James McKenzie


London, United Kingdom

James is an international arbitration and commercial litigation specialist with broad experience acting as counsel and advocate in complex disputes, with a particular focus on the construction, infrastructure and energy sectors.  

James is acknowledged as an "Asian Disputes" specialist, having worked in Hong Kong for 8 years, before moving to London in 2019.  James has represented clients in complex disputes in various jurisdictions in Asia and Europe as well as in arbitration proceedings under the rules of the HKIAC, SIAC, ICC, LCIA, DIAC and UNCITRAL. 

In addition to acting for states, state-owned corporations and high-net worth individuals, James regularly advises employers, contractors and subcontractors on the full life cycle of their construction and infrastructure projects, with a particular emphasis on disputes avoidance. 

James is qualified in England & Wales, Hong Kong and Australia and is a committee member of HKIAC's HK45 committee and a HKIAC accredited tribunal secretary.  

James is published in the areas of international arbitration and construction law and has lectured in those fields, most recently at the University of Hong Kong where he was a lecturer in its Masters of Law programme. 

Recent matters

James' recent experience includes representing:

  • a Chinese investor in a complex shareholder dispute under the HKIAC Administered Rules and in parallel Emergency Arbitration proceedings. The Emergency Arbitration proceedings were one of the first successfully conducted under those rules. 

  • Naftogaz Ukrainy in a US$5.5 billion LCIA dispute over control of Ukraine's largest oil company Ukrnafta with three companies linked to oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky. 

  • the Hong Kong Government in several, high-value domestic arbitrations concerning contractual disputes, extensions of time, delay and costs to infrastructure and quarrying works on Hong Kong Island and Jordan Valley.

  • the Kyrgyz Republic in its defence of Stans Energy's US$200 million Investor-State claim relating to the mining of rare metals.  

  • Chinese EPC Contractor in its USD700m first of its kind ICC arbitration against an international employer in relation to the construction of an energy plant in Central America.

  • a Japanese client in its construction arbitration against The Roads and Transport Authority in relation to the rehabilitation of Interchange 8 on Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE. The dispute was one of Dubai's biggest construction arbitrations at the time.

  • a PRC client in an LCIA arbitration concerning failed delivery of iron ore from Sierra Leone.

  • Emmerson International, Mikhail Abyzo and others in a dispute with Viktor Veselber and affiliated companies arising from an oral joint venture agreement concerning power generation and distribution assets in Russia and Ukraine. 

Professional Memberships

  • CIArb
  • Young ICCA
  • HKIAC HK45
  • ICC Young Arbitrators Forum
  • The Lighthouse Club
  • The Society of Construction Law
  • Australian Institute of Corporate Directors

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