Mr James Howells KC > Atkin Chambers > London, England > Barrister Profile

Atkin Chambers
1, Atkin Building, Gray's Inn


James specialises in infrastructure, construction, energy and IT disputes both domestic and international. James regularly appears as an advocate in the English Courts and in international arbitration in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. He has extensive experience of arbitration under all major institutional rules and in ad hoc references. James is regularly instructed in other forms of dispute resolution.

James’ experience of domestic and international infrastructure projects has included metro and heavy rail, roads, and airports across the globe.

Experience of energy disputes has included numerous claims relating to the design, construction of oil and gas production platforms and rigs and their commercial operation including onshore and offshore (including UDW) drilling. Numerous shipbuilding disputes have addressed some of the largest submersible/semi-submersible rigs in addition to the design and construction of drill ships and FPSOs. James has extensive experience of power-related disputes ranging from thermal and nuclear plants to waste-to-energy and renewable energy sources including wind, wave, hydro, solar and biomass production. IT experience includes commercial and technical disputes in respect of projects ranging from financial services/banking, commodities trading and commercial business systems to major government IT infrastructure and services outsourcing projects.


Contributing Editor: ‘Hudson’s Building and Engineering Contracts’ 12th to 14th editions.


MA (Cantab), BCL (Oxon). Silk 2014.




TECBAR, LCLCBA, COMBAR, SCL, Society for Computers and Law.

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Construction

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 4

James Howells KC – Atkin Chambers ‘James is a highly intelligent and hard-working KC who is always a pleasure to deal with. His legal and strategic analysis is excellent, and his advocacy is considered and persuasive.’

London Bar > IT and telecoms (infrastructure and contracts)

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 2

James Howells KCAtkin ChambersVery bright, strategically astute and provides clear advice. A brilliant tech sector barrister who is user-friendly and top of his game.’ 

Building on its status as one of the pre-eminent construction sets, the members of Atkin Chambers are well-placed to act in disputes related to the systems underpinning large-scale facilities including airports, train networks, power stations and hospitals. David Streatfeild-James KC is acting for a supplier of renewable source electricity and energy solutions in a £40m termination dispute pertaining to the allegedly negligent design of a new billing and data management system raising issues of breach of contract, limitation of liability and possible fraudulent misrepresentation – a four-week trial is set for 2024. Patrick Clarke acts for the defendant in TCC proceedings concerned with a claim for £1m in connection with the engineering of an automated manufacturing process for fighter jet countermeasures. Peter Land, as a former engineer, is experienced in transport systems disputes, James Howells KC has an international practice in this space.

London Bar > Energy

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 2

James Howells KCAtkin Chambers ‘James is very thorough and methodical on large technical disputes, and he explores the evidence in depth before cross-examining witnesses.’

London Bar > Professional negligence

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 3

James Howells KCAtkin Chambers ‘A strategist who provides clear, focussed advice.’

London Bar > International arbitration: counsel

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 2

James Howells KCAtkin Chambers ‘A go-to silk – a brain the size of a planet, always knows the detail and the documents better than anyone else in the room, incisive cross-examination of expert witnesses, whether factual or technical, and a pleasure to work with to boot. James is extremely user-friendly, attentive, responsive and accessible.’

Asia Pacific - The English Bar > Construction, energy and infrastructure

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 2

James Howells KC – Atkin ChambersJames is extremely user-friendly and his advice is practical and clear.’

Middle East: The English Bar > Construction

(Leading silks)Ranked: Tier 1

James Howells KCAtkin Chambers ‘James is an excellent lawyer who is very bright and strategically astute.’

Atkin Chambers is renowned for its proficiency in construction, energy, and infrastructure disputes, notably mixed-use, transportation, and power developments. Chantal-Aimée Doerries KC often handles disputes arising from the development of sizeable infrastructure and industrial facility projects. Andrew White KC, Fiona Parkin KC, and Simon Lofthouse KC act as counsel in arbitrations across the Gulf while David Streatfeild-James KC is experienced in renewable energy and mixed-use construction projects. James Howells KC specialises in contentious power mandates, and Riaz Hussain KC is often instructed by sizeable contractors and developers. Zulfikar Khayum is principally focused on international arbitration, and Samar Abbas’ recent caseload includes transport and water infrastructure projects. Christopher Reid is also a key member of the set.