Shamila Neelakandan

Shamila Neelakandan

Leadership – Partner

Shamila Neelakandan is a dual qualified Lawyer (Malaysia and UK) with over 24 years of legal, contracts and commercial experience in the construction industry. She is a Fellow with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Shamila has worked on major projects, including power generation and water desalination, oil and gas, rail and infrastructure opportunities throughout Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia. She previously had a regional role in HKA with a practice responsibility for the consulting group’s businesses in Africa, Middle East and Asia. Shamila now heads the HKA Malaysian operations and has profit and loss responsibility within the business for the local region. She also regularly heads up commissions and manages teams with various skill sets in the delivery of client assignments.

Shamila commenced her career as an international lawyer focusing on dispute resolution before progressing to consulting. She has since developed her expertise in tender negotiations, procurement, commercial strategy and claims management. Shamila also has experience in strategic project implementation, risk evaluation and risk management and has advised and assisted the boards of directors of multi-national organisations around the world on project turnaround and financial recovery assignments. Her extensive projects portfolio includes the London Underground, Dubai Metro Link, Bosphorus Crossing, Istanbul, Shuaibah IWPP, Saudi Arabia, Kusile Power Plant, Africa and the Sealine Offshore Project, Iraq.

Clients find Shamila’s legal and commercial experience in both civil and common law jurisdictions an asset in managing their disputes. She is familiar with most current standard forms of contract and has an excellent working knowledge of the FIDIC suite of contracts.



The Exchange 106 (Signature Tower), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2018-present)
Retained to provide final account assessment involving unpaid sums, variations and back charges. Worked with client’s legal counsel on claim strategy to pursue dispute resolution to recover sums. Project valued at US$1bn.

UOB Tower 2, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2018-present)
Retained to provide retainer services in contracts management and claims preparation. Project valued at US$100m.


MRT 2 Sungai Buloh–Serdang–Putrajaya Line (MRT SSP), Malaysia (2018-present)
Review of delay and cost issues arising in the live project. Advising clients on claims and contracts management during project execution phase. Project valued at US$70.36m.

Tibar Bay Port – Marine and Land Works (World Bank Project), East Timor (2018)
Undertook contractual risk assessment of key areas of the main contract, downstream and upstream contractual framework.

Lusail Development Project – Primary Infrastructure Works (Package 2), Qatar (2015)
Reviewed claims pertaining to taking over and post completion defects. Advised on contractor obligations during warranty and commercial settlement surrounding security bond.

Metro Project, Dublin, Ireland (2012)
Contracts and commercial adviser in respect of the subcontract procurement framework and negotiation on behalf of the client in finalising terms and conditions.

Bosphorus Crossing Marmaray Project, Turkey (2009-2011)
Provided claims preparation services. Advised client on subcontract procurement framework for the manufacture, supply and installation of the building engineering and mechanical works for the TBM, NATM tunnel and station project. Led contract negotiations before proceeding to draft suite of subcontract documents. Project valued at US$1.6bn.

Monorail Project, Lagos, Nigeria (2010)
Retained by the concessionaire developer to provide strategic procurement and contract framework advice based on project requirements as set out by the Nigerian government. Project valued at US$800m.

Tube Lines Claims Management, London, UK (2009)
Provided contractual and commercial assessment of a cumulative impact claim arising from refurbishment works undertaken on the London underground network for the maintenance and upgrade of infrastructure on the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines. Project valued at US$7.5bn.

Metro Rail Link Project, Dubai, UAE (2008)
Engaged to advise the joint venture contractor on strategic, contractual and claims advice. Also undertook risk matrix for contractual framework. Prepared extension of time and cost claims arising out of design, engineering and construction delays. Supported negotiations with public utilities body, DEWA on technical utilities interface issues. Project valued at US$7.8bn.

Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia (1996)
Advised the joint venture contractor for the total airports management system (TAMS) package on contract administration matters including commercial considerations like financing, bonds, insurance and disputes.


Offshore Oil & Gas Works, Qatar (2016)
Team leader in providing independent assessment of various extension of time and cost claims. Also prepared commercial strategy opinion for client’s management. Project valued at US$10.4bn.

Sealine Offshore Oil & Gas Project, Iraq (2013-2014)
Led the HKA team on contractual and commercial assessment of claims against the employer for package 3. Carried out due diligence, claim assessment and presentation on time and cost overrun in the offshore engineering, procurement, construction, installation and pre-commissioning works on a crude oil facility reconstruction project. Issues included design engineering, procurement and offshore vessel availability, and suspension based on discovery of explosives at the offshore area. Project valued at US$520m.


1440MW Combined-Cycle Power Plant Pasir Gudang, Johor, Malaysia (2018-present)
Retained to provide contract administration and claims management services for this project. Monitored programme reporting and advised on potential unreported delays, additional costs and other potential risk areas under EPC and PPA arrangements. Project valued at US$1.1bn.

1000MW Ultra Supercritical Coal Fired Power Plant, Johor Perak, Malaysia (2017-2020)
Retained to provide contract administration and claims consulting services for this project. Professional services included contract and commercial assessment. Also provided negotiation strategy for final claim closure. Project valued at US$1.6bn.

Batang Toru Hydro Power Plant, Sumatra, Indonesia (2019)
Provided oversight to team in the preparation of extension of time and loss and expense claims for project with a value at US$1.6bn.

1000MW Supercritical Coal Fired Power Plant, Johor, Malaysia (2013-2018)
Retained to provide contract and commercial services under EPC. Headed a team of seven resources over the four years in providing strategic management advisory services to client’s senior management during the project execution phase. This included risk criticality and commercial advice on delays and additional costs assessments on the 1x1000Mw ultra supercritical coal fired power plant project. Engagement since extended to cover issues under PPA and defects encountered during O&M period. Project valued at US$1.6bn.

800MW x 6 Coal Fired Power Plant, South Africa (2017)
Contracts, commercial and business strategy advice to owner/ developer of one of the biggest power plants in the southern hemisphere. Professional services included management of disputes, claims and negotiations with package contractors, including presentations before the national treasury and other committees.

Independent Water and Power Project (IWPP), Qatar (2016-2017)
Provided contracts and commercial advice in respect of an eco-marine dispute resulting in changes to outline design at pre-contract stage. In addition, prepared an internal strategy paper including the strengths and weaknesses of the client’s claim. Subsequently, client extended engagement to include assessment of four different claims relating to construction delays. Project valued at US$2.66bn.

Seawater Desalination Project, Algeria (2015)
Provided owner/ developer with a review of technical and contractual issues post commissioning for poor plant performance. Led a team in reviewing the O&M contract and presented recommendations to the client’s board of directors of a commercial and contractual strategy in resolving issues pertaining to poor plant performance.

Independent Water Desalination and Power Plant, Saudi Arabia (2009-2013)
Provided owner/ developer commercial/ contract advice. Undertook risk analysis, contractual and commercial advice on a periodical basis to the owner during EPC contract execution on the first Saudi IWPP. In addition, provided support/ strategy advice to client’s board and in the drafting of the settlement agreement. Engagement since extended to advise on the extension to the desalination plant from 2011 on contract, commercial and technical matters. Also, acted as case manager and arbitration support services on the plant extension.

Track 3B Greenfield Power Plant, Malaysia (2013)
Advised the owner on procurement strategy following risk assessment and heads of terms analysis. Also advised on joint venture interest given wider stakeholder obligations.

Nuclear Power Plant Project, Jordan (2011)
Engaged by the contractor as civil works contractor. Provided risk assessment and procurement strategy advice to the client. Also prepared heads of terms with client’s team in Tokyo, Japan and supervised the final submission of the bid document. Advised on project contract framework and supporting role in the review of relevant legal documentation as part of tender process.

Coal Fired Power Project, South Africa (2010)
Undertook contracts analysis on boiler package regarding back to back provisions under the main contract and subcontract arrangement.


Case Management, Pleadings and Advocate Counsel for Arbitration Proceedings

  • Upgrade of a Rail Signalling System, UK (2006)
  • Dublin Port Tunnel Project, Ireland, Value Euro300m (2005)
  • Noise Test Facility, Ministry of Defence, UK, Farnborough (2005)
  • Nuclear Waste Management System Facility, UK (2005)
  • Road Rehabilitation Project, Ghana (2006-2007)
  • Hydro Electric 600MW Project, Malaysia (1997-2005)
  • Lekir Bulk Terminal, Manjung, Malaysia (2002)
  • Olefins, Butanol & Derivatives Facility, Petronas Oil & Gas Refinery, Kerteh, Malaysia (2001)
  • Miri Land Reclamation Project, Sarawak, Malaysia (2000)
  • Spool Fabrication Package Works, Kerteh, Malaysia (2000)


  • HKA Africa, Middle East and Asia: 2017 – Present
    • Partner, Head of Operations, Malaysia (2020 – Present)
    • Operations Director & Country Manager, Malaysia (2019 – 2020)
    • Regional Director (2017-2019)
  • Hill International, Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: 2014-2017
    • Regional Director (2014-2017)
    • Operations Director & Country Manager (2013-2014)
  • High Point Rendel, London, UK, Senior Consultant: 2007-2013
  • Osborne Clark, Bristol, UK, Senior Solicitor: 2005-2007
  • Zain & Co, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Senior Associate: 1996-2005
  • Sapura Tomen Harris Consortium, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Assistant Contracts Executive: 1995-1996


  • HKA Africa, Middle East and Asia: 2017 – Present
    • Partner, Head of Operations, Malaysia (2020 – Present)
    • Operations Director & Country Manager, Malaysia (2019 – 2020)
    • Regional Director (2017-2019)
  • Hill International, Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: 2014-2017
    • Regional Director (2014-2017)
    • Operations Director & Country Manager (2013-2014)
  • High Point Rendel, London, UK, Senior Consultant: 2007-2013
  • Osborne Clark, Bristol, UK, Senior Solicitor: 2005-2007
  • Zain & Co, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Senior Associate: 1996-2005
  • Sapura Tomen Harris Consortium, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Assistant Contracts Executive: 1995-1996


  • Managing Risks & Their Impact”, Hill International Article and Gulf News, 2015
  • Dispute Resolution in O&M Contracts”, OMAINTEC Conference Papers, 2012
  • Periodic legal articles for the monthly publication of the Osborne Clarke’s Construction Update, 2005-2007
  • Nuclear War Fare – It’s Global Implications”, Journal for the Malaysian Physicians in the Prevention of Nuclear War, 1992


  • Diversity in Arbitration Practice”, Kuala Lumpur Bar, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2019
  • Lessons Learnt on Tanjung Bin 4: Overview”, Malakoff PPA, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2017
  • Managing International Businesses”, Tenaga Nasional Executive Programme, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2016
  • Risk in Construction Projects”, CIOB Masterclass, Doha, Qatar, 2015
  • Risks in Projects, Claim Management & Dispute Resolution”, TNB 2-day workshop, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2014
  • EOT/Delay and Disruption”, Hill Seminar with Raja Daryl & Loh, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2013
  • Claims Procedure & FIDIC”, “Dispute Avoidance & Contract Claims”, FIDIC Asia Pacific Contract Users Conference, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2013
  • Dispute Resolution in O&M Contracts”, OMAINTEC Conference, Beirut, Lebanon, 2012
  • Arbitration: An Overview”, Presented a paper at the In-house Counsels Congress Asia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2003 & 2004