Chambers UK 2023 / Legal 500 2023 Hall of Fame
'Sally is a no-nonsense, pragmatic and sensible lawyer. She helps drive through hurdles on complex cases.' 'She is flexible, accommodating and thorough in her preparation.' 'She's a very astute and sharp lawyer.'
‘Sally Davies is outstanding in her knowledge and tactical nous.’
Sally Davies serves on Mayer Brown’s Management Committee and is also a senior and highly regarded partner in the Litigation and Disputes Resolution team. She has extensive experience in the litigation, arbitration (domestic and international LCIA, ICC,UNCITRAL), mediation and adjudication of construction industry disputes. She advises owners, contractors, engineers and consultants, subcontractors and suppliers, as well as professionals and insurers, on all aspects of construction and engineering law. She has resolved such disputes involving airports, sports stadia, harbour facilities, nuclear facilities, waste water treatment plants, LNG plants, motorways, mines, roads, bridges, cranes and railways, dams, office facilities, distribution centres and water treatment facilities as well as traditional construction projects.
Sally has been a highly experienced litigator for many years and has dealt with numerous multi-party construction disputes both in litigation and arbitration. One of her most notable and successful cases, in which she defended chartered surveyors and valuers against claims of negligent valuation, proceeded to the House of Lords and is one of the leading cases on the law of damages. Her wide-ranging project involvement has given her considerable experience in resolving loss and expense claims, payment disputes in addition to claims involving issues of delay, disruption, prolongation and acceleration of works.
Sally is a contributor to various construction industry publications, client newsletters, bulletins, legal updates and reviews.
Areas of Focus
- Representing an EPC contractor in an LCIA arbitration against its piping and mechanical subcontractor relating to the delays and disruption to the construction of the South Hook LNG facility, the largest LNG re-gasification terminal in Europe and part of Qatargas 2. Our role included a detailed analysis of the performance of the subcontractor, including its welding productivity, in order to defend claims for prolongation costs and an extension of time. We worked closely with programming experts and the factual witnesses to build up a robust picture of poor performance and productivity by the subcontractor, leading to a successful resolution for the client.
- Successfully advising Carey Value Added SL (Spanish real estate investment fund) in defending High Court litigation concerning breaches of loan documentation and the construction of a landmark London hotel in Aldwych. The claim was £70m and successful counterclaim was around £40m. Reported decision in 2013. Trial of 9 weeks with a significant construction element involving delays and breach of contract. One of two leading cases on the interpretation of a Material Adverse Change provision.
- Advising a consortium consisting of a UK contractor and a Swedish contractor on a dispute (subject to LCIA arbitration) with its US design consultant relating to the defective design of a road pavement for a motorway in the North of England.
- Advising a main contractor in the pursuit of its claim against the designer of four water treatment plants following defects being identified in the engineering process relating to the water flows.
- Successfully defending a multi-national engineering consultancy in a LCIA arbitration commenced by the main contractor and relating to the design of the track fixings for the Docklands Light Railway in London.
- Representing insurers in disputes arising from the construction of a major UK sports stadium.
- Advising insurers in relation to infrastructure disputes involving three major roads and motorways in the UK.
- Representing excess public liability insurers in a dispute concerning major harbour works in the U.K. as they are affected by the implications of the judgment in Associated British Ports v. Haecon.
- Advising public liability insurers on claims arising out of Heathrow Airport.
- Representing a leading UK contractor and its insurers in a multi-party dispute arising from the design and construction of a large warehouse and distribution centre. This included defending the employee’s claim and, in turn, claiming from the responsible consultants and subcontractors.
- Representing a utility company in arbitration proceedings against a major rival water company for negligence and/or breach of contract in the design, supply and installation of tertiary treatment units at sewage works in England.
- Representation of a major US contractor in an international arbitration (ICC) with an Indian employer relating to the design and construction of an iron ore smelting plant in India. The claim concerned the alleged failure of the plant to meet performance. The contract was subject to Indian law.
- International dispute (presently mediation) concerning the failure of a carbon monoxide plant in Southeast Asia. Representing insurers in a joint venture between an international oil company and an international contractor.
- Represented Multi Design Consultants (consulting structural engineers) in the claim against them by George Fischer (UK) Limited. The claim involved allegations of an implied collateral contract with the employer and negligence in design of the roof of George Fischer's head office building in Coventry. This was a multi-party action which proceeded to the Court of Appeal. Reported at first instance in George Fischer (GB) Ltd. v. Multi Design Consultants & Others (1999), 61 Con LR 85.
- Represented York Montague Limited (chartered surveyors and valuers) in proceedings brought by South Australia Asset Management Corporation (a lending institution) in connection with an alleged negligent valuation of a proposed development at Fergusons Wharf in Canary Wharf. The judgment, at first instance, is reported in the Estates Gazette. The case proceeded to the House of Lords and is one of the leading cases on the law of damages. South Australian Asset Management Corporation -v- York Montague  3 WLR 87.~~
- Represented several UK design and build contractors in geotechnical disputes relating to in the infilling of open cast mines and subsequent ground movement and subsidence causing damage to residential properties, underground pipework and buildings.
- Defending different firms of Quantity Surveyors in adjudications and contemplated litigation and arbitration proceedings in relation to 3 major hotel projects in London. Claims total over £350 million.
- Other reported decisions include Pozzolanic Lytag Ltd -v- Brian Hobson Associates 1999 BLR 267, and Birse -v- Haiste  1 W.L.R. 675.
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University College London (University of London), LLB (Hons)
The College of Law, London
- England and Wales
- Solicitor Advocate with Higher Rights of Audience (Civil)
- American Arbitration Association
- Society of Construction Law
- The Adjudication Society
- Technology & Construction Solicitors Association
Highly regarded and consistently ranked as a key individual by the directories:
- Band 1: Construction. Sally Davies co-leads the construction and engineering professional indemnity team at the firm. She offers a wealth of experience in contentious construction work, frequently representing clients in litigation and adjudication proceedings. She is adept at advising on claims for delays, as well as construction and design defects. "She is flexible, accommodating and thorough in her preparation." "Sally is a no-nonsense, pragmatic and sensible lawyer. She helps drive through hurdles on complex cases." "She's a very astute and sharp lawyer." (Chambers UK 2023).
- Listed in the 'Hall of Fame' and a key lawyer for Construction and Insurance. ‘Sally Davies is outstanding in her knowledge and tactical nous. James Morris is cut from the same stone.’ (Legal 500 2023).
- Sally Davies leads the construction and engineering professional indemnity team at the firm. She offers a wealth of experience in contentious construction work, frequently representing clients in litigation and adjudication proceedings. She is adept at advising on claims for delays, as well as construction and design defects. "Sally is a rock-solid senior partner with good commercial instincts." (Chambers UK 2022).
- Listed as a 'Leading individual', 'key lawyer' and a name to note for Professional Negligence and a 'key lawyer' for Construction, ‘Sally Davies is an amazing leader of her team, and her experience and strategic thinking shine out.’ (Legal 500 2022).
- Listed as a 'Leading individual' for Professional Negligence and as a 'key lawyer' for Professional Negligence, Infrastructure and Construction ‘Sally Davies is, in my opinion, amazing. Because of her great personality, knowledge and fantastic advice, she commands huge respect from everyone.’ (Legal 500 2021).
- Sally Davies focuses her practice on claims involving valuation, defective materials and design matters. She frequently represents surveyors, architects and construction companies. "She is a good lawyer - very personable and constructive." (Professional Negligence); Sally Davies leads the construction and engineering professional indemnity team at the firm. She offers a wealth of experience in contentious construction work, frequently representing clients in litigation and adjudication proceedings. She is adept at advising on claims for delays, as well as construction and design defects. "She is an outstanding lawyer who mixes great legal advice with practical business sense." "She is always there to help and will not let you down." (Construction) (Chambers UK 2021).
- Sally Davies is noted for her advice to construction companies and engineers as well as their insurers. Sources report: "She is good at tactically managing a case and getting a settlement for clients way beyond what's expected because she's a good negotiator." (Chambers UK 2020, Professional Negligence).
- "Market-leading construction lawyer" Sally Davies leads the construction and engineering professional indemnity team at the firm. She offers a wealth of experience in contentious construction work, frequently representing clients in litigation and in alternative dispute resolution. She is adept at advising claims for delay as well as construction and design defects. Clients "wholeheartedly value her strategic and practical advice," while other sources describe her as a lawyer who is "at the top of her game." (Chambers UK 2020, Construction).
- Listed as a 'Leading individual' and under 'Other key lawyers', Sally Davies, who co-leads the construction and engineering professional indemnity team, is 'very client-friendly, and is able to steer a course between insurer and insured to deliver a result'. 'Sally Davies and James Morris are extremely knowledgeable, engaging and give very practical advice.' (Legal 500 2020, Professional Negligence).
- Listed under 'Other key lawyers' 'Practice head Michael Regan and Sally Davies are key contacts in this area, with both particularly well versed in contentious matters.' (Legal 500 2020, Infrastructure).
- Senior partner Sally Davies advises on construction and engineering-related negligence, including instances related to large infrastructure projects. Sources say: "She is just extremely good for construction matters, and is very good at client management." (Chambers UK 2019, Professional Negligence).
- Sally Davies is highly rated by clients, who emphasise her “ability to grasp the real issues and put forward persuasive arguments in support of her case.” (Chambers UK 2019, Construction).
- Sally Davies is "exceptionally good both from a legal and practical perspective" and jointly leads the construction and engineering professional indemnity team. (Legal 500 2018 Construction).
- "brilliant" (Legal 500 2018 Professional Negligence).
- Sally Davies is an "extremely pragmatic, persuasive and capable" lawyer who has an excellent reputation for her contentious practice. She often handles professional indemnity and insurance issues in a construction context. One commentator notes: "Sally is very approachable but combines this with real steel. She also gives great practical advice." (Chambers UK 2018).
- Particularly noted for construction-related cases Sally "resolves problems rather than scoring points". (Legal 500 2017).
- The "committed and intelligent" Sally Davies concentrates on claims that arise from construction projects. She has experience acting on disputes for a wide range of properties and construction businesses. (Chambers UK 2017 - Professional Negligence).
Sally Davies is "very practical and a very good tactician" who co-leads the construction and engineering professional indemnity team. She wins praise for her work in insurance matters and for her defence of supplier-side clients against a range of claims. (Chambers UK 2017 - Construction).
- Sally Davies "fights the corner well but not at the expense of the relationship". (Legal 500 2016).
- Sally Davies is frequently engaged in complex construction cases including multiparty disputes and claims against surveyors and valuers. Observers note: "She is tough, gets results and always acts with her client's best interests at heart." (Chambers UK 2016).
- Under Infrastructure, Sally is singled out - she "sees the bigger picture"; under Construction she stands out "when it comes to the tactics of achieving a favourable settlement". (Legal 500 2015).
- Sally Davies gains plaudits across the board, with one client highlighting her as "a real asset and a wonderful support to our firm." (Chambers UK 2015).
- Construction & Engineering partner Sally Davies was named in the London Super Lawyer 2014 top 50 women list.
- Sally Davies takes "an excellent strategic approach" (Legal 500 2014).
- Is "hard as nails," according to a market commentator which it comes to negotiating; she has a "fearsome reputation as a brilliant negotiator" and is praised for providing a "high-end service" and for her "technical ability" (Chambers UK 2014);
- Is "a very astute and experienced litigator" with "the ability to get people to focus on the right issues."(Chambers UK 2013);
- "It is great to work with an external lawyer who understands and shows an interest in all aspects of our business". "Forward-thinking" (Legal 500 2012);
- Is praised for "quickly getting to the heart of the matter" (Chambers UK 2012);
- Is also "praised for her resolute approach and recognised as "one of the most successful defence solicitors out there; her record speaks for itself" (Chambers UK 2010);
- "meets deadlines and 'does the right deal' at the right time" (Legal 500 2010);
- Is "a tough opponent who really fights for her clients"; is highly esteemed as "a direct and responsive contentious partner who gets results." (Chambers & Partners UK Directory 2009);
- Is “a tough practitioner, who serves her clients well” (Chambers UK 2007);
- "Always gives 100% for her clients and is a 'formidable opponent'" (Legal 500 2007);
- Is recommended as “exceptional” in her role with the Professional Indemnity team (Legal 500).