Sean Garbutt Principal Associate

Speaks:  English

Qualified: 2017 - Solicitor of England & Wales

Primary office:  Birmingham

Sean Garbutt

Sean is an experienced construction litigator and a Principal Associate in Gowling WLG's contentious construction team. He has acted for, more or less, the full range of parties involved with construction related disputes, including national house builders, public sector employers, developers and their funders, main contractors, subcontractors, designers and consultants, insurers, end user employers and insolvency practitioners.

Sean has a particular expertise and experience in building safety disputes, including acting for the successful applicant in the landmark case of Triathlon Homes LLP -v- SVDP & Get Living PLC; which was the first contested Remediation Contribution Order under the Building Safety Act and of national importance. Aside from his experience of actions under the Building Safety Act, Sean has also acted on a number of disputes concerning fire safety matters, acting for both claimants and defendants, and has settled a number of these matters for multi-million pound sums.

In addition to his building safety practice, Sean has considerable experience in 'traditional' construction disputes concerning delays, payment disputes, defects and insolvency. In particular, Sean takes a keen interest in disputes with technical or engineering elements and has experience in matters such as concrete floor slab defects, geotechnical engineering/modelling disputes, paving failures, rail and infrastructure projects, and waste to energy engineering disputes. This breadth of experience has been gained in various dispute resolution mechanisms (litigation, arbitration, adjudication and mediation) and across all of the major forms of contract (JCT, NEC, FIDIC, IChemE, ICE and RIBA) as well as ad-hoc and bespoke contractual forms.


  • Acted for the successful applicant in Triathlon Homes LLP -v- (1) SVDP (2) Get Living PLC (3) EVML [2024] UKFTT 26 (PC)
  • Acted for a national house builder in relation to ACM cladding installed on a high-rise residential block to the commencement of trial. Settled on favourable terms against the project architects prior to the conclusion of trial.
  • Currently acting for a funder / freeholder in respect of an external wall fire safety matter on a prime central London hotel and adjoining residential accommodation. Due for Trial in Spring 2025
  • Currently acting for a JV company in relation to various disputes arising under a Development Agreement for the large scale regeneration of a former industrial site in south London
  • Currently acting for a local authority in respect of various disputes with statutory and non-statutory bodies arising out of the development and construction of a new railway station in North London
  • Acted for a household name vehicle manufacturer in relation to a multi-million pound defective paving claim against the project architects and main contractor. The matter settled shortly before trial on favourable terms for the client.
  • Acted for a local authority in arbitration proceedings relating to a high profile Waste to Energy site
  • Acted for a developer / funder in relation to wide ranging and significant concrete slab defects at an industrial unit against the Design & Build Contractor.
  • Acted for the successful claimant in Croudace Homes Ltd v PRB Wiring Solutions Ltd [2020] EWHC 2139 (TCC) concerning enforcement of an adjudicator's decision.
  • Advising a specialist sub-contractor in relation to payment and delay disputes with a main contractor in relation to a landmark development in Birmingham.

Career & Recognition

Filter timeline:
  • 2023

    • Career
      July 2023
      Gowling WLG (UK), Principal Associate
  • 2021

    • Career
      January 2021
      Gowling WLG (UK), Senior Associate
  • 2017

    • Career
      September 2017
      Gateley Legal, Solicitor
    • Qualifications (Year of Call/Admission, etc.)
      Qualified, Solicitor of England & Wales
  • 2015

    • Career
      September 2015
      Michelmores, Trainee
  • 2014

    • Rankings & Awards
      November 2014
      Devon and Somerset Junior Lawyers Division, Chair
  • 2012

    • Career
      September 2012
      Michelmores, Paralegal
  • 2011

    • Education
      University of the West of England, LPC
  • 2010

    • Education
      Swansea University Law, LLB