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Alison Padfield

Call: 1992


Alison is a specialist in commercial dispute resolution. She has particular expertise in insurance and reinsurance, professional negligence claims and professional disciplinary proceedings.  Alison accepts appointments to act as an arbitrator.

Alison is ranked as a leading junior in Insurance and Reinsurance, Commercial Litigation and Professional Negligence by Legal 500, and in Insurance by Chambers UK.

The Lawyer selected Alison as one of its ‘Hot 100’ in 2014, and she was shortlisted for Insurance Junior of the Year in the Chambers Bar Awards 2014.

In Insurance, Chambers UK 2017 says about Alison: ‘A very highly thought-of junior who is "just a joy to work with" and experienced in both insurance and professional negligence cases. She is noted for her methodical and meticulous approach.’ "She is outstandingly user-friendly: nothing I put her way seems to floor her. Always calm and in control, she's good at rolling up her sleeves and making you feel you're all in this together." "Technically brilliant and with an eye for detail."

In Insurance, Chambers UK 2016 said about Alison: 'Standout junior who boasts expertise in both professional negligence and insurance and reinsurance. She is "a very accomplished advocate."' '"Thoroughness and attention to detail is what stands out; she is extremely well prepared for matters, and very cool under fire as well."'

Legal 500 2016 says about Alison: 'An absolute star and a real detail barrister, who is methodical and cerebral' (Commercial Litigation), 'Incredibly bright and her advice is always clear and concise' (Professional Negligence), and 'She has a wealth of knowledge and experience and applies it with sound judgement' (Insurance and Reinsurance).

Chambers UK 2015 said: 'A truly outstanding junior who has deep insurance knowledge and is frequently led by some of the top silks at the Bar. She is equally at home in the courtroom or in arbitration. "She writes the textbook, is in a lot of the cases and knows everything there is to know about insurance"'.

Legal 500 2015 said that Alison was 'Extremely calm, thorough and a delight to work with; she handles client meetings well' (Commercial Litigation), that 'She is always meticulously well prepared and has a very good manner with clients' (Insurance and Reinsurance), and that she was 'Very organised and well prepared' (Professional Negligence).

Legal 500 2014 described Alison as Exceptionally bright’ (Insurance and Reinsurance), 'User friendly and responsive' (Professional Negligence), and said that 'She shows great attention to detail and intellect, and is also very user friendly' (Commercial Litigation).

In Insurance, Chambers UK 2014 said: 'Known for her deep knowledge of insurance and reinsurance law, she is commended for her experience in professional indemnity and business interruption claims... "Very user-friendly, very responsive and easy to get on with"'.

Alison's recent work includes a wide range of insurance, reinsurance and professional negligence claims, including issues arising in relation to employers' liability insurance policies and mesothelioma, private medical insurance, contractors' combined liability policies, material damage and business interruption insurance and public liability insurance.  She has experience of regulatory issues including claims for compensation under s 138D (formerly s 150) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and judicial review and professional disciplinary proceedings.

Alison's recent court work includes Aspen Insurance UK Ltd v Adana Construction Ltd [2015] Lloyd's Rep IR 511 in the Court of Appeal with Colin Wynter QC, appearances in the Supreme Court and the Commercial Court with Colin Edelman QC in Teal Assurance Co Ltd v W R Berkley Insurance (Europe) Ltd [2014] Lloyd's Rep IR 56 and [2016] Lloyd's Rep IR 134, and R (Prescott) v Bar Council [2015] EWHC 1919 (Admin), a public law challenge relating to the BPTC Handbook and its application. She is also instructed in contempt of court proceedings brought against former Autofocus rate surveyors by Accident Exchange.

Alison is the author of Insurance Claims (Bloomsbury Professional, 4th edition, 2016), a specialist text on insurance law:

'It is extremely welcome to find a book addressing the law of insurance in which clear and succinct answers can readily be found' - from Colin Edelman QC's Foreword to the 3rd edition, 2012

'Alison Padfield's book ... has admirably combined brevity with clarity of exposition ... an excellent book' - from a review by Professor Robert Merkin of the first edition in the Journal of Business Law in September 2004

Alison is an elected member of the Bar Council and chairman of the Bar Council Pro Bono Board, chairman of the Commercial Bar Association Equality and Diversity Committee, and chairman of the South Eastern Circuit Access to Justice Working Group.

Recent cases include:

  • Aspen Insurance UK Ltd v Adana Construction Ltd [2015] Lloyd's Rep IR 511, CA (with Colin Wynter QC) - claim involving construction of public liability and product liability wordings and their inter-relationship in a combined contractors' liability policy
  • R (Prescott) v Bar Council [2015] EWHC 1919 (Admin) - public law challenge relating to the BPTC Handbook and its application
  • A Company v D&O Insurers (2014) (with Colin Edelman QC) - successful defence of claim against insurers under policy of D&O insurance at two-day arbitration hearing - details are confidential
  • Herridge v Parker and Allianz Insurance plc [2014] Lloyd's Rep IR 177 - defence of application for costs against after the event (ATE) insurer as non-party under s 51(3) of the Senior Courts Act 1981; first reported case involving such an application against an ATE insurer
  • Teal Assurance Co Ltd v W R Berkley Insurance (Europe) Ltd [2013] Lloyd's Rep IR 56, SC (with Colin Edelman QC) - reinsurance case in Supreme Court concerning the order in which claims made by an insured exhaust layers of liability insurance cover and related Commercial Court proceedings
  • Synergy Health (UK) Ltd v CGU Insurance plc & Ors [2011] Lloyd's Rep IR 500 (with Colin Wynter QC) - high-value insurance (fire) claim raising issues of misrepresentation, non-disclosure and waiver, and quantum of business interruption insurance.


BA (Oxon), Lic Spéc Dr Eur (Brussels) (Master’s degree in European Law), BCL (Oxon) (Master’s degree)


Alison is able to read documents and conduct conferences in French. She has some knowledge of Spanish and Russian.