Construction in Hong Kong

King & Wood Mallesons

Led by the ‘exceptionally strategic’ Paul Starr, King & Wood Mallesons‘s multidisciplinary five-partner team provides ‘first-class legal advice’ to key stakeholders in the construction arena, including blue-chip companies, state-owned enterprises (SOEs), contractors and government agencies. Its work spans the entire lifecycle of construction projects. Starr is among several individuals in the team with core expertise in dispute resolution, which makes it well-positioned to advise on matters from a risk management perspective, in addition to providing representation in any major litigation or arbitration which may ensue. Recent highlights included representing data centre heavyweight Global Switch Hong Kong in several disputes, including judicial review proceedings involving the application of complex questions of property law to the cutting-edge data centres industry. Donovan Fergusonbrings a level-headed objective approach to dispute resolution, underscored with great contextual and situation awareness’; despite his relatively short time as a partner, he is already recognised as ‘one of the “go-to” construction lawyers in Hong Kong and indeed Asia’. Although the team remains best-known for its contentious expertise, it also continues to build up its front-end non-contentious capacity, with Scott Gardiner ‘s relocation from Australia to Hong Kong bolstering its ability to handle project financing mandates within the renewables space in  particular. On the transactional front, the Hong Kong team regularly works with lawyers based on the ground in the PRC and across other regional offices to advise on infrastructure projects throughout Asia Pacific.

Practice head(s):

Paul Starr

Testimonials

‘Extremely well-versed in construction disputes. The team brings a depth and breadth of knowledge to all key aspects of the disputes process and a rich knowledge of key disputes components such as counsel, experts and technology, that most firms can only aspire to.’

The team provides first-class legal advice at commercial rates.

‘Donovan Ferguson 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.’

Donovan Ferguson – 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.’

‘Paul Starr – Starr by name and star by nature. Paul is exceptionally strategic and fantastic with his clients.’

‘Edmund Wan is fantastic with both local and international clients. He offers clear instruction to his experts and is always a pleasure to work for.

‘Edmund Wan is a very seasoned campaigner and a safe pair of hands in Hong Kong.’

Key clients

Global Switch Hong Kong Limited

Hong Kong Competition Commission

Melco Resorts & Entertainment

CLP Power Hong Kong Limited

China General Nuclear Energy Development Co., Ltd (CGN)

Work highlights

  • Advising Global Switch Hong Kong Limited in several matters including judicial review proceedings involving the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation and a subsidiary of Sun Hung Kai Development.
  • Representing the Hong Kong Competition Commission in three separate cases regarding alleged competition breaches by decoration contractors.
  • Engaged by Melco to prepare a suite of standard form contracts that Melco could use for its project development and operations activities around the world.

Mayer Brown

Led by Geoffrey Chan , Mayer Brown’s five-partner integrated construction and engineering team is well-positioned to advise a diverse array of public and private sector stakeholders on all aspects of Hong Kong-based and regional projects. The group's workload spans a myriad of transactional and regulatory matters, as well as litigation. On the transactional front, much of the deal flow is generated from the firm’s employer side client base and the firm is frequently engaged in big-ticket projects. Menachem Hasofer , who is a co-head of the firm’s international arbitration practice, has extensive expertise in construction/infrastructure disputes; his experience includes judicial reviews and representing public bodies in bid challenges arising under the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA). Mei Ling Lew has the gravitas to advise developers, public bodies and contractors on all the most complex issues arising from litigation, arbitration and mediation. Hong Kong and UK-qualified partner Venna Cheng handles consultancy and construction contracts for building and infrastructure projects. Cheng also handles conventional construction disputes, and alongside Hasofer, is also a key contact for procurement challenges under the GPA.

Practice head(s):

Geoffrey Chan

Testimonials

Mei Ling Lew is a ferocious litigator’.

Key clients

Hong Kong Jockey Club

MTR Corporation Limited

Chevalier (Macau) Limited

Swire Properties Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) in the Commission of Inquiry into the Construction Works at and near the Hung Hom Station Extension under the Shatin to Central Link Project.
  • Advising The Hong Kong Jockey Club, a leading charitable organisation in Hong Kong, on their Conghua Training Centre (CTC) in Conghua, Guangdong, China which involves the construction of a world-class facility for the training of Hong Kong’s thoroughbred racehorses.
  • Advising Swire Properties Limited on the review of a series of standard forms of construction contracts, consultancy agreements and supply contracts being used for their projects in Mainland China.

Pinsent Masons

Pinsent Masons‘ first-rate practice, led by the ‘calm and assured’ Dean Lewis, handles a full spread of contentious and non-contentious work that spans Greater China and beyond. The team excels at handling big-ticket infrastructure projects for many of the most significant regional contractors, as well as international entities investing in the region. In addition to being strong on the front-end of projects, the group is also very accomplished advising on contentious matters, areas that Connor and Lewis have vast experience. Mohammed Talib, who was promoted to partner in May 2021, is experienced in representing clients in construction-related international arbitration proceedings. Legal director Tim Hallworth is also recommended. Peter Clayton left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Dean Lewis

Testimonials

Pinsent Masons is easy to work with. They always strive to maintain good communication and always think from the client’s perspective. They have very strong legal knowledge and provide accurate and succinct advice.’

Dean Lewis is exceptionally good at construction disputes. He is always calm and provides assured advice.’

Nicholas Turner is very hard working.’

Key clients

CGGC International Limited

CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co., Ltd

CRRC (Hong Kong) Co. Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising CGGC International on its equity investment and its bid for EPC contractor for the Red SeaProject in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • Advising the consortium of CRRC (Hong Kong) and CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co., Ltd on MexicoCity’s Metro Line 1 modernisation project.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (HK) LLP

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP has a strong profile among public and private sector clients, for whom it handles the gamut of contentious and non-contentious construction matters. Noted for its prominence in domestic and regional Asia Pacific-based construction projects, the firm is notably active in the infrastructure, gaming, commercial development and data centre sectors. The vastly experienced Glenn Haley provides 'insightful and practical advice on construction-related disputes' throughout Hong Kong and Asia Pacific. He co-heads the practice with non-contentious specialist Ilan Freiman, who is 'able to draw from multiple transactions to find best-in-class solutions' for private and public sector stakeholders. Freiman's experience includes large-scale urban developments, as well as infrastructure and energy projects. Counsel Patrick Daley is another key member of the team by dint of his broad-ranging contentious and non-contentious experience. He acts for clients across Asia and Australia.

Practice head(s):

Glenn Haley; Ilan Freiman

Testimonials

‘The team is responsive and provides good advice.’

‘This is a team that punches above its weight and is one of the leading construction practices in Hong Kong.’

‘The team is very experienced and delivers a good product at a competitive price. Bags of experience and good to deal with.’

‘The team provides “top-drawer” legal advice, whilst being commercially aware of the clients needs.’

‘Ilan Friedman and Glenn Hayley have deep experience and provide practical insights to help the business achieve its objectives.’

‘Ilan Friedman is across all things construction-related; he is able to draw from multiple transactions to find best-in-class solutions.’

‘Glenn Hayley provides insightful and practical advice on construction-related disputes, his expertise is top class.’

‘Glenn Haley is without a doubt the “go-to” solicitor for construction-related disputes in HK and indeed Asia Pacific.’

Key clients

Macquarie Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised Macquarie Capital on the project development and construction-related aspects of the disposal by Macquarie Capital of its stake in the Formosa II and III offshore wind projects in Taiwan, as part of the firm’s representation of Macquarie on the sale of a 49% interest in the 376 MW Formosa 2 offshore wind farm – currently in construction – to a subsidiary of JERA Co., Inc.
  • Advised Macquarie Capital/Green Investment Group on a potential investment in the development and implementation of a 1.3GW portfolio of ground-mounted and ‘mixed use’ solar photovoltaic projects across various counties of Taiwan.

Hogan Lovells

Hogan Lovells' team includes three partners based in Hong Kong, and it is also able to draw upon additional resources on the ground in Australia, Singapore and Japan. Also notable is that the firm is able to advise on PRC law issues through the establishment of the Hogan Lovells Fidelity Associated Office. Under the leadership of Timothy Hill, the firm is a first port of call for many clients seeking advice on all aspects of projects and disputes from a domestic and cross-border perspective. Although the team demonstrates strong capabilities across the entire lifecycle of projects, it is particularly well-known for its strengths in high-stakes disputes that are heard in arbitration, litigation and mediation settings. Damon So  is well-versed in contentious work, having acted for contractors in arbitration proceedings. On the non-contentious side, he is experienced in drafting and negotiating contracts, where clients benefit from his ‘very commercial approach’. Counsel Joyce Leung is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Timothy Hill

Testimonials

‘A strong reliable construction practice for both front-end and back-end matters.’

‘Damon So  and Timothy Hill are solid lawyers in the construction space that are responsive and smooth operators, easy and a pleasure to work with.’

Damon So has a very commercial approach.’

Responsible, prompt feedback and update.’

Able, smart and attentive.’

Key clients

Build King Construction Limited

Fortune Pharmacal Co. Ltd.

Cocking & Co LLP

Construction boutique Cocking & Co LLP has rapidly made headway in the local market since its establishment in 2019. Despite its relative infancy, the firm has a core team of heavyweight practitioners who had previously worked together for many years at Clyde & Co LLP. In addition to directly receiving instructions from a range of stakeholders (including developers, contractors, landowners and public bodies), the firm’s independent status has also ensured that it regularly picks up referral work from international law firms. Although the firm is strong in all aspects of the project lifecycle, it particularly stands out in dispute resolution, with its team advising on risk management and representing clients in formal court proceedings. Founding partner Ian Cocking is 'one of the leading construction practitioners in Hong Kong'. He leads the 12-strong team, which is 'stuffed to the gunnels with talented construction lawyers', including the 'smart and engaged' Dennis Wong and Gilbert Kwok.

Practice head(s):

Ian Cocking

Other key lawyers:

Gilbert Kwok; Dennis Wong

Testimonials

‘ A boutique construction law practice that punches way above its weight. It is stuffed to the gunnels with talented lawyers that are experts in construction law. Their diversity is exemplary as the partners led by Ian Cocking build a truly unique practice in Asia.’

‘Highly focused on their clients – partner-driven relationships with an army of young Asian lawyers being trained for the next generation of leading experts in the area.’

‘Cocking and Co fill a niche in the market for a pure construction law firm with a wealth of local knowledge and capability.’

‘With Ian Cocking at the helm, clients can be sure that their interests are looked after and that early resolution of issues is always at the forefront.’

‘The Cocking & Co team is very approachable and fully engaged with our team. They have in-depth knowledge of our industry and understand the commercial imperatives that drive our business. Not only are they excellent lawyers, but they also provide good strategic insight.’

‘Ian Cocking is one of the leading construction practitioners in Hong Kong and he brings a level of gravitas and heavyweight strength that few firms can match. When combined with Dennis Wong and Gilbert Kwok, this is a team that has been together for many years and which has weathered many storms and come out on top.’

‘Very attentive and prompt in response. Paid attention to details and helped in identification of appropriate counsel and expert witnesses.’

‘The partner I worked with, Mr. Dennis Wong, was very familiar with the construction contract and fitted perfectly in the case of our organisation. He showed his competence in every aspect of the case.’

Key clients

AMTD Group Company Limited

AWJC Associates Limited

Casey Company Limited

Chubb Hong Kong Limited

Konwall Construction & Engineering Co Limited

National Petrochemical Company

The Bank of East Asia Limited

University of Wollongong

We Architects Limited

West Kowloon Cultural District Authority

Yearfull Contracting Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Chubb Hong Kong Limited (Defendant), a registered fire service installation contractor, to defend against multimillion-dollar claims by various parties regarding the fire services installation at a container terminal in Hong Kong.
  • Acting for The Bank of East Asia Limited (Plaintiff) against Lixil Corporation (Defendant) in respect of certain façade works of a commercial building in Central, Hong Kong.
  • Advising a construction company in a High Court litigation concerning a construction dispute arising out of a property development in Hong Kong.

Deacons

Led by the 'highly focused and efficient' Kwok Kit CheungDeacons' team has a particularly strong reputation for successfully resolving construction disputes for private sector entities through the use of ADR. Its work includes matters concerning defects and delays, late/non-payments and extensions of time. Joseph Chung is 'not only a very knowledgeable lawyer, but also a highly experienced construction disputes litigator'. The firm also advises on competition law issues impacting the industry, and is able to provide particularly effective and commercial advice by leveraging the expertise of in-house economist Sharon Pang.

Practice head(s):

Kwok Kit Cheung

Testimonials

In addition to their excellent professional legal knowledge, the key members of the team are also very experienced and familiar with the construction industry.’

Expert in legal and construction field, provide timely and effective opinions.’

The advice is precise and practical.

KK Cheung is knowledgeable and his advice is always thorough, practical and helpful.’

‘KK Cheung is an outstanding litigator; he is highly focused and efficient.’

Joseph Chung is one of the top construction lawyers in Hong Kong. He is not only a very knowledgeable lawyer but also a highly experienced construction disputes litigator.’

Justin Yuen is proactive and responsive.’

Key clients

Ching Lee Engineering

Gold Brilliant Investment

Kwan On Construction Co

Gurkhas Construction

Cheung Hing Construction Co Ltd

KML Engineering Ltd

Work highlights

  • Represented Ching Lee and its employee in a major industrial summons (widely reportedin the press) for alleged violation of the Buildings Ordinance and involving injury to a pedestrian, in a 27-day trial and appeals all the way up to the Court of Final Appeal.
  • Advising Kwan On Construction Co Ltd on the administration of various substantial projects involving the use of NEC contracts and on the preparation of tenders involving use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Modular Integrated Construction (MiC).
  • Acting for Kwan On and its subsidiary in two High Court actions in which they claim over HK$50m from their sub-contractors in relation to landslip preventative works under the Landslip Prevention and Mitigation Programme 2017 Main Contract between Kwan On and the HKSAR Government.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper is able to leverage its broad commercial litigation and corporate prowess, as well as its large international footprint, to advise a wide range of stakeholders on a variety of domestic and cross-border mandates. Drawing upon his strength in resolving commercial disputes, Harris Chan is able to handle complex construction claims (via litigation and ADR) for contractors, consultants and developers. May Ng, who is ‘capable and responsive’, co-heads the practice with Chan.

Practice head(s):

Harris Chan; May Ng

Other key lawyers:

Sandy Au

Testimonials

‘DLA has a very strong construction practice and an unrivalled breadth of support from its global offices. The team always performed at a very high standard and is our go-to firm for high-value and complex disputes.’

‘A strong all-round practice in the construction disputes space.’

‘May Ng is very bright and very hands-on. She has excellent judgement and her advice is always very clear and commercial.’

‘May Ng  is capable, responsive and has a keen mind toward strategies for mutual settlement rather than drawing out disputes longer than they should be.’

Sandy Au is a brilliant lawyer and a very experienced construction lawyer. She is very thorough and a pleasure to work with.’

May is my main contact at DLA Piper. May is a very experienced construction and arbitration lawyer and she has always been instrumental in helping us to decide the best strategy to conduct our cases. She is extremely sharp and very approachable and her advice is concise and practical.’

Key clients

Thiess Mongolia LLC

Work highlights

  • Represented Thiess Mongolia in Hong Kong High Court proceedings for a multimillion- dollar dispute to recover payment for its mining works in Mongolia from a Hong Kong listed company and its subsidiary.

Minter Ellison

Jointly led by the 'clever and commercially astute' Steven Yip and Malcolm Chin, Minter Ellison's 'totally unflappable' ten-strong team is best-known for its contentious expertise, where it 'instills confidence in clients, as they really understand the industry and leave no stone unturned'. The group also has niche expertise advising on matters at the intersection of construction and IP law, including cases involving alleged copyright infringements of industrial designs.

Practice head(s):

Steven Yip; Malcolm Chin

Testimonials

‘I have no hesitation in recommending MinterEllison for construction disputes work. Further, I find them totally unflappable, very sound, a safe pair of hands and excellent at the overall strategy of a dispute. MinterEllison just instills confidence in clients as they really understand the industry and leave no stone unturned.’

Apart from his comprehensive construction legal knowledge, Malcolm Chin also understands the client’s business and practical needs.’

‘I would recommend Steven Yip and Malcolm Chin. I would describe them as excellent communicators, as well as capable and fantastic lawyers who put their heart and soul into every case.’

Steven Yip – valued advice on the strategy.

Key clients

The Government of Hong Kong

Veolia

AECOM

China Harbour Engineering Company

China Metallurgical Group Corporation

Chun Wo Group

Construction Industry Council

West Kowloon Cultural District Authority

Tysan Foundation

Shinryo Corporation

China Road and Bridge Corporation

Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Company

Far East Consortium International

PYPUN-KD & Associates Ltd

Jardine Engineering Corporation

Work highlights

  • Acted for PYPUN-KD & Associates in a  Commission of Inquiry into the construction works at the Hung Hom Station Extension under the Shatin to Central Link Project.
  • Acted for K H Foundations against a developer group of companies involving complex legal arguments including time at large and estoppel after the superstructure contractor was allowed access to site while the foundation contractor’s works were still substantially underway (please see further details below – publishable matter 6).
  • Represented China Harbour Engineering in a significant IP dispute involving complicated third party proceedings commenced against the potential infringer.

GPS Legal LLP

Established in 2017, Hong Kong-based independent boutique GPS Legal LLP displays 'first-class knowledge' of the domestic construction market and has quickly gained traction among contractors and developers engaged in contentious matters. Phillip Georgiou has 'a deep understanding of the law in the construction sector and is always on top of the latest legal developments'. He co-heads the practice with Sonny Payne, who is one of the few practising lawyers in Hong Kong who is also a chartered engineer.

Practice head(s):

Phillip Georgiou; Sonny Payne

Other key lawyers:

Anna Kim

Testimonials

The team’s knowledge of construction law and the Hong Kong construction market is first-class and all advice provided is on-point and on-time. The partners are proactive, straight-talking and industrious and deliver with a no-nonsense attitude.’

Phillip Georgiou has a deep understanding of the law in the construction sector and is always on top of the latest legal developments. He is a practical and straight-talking lawyer who is prepared to roll-up his sleeves in get stuck in. Phil delivers a top-notch service and always looks to provide value for money.’

Sonny Payne’s knowledge of the Hong Kong construction industry is outstanding. Being qualified as an civil/structural engineer and as a lawyer gives clients the confidence that he really knows his subject matter and is able to deliver advice which is on-point every time.

The team’s service is always on time, prepared and delivered to a high standard, and always on budget. Because they are very experienced in the construction and engineering legal field, they have no problem offering commercial fee proposals that fit our legal budget and they always stick to the budget, unlike most other lawyers.’

HFW

HFW is highly regarded for its strengths in contentious construction matters. Its practice is led by 'commercial and experienced' partner Martin Downey, who acts for public bodies, quasi-governmental bodies and international contractors. Downey is a qualified arbitrator and mediator, and has extensive experience of acting as counsel in cases held under the auspices of the HKIAC, ICC and SIAC, among others. Ben Bury, who is 'an excellent young construction lawyer', has also built up significant knowledge of construction disputes in the Asia Pacific region.

Practice head(s):

Martin Downey

Other key lawyers:

Ben Bury

Testimonials

‘Very co-operative and friendly approach.’

‘The commercial, tough and experienced Martin Downey has particular knowledge of how Government thinks and operates in the context of big disputes.’

‘Ben Bury – the details man. Rolls up his sleeves and gets stuck in. Doesn’t stop until he really understands the technical issues. Great manner – approachable, affable, but as tough as nails when it comes to it. An iron fist in a velvet glove.’

Ben Bury is an excellent young construction lawyer.’

Strong construction team with plenty of experience in complex domestic and international arbitrations. Well-resourced team with strength in depth and always able to ensure that the team is available to assist when required. Excellent partner engagement with extensive expertise in the construction sector.

Martin Downey – Partner. A hands on top-notch construction lawyer, an extremely hard working and accessible partner. Excellent communication skills and always available when needed. Excellent strategist but also prepared to roll up his sleeves and get stuck-in to the nitty gritty of a case.

Ben Bury – Partner. Superb communicator and excellent construction lawyer. Very active and quick to get to grips with the core elements of the case and focus on the substantive arguments. Excellent legal mind and always willing to go that extra mile to support the team. Advice is always on point and delivered on time.

Li & Partners

The ‘knowledgeable and attentive’ team at Li & Partners provides a ‘proactive and responsive‘ service to developers, contractors and public sector entities (including numerous China-based SOEs). Team head Man Sing Yeung, who is also a qualified chartered surveyor, is highlighted for his ‘in-depth knowledge of the construction industry’. Yeung is particularly well-known for his expertise in contentious construction matters, although non-contentious work is also a pillar of his practice.

Practice head(s):

Man Sing Yeung

Testimonials

‘The lawyers are knowedgeable and attentive.’

The team is fully coordinated and industrious to cater to the needs of the client.’

The team is proactive and responsive.’

The construction team is famous for providing quality and practical legal services to contractors and developers.’

Man Sing Yeung is very easy to work with and understands the client’s needs very well. He is a professional quantity surveyor having in-depth knowledge in the construction industry, from front end to back end. He is highly regarded in the arbitration and mediation field.’

Man Sing Yeung has substantial experience in construction arbitration and provides a highly efficient and professional service.’

Man Sing Yeung is very experienced both in the building industry as well as the legal profession.’

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright's construction team garners praise from clients for its 'extensive knowledge of the industry, as well as its strong local Hong Kong capability'. The group undertakes a significant amount of work for contractors/sub-contractors and developers, particularly in relation to construction disputes; its experience in this space includes cases arising from delays, defects and payment issues. The practice is led by the 'very analytical and considered' Alfred Wu, who is regularly at the forefront of the most significant disputes handled by the team. He is noted for his engineering background, which 'enables him to quickly assess technical issues and apply his engineering knowledge to great advantage'.

Practice head(s):

Alfred Wu

Testimonials

‘The very responsive team has strong technical engineering knowledge, provides excellent client service and good teamwork.’

‘Although the team is probably smaller than some other construction teams in Hong Kong, it certainly punches above its weight and compares very favourably with other construction practices in Hong Kong. It has an extensive knowledge of the industry as well as strong local Hong Kong capability.’

‘ Alfred Wu is very analytical and considered and an appropriately cautious litigator. He does not ‘shoot from the hip’, but weighs things up carefully, always considering the strategic advantages and implications before acting.’

‘Alfred Wu is a very experienced construction dispute lawyer. His engineering background is a bonus, as it enables him to quickly assess technical issues and apply his engineering knowledge to great advantage.’

Alfred is extremely dedicated, hard working and has shown a mastery of the case. He has been heavily involved in almost all aspects of the case, kept track of the complex facts while ensuring the case is presented simply and clearly to the Tribunal. Phil Nunn has been of great assistance to the counsel team and Alfred, providing practical and clear advice on legal, factual and tactical issues.’

Key clients

Asia Allied Infrastructure Holdings Ltd

Hsin Chong Aster Building Services Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing a leading construction and engineering contractor headquartered in Hong Kong in ad hoc arbitration proceedings in Hong Kong in relation to disputes arising out of a contract regarding the redevelopment of a luxury residential development in Hong Kong.
  • Advising a leading construction contractor in Hong Kong on litigation proceedings regarding the construction of a new building at the Hong Kong International Airport against an airline.