Fiona Cain


Fiona Cain is a disputes lawyer with 20 years’ experience of commercial litigation and arbitration. Prior to her appointment to counsel, she was an associate in our international disputes team in London and has been with CDG for 18 years. She conducts energy, offshore oil and gas construction, and shipbuilding litigation and arbitration. Fiona’s practice primarily focuses on legally and technically complex high-value maritime and offshore construction disputes. She has also worked on of a broad range of contractual disputes involving UK and international parties and cross-border issues.

Fiona has represented clients in arbitration disputes under the rules of the LMAA, the ICC, the LCIA, and the SCMA, as well as ad-hoc arbitrations and in litigation matters in the Commercial Court and Technology and Construction Court of the Business and Property Courts in London, and at mediation. She has acted for rig and ship owners, oil companies, fabricators and contractors, drilling contractors, and shipyards amongst others in disputes concerning termination of construction contracts, contractual variations, responsibility for delay and related cost overruns, defective goods and warranty issues, as well as appealing, challenging, and enforcing arbitration awards.

Fiona is a co-author of the chapter on shipbuilding contracts governed by the law of England and Wales in Law Business Research’s Getting the Deal Through – Shipbuilding 2018, having helped write this chapter since 2014, and co-authored it for the 2015, 2016, and 2017 editions. She has had articles published in Building Magazine, Lloyd’s List, Inside Oil and Gas, Insurance Day, Maritime Risk International and Offshore Technology Focus. She regularly writes for the Haynes and Boone website on a wide range of issues relating to her practice and was the editor for the CDG Knowledge Centre.


Getting The Deal Through – Shipbuilding 2020: England and Wales

Getting the Deal Through – Shipbuilding is part of the series of Getting the Deal Through law guides published by Law Business Research that provide an overview of specialist areas of the law in a variety of international jurisdictions. This chapter on shipbuilding contracts governed by the law of England and Wales is written by Haynes and Boone lawyers William Cecil, Fiona Cain and Chrysa Kitsou.

Selected Client Representations

  • Acted for a UK-based engineering services company in an arbitration in respect of the supply of the tower fabrication assembly for a pipelaying vessel. The arbitration was to determine a significant final account for the works by their subcontractor including delay and disruption claims, liquidated damages, and variation claims, often related to complex welding issues.
  • Acted for one of the world's largest owners of oil/product tankers in proceedings in the Commercial Court in the English High Court against a Korean shipyard, pursuing substantial damages claims for the shipyard’s alleged renunciation of an Option Agreement for the construction of up to 12 product tankers. Defended a counterclaim by shipyard that our client breached confidence in respect of a number of associated arbitration proceedings.
  • Successfully represented four subsidiaries of one of the world's largest owners of oil/product tankers in connection with claims against a Korean shipyard in respect of losses suffered following the shipyard's repudiation of four shipbuilding contracts. Clients awarded significant damages following an LMAA arbitration. Now assisting the clients in respect of enforcement efforts including liaising with Korean Counsel in respect of the shipyard's rehabilitation process in Korea.
  • Acting for a drilling contractor in respect of a dispute with a leading supplier of engineering services. The contractor has asserted claims in excess of USD10m in respect of losses it contends it has suffered as a result of the supplier's alleged design and planning failures in respect of the project. The supplier is counterclaiming in respect of project milestone payments which it contends should have been paid, as well as losses and increased costs allegedly incurred/suffered by it as a result of our client having allegedly caused delay/disruption to the project due to a fire, a flood and a release of asbestos.
  • Acted for one of the largest corporations in China in a successful London Arbitration (LMAA) pursuing significant claims against the buyers of two semi submersible drilling rigs for the contract price and defending counterclaims for misrepresentation and breaches of contract claims.
  • Acted for a major Asian shipyard in an ad-hoc arbitration in London defending a claim for the return of installments paid to the shipyard for the construction of four floating liquefied national gas production vessels.
  • Acted for a drilling rig owner in a substantial Singapore-based arbitration arising out of its contract for a major upgrade of a semi-submersible drilling rig with a European shipbuilding and offshore yard. The arbitration related to claims on both sides with an overall amount in dispute of over €50 million. It involved extensive factual evidence as well as technical and quantum expert evidence relating to numerous (145) disputed variations across the range of engineering disciplines, delay and disruption claims, and claims for liquidated damages for delay. The arbitration had two preliminary hearings in Singapore as a result of which the arbitration was successfully settled prior to the final hearing.
  • Acted for a European shipyard in a successful appeal of an arbitral award on point of law under section 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996 and a successful challenge under section 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 for serious irregularity of an arbitral award - Van der Giessen-De-Noord Shipbuilding Division BV v Imtech Marine & Offshore BV - [2008] EWHC 2904 (Comm)
  • Acting for an oil and gas major in an ICC arbitration based in Geneva on a dispute arising out of the insolvency of the EPC head contractor at a critical phase in the construction and upgrading of a power and desalination plant in the Middle East.
  • Acted for a Singaporean shipyard in relation to the conversion of the Solitaire pipelay vessel. The firm took over the case from a major City law firm after the dispute had been running for a number of years. The arbitration was the largest marine arbitration ever to have taken place in London.  Fiona was primarily involved with pursuing the shipyard’s variation and delay claims.
  • Advising upgrade contractors/project managers in connection with post-completion disputes relating to cost overruns and delays involving two offshore projects (an FPSO conversion and FSO newbuild) with a major Brazilian energy company in the Commercial Court - Braspetro Oil Services Co and another v FPSO Construction Inc and another [2005] EWHC 1316 (Comm).

Recent Developments

Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships Webinar

Mark Johnson and Fiona Cain involved in wide ranging discussion on recent developments, challenges, key benefits and predictions for the future of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) with industry experts at the forefront of development and operations of MASS.

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