Michael Bowmer








Tel: +44 20 7822 2036
Email: m.bowmer@4newsquare.com
Email Clerk: a.dolby@4newsquare.com

Year of Call: 1997

Profile

Michael is a commercial chancery practitioner. His practice encompasses commercial litigation and arbitration as well as litigation and advisory work in more traditional chancery areas with a strong interest in liability claims against professionals and fiduciaries. Before being called to the Bar, Michael worked for several years in fine art publishing and that business experience gave Michael an insight into the concerns of clients and an ability to see things from their perspective. Michael later studied law at King’s College London where he obtained the Strand Trust Prize for the highest first class degree in his year. Michael is hands-on and approachable and combines both a rigorous intellectual approach and commercial awareness in seeking to achieve the best possible results for his clients.

Michael is married with two sons and lives in Cambridge. He is a member of the Chancery Bar Association, the Commercial Bar Association and the Professional Negligence Bar Association.

 


Professional Liability

Drawing upon his commercial chancery practice Michael has built a significant practice in the field of related professional liability. Michael’s familiarity with the underlying areas of practice enables him to deal effectively and knowledgeably with claims arising out of a very broad range of business transactions in relation to property or finance and in relation to claims arising out of conveyancing, lending, will-writing or private client matters. He has substantial experience in dealing with claims against solicitors, both in their capacity as legal advisers but also in their fiduciary and representative capacity, and against financial advisers, accountants and valuers.

Michael has been dealing recently with an increasing number of claims relating to property development and planning, alleged failings by trustees and other fiduciaries in investment strategy and in claims arising out of mortgage lending where there has been forgery, identity theft or some other underlying fraud.

Michael has given talks to professional indemnity insurers and panel firms on solicitors’ negligence in landlord and tenant cases and in relation to wills, trusts and probate.

 Some examples of Michael’s recent cases are:

Accountants, Auditors & Actuaries

Michael has acted in claims both against and for accountants in particular in relation to schemes to save inheritance tax and other tax saving schemes. Michael has recently been acting in claim against an accountant for failing to give ancillary advice to an elderly couple subscribing for shares in a business run by their son and in a claim where it is alleged an accountant advised inappropriately in relation to the surrenders of leases as a tax mitigation device.

Financial Services Professionals

Michael is regularly asked to advise in claims against financial advisers particularly in relation to the misselling of investments and failing to advise on the risk profile of investments in equities. Michael has recently been advising a bank in relation to various claims by investors taking out life assurance products where it is alleged the financial adviser failed to provide ancillary advice on tax implications where an investment was to be written in trust.

Lawyers

Advising in claims against solicitors in their professional and representative capacity is a very significant part of Michael’s practice. Michael’s commercial chancery practice lends itself naturally to claims arising out of business transactions in relation to property or finance and in relation to claims arising out of conveyancing, lending, will-writing or private client matters. Michael has been dealing recently with an increasing number of claims relating to property development and planning, alleged failings by trustees and other fiduciaries in investment strategy and in claims arising out of mortgage lending where there has been forgery, identity theft or some other underlying fraud. Michael has given talks to professional indemnity insurers and panel firms on solicitors’ negligence in landlord and tenant cases and in relation to wills, trusts and probate.

Some of Michael’s recent cases include the following:

Surveyors & Valuers

It is frequently the case that a defective property transaction involving the acquisition or disposal of land gives rise to a consideration of a claim against a surveyor or valuer. Michael is therefore regularly instructed in claims particularly against valuers in relation to secured lending transactions. Increasingly, Michael is seeing more complex claims arising out of commercial lending relationships which have failed where the relationship was informed by valuations of commercial premises. Michael recently acted for a leading high street bank in a claim against a firm of valuers where valuations of commercial premises were relied on to lend over £2m to the new owners of a horticultural business importing produce from Africa and to continue to support the business through its initial financial difficulties. The case involved a substantial body of expert evidence in the field of commercial lending.


International Arbitration

With numerous business agreements, whether commercial contracts, partnership or joint venture agreements, as well as most commercial leases, containing arbitration clauses, Michael has gained experience and a growing interest in this area. Michael is particularly adept at assimilating cases involving complex underlying issues and he acted in a long-running international arbitration between software manufacturers as to the correct interpretation of a licensing agreement, which required the assembly and deployment of a large volume of complex expert evidence. Michael has also acted in a number of arbitrations between professionals, such as solicitors, doctors and veterinary practitioners, arising out of partnership disputes.


Chancery

Alongside his work in the area of professional liability, this is Michael’s main area of expertise with most of Michael’s work taking place in the Chancery Division in the Royal Courts of Justice or in Chancery District Registries. Michael’s practice can genuinely be described as spanning both the commercial, in the form of internal business disputes between shareholders, directors and partners, lending and insolvency, and the more traditional chancery areas of practice such as property, wills and trusts. Michael is often called upon to pursue equitable remedies such as injunctions, declaratory relief, rectification or subrogation.

Michael’s areas of practice in this field are principally the following:


Commercial Dispute Resolution

Michael acts in a wide range of commercial disputes ranging from more straightforward claims for breach of commercial contracts to sale of goods claims, claims for rescission of contracts for misrepresentation, claims arising out of business or share sale agreements and warranties and claims to enforce guarantees and other security. Michael also advises in cases where the issue concerns contract formation or the true construction of commercial documents or the operation of exclusion clauses, Many of the commercial disputes in which Michael is instructed have a chancery-related element for example following the commission of a civil fraud where a proprietary claim is made in respect of the beneficial ownership of assets or where questions of rectification of documents arise. Michael is experienced in seeking injunctive relief, including freezing injunctions and other interlocutory orders under the Norwich Pharmacal and Bankers Trust v Shapira jurisdictions. Michael is also interested in claims with an international dimension. Some examples of Michael’s recent commercial cases are: