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Matthew E. Smith

Fax +44.(0)20.7648.9001

Mr. Smith focuses on advising on UK and international transport, energy and infrastructure projects and disputes. He has more than 20 years experience in advising on construction and infrastructure projects and has acted for owners, contractors and consultants on many different disputes utilising many different forms of dispute resolution including litigation, arbitration, adjudication and mediation. He regularly advises on procurement strategy and contractual arrangements for major infrastructure projects, particularly those utilising the New Engineering Contract. He is frequently requested to lecture on the subject and holds one day workshops on the use of the NEC.

He also has extensive experience drafting bespoke contracts for owners, consultants and contractors and amending standard forms of contract, including FIDIC, JCT, ICE, IChemE, LOGIC and AIPN and the RIBA appointments, GC Works and the PSC and ACE conditions, to suit particular projects and negotiating contract terms.

He is described in Chambers as “a very hard-working guy who puts his clients’ interests above all else” with “standout infrastructure experience” and is recommended for his "enthusiasm, attention to detail and plain speaking" (Chambers 2012-2015)

Professional Background

Matthew has been a lawyer with the firm since 2000. He qualified as a lawyer in 1995.


  • Selected as a London Super Lawyer 2013-2015

Professional/Civic Activities

  • NEC Users Group
  • MDBF Corporate Panel Member, Dispute Board Federation. Geneva 
  • FICACIC (Member)
  • Society of Construction Law (Member)
  • Technology and Construction Solicitors' Association, (Committee Member)
  • Arbitration Club (Executive Committee Member)
  • Building Regulations Advisory Committee 2001-2003 advising the Deputy Prime Minister on legal issues relating to Building Regulations
  • Qualified Solicitor Advocate (Higher Rights of Audience)

Speaking Engagements

  • ‘EPC Contracts for Major LNG projects’ Joint K&L Gates/Marsh Seminar on EPC Contracting in the Oil and Gas industry, Houston, 2 November 2015
  • NEC: ‘The Need for Change’ NEC People Conference 2015: watch YouTube video of presentation
  • The NEC3 Suite: Beyond the ECC K&L Gates Seminar 7th October 2015
  • International Rail Summit 2015 ‘Procurement Strategies for Major Rail Projects’ Barcelona 28 January 2015
  • ISLP Workshop on ‘Structuring, Negotiating and Managing LNG Projects’ Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania, 13-17 October 2014
  • FIDIC International Contract Users Conference ‘Construction Claims and Defence Workshop’ London, 4 December 2014
  • NEC People Conference: ‘From Adjudication to Z clauses’ 17 June 2014
  • Construction Law Masterclass: FIDIC in Qatar 15 May 2014
  • NEC LinkedIn Conference ‘Raising the bar: awareness of events giving rise to time bars for late notification of compensation events’, 25 June 2013
  • FIDIC Americas Conference 'Successfully Resolving International Disputes under FIDIC' New York, 4th October 2012;
  • 'Construction Risk Management for Major Projects' Joint Marsh/K&L Gates Conference Dubai, 26 September 2012;
  • 'Successfully Resolving International Construction Disputes' Arbirtration Club, 2 October 2012
  • NEC LinkedIn Conference 'When it all goes wrong: A spirit of mutual mistrust and non¬cooperation?' 25 June 2012;
  • 'NEC: Compensation Events and Programme' Issues K&L Gates client workshop 7 June 2012; 'NEC: Warranties and Defects' K&L Gates client workshop 24 May 2012;
  • 'FIDIC Claims: Time Bars and Documentation' FIDIC Regional Conference Warsaw 26-27 April 2012;
  • 'Construction Act Amendments: Payment and Adjudication' K&L Gates client workshop 22 September 2011;
  • 'Limitations of Liability: Recent Case Law' K&L Gates seminar 29 March 2011;
  • 'NEC: Compensation Events and Design Issues' K&L Gates client workshop 22 March 2011;
  • C5 2nd Offshore Energy Insurance Forum 'Risk Allocation and Insurance Provisions in Offshore Construction and Drilling/Well Services Contracts' 15-16 June 2011;
  • 'Offshore Construction All Risks Insurance: Contractual and Coverage Issues' Joint Indecs/K&L Gates Conference 19 May 2011;
  • 'Construction Insurance' K&L Gates seminar 25 May 2010;
  • 'NEC Contract Skills: Administration and Management of Compensation Events under the NEC' K&L Gates client workshop 15 September 2010;
  • 'NEC Contracts: Commercial Items and Defects' K&L Gates client workshop 1 September 2010; 'Understanding the Balance of Risk under the NEC' K&L Gates Seminar October 2010.

Additional Information

Matthew contributed several chapters to Construction Insurance and UK Construction Contracts (Second Edition), published by Informa in September 2008. He has published articles in journals on a range of matters including the NEC, construction insurance and health and safety issues.

  • Acting for an oil and gas contractor in a major adjudication under an NEC ECC Option C contract for a project to convert underground salt caverns for use as gas storage facilities.
  • Advising on EPC contracts (both onshore and offshore) in relation to a $10bn LNG Facility in southern Africa.
  • Advising on and preparing the terms and conditions of a Supply Systems and Integration, Rolling Stock and Track maintenance contract for a major c. $36bn metro project in Doha using a modified FIDIC Yellow Book and a complete set of contract documents;
  • Advising a major rail provider on and drafting all contract documents for an Automatic Train Control signaling upgrade contract (c. £760m) using an amended NEC3 Option C. This involved preparing the documents for the invitation to tender followed by detailed negotiations and drafting and advising on a related 10 year technical support agreement;
  • Advising a major rail undertaking in relation to a substantial adjudication under an NEC ECC Option A contract in relation to a track immunisation project;
  • Advising on disputes arising from force majeure events under Feed Gas Supply Agreements for a major gas liquefaction project;
  • Advising on restructuring an existing £1billion infrastructure project using an NEC2 Option C (target price) contract and drafting and negotiating supplemental agreements amending the contract.
  • Advising on a €1billion project for subsea cabling using the FIDIC Silver Book EPCT contract including drafting subcontract forms.
  • Advising an institutional property investment fund on standard amendments to the FIDIC Yellow, Red and Silver and White Books for a shopping mall and associated infrastructure in Beijing, China, and liaising with local lawyers to advise on particular conditions to suit local requirements.
  • Advising a major rail provider in relation to its Transmission Based Train Control (“TBTC”) signaling system contract and advising on a new supplemental agreement to the long-standing high-value contract (c.£750m),drafting a further supplemental agreement and a technical support agreement;
  • Acting for a major high profile transport undertaking advising on the main construction works tender for a £700m infrastructure upgrade project
  • Preparing amendments to the NEC3 Engineering and Construction Contract and Professional Service Contract standard terms and conditions for 13 Framework Agreements for procuring major projects
  • Defending a £37m adjudication in relation to rolling stock performance
  • Advising on main construction contracts forming part of a major £1bn infrastructure project using a modified NEC3 Option C target cost contract
  • Acting for a cement manufacturer in arbitration proceedings against a structural and geotechnical engineer relating to late completion of a cement works in Ewekoro, near Lagos, Nigeria
  • Advising on a £300m project using the NEC3 Engineering and Construction Contract including amendments to the mechanisms for payment and tender procedure
  • Acting for an energy company in relation to claims by contractor for additional payment and damages concerning a project to construct a process plant in Mozambique.
  • Acting for a contractor preparing and negotiating LOGIC contracts for a €30 million project to supply pipes for an oil pipeline
  • Advising a Joint Venture between two major contractors on various multi-million pound disputes with the employer, the electrical and the mechanical sub-contractors involving both adjudications and proceedings concerning the major refurbishment of a hotel in Paddington, London
  • Advising a contractor on the effect of provisions in onshore and offshore contracts relating to a $1.7bn Gas to Liquid Project in Nigeria
  • Acting for a property company in relation to a series of disputes arising from the construction of a golf resort, hotel and leisure complex;
  • Acting for a joint venture in proceedings against an insolvent firm of mechanical and electrical engineers, and six different insurers. The joint venture sought declarations in relation to the insurers reservation of rights concerning the coverage provided by primary and excess layer insurance policies.
  • Acting for an international logistics company in proceedings against a main contractor under a warranty concerning late completion and defective works in a warehouse and distribution centre.
  • Acting for an engineer in proceedings by a construction manager relating to late completion of a shopping centre development in Bristol.
  • Acting for an engineer in proceedings in relation to delays to the construction of a motorway service station caused by unforeseen ground conditions.
  • Developing the new integrated project insurance policy in conjunction with the UK Office for Government Commerce and the Strategic Forum for Construction. This is a "no fault" insurance policy for the construction industry which will tested on several pilot projects in the public sector.