"He has a way of getting to the nub of a problem that I find quite refreshing. He can turn problems over and debate the issues on a commercial basis in a way which is second to none."
Guy has a wide-ranging experience of disputes arising out of all aspects of the built environment. He has time-served experience of managing closure of final accounts, defects and professional negligence claims, but with many years’ experience in wider commercial disputes including the demands of acting (and winning for clients) in emergency and injunctive applications.
Guy prides himself on his ability to deliver the result that any client deserves quicker, cheaper and better than others in the market. His team remains the only construction group to publish its track record in adjudication work.
His personal performance is: “Played 108, lost 9.” Clients who have benefited from his team’s approach include businesses within the construction, retail, logistics, materials, food and manufacturing sectors.
Over 25 years’ specialist industry and sector experience have given Guy a highly developed understanding of ‘what should go where, why and when’ in relation to any construction or infrastructure project. This allows him, when any dispute or problem occurs, to get quickly to the heart of what has gone wrong, why and who is/should/could be accountable.
Guy is listed as a Recommended Lawyer by the Legal 500 (2020 edition).
Construction & Engineering Disputes
Guy’s ability to resolve disputes quicker than others, often before commencement of proceedings, is second to none. Speedy and early case analysis enables the marshalling of compelling evidence through cost effective and intelligent use of evidential database and case management software.
This expertise is best utilised in the challenges inherent in advising clients involved in adjudication disputes, often resolved within a 30-50 day window, whatever the dispute, whatever the size of the claim. Analysing, building and proving client entitlement often requires a case to be put together in 1-2 weeks. The adjudication arena is not a place for anyone other than experts in building and winning cases for deserving clients.
When construction projects go off the rails, by their nature they present particular challenges to any claimant looking to recover damages for late or defective delivery which has resulted in significant cost overruns. Disputes inevitably are multi-party and often comprise claims for consultant default against construction industry professionals such as architects and engineers. Guy has a market beating track record of recovering substantial damages in such circumstances for claimants against consultants, (through their indemnity insurers), contractors, subcontractors and other specialists.
Guy has particular expertise in resolving disputes caused by defects in the design or construction, ground conditions, concrete, water ingress and steel framed structures.
Guy and the Construction Group have a proven track record of recovering multi-million pound awards in claimant cases following on from late completion of construction projects involving costly project overruns. Such claims for “wasted costs” can, in appropriately limited circumstances, be raised and prosecuted against Project Managers and Lead Consultants. To build winning cases in such circumstances requires expert knowledge and understanding of how construction projects should be designed, constructed and procured. There is also need for exceptional teamwork from all disciplines involved in order to deliver a cost effective recovery, which justifies the ‘roi’.
- Acted for Developer threatened with suspension and termination by Design & Build Contractor in works relating to the refurbishment of office premises to residential use. Contractor in delay, fire safety issues to be resolved. Contractor claimed over £2 million. Developer client could not afford to terminate Contractor, however strong the case, because of the longstop date exposure to funders. Dispute resolved by contract variation on “nuisance” terms within 26 days of instruction.
- Acted for National Contractor, respondent to claims for termination of building contract by University Employer, represented by leading international law firm. Kitchen Sink adjudication, commenced by Employer, included 5 days of Adjudicator meetings. Claims for consequential loss, delay, defects and lawful termination. Successful on all issues in Adjudicator’s Decision. This firm’s legal costs were 30% of those of the Employer’s legal representatives.
- Acted for Contractor in multiple claims brought by utility following delayed construction of a hydro plant on NEC Option B Contract. 4 no. adjudications commenced. Employer represented by Counsel from specialist construction chambers throughout. Contractor client successful in all adjudications which enabled commercial dialogue and settlement between principals.
- Acted for Design & Build contractor defending a £5m claim for damages arising from defects in, and water ingress through, the roof of a large industrial unit. We were substitute lawyers in place of previous insurer law firm. Court proceedings had been commenced, disclosure was not complete, trial was 3 months away, and inadequate expert evidence had been obtained. We settled the case at mediation having retained appropriate evidence to deal with defects and claimant’s financial consequential loss claims. Closure was achieved within 6 weeks of instruction.
- Co-counsel with insurer lawyers on joint interest defences of £14 million claim for damages arising from alleged defective work in the construction of 2 floor slabs in a ‘big shed’ warehouse operated by a national logistics company. Lead role on the defence of the quantum claims, including wasted costs, failure to mitigate and limitation defences. Dispute resolved pre-trial within our projected outcome scenarios.
- Acted for tertiary education body in claim for damages for professional negligence against Project Manager for late and costly completion of a significant refurbishment project. Claim for over £5 million, multiple issues, audit conducted. Dispute settled pre-action at mediation in accordance with projected outcome scenarios.
- Acted for SME refrigeration business whose entire operations were placed at risk by reason of defective performance and installation of state of the art replacement refrigeration equipment. Claim settled pre-action at mediation on terms which allowed clients to recover and rebuild their business.
- Acted for nightclub operator as substitute lawyers in claim for professional negligence against engineers and damages against contractor for the late and defective construction of refurbishment works in a Victorian property. Significant structural movement during course of works, claims for negligent inspection/supervision against engineer, contractor insolvent. Case poorly presented initially leading to a failed mediation. Case resolved pre action at second mediation within the band of our predicted outcomes.
- Acted for owners of substantial West London property in claims against architect, engineer and contractor for defective construction of a double-depth basement. Acted as replacement lawyers, case resolved pre-action at mediation.
- Acted for water industry contractor, defendant to 8-figure claim for damages by utility water company following catastrophic failure of relining of a large diameter water main. We were substitute counsel in place of prior insurer law firm. Case resolved at tri-partite mediation on confidential terms within the band of our predicted outcomes.
“A direct, no-nonsense and straight-talking leader. He epitomises the team’s qualities.”
“Berwick’s many admirers highlight his qualities as near unique: ‘He has a way of getting to the nub of a problem that I find quite refreshing. He can turn problems over and debate the issues on a commercial basis in a way which is second to none’.”
“Guy Berwick is ‘an impressive lawyer – a real fighter’.”
“Clients refer to (Guy Berwick] as an ‘excellent all-round lawyer and very much part of our business management team.”
“He understands what clients want.”
“A real fighter and a man you want in your corner.”
“Wins praise as a ‘practical and pragmatic’ lawyer.”
“Market sources across the sector are quick to praise his work, with clients noting him as their ‘legal partner of choice’.”
“Clients find him ‘excellent – he takes the time to find out what we want, and tailors his work to our business so that we always get the right result’.”
”Head and shoulders above the competition.”
‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.
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Freeths are a leading national law firm with 13 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?
Contact: 03301 001 014