Atkin Chambers is a leading set of commercial barristers specialising in disputes arising out of construction and engineering, energy, IT, and other infrastructure projects. Disputes are varied and relate to a wide range of sectors and subject-matter, including transport, oil and gas, water, renewable energy, shipbuilding, offshore construction, and social infrastructure projects including major flagship and landmark projects.
As one of the two leading English sets in this field, and the winner of this year’s Chambers & Partners UK Bar Construction Set of the Year, our barristers appear in many of the highest value and most significant cases both within the UK and globally. Members have been involved in disputes relating to The Shard, stadia such as Wembley and the Olympic Stadium, projects involving London Underground, Heathrow Airport and various international airports across the Middle East and South-East Asia, and the Panama Canal, among many others.
Around half our work has an international component and from the earliest stage in their careers, members have the opportunity to explore an international dimension to their practice. Cases frequently involve projects situated across the globe and require us to work with and against, and to appear in front of, lawyers from many other jurisdictions. Chambers therefore has a strong international outlook and prizes an understanding of, and appreciation for, other cultures and legal systems.
Members appear regularly in the Technology and Construction Court and Commercial Court, as well as the Court of Appeal and the UK Supreme Court. Alongside court work, a significant proportion of our disputes are resolved through arbitration (both in the UK and elsewhere), adjudication and mediation. Members have also been involved in public inquiries, including the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and the Al-Sweady Inquiry.
As with other areas of commercial practice, the principal legal areas of our work are contract law, torts (particularly the law of negligence), and unjust enrichment. Some of the leading cases in these subjects, with which applicants may be familiar, are construction cases including Murphy v Brentwood, Ruxley Electronics v Forsyth, McAlpine v Panatown, Aspect Contracts v Higgins Construction, Burgess v Lejonvarn and Triple Point Technology v PTT Company.
Beyond these core elements of private law, members are frequently required to advise on, and appear in, cases which raise jurisdictional issues, questions of corporate insolvency or company law, procedural issues relating to the particular dispute resolution process at hand (be it court, arbitration, or construction adjudication, which is a statutory dispute resolution procedure unique to construction disputes) and aspects of administrative law (in particular, public procurement).
Members of Atkin Chambers are authors of authoritative and influential legal texts in our practice area, including the Building Law Reports, the International Construction Law Review, and Hudson’s Building and Engineering Contracts - the seminal work on the law relating to building and engineering contracts, which has been produced by members of Chambers for over 50 years. Members are frequently invited to give lectures on our practice areas across the globe.
What most distinguishes our work from other areas of commercial practice are the facts to which the law is applied. Our disputes relate to tangible infrastructure and systems, much of which is technically complex. Members of Chambers are skilled at gaining an in-depth understanding of technical areas with which they might have had limited previous familiarity and distilling what is important in a case from a large amount of factual information so that it can be presented in a compelling way.
In addition to being challenging, it is this variety of technical and factual applications that makes our area of practice one of the most intellectually rewarding and varied available at the English Bar.
Chambers is a close-knit, collegiate and supportive environment within which to develop a successful legal career. The training of pupils, and ensuring they reach their fullest potential, is treated as a matter of the utmost importance. That training does not end upon tenancy: new members continue to benefit and learn from a wealth of knowledge and experience around them. In addition, one of the most experienced and well-resourced clerking and support staff teams at the Commercial Bar is available to help members to develop successful practices and achieve their career goals.
We are based in beautiful and spacious premises in Gray’s Inn, which look over the Gray’s Inn Walks. Each member has their own room as well as use of a modern suite of meeting rooms with full technical support for remote hearings and meetings.
Chambers is committed to recruiting pupils and tenants who are highly motivated and have an interest in practising in the areas of law in which we specialise. Members come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures and have taken a range of different routes (academic and vocational) to becoming a barrister. All are valued. There is no single mould within which candidates must fit. A science or technical background is not required, nor is a pre-existing knowledge of construction law, although candidates should have a firm grounding and interest in contract and tort law. Chambers encourages applications for pupillage from law and non-law graduates alike. Applicants for pupillage should have a first-class degree or a good upper second-class degree. Postgraduate qualifications are viewed favourably but are not essential.
We encourage you to visit our website
– for further information and to view our new videos which showcase members’ views of life in Chambers, how to apply, and the experience of pupillage. If you have any questions which are not addressed on our website, or our Pupillage Policy, please contact us at email@example.com and we will respond quickly.
Our Pupillage Offer
We offer two 12-month pupillages. The annual pupillage award for pupils starting in September 2023 is £72,500. Chambers offers a drawdown of up to £25,000 from the pupillage award by way of funding for the Bar Training Course.
Details of our pupillage process can be found on our website and in our Pupillage Policy.
Application Assessment Criteria
The recruitment of pupils and tenants will be on the basis of the Pupillage and Recruitment Committee’s assessment of the following seven factors:
1. Understanding and use of the law – breadth of legal knowledge, ability to identify and apply relevant legal concepts and principles.
2. Written work – structure, accuracy and precision, persuasiveness.
3. Oral advocacy – preparedness, presentation style, clarity, persuasiveness, ability to anticipate and address opposing points, ability to respond under pressure.
4. Integrity – honesty and straightforwardness in professional dealings, awareness of ethical issues.
5. Working with others – ability to establish rapport with clients and other lawyers, responsiveness, ability to meet deadlines.
6. Diversity – awareness of the diverse needs and perspectives of others.
7. Commitment to practice in Chambers – interest in and commitment to our fields of practice.
Equality and diversity
Atkin Chambers is committed to respecting and understanding the cultural needs of its diverse and global client base and has always prized equality and diversity in both recruitment and the provision of services. We continue to recognise the importance of increasing social mobility at the Bar and look at all applications for pupillage and mini pupillage solely on merit and irrespective of race, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy, maternity or paternity, disability, religion or belief, age or political persuasion. We welcome applications from graduates of all universities and from all backgrounds and all sections of the community with the ability and determination to succeed as a barrister.