Ben Hubble QC

Education

B.A. (Oxon.) Dip. Law (City)




Tel: +44 20 7822 2038
Email: b.hubble@4newsquare.com
Email Clerk: l.stewart@4newsquare.com

Year of Call: 1992
Year of Silk: 2009

Profile

Head of Chambers

Ben is a specialist in professional liability, disciplinary and commercial work. Much of Ben's work involves claims against accountants, actuaries, directors, insurance brokers and lawyers following on from corporate collapse, lender losses or failed tax and investment schemes. Multi-party and group litigation is a particular expertise. In addition, Ben concentrates on: commercial arbitrations and litigation both on and offshore; banking; insurance (particularly coverage and indemnity disputes) and claims arising from the financial services sector.

Having been described in Chambers & Partners as “probably the best junior at the Bar” and in the Legal 500 as the lawyer to instruct if you were stranded on a desert island and needed to work the law in order to get off it, Ben took silk in 2009. He is recommended in Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500 in both Professional Negligence and Professional Discipline, and is said to be “superb on every level”, and “as conscientious and thorough as can be” with a “tremendous capacity for hard work”.

Ben has been heavily involved in the larger and more complex professional liability and disciplinary claims in recent years. He acted for the lead defence group in both the TAG Litigation and the CLE Litigation and is currently instructed on the appeal in the Innovator Litigation. He is particularly experienced in financial professional discipline, having prosecuted the successive chief executives of Equitable Life and defended the finance director in the Mayflower Proceedings before the AADB (now the FRC).

Ben is a highly experienced trial lawyer and relishes his role as an advocate. Alongside that, Ben places particular emphasis on detailed preparation, teamwork and being as approachable and flexible as possible.

Ben is Vice Chairman of the Professional Negligence Bar Association and previously ran their annual seminar on Lawyers Liabilities. He is also a member of the Chancery Bar Association and has run their professional negligence seminar. He is a member of the Common Law & Commercial Bar Association.

 


Insurance & Reinsurance

In relation to insurance, Ben concentrates on both professional indemnity insurance related issues and general commercial insurance. The nature of Ben’s practice is such that Ben’s expertise inevitably extends to all the insurance related issues arising from professional liability and misconduct claims. Ben is accordingly an expert in the issues arising from both professional indemnity insurance and D&O policies. Ben regularly advises on indemnity and coverage issues.  

Ben has particular expertise of:

Ben regularly advises on the above issues, acts as a paper arbitrator and appears at arbitrations between insurer and insureds.


Professional Liability

In relation to his professional liability work, Ben was top ranked as a leading junior in both Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 prior to his taking Silk and he remains just as popular with clients in Silk. Ben has very considerable experience in all aspects of professional liability claims, especially those with a commercial element.  Claims involving security documentation and undue influence are a particular interest, Ben having acted for the Law Society and the solicitor appellant in Etridge.  Ben also has very considerable experience in multi party litigation.  He acted for the majority of the 650 odd panel solicitors sued by ATE insurers in the TAG Litigation following the collapse of the Accident Group. Similarly, he acted for the lead defence group in the CLE Litigation. He successfully resisted the application made on behalf of miners for a Group Litigation Order arising from alleged misappropriation of damages paid under the Coal Miners Compensation Scheme. He is currently acting for the solicitor firm sued in the Innovator Litigation on the appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Ben is at the forefront of the new wave of lender claims following on from the credit crunch. He acted for the lender in Nationwide v Dunlop Haywards, obtaining summary judgment on the £20m+ deceit claim, and in the associated claims against the solicitors involved. He is now acting both on numerous claims arising from high value (£10m+) individual transactions and also multi-claim actions arising from alleged mortgage fraud rings. He defended the innocent partner in relation to claims of alleged dishonesty against his fellow partner in some 500 odd conveyancing transactions. Ben also has particular expertise in limitation (having appeared for the successful defendants in the Court of Appeal in Axa v Akhtar) and issues arising under the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978.

In addition to appearing in the English Courts, Ben acts on claims in a number of Caribbean jurisdictions, including the BVI and the Cayman Islands.

Ben is in demand as a lecturer on professional indemnity related issues. He ran the Lawyers Liability annual seminar for the Professional Negligence Bar Association, as well as the professional negligence seminar on lender litigation for the Chancery Bar Association annual meeting. In addition to that, he lectures regularly on professional liability related issues to Specialist Bar Associations, insurers and solicitors.

Accountants, Auditors & Actuaries

 

Ben regularly acts on claims against accountants and actuaries. He acted for the Learning and Skills Council in its £40m claim against Deloitte & Touche for alleged negligent auditing of a further education institution. He acts on large litigation involving the consequences of Revenue challenged tax schemes; he is currently acting on the Innovator Litigation as well as for a number of high net worth individuals (often from the sports world) who entered into ill-fated tax avoidance schemes. He also has in depth knowledge of the pensions industry and the workings of large life offices having spent two years leading the successful prosecution of the successive chief executives of Equitable Life for professional misconduct.

Examples of other recent cases include:

Financial Services Professionals

Ben is regularly instructed on claims involving financial services professionals. Often this involves acting for claimants and defendants in relation to financial advice and pension cases. It also includes claims over against financial advisers following on from allegedly defective tax and investment schemes. Ben is currently acting on the claims over against financial advisers arising from the multi-party Innovator Litigation.

Examples of other recent cases include:

Lawyers

Ben has acted and continues to act in the major lawyers liabilities’ claims of the day. Ben’s expertise covers all areas of lawyers liabilities, including in particular lender litigation, defective tax and investment schemes, mishandled litigation, failed joint ventures and confidentiality/privilege issues. Multi-party actions are a particular interest. He acted for the majority of the 650 odd firms of solicitors sued in the TAG Litigation and for the lead defence group in the CLE Litigation. He successfully resisted the application made on behalf of miners for a Group Litigation Order arising from alleged misappropriation of damages paid under the Coal Miners Compensation Scheme. He is currently acting for the solicitor’s firm sued in the Innovator Litigation on the appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Examples of recent cases leading to judgments include:

In addition, Ben has acted and continues to act on large numbers of complex and high value cases, about which confidentiality means relatively little can be said. Some examples include:

Insurance Brokers & Agents

Ben regularly acts on insurance brokers’ claims, typically defending insurance brokers. Ben is very familiar with the issues that arise in tripartite litigation involving insurers, insureds and insurance brokers.

Recent and ongoing cases include:

Surveyors & Valuers

Ben has acted on claims against Surveyors and Valuers throughout his career and has been at the forefront of the new wave of litigation against surveyors and valuers following on from the credit crunch. Ben acted for Nationwide in its claims against Dunlop Haywards arising from the fraudulent acts of their valuer, Mr McGarry, and successfully obtained summary judgment in deceit for £20m+. At present, Ben is acting on a large number of claims brought by lenders against Surveyors and Valuers.

Recent and ongoing cases include:


International Arbitration

Ben’s modern and flexible approach to the presentation of written materials and advocacy makes him well suited to his arbitration work.

Ben’s arbitration related work has three elements:


Commercial Dispute Resolution

Ben has a broad commercial litigation practice, ranging from fire claims through to banking and security documentation. Ben particularly relishes proceedings involving security documentation following on from his involvement in Etridge in the House of Lords. Ben spends much of his time as an advocate in the Commercial Court.

Recent and ongoing cases include:


Disciplinary

Ben regards his disciplinary work as a natural extension to his professional liability work. Indeed, claims often require a holistic approach where both the liability and the disciplinary aspects are dealt with at the same time. In relation to his professional disciplinary work, Ben is named as a leading Silk in both Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500. He enjoys the recommendation in the Legal 500 as being the lawyer to instruct if you are stuck on a desert island and need to work the law to get off it.  His experience extends across all disciplinary and regulatory sectors but he has an outstanding track record in the financial disciplinary area. Thus, he successfully defended the finance director accused of misconduct in the Mayflower case, being the first prosecution brought by the then Accountancy Investigation & Discipline Board, and then went on successfully to prosecute three Chief Executives of the Equitable Life Assurance Society for misconduct. Since then as well as continuing to act for respondent accountants, he has also been retained by the AADB and now the FRC to prosecute claims on their behalf. He is particularly well placed to advise on financial, accountancy or actuarial related disciplinary matters. Alongside that, Ben undertakes work in the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and is increasingly brought in to deal with high profile or complex cases in other disciplines.

Examples of Ben’s recent or ongoing cases in the various disciplines include:

-       Accountancy:

-       Actuaries: the Equitable Life Proceedings where (notwithstanding the collapse of the commercial litigation against the same individuals and the massive scale of the investigation) he secured findings of misconduct against each of the respondents; this, despite the fact that the respondents called the then President of the Institute of Actuaries to give expert evidence on their behalf

-       Architects: successfully defended architect accused of inadequate professional services and unprofessional dealings with clients

-       Lawyers:

-       Surveyors: acted for firm accused of failure to preserve client funds; successfully applied to strike out the proceedings on the basis that the RICS investigation amounted to an abuse of process and that the charges were in any event not evidenced.

Ben regularly lectures on professional disciplinary issues to Specialist Bar Associations, insurers and solicitors.

 


Offshore

Ben has in recent years undertaken an increasing amount of work in offshore jurisdictions, in particular the Caribbean, including an arbitration on behalf of a Caribbean Government relating to the ownership of a significant amount of its coastline, a $1billion auditors negligence claim in the Cayman Islands and a key case on directors and registered agents’ duties in the BVI. Ben is called in the BVI and appears in the Cayman Islands.

Recent Significant Cases

A claim by property developers against a Caribbean Government alleging breaches of a development agreement aimed at creating a substantial resort and hotel complex along a section of the Island’s coast line.

A claim by the liquidator of a South American bank (registered in the Cayman Islands) that brought a claim for approx $1billion against its reviewing Cayman Island auditors for failing to spot and stop the asset stripping of the bank by its directors. Ben acted for the Cayman auditors.

A claim by a company (owned by a Brazilian) against the company directors and registered agents in the British Virgin Islands for wrongly selling all the company’s property in reliance on instructions from the Brazilian’s former personal assistant. The claim raised important issues as to the duties owed by directors of offshore companies where the beneficial owner is abroad. Trial before Bannister J. The case is now going to the East Caribbean Court of Appeal.

A claim by Jersey solicitors for outstanding fees and a counterclaim by former client alleging that solicitors had mismanaged and misadvised in relation to complex/high-value trust litigation in Jersey. The case is presently ongoing.

Ongoing proceedings in the Cayman Islands as to whether there is jurisdiction for a non-party to be joined to existing proceedings for the purposes of making a costs order against them.

In addition to offshore work, Ben advises or provides expert opinions in respect of claims with a US element. Such cases include claims by UK pension funds against US banks for misrepresenting the risks that they were running in the lead up to the credit crunch, and against a multi-national for misrepresenting the safety of the company’s operations.