
  • Acting for an insurer in a claim relating to extension fire damage to a residential property.

Construction Insurance

Helena principally acts for insurers and insureds in the construction sector. She acts and advises in relation to coverage and avoidance issues, subrogated claims and professional indemnity disputes.

She acts in professional negligence disputes concerning architects, contract administrators, quantity surveyors, project managers and structural engineers in all aspects of professional negligence claims against construction professionals, including cases concerning negligent design, overvaluation of works, inadequate contract administration and failure to inspect/supervise. Helena also acts in claims both for and against negligent solicitors, in a range of disputes.

Helena’s technical expertise and commercial approach means that she is ideally placed to provide pragmatic and commercial advice in respect of any claim.

Recent Work

  • Advising a demolition firm on insurance coverage in repsect of works to a listed property
  • Junior to Paul Reed QC advising a HNW individual in respect of insurance requirements for a substantial refurbishment project at a property in Knightsbridge
  • Junior to Paul Reed QC in a substantial coverage dispute under a CAR policy in respect of oil pumping works in Abu Dhabi.
  • Advising a group of leaseholders about coverage for defective works under a decennial policy, where there are complex limitation issues.
  • Advising a homeowner in respect of the insurance provisions of a JCT standard form in respect of a fire caused during the currency of the works, where inadequate insurance had been obtained.
  • Advising homeowners on coverage issues under an NHBC policy.
  • Acting for an Architect in a substantial claim arising out of the Architect’s alleged involvement in a report recommending the installation of an air source heat pump at a large country house.
  • Acting for an Architect for an alleged failure to properly supervise, inspect or certify building works carried.
  • Representing a firm of project managers in a multi-handed £1.5 million dispute concerning a project where it is alleged that no proper regard was given to the planning permission obtained from the Local Authority.

Construction Professionals

Helena regularly acts in professional negligence disputes concerning architects, contract administrators, quantity surveyors, project managers and structural engineers in all aspects of professional negligence claims against construction professionals, including cases concerning negligent design, overvaluation of works, inadequate contract administration and failure to inspect/supervise.

Recent Work

  • Acting for an architect in a substantial claim arising out of the Architect’s alleged involvement in a report recommending the installation of an air source heat pump at a large country house.
  • Successfully defending an architect in an adjudication arising from an alleged failure to inspect works and for overvaluation of the works. The case involved complication issues of causation, contract insolvency and the application of a net liability clause.
  • Acting for an architect for an alleged failure to properly supervise, inspect or certify building works carried.
  • Representing a firm of project managers in a multi-handed £1.5 million dispute concerning a project where it is alleged that no proper regard was given to the planning permission obtained from the Local Authority.

Commercial Litigation

Helena accepts instructions in a wide range of commercial and business disputes, including sale and hire of goods and claims involving banks and other lenders.  She advises and appears frequently on such matters, including a range of procedural applications, substantive hearings and trials.

Helena has experience of acting on behalf of banks, lenders and financial institutions as well as on behalf of consumers and borrowers. The mainstay of this work revolves around consumer credit and mortgage proceedings and Helena is happy to accept instructions in relation to cheques, bonds guarantees and other instruments.

Recent Work

  • Acting for a bank in a consolidated claim against two defendants, involving allegations of non est factum, fraud and constructive notice.
  • Acting for a bank in a claim, involving an allegation that the mortgage had been missold.
  • Acting for a bank against a borrower alleging that his loan was unenforceable on the basis of various alleged breaches of the Consumer Credit Act and associated regulations.
  • Acting for the purchaser of a vehicle in a claim under the Sale of Goods Act, which also involved allegations of misrepresentation.
  • Advising a purchaser in respect of the terms and effect of a purchase agreement.

Professional associations

  • COMBAR
  • South Eastern Circuit
  • TECBAR
  • BILA
  • Society of Construction Law

Publications

Qualifications

  • University of Oxford, University College, Lit Hum, BA (Hons)
  • CPE – City University
  • BVC – ICSL
  • Middle Temple Benefactors’ Scholar
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