Dr Cyril Chern has practised since 1972. His specialism is international infrastructure engineering and construction matters including those in the United Kingdom, the European Union, the Middle East, the Far East and the Americas. Typical project types include hydroelectric power and nuclear facilities, water treatment facilities, roads projects, bridges, tunnels, facility and processing development, PPP and PFI projects. In addition to being a Barrister he is a trained Structural Engineer, Chartered Architect, Chartered Arbitrator, Accredited Mediator and Adjudicator and Dispute Board specialist.
Education and Professional Memberships/Qualifications
- B.Arch. in Architecture and Engineering
- Juris Doctor – Law
- FIDIC President’s List of Approved Dispute Adjudicators
- Fellow of the Dispute Board Federation (FDBF)
- Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
- Accredited Adjudicator
- Accredited Mediator
- Member of the Association of Consultancy and Engineering
- Institution of Civil Engineers – Dispute Board Panel
- Society of Construction Arbitrators UK
- The Bar of England and Wales
- The Bar of the United States Supreme Court
- Ship’s Master – Merchant Navy (ret).
- Freeman City of London
- Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects
- Dispute Board Trainer - International Chamber of Commerce, DBF and FIDIC rules and procedures
- Member of the Civil Mediation Committee, United Kingdom
- Listed in Who’s Who – 165th Annual Edition, Oxford University Press 2013
His practice specialises in major construction cases with complex construction and engineering issues. His principal field of work is in Dispute Boards, usually as Chair, arbitrator of construction and engineering claims, or Mediator, specifically on complex construction/engineering projects.
Dispute Boards and Adjudications
Dr Chern’s major focus is in the field of Dispute Boards in the areas of heavy construction, infrastructure development, and civil engineering. He has also been instructed as counsel in ICC arbitrations and is frequently selected as a Panel Member on ICC Construction arbitrations arising out of Dispute Board decisions taken to the ICC. He has specialist knowledge of construction adjudication, acting either as a Dispute Board member, adjudicator or as counsel. He is only one of 40 FIDIC President’s List Adjudicators worldwide and only 1 of 3 to head the Assessment Panel for the FIDIC President’s List.
His experience in Dispute Boards (in particular, service on Dispute Adjudication Boards, DRB, DAB, CDB) is on large infrastructure projects such as hydroelectric facilities, facility development, roads, bridges, and tunnels. He has served as member (18) and chairman (142) on 120 dispute boards for contracts covering traditional, design and construct, and turnkey contracts and is familiar with all relevant Dispute Board rules and procedures including the World Bank Harmonised, FIDIC, ICE and ICC Dispute Board Rules.
Additionally he is an instructor in the subject, author of the section on Dispute Boards for Emden’s Construction Law (LexisNexis Publishing, London), is the author of Chern on Dispute Boards (1st Edition 2007, 2nd Edition 2011 Wiley-Blackwell Publishing) and is an accreditor of Dispute Board Members for both FIDIC and the DBF.
In addition to his Dispute Board work he has acted as an adjudicator and given over 170 decisions (including 95 decisions given under UK statutory adjudication schemes as well as in Hong Kong, China, India, Pakistan, Japan, South America, and elsewhere). He is familiar with ICE, TeCSA, JCT, ACE (CIC), Scheme for Construction Contracts and other Adjudication rules. No decision has been overturned at arbitration. He is experienced in World Bank/FIDIC conditions, the UK Construction Act 1996, statutory schemes and associated amendments to most major standard form contracts. Dr Chern is also experienced in the drafting and interpretation of contractual provisions and procedures for arbitration, adjudication and Dispute Boards.
Construction Mediations and Arbitrations
Dr Chern is also considered an expert in construction and engineering mediation and arbitration claims, which have involved issues under a wide variety of standard forms (FIDIC, ICE (traditional and NEC), JTC, IMechE/IEE Model Form “A”, BPF/ACA, FCEC, GCWorks, ACE, HKGov, World Bank) and bespoke contracts as well. He is experienced in mediation claims dealing with structural engineering, bridges, tunnels, road works, aircraft hangers, life-safety systems, dams and hydroelectric facilities. He has experience dealing with disputes involving matters such as differing site conditions, payment provisions, measurement, valuation, construction quality, design obligations, delay and disruption, time extensions, prolongation, prevention, breach of contract, contract interpretation, conflicting documentation, back-to-back agreements, scope of services, final account, price escalation, conflict of laws, concession agreements, and related matters.
Dr Chern has acted as mediator on over 297 complex domestic and international construction and engineering disputes of which all were settled as a direct result of the mediation process. He has also acted on behalf of parties to mediation. Additionally, he teaches mediation methods and techniques on behalf of the Bar Council of England & Wales, the World Bank, the IFC, and the Dispute Board Federation.
Acting as arbitrator, he has in excess of 575 references (UK, USA, Canada, Hong Kong, South America, Middle East, China and Japan) under institutional and ad hoc procedures. These disputes include main contract, subcontract and professional services disputes involving amounts up to EUR 15000 million (EUR 15 Billion) arising under traditional, design/build and concession contracts. No Awards have been reversed on appeal. He has served as sole arbitrator and on tribunals (as party-appointed member and Chairman) under ICE, ICC, AAA, UNCITRAL, LCIA and ad hoc arbitration procedures and is familiar with the arbitration rules and procedures of the ICE, ICC, LCIA, UNCITRAL, ClArb, CIMAR, HKIAC, RICS, and SIAC.
- Chern on Dispute Boards (Blackwell Publishing, 1st Edition 2007, 2nd Edition 2011, Routledge Publishing, 3rd Edition 2015)
- International Commercial Mediation (Informa, 2008)
- The Commercial Mediator’s Handbook (Informa - Routledge, 2014)
- The Law of Construction Disputes (Informa, 1st Edition 2010, 2nd Edition 2016)
- PPPs - Public Private Partnerships: Practice and Procedures (Routledge Publishing 2016)
- Co Author and ADR Editor: Emden’s Construction Law (Butterworths, 2011)
- Contributor: Atkin’s Encyclopaedia of Court Forms in Civil Proceedings (LexisNexis, 2008)
In addition to his publications he teaches the Dispute Board course for the World Bank/IFC, FIDIC and the Dispute Board Federation as well as the comprehensive FIDIC contracts course and commercial mediation for the Bar Council Mediation seminar, the World Bank, the IFC, and the DBF.
Selected ADR Matters
Recent Dispute Boards
- EUR 780 million roads project in Eastern Europe including bridges, overpasses, slab top culverts, road construction works, drainage, electrical works, horticultural works, lighting system for interchange, traffic signalisation, traffic signalisation-redirection, telecommunication, water stream regulations, local roads, and other structures.
- EUR 1.6 billion roads project in South America for the construction of a hydroelectric facility and transformer housing facility including the upgrading of the existing bridges, overpasses and lighting systems.
- EUR 1.3 billion roads project in Serbia including the construction of a 68.7 km highway including construction of roads, bridges, tunnels and interchanges.
- EUR 560 million construction of a research and development facility in Germany involving new processes for the computer industry.
- EUR 3 billion light rail system including underground subway in Asia.
- GBP 28 million disagreement over the completion of a roads project. The parties voluntarily agreed to try mediation before resorting to arbitration. The matter was settled to everyone’s satisfaction after two days of mediation with a cost savings, estimated by the parties, at around GBP 1.5 million.
- EUR 1.2 billion at stake over the construction of a nuclear power plant. Contractor claimed for delay and unforeseen conditions and counterclaims made by the Employer over delay. The parties agreed to mediate after 2 years of litigation. All issues were successfully resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.
- US 120 million dispute over the construction of a light rail and roads network in Spain, which was stopped due to disagreement between the Employer and the Contractor over design details and costs. A language barrier impeded the progress of the matter until the parties agreed to voluntary mediation in Spain. The UK contractor agreed to use a translator and after 2 days of intensive mediation the matter was resolved and work resumed. Neither counsel nor solicitors were required as both sides used party representatives who were knowledgeable in construction and the particular project.
- GBP 16 million at stake over a disagreement as to the terms of instruction regarding the construction of a tunnel and road project in India. Litigation had begun in the Indian courts and after one year, and an impending trial, the matter was sent to mediation. The mediation took 5 days and resulted in a complete settlement and the successful completion of the project.
- EUR 560 million dispute over the fitness for use and structural engineering issues related to an international airport, aircraft repair facility and aircraft construction facility, which involved 5 parties and the concerned governmental authorities. After 3 days of intensive mediation the matter settled to the satisfaction of all parties and work resumed on the project resulting in successful completion.
- GBP 180 million arbitration over engineering issues on the construction of a 40 hectare free-span inter-connected truss design for a production facility in China. The matter involved UK engineers, a Japanese contractor and German and South African suppliers.
- GBP 35 million commercial arbitration involving a road construction project in China with issues relating to performance and extensions of time.
- GBP 148 million construction arbitration dealing with the construction of a naval docking facility and issues over delay in construction and quality of workmanship.
- GBP 74+ million arbitration regarding extensions of time, quality of work and delay claims involving a tunnel project in Asia.
- EUR 545 million construction arbitration for delay and defects in the construction of a nuclear power plant.
- Chambers & Partners (2015): "Leader at the Bar" in Construction "Exceptionally well versed in both domestic and international matters"
- Legal 500 (2014) Construction (London Bar): "Hugely knowledgeable."
- Legal 500 (2014) International Arbitration – Counsel: "He has exceptionally strong knowledge of the legal issues in infrastructure disputes."
- Chambers & Partners (2014) Construction London (Bar): "An experienced practitioner who focuses on international engineering and construction disputes. He also sits as a mediator, arbitrator and adjudicator. Exceptionally well versed in both domestic and international matters."
- Chambers & Partners (2014) International Arbitration: Construction/Engineering: "Specialises in international construction disputes and has recently acted on matters in Eastern Europe and South America. He is dual qualified as both a barrister and a chartered architect. Some of his recent instructions have focused on disputes in the transportation sector."
- Chambers & Partners (2013): "Leader at the Bar” in Construction – "... is respected by sources for his expertise in engineering infrastructure litigation and arbitration" and "... boasts an impressive practice that involves a number of very high-value international construction disputes."
- Chambers & Partners (2012): "Leader at the Bar” in Construction – "... the epitome of serenity, known for his work on both domestic and cross-border instructions..."
- Chambers & Partners (2012): "Leader at the Bar” in International Arbitration: Construction & Engineering
- Chambers & Partners (2011): "Leader at the Bar” in International Arbitration.
- Construction/Engineering Legal 500 (2011): "Excellent both as an advocate and an arbitrator."
- Chambers & Partners (2011): "Leader at the Bar” in Construction.
- Chambers & Partners (2010): "Leader at the Bar” – "Has an astonishing ability to settle complex disputes, and to encapsulate the essence of a matter so it’s easy for a tribunal to see it his way."
- Chambers & Partners (2010): "Leader at the Bar" – "Devastatingly good at cross-examinations." He "brings a business-like approach to the construction process and really knows international arbitration and all its nuances inside-out."
- Legal 500 (2009): "Leader at the Bar" – "Great depth and breadth in procedural knowledge and tactical awareness."
- Legal 500 (2009): "Leader at the Bar" – "Takes instruction flawlessly." – "He is very good with witnesses." – "A perfect gentleman."
- Chambers & Partners (2009): "Leader at the Bar" – "A formidable protagonist." – "Possesses all you could desire in a barrister," – "Has keen insight coupled with a seasoned litigator’s eye." – "Is particularly good on international arbitration."
Dr Cyril Chern
2 Crown Office Row
London EC4Y 7HJ