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THE CONSTRUCTION of the new Wembley Stadium has turned into one of the most contentious building projects of recent years, with disputes ongoing or looming between mmost of the major parties involved.
In June this year, Mr Justice Jackson handed down his judgment in the dispute between Australian building company Multiplex and North Eastern steel contractors Cleveland Bridge - the company responsible for the new signature arch.
Multiplex, instructing Clifford Chance construction litigation partner Alex Panayides, sued Cleveland Bridge for 38m in respect of an alleged breach of contract. Cleveland Bridge promptly hired Leeds firm Walker Morris to counter-claim, claiming that Multiplex owed it 22m in lost earnings.
Jackson J ruled that Multiplex had acted lawfully in its dealings with Cleveland Bridge and dismissed the counter-claim.
Cleveland Bridge is appealing against the decision and has chosen to ditch Walker Morris and lead counsel Hugh Tomlinson QC of Matrix Chambers. Mayfair firm Reid Minty has been engaged in Walker Morris's place, with 4 Stone Buildings' George Bompas QC as lead counsel.
However, the two junior barristers who acted for Cleveland Bridge during the trial, Keating Chambers' Simon Hargreaves and Maitland Chambers' Thomas Grant, are retained for the appeal.
Meanwhile, Panayides and Multiplex's lead counsel Roger Stewart QC of Four New Square are continuing to act for Multiplex as it goes through a number of adjudications with other parties involved in the Wembley construction.
One such adjudication is with Football Association (FA) subsidiary Wembley National Stadium Limited (WNSL). Multiplex says WNSL owes it substantial amounts of money, a claim which has been upheld by an adjudication.
However, the two side went to court this month after WNSL challenged that decision. WNSL is represented by Pinsent Masons, which has advised the company throughout the Wembley project.
Electrical sub-contractor Honeywell has also challenged an adjudication ruling in the High Court and other parties, including engineers Mott McDonald, are understood to be brought into the dispute shortly.
Multiplex has said that the disputes with parties such as WNSL will not further delay the opening of the stadium, which is already well behind schedule.