Donovan Ferguson

Partner

Hong Kong, China Hong Kong SAR

Experience

Donovan Ferguson is a Partner of King & Wood Mallesons in the Dispute Resolution team.  He specialises in infrastructure, construction and commercial disputes.  He works closely with clients in the building, energy and projects sectors, advising on the full life cycle of their projects in Asia.  Donovan is praised for resolving major disputes quickly and cost effectively, avoiding litigation or arbitration where he can and using other methods to achieve his client's commercial objectives.

Donovan is described as "one of the go-to construction lawyers in HK and indeed Asia" (Legal 500 Asia Pacific), "a standout partner", "a very impressive lawyer" (Who's Who Legal) and "absolutely one to watch – a delight to work with and a strong, practical lawyer" (Chambers Asia Pacific).  He is "very astute and has in-house experience, so he knows what clients want" (Chambers Asia Pacific).  He is recommended as "an insightful and trustworthy adviser with client's best interest at heart" (Legal 500 Asia Pacific).

Donovan is ranked in Who's Who Legal: Construction (2019 to 2022), Chambers Asia Pacific and Greater China Region (2019 to 2022), Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2019 to 2022) and other directories.  Such is his relationship with his clients, he was recognised with the Client Choice Award for the Construction Category in Hong Kong. 

Donovan is qualified in Hong Kong and Australia and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He is currently the Vice Chair and Honourary Secretary of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (East Asia Branch) and the Vice Chair of the Society of Construction Law Hong Kong.   

Recent representative experience

Non-contentious

  • A PPP for the design, construction and operation of a mixed use development in Hong Kong.
  • A multi-billion dollar contract for the upgrade of a network between Hong Kong and the Mainland.
  • A multi-billion Hong Kong dollar contract for the design and construction of a data centre in Hong Kong and related contracts.
  • The largest tender for a sports project in Hong Kong.
  • A multi-billion US dollar project for an EPC contractor for a coal project in Indonesia.
  • NEC3 and NEC4 contracts for Hong Kong private projects.
  • FIDIC contracts for an energy company in Hong Kong.

 

Contentious

  • A number of disputes on a rail project in Hong Kong, where the sums in dispute are multiple HK$ billions.
  • A Hong Kong dispute about defects on a significant infrastructure project involving multiple parties.
  • Successfully defending both employers and contractors for prosecutions for alleged breaches of safety, environmental and building laws and regulations in Hong Kong.
  • A number of arbitrations concerning the construction of projects in the region, including casinos in Macau, residential developments in Macau and Hong Kong, a hospital in Hong Kong, a residential block in Singapore, a sports stadium in Singarpore and a major tollway in the Philippines.
  • One of the largest Hong Kong projects in relation to a key piece of infrastructure with China, with the dispute worth multiple HK$ billions.
  • A Joint Venture dispute in Hong Kong.
  • A Singapore-seated arbitration under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules concerning the construction of a major pipeline project in Australia, with claims and counterclaims greater than AU$1 billion.
  • A Singapore-seated arbitration under the ICC Rules concerning the design and construction of a processing plant in Malaysia.
  • An Indonesia-seated arbitration under the BANI Arbitration Rules concerning an offshore pipeline project in Indonesia.

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Reputation

  • Next Generation Partner in Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2020 to 2022
  • Ranked in Chambers Asia-Pacific / Greater China Region, 2020 to 2022
  • Who's Who Legal: Construction – Future Leaders, 2019, Future Leaders "Most Highly Regarded", 2020 and Recommended, 2021
  • Leading Lawyer – Leading Construction & Infrastructure Litigation Lawyers, Doyles, Hong Kong, 2020 and 2021
  • Up & Coming Lawyer, Construction – Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2019
  • Expert Guide, 2017 to 2021

What clients say about Donovan

  • "transitioned from a "future leader" in the industry to one of the go-to construction lawyers in HK and indeed Asia. A commercially sensitive lawyer who is very hands on, ensuring his clients receive the best possible legal advice. An excellent dispute manager" (Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2022)
  • "brings a level-headed objective approach to dispute resolution underscored with great contextual and situation awareness that is often the bedrock to his high success rate at finding a commercially sensible outcome in tricky cases, that go beyond just simple winning or losing" (Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2022)
  • rises in the rankings after receiving widespread endorsement. One client admires his "ability to provide accurate and insightful commercial advice quickly" (Chambers Greater China Region, 2022)
  • "extremely impressive grasp of the subject matter" and has the "inside track of the market in terms of litigation, arbitration and counsel" (Chambers Asia Pacific, 2021)
  • "absolutely one to watch – a delight to work with and a strong, practical lawyer" and "He gets into the detail of arbitrations and has a full grasp of the facts, the applicable law and any technical issues. He is very practical and sensible in identifying what the core issues are" (Chambers Asia Pacific, 2020)
  • a "rising name", drawing praise for his "great eye for detail" and "practical and strategic approach" (Who's Who Legal 2020)
  • "is very commercial and understands clients' needs" (Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2020)
  • "a standout partner", "a very impressive lawyer" (Who's Who Legal, 2019)
  • "very astute and has in-house experience, so he knows what clients want" and "straight-to-the-point and practical way of dealing with things" (Chambers Asia Pacific, 2019)
  • "an insightful and trustworthy adviser with client's best interest at heart" (Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2019)

Professional Qualifications

  • 2009: Admitted as a solicitor in Hong Kong (High Court)
  • 2005: Admitted as a solicitor in New South Wales (Supreme Court)
  • 2005: Admitted as a solicitor in Queensland (Supreme Court)

Memberships

  • Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Member, Society of Construction Law Hong Kong

Education

  • Bachelor of Laws (Hons and University Medal), Queensland University of Technology, 2004
  • Bachelor of Arts (Dist), Queensland University of Technology, 2004
  • Post Graduate Diploma of International Arbitration, Queen Mary, University of London, 2012

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