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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Roger ter Haar QC

Roger ter Haar QC

Crown Office Chambers2 Crown Office RowTempleLondonEnglandEC4Y 7HJ

Thought Leader

Thought Leaders - Construction 2020


WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Roger ter Haar QC is a well-respected silk with an incredible degree experience in construction arbitrations. 

Questions & Answers

Roger’s practice as an international arbitrator covers Construction, Engineering, Insurance, re-insurance, Energy, Shipbuilding and Professional Negligence. In June 2020, after a career spanning 40 years as an advocate he ceased to accept fresh instructions for advocacy work in order to concentrate on his international arbitration practice. Roger’s appointments include presiding arbitrator, tribunal member and sole arbitrator, principally  in the ICC, LCIA, DIAC and SIAC. Arbitral seats have included London, Dubai, Oman, Singapore, and the Caribbean.
What have you enjoyed about working as counsel and arbitrator throughout your career?
Over the last 40 years I have had the privilege of working with a fascinating range of people from different parts of the world and different backgrounds … and working against an equally fascinating range of people. Most construction disputes, no matter how complex, and no matter what contractual niceties arise, result from human decisions, and the way in which humans react to situations.
What has been your most interesting case to date and why?
So many to choose from! To select one (nothing to do with construction law) dealing with a long running and bitter series of cases concerning religiously driven anti-abortion protestors and their protests around abortion clinics. This raised very interesting questions as to the role of the state in protecting highly sensitive medical records
What qualities make for an effective construction barrister?
Two contradictory qualities: the ability to see the broad picture and the ability to dive into and absorb minutiae. It is not always easy to maintain the balance between the two.
In what ways is digitisation impacting the construction sector? What are the potential benefits and drawbacks of these new technologies?
Specifically in respect of construction arbitration, hearings now are radically different from what they were five years ago with the arrival of fantastically effective document management systems which enable work to be done with great efficiency without the amount of hard copies which used to be necessary, although I still prefer hard copies of central documents such as core pleadings.
This has enabled the work of arbitration to proceed in the covid-19 environment in ways which would have been unimaginable until very recently.
What are the main challenges of having such a global practice?
Obviously, the need to travel extensively, but as I have said, this is changing rapidly. But also the need to try to understand other cultures than that in which I grew up: dealing with cases remotely will tend to make such understanding more difficult.
To what extent do you think that the construction industry will change dramatically over the next decade?
This is difficult to answer – covid-19 and climate change are bound to have huge effects, but quite how they play out separately or together is hard to read. I suspect political instability will be the largest factor, and the most unpredictable to gauge.
In June 2020 you moved from counsel work to concentrate on work as an arbitrator - what inspired this change and how do you see your practice developing over the next five years?
Being an effective advocate requires an energy level and devotion to long hours suited to those a bit younger than me, and different to the more measured rhythm of being an arbitrator, where the “cab rank” rule of being required as a matter of professional ethics does not apply.
My hope is that there will be a few parties willing to appoint me as arbitrator.
What advice would you give to someone starting out a career in your field?
Whilst obviously becoming specialist as a modern lawyer must do, try to keep up to date with developments of the law in areas in which you are not specialist – it is fascinating to remember how often concepts developed in other areas of the law can be brought to bear in one’s own specialism. But most importantly, always keep in mind the human dimension – try to think what your client wants and expects, your opponents think, and the judges and arbitrators react to what is put in front of them.

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended
Professional Negligence 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Roger ter Haar QC is a standout name in the market and harnesses his expertise to advise clients on professional negligence claims.


Roger’s practice as an international arbitrator covers Professional Negligence, Construction, Engineering, Insurance, re-insurance, Energy, and Shipbuilding.

In June 2020 he ceased to accept new instructions to act as counsel in order to concentrate on work as an arbitrator. During a career spanning over 40 years as an advocate, he appeared as leading counsel in many cases in these areas before trial and appellate courts and arbitral tribunals, including a number of high-value international arbitrations in London, Paris, Geneva, Muscat, Dubai, Qatar, Hong Kong, Singapore, Perth, New York and Washington D.C., and included claims where the amounts at stake were in billions of dollars..

He has vast expertise in the areas of major infrastructure works, Energy (including notable experience including wind farm and Oil & Gas disputes), contracts for the sale of oil, claims related to waste disposal plants and claims relating to contracts for the construction and maintenance of power stations. Additionally, his experience covers allegations of negligence against financial service advisors, insurance brokers, underwriting agents, doctors, solicitors, barristers, surveyors and valuers, architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, patent agents, educational psychologists, teachers and others

Roger’s appointments include presiding arbitrator, tribunal member and sole arbitrator, principally (though by no means exclusively) in ICC, LCIA, DIAC and SIAC. Arbitral seats have included London, Dubai, Oman, Singapore, and the Caribbean. His appointments have involved a wide variety of governing laws, including the laws of England, Hong Kong, Australia, and India as well as Sharia law.

His common law expertise is complemented by a wide experience of civil law systems, including UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait Egypt and the Philippines.

National Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended
WWL Ranking: Recommended
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