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George Spalton

Professional Liability

George has a broad range of experience in the professional liability context, both in terms of claims involving different professions and in respect of the value and type of claims. He is recommended by both Legal 500 2016 and Chambers and Partners 2016 as a leading junior. Amongst other things he is said to be "a bright and thorough junior developing a reputation in professional negligence", "very commercial and great with clients", "a top notch advocate", “a real up-and-coming star" with a “real intellect” and a “very calm manner with clients”.

George has particular experience of acting for and against accountants and auditors, financial services professionals, insurance brokers & agents, actuaries, barrister, solicitors and surveyors. He also has good experience of disciplinary claims and tribunals.

George is an Editor of “Jackson & Powell on Professional Liability” and is one of the four co-editors of Sweet & Maxwell’s “Encyclopedia of Financial Services Law”.

His professional liability experience includes offshore work (largely focused on claims involving accountants, auditors and actuaries) – in Cayman, BVI and Trinidad & Tobago. In 2015 George was called to the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (BVI).

Reported decisions include:

  • Harlequin Property (SVG) Ltd v Wilkins Kennedy (A Firm) [2015] EWHC 1122 (TCC): acting for defendant accountants in relation to a property development in St Vincent and the Grenadines, and interim application for security where Claimants have an ATE policy.
  • Wright v Lewis Silkin LLP [2015] EWHC 1897: Acting for the Defendant firm of solicitors in a claim arising out of a contract in the Indian Premier League (before Hamblen J).
  • David Frost v Wake Smith & Tofields (A Firm) [2013] EWCA Civ 1960: acting for the Claimant in the Court of Appeal in respect of obligations owed by solicitors at a mediation.
  • Webb v (1) JMQC (2) Dakers Green Brett [2010] EWHC 93 (Ch); (2010) NPC 12: successfully acting for defendant solicitors in summary judgment application before Vos J concerning their involvement in underlying insolvency/banking dispute.
  • Crowson v HSBC Insurance Brokers Ltd [2010] Lloyd's Rep. I.R. 441: acting for defendant insurance broker in strike out application concerning duty of care owed to directors of a limited company.
  • Littlewood v Wilkinson Woodward (A firm) [2009] P.N.L.R. 29; [2009] W.T.L.R. 1189; successfully defending firm of solicitors in High Court Chancery Division trial in a disappointed beneficiary claim
  • Reader v Molesworths Bright Clegg [2007] EWCA Civ 169; [2007] 1 WLR 1082 (Led by Bernard Livesey QC in Court of Appeal, successfully defending a firm of solicitors in claim involving issues relating to the FAA 1976).

Further examples of George’s recent work in this context are as follows:

  • Acting in ongoing proceedings against an insurance broker, concerning duties owed in respect of policy renewal.
  • Representing surveyors in a £1m+ claim for contribution brought by solicitors involved in a substantial mortgage fraud; also bringing Part 20 proceedings against mortgage broker.
  • Acting for and against defendant accountants and auditors. In this context, George has accrued particular experience of tax related claims – for example he recently defended a claim by a FTSE 100 company against one of the major UK accountancy firms in respect of advice about the Capital Allowances Act 2001 and he is currently acting in major film finance litigation again involving well known firms of solicitors, accountants and tax advisers.
  • Defending a top ten firm of solicitors in a claim relating to advice about a high value private equity deal with issues relating to unfair prejudice under section 994 of the Companies Act 2006 and corporate insolvency.
  • A variety of claims in the construction context – please refer to the construction and commercial dispute resolution pages of George’s entry.
  • Acting for a defendant barrister in a claim arising out of allegedly negligent advice in relation to an investment scheme.
  • Acting for defendant barristers and solicitors in wasted costs hearings.
  • Assisting one of the defendant cohorts in Winterthur Swiss Insurance Company v The Accident Group Plc (Commercial Court). 

George has been involved in a number of tax related professional liability claims in recent years – both for claimants and defending professionals (including accountants, tax advisers and solicitors).

He has built up significant experience of film finance schemes and other similar tax related schemes. He is currently instructed in large-scale, high-value litigation on behalf of a number of claimants in relation to a well-known scheme involving claims against the individuals and entities which marketed the schemes together with a number of intermediaries.

In addition, George has represented the Chartered Institute of Taxation and the Association of Taxation Technicians in a number of tribunal proceedings.

George also has extensive experience of interim costs related matters such as security for costs in the context of ATE and non-party costs orders (for example he acted for the solicitors in Weddall v Barchester Healthcare Limited; Germany v Flatman [2011] EWHC 2945 (QB), a decision of Mr Justice Eady concerning non-party cost orders against a firm of solicitors under section 51 of the Senior Courts Act 1981).