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Emma Schaafsma (Kratochvilova)


Emma specialises in dispute resolution on large-scale international construction and engineering projects, primarily in the energy and infrastructure sector. 



A specialist in construction and engineering law for over 20 years, Emma represents clients in complex and high-stake disputes arising on all aspects of international construction and engineering projects.  She has particular experience advising on disputes involving major power and process plants, LNG, vessel, road and rail projects, typically concerning delay and disruption, loss and expense, defects and performance failures and final account claims. Emma's practice focusses on arbitration, litigation and mediation, as well as other forms of ADR.  Her experience includes international arbitration under ICC, JCAA and LCIA rules, as well as ad hoc arbitrations. 

A specialist in construction and engineering law since 2000, Emma headed the market-leading construction disputes team at HSF Tokyo for 10 years, before relocating to our London office in 2019.  During her time in Tokyo, she was consistently ranked Band 1 and Leading Individual 2012 – 2018 by both Chambers Asia-Pacific and Asia-Pacific Legal 500, for construction work.  Described as "unbelievably insightful" and "the kind of specialist who only appears once in a generation" in Asia Pacific Legal 500 (Dispute Resolution) 2018, she is distinguished by clients for having "a good sense of both the legal and business values", and "exceptional leadership" as a "master of the construction field" (Chambers Asia-Pacific (Japan, Construction) 2018, Asia-Pacific Legal 500 (Japan, Real Estate & Construction) 2018. 

Her experience includes:

  • advising Japanese contractors in relation to expert determination and potential ad-hoc arbitration proceedings on claims arising under an EPC construction contract for a geothermal power station in New Zealand
  • representing a Japanese contractor in ICC arbitration in London concerning delay, defects and loss and expense claims arising from the construction of an Algerian power and desalination plant
  • representing a Japanese trading company as EPC contractor in ICC arbitration regarding the early termination of a multi-million Euro FIDIC Silver Book construction contract for a European rail project
  • advising Marubeni Corporation on drafting and negotiating contracts for the supply of 300MW pulverised coal boilers for the Nghi Son 1 and Thai Binh coal-fired thermal power plant projects
  • representing a Japanese manufacturer in US litigation proceedings arising out of an overheating incident at a US power facility


Emma is qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales.  She spent her first two years in Japan on secondment in the international legal department of a major Japanese heavy industries contractor in Tokyo.