Michael O'Shea Partner

Speaks:  English

Qualified: 2017 - Solicitor Ireland

Qualified: 1996 - Solicitor of England & Wales

Primary office:  Birmingham

Michael O'Shea

Michael O'Shea has a wealth of experience in relation to the construction industry and the management and resolution of disputes arising out of the challenges and uncertainties in this sector. He qualified and practiced as a Quantity Surveyor before re-qualifying as a solicitor in 1996. He became a partner at Masons in 2000 and joined Gowling WLG as a partner in 2006. Michael is also qualified in Ireland.

Michael heads the contentious practice and is known as one of the leading lawyers in his field combining academic analysis with pragmatic commercial advice.

He has been a visiting lecturer at the University of Manchester and was involved in a number significant research projects which were cited in Sir Michael Latham's review of the construction industry 'Constructing the Team' and Lord Woolf's report on the Civil Justice System 'Access to Justice'. He is a CEDR Accredited Mediator, Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.


Michael O'Shea leads the department's contentious practice, representing contractors, developers and organisations in disputes arising from high-value and technically complex projects. He is well known in the market, with one source saying: He is an exceptionally talented and commercially aware lawyer with a strong customer focus, ideal to deal with.
Chambers & Partners 2023.


Michael is one of a small number of construction specialists who have taken a dispute to the Supreme Court (then called the House of Lords) winning the landmark case of Alfred McAlpine Construction Limited v Panatown Limited [2000] relating to privity of contract.

He was also involved in one of the very first decisions in relation to the jurisdiction of adjudication disputes: Shepherd Construction Limited v Mecright Limited [2000].

Client include:

  • Wates Group
  • Morgan Sindall GroupMuse Developments
  • Legal & General Modular Homes
  • Sanctuary Housing Association
  • Lidl UK GmbH
  • Sheffield City Council
  • Transport for Greater Manchester
  • Metropolitan Housing Trust
  • A number of specialised subcontractors


  • A 15 party Court action relating to significant defects in an office complex in Cambridge.
  • Advising a modular homes provider in relation to general project advice relating to a number of large scale developments.
  • Assisting an large provide of social housing relating to issues arising out of the insolvency of a main contractor engaged on a number of schemes.
  • Advising on issues relating to delay and increased cost in relation to a large inner city regeneration scheme.
  • Representing a specialist concrete frame sub-contractor in a multi - million pound arbitration relating to the construction of a new national sports stadium.
  • Representing a main contractor in dispute in relation to the scope and operative effect of a clause in various sub-contacts under which the main contractor argued it was not required to make any further payments to its sub-contractors where its developer employer had entered into administration. The matter was ultimately decided by the Court of Appeal.
  • Representing a specialist ground engineering contractor in a High Court action in relation to the collapse of a soil embankment as part of the redevelopment of a soft drinks manufacturing facility.
  • Representing a main contractor in relation to name borrowing proceedings to recover additional payments relating to the construction of a retail and commercial development. The matter was ultimately decided by the Court of Appeal.
  • Representation of a main contractor in relation to a claim for the defective design and construction of element of a new berthing facility on the River Mersey.
  • Representing a main contractor in arbitration proceedings relating to the construction of a sixth form education college. The dispute concerned the entitlement to extensions of time and payment for variations.
  • Over 100 Adjudications relating to matters concerning payment, extensions of time, defects and final account disputes.

Career & Recognition

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