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Portrait of Emma Schaafsma

Emma Schaafsma


CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
Cannon Place
78 Cannon Street
United Kingdom
Languages English, Dutch

Emma Schaafsma (Kratochvilova) is a partner in the Disputes Resolution team in London. 

Emma has over 20 years’ experience representing clients in high-value and complex disputes arising on international construction projects in the energy and infrastructure sectors.  Projects include power and process plants, LNG tank and terminal, wind (onshore and offshore), road and rail; in South East Asia, China, the Middle East, the United States, Mexico, South America and New Zealand.  

Emma’s experience includes supporting clients on claims arising during project execution, Dispute Board referrals, expert determination, mediation and arbitration (ad hoc and under various institutional rules).   During her career she spent 13 years in Japan, including two years in-house at an international heavy industries contractor. She has been recognised as a leading lawyer in the directories since 2013.  

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Relevant experience

  • A contractor in relation to a $bns JCAA arbitration concerning two EPC power plant projects in Africa.
  • An international boiler supplier in US litigation defending and (following mediation) successfully settling claims following catastrophic overheating of the super-critical boiler during the start-up phase of the construction of a power plant project in Texas, USA.
  • A contractor in ICC arbitration in London concerning delay, defects and loss and expense claims on a power and desalination EPC project in North Africa.
  • A heavy industries contractor in ICC arbitration in Tokyo defending claims brought by a subcontractor on an Asian high speed rail project.
  • A civil engineering contractor in relation to ICC arbitration and parallel litigation concerning delays, variation claims and a tunnel collapse on a major highway infrastructure project.
  • An international energy corporation against an Asian EPC contractor in LCIA arbitration concerning claims arising during the warranty period on a coal fired power plant project in South America.
  • A Saudi Arabian subsidiary of a large Asian oil and gas company in an ICC construction arbitration in Singapore on its claims for EOT and delay related costs arising on a petrochemicals project in Saudi Arabia.
  • A Japanese trading company as respondents in ICC arbitration, Geneva, regarding an international highway construction project.
  • A Japanese trading company in JCAA arbitration in Tokyo for the recovery of sums due under multiple contracts for the supply of construction equipment in Saudi Arabia.
  • An English biotech company in ad hoc arbitration in London against a contractor in relation to claims arising under a design-build contract for the construction of facilities in England.
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Memberships & Roles

  • TeCSA 
  • SCL UK 
  • IPBA
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  • CPE & LPC College of Law, Guildford
  • BA Hons., Durham
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CMS Risk Es­sen­tials We­bin­ar
Nav­ig­at­ing con­tract ter­min­a­tion and bey­ond: a re­view of re­cent case law and prac­tic­al guid­ance En­sur­ing a smooth ter­min­a­tion of con­trac­tu­al re­la­tion­ships is a com­mon con­cern for com­mer­cial busi­nesses...
APAC Re­gion: Man­aging Risk in a Volat­ile Mar­ket
Leg­al Is­sues to Con­sider and Man­age in 2022/2023 2022 was a chal­len­ging year for many busi­nesses, in­clud­ing for those in the en­ergy sec­tor. 2023 looks to be just as de­mand­ing. Slow glob­al growth, the war in Ukraine, con­tinu­ing sup­ply chain chal­lenges as well as the after-ef­fects of the COV­ID-19 pan­dem­ic are some of the factors caus­ing dis­rup­tion to busi­ness.Here, we high­light some of the leg­al is­sues that a party do­ing busi­ness in the en­ergy sec­tor in a volat­ile mar­ket could ex­pect to en­counter, and how the risks may be man­aged. Sup­ply chain risk Cur­rent sup­ply chain short­ages and re­stric­tions, ex­acer­bated by la­bour and ma­ter­i­als cost in­fla­tion which con­tin­ue from the Cov­id-19 pan­dem­ic.Man­age risks by:Act­ively re­view­ing ro­bust­ness of sup­ply chain in a crisis (at all tiers). Ef­fect­ive force ma­jeure draft­ing and plan­ning.En­sur­ing there is suf­fi­cient se­cur­ity for de­liv­ery ob­lig­a­tions and car­ry­ing out reg­u­lar cred­it checks on sup­pli­ers.  Ter­min­a­tion risk Volat­ile mar­kets tend to res­ult in ad­di­tion­al ter­min­a­tion risks:Man­age risks by:Re­view port­fo­lio of key con­tracts for con­tracts at risk. Act­ively en­gage with coun­ter­parties to mit­ig­ate risk of ter­min­a­tion for es­sen­tial con­tracts.Util­ise ter­min­a­tion rights to es­cape oner­ous con­tracts. Coun­ter­party risk In­creased coun­ter­party in­solv­ency risk caused by mar­ket volat­il­ity.Man­age risks by:Con­duct­ing ef­fect­ive due di­li­gence.Car­ry­ing out de­tailed as­sess­ments on cred­it­wor­thi­ness.En­sur­ing fin­an­cial se­cur­ity in the event of in­solv­ency (on-de­mand bonds, let­ters of cred­it etc.). Gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion The in­creas­ing ex­port or im­port-re­lated re­stric­tions im­posed by Gov­ern­ments.Man­age risks by:Con­sid­er­ing ful­fil­ment of con­trac­tu­al ob­lig­a­tions.Re­view­ing con­trac­tu­al rights and abil­ity to use al­tern­at­ive sources of sup­ply.Care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion of trade port­fo­lio. EPC ‘Hot mar­ket’ A per­fect storm of un­der sup­ply, over de­mand, in­fla­tion pres­sures, and leg­acy of the Cov­id-19 pan­dem­ic for the en­gin­eer­ing pro­cure­ment and con­struc­tion mar­ket will re­quire ef­fect­ive man­age­ment of:Prop­er as­sess­ment of abil­ity to de­liv­er at tender stage.Con­trac­tu­al dam­ages and in­cent­ives for ‘on time’ de­liv­ery.Man­aging pro­ject change. Sanc­tions Sweep­ing fin­an­cial glob­al sanc­tions as a res­ult of Rus­sia’s War on Ukraine may im­pact your busi­ness.Man­age risks by:Re­view­ing nex­uses to Rus­sia.Identi­fy­ing sanc­tions which ap­ply.Man­aging any busi­ness from a repu­ta­tion­al and ESG-based per­spect­ive, and con­sider al­tern­at­ive op­tions. Price volat­il­ity LNG spot price is at an all-time high, with po­ten­tial volat­il­ity in all com­mod­ity mar­kets.Man­age risks by:Care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion of counter-party non-de­liv­ery, force ma­jeure/ter­min­a­tion.Pre­par­ing for cir­cum­stances of an in­ab­il­ity to de­liv­er / ac­cept de­liv­ery and wheth­er any force ma­jeure clause ex­cuses per­form­ance.Check price re­view / re­open­er clauses in long-term agree­ments.Care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion of any im­pact on cost base and mar­gin calls. ESG trans­form­a­tion The drive to­wards net zero and ESG ex­pect­a­tions.Man­age risks by:Re­view­ing con­trac­tu­al ar­range­ments for car­bon neut­ral trad­ing and con­tract­ing.Con­sid­er­ing wheth­er counter-party net zero and / or ESG com­mit­ments have ad­equate rem­ed­ies in the event of breach.Man­aging reg­u­lat­ory changes and com­pany policies.
ESG in Con­struc­tion - a view from the mar­ket
In June 2022, CMS hos­ted a Roundtable event on “The im­pact of En­vir­on­ment­al, So­cial and Gov­ernance (ESG) con­sid­er­a­tions on the con­struc­tion in­dustry” with seni­or rep­res­ent­at­ives from stake­hold­ers in UK and over­seas con­struc­tion pro­jects.  The dis­cus­sion centred on how rap­id de­vel­op­ments in the ESG space are im­pact­ing cor­por­a­tions and the pro­jects they are en­gaged on.  
New FID­IC Green Book Re­leased: a rival to the First Edi­tion Red and Yel­low...
FID­IC has re­cently pub­lished the second edi­tion of its Short Form of Con­tract, the “Green Book”, as an up­date to the 1999 edi­tion. This re­lease is im­port­ant not only in terms of the re­vised or new...
ESG: Ten steps to suc­cess for con­struc­tion com­pan­ies
Con­struc­tion is one of the sec­tors most ex­posed to ESG con­sid­er­a­tions. De­car­bon­isa­tion is a par­tic­u­lar con­cern, as com­monly used con­struc­tion ma­ter­i­als ac­count for a sig­ni­fic­ant per­cent­age of car­bon emis­sions.In 2020, the United Na­tions En­vir­on­ment Pro­gramme cal­cu­lated that the build­ing sec­tor was re­spons­ible for 38% of glob­al en­ergy-re­lated CO2 emis­sions – and that an­nu­al pro­gress in de­car­bon­isa­tion had halved between 2016 and 2019. Suc­cess­ful de­car­bon­isa­tion will re­quire ma­jor changes in the sec­tor, with much great­er levels of both in­vest­ment and in­nov­a­tion.We high­light ten top-level steps for con­struc­tion com­pan­ies that want to max­im­ise their ESG per­form­ance and be­ne­fits.