M.A. (Cantab) Dip.Law (City)
Tel: +44 20 7822 2040
Email Clerk: firstname.lastname@example.org
Year of Call: 2003
Miles is a specialist in professional liability, insurance and commercial litigation.
He has been described by Chambers as “an absolute gem” who is “fabulous with clients and incredibly on top of the detail” (2014) and “an outstanding barrister whose personal skills are superb. He has a great ability to make you feel comfortable…” (2015).
The Legal 500 has described him as “a star of the future” and as having “Great commercial awareness, as well as technical ability which sets him apart.”
He strives to provide his clients with effective advocacy and advisory services that combine diligence, efficiency, knowledge of the law, approachability and commercial sense.
As well as appearing frequently in the High and County Courts in his own right, he has been led in multimillion pound and multi-party disputes in the High Court and the Court of Appeal. He has also been published and lectured widely, especially in matters related to the civil liability of lawyers.
Miles is a formally accredited mediator and is one of the mediators chambers can offer. He also has experience of arbitrating insurance disputes.
He converted to the law after a brief period as a history teacher. He received the David Karmel and William Shaw Awards from Gray’s Inn during his academic and vocational transition before completing pupillage at 4 New Square.
Miles is a member of the Professional Negligence Bar Association, the British Insurance Law Association, COMBAR and the Bar Pro Bono Unit.
After reading Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic at Trinity College, Cambridge University Miles spent a year teaching History before converting to law at City University.
Publications and Seminars
Miles has written a number of articles on issues of importance in professional liability and insurance law and has been published in the Journal of Professional Negligence, the New Law Journal, Insurance Law Monthly and the Sweet & Maxwell Civil Procedure Rule Reports and by the Practical Law Company. He has also provided solicitors’ liability training to the claims handling unit of a leading firm of solicitors and lectured on a number of different topics including the SRA Code of Conduct and legal professional privilege. He is the author of the Practical Law Company’s practice note on the pre-contractual duty of utmost good faith.
Commercial Dispute Resolution
Miles advises and appears regularly in commercial disputes including cases concerning sale of goods, supply of services, mortgages, credit agreements and guarantees. He has particular experience of representing lenders and financial institutions.
Recent claims have included:
- Acting for the seller of goods in a claim in conversion and inducement of breach of contract against the directors of a purchaser company, alleging removal of goods subject to a retention of title clause for personal profit upon the insolvency of their company.
- Acting for a pension company seeking recovery of mistaken payment made to a SIPP, addressing a change of position defence.
- Acting for a distributor of motor tuning equipment seeking damages from a supplier for breach of an exclusive distribution agreement.
Insurance & Reinsurance
Miles is often instructed in connection with insurance disputes as advocate and arbitrator.
Chambers 2015 comments that he is “celebrated for his knowledge of insurance-related negligence claims”. This knowledge is founded on considerable experience of acting in insurance disputes involving a wide range of risks including property, ATE insurance, business interruption, life and long-term sickness.
Recent cases include:
- IHC & Anr v AmTrust Europe Ltd  EWHC 257 (QB): successfully defending declinature by ATE insurers on the basis of non-disclosure and/or breach of warranty, defeating argument AmTrust was barred by equitable estoppel
- Successfully acting for an insured lender in a contested arbitration against a legal title insurer that sought to decline liability arising from a mortgage fraud. Declinature was on the basis of an alleged breach of a condition precedent obliging the insured to comply with money laundering regulations.
- Representing insured at trial in dispute in connection with claim under home insurance after declinature on the basis of fraudulent exaggeration of the claim. Leading counsel instructed for opponents
- Successfully acting for commercial property insurers in defence of claim on the basis of failure by insured to prove loss. Claim withdrawn on drop hands basis.
- Advising insured in connection with declinature on the basis of an alleged failure to disclose previous relevant insolvency history
Miles also has significant experience of professional liability insurance, especially issues arising from the Minimum Terms and Conditions for solicitors. By way of example he has
- Advised insurers of construction professionals in connection with late notification and material non-disclosure.
- Acted for insurers in arbitration seeking reimbursement on the basis of material non-disclosure and/or misrepresentation on submission of proposal. Leading counsel instructed by opponent.
- Acted for insurers in arbitrations seeking reimbursement on the grounds of prejudice attributable to late notification.
- Acted for insurers seeking declarations that insurers are entitled to refuse indemnity on the grounds of dishonesty.
- Frequently advised on common coverage issues such as aggregation, double insurance, successor practices, what constitutes the making of a claim and sham partnership.
- Been extremely busy in recent times advising insurers in connection with coverage issues arising from lender claims against small firms.
Miles has frequently been published in the Insurance Law Monthly and is the author of the Practical Law Company’s practice note on the pre-contractual duty of utmost good faith.
Miles is recommended by the Chambers and Legal 500 in the field of professional negligence.
Chambers comments that he “handles defendant and claimant professional negligence cases, and is celebrated for his knowledge of insurance-related negligence claims” and that he is an “an outstanding barrister whose personal skills are superb. He has a great ability to make you feel comfortable...” (2015) and “An absolute gem” who is “fabulous with clients and incredibly on top of the detail” (2014).
The Legal 500 described Miles as having “Great commercial awareness, as well as technical ability which sets him apart.” (2015) and being “a star of the future” (2012).
He has wide experience and knowledge of the field both with and without a leader. He has represented both claimants and defendants in matters involving solicitors, barristers, licensed conveyancers, surveyors, managing agents, insurance brokers , financial advisers, tax consultants, accountants, auditors and architects.
Miles has experience of claims involving all aspects of a professional’s potential liability, including allegations of breach of duty, retainer and trust, breach of fiduciary duty, deceit, dishonest assistance, fraudulent conspiracy and breaches of relevant regulatory provisions, such as the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
He has also provided training to firms on solicitors’ and surveyors’ liability generally and written and spoken on specific issues of importance in professional liability including limitation, privilege, the assessment of quantum in lenders’ claims, the SRA Solicitors’ Code of Conduct and coverage issues.
Accountants, Auditors & Actuaries
Miles acts both for and against accountants and auditors. Examples of his experience in this area include acting for/advising:
- Auditors defending a claim by investors and depositors in connection with the collapse of a bank in a foreign jurisdiction.
- Claimant charity alleging negligence by auditors permitted continued thefts by its chief-executive
- Accountants and tax advisors in claims by investors connected with tax avoidance and film finance.
- A claimant alleging negligent valuation of a business by an accountant.
- Accountants in connection with alleged failure to provide competent financial advice.
- An accountant resisting an attempt to compel answers to questions arising from an expert determination.
Financial Services Professionals
Miles is regularly instructed in claims involving financial services professionals including allegations such as failure to recommend appropriate investments and life insurance and breaches of the conduct of business rules under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
By way of example, Miles has in recent times:
- Acted instructed as junior counsel on behalf of a tax consultancy that was one of a number of defendants to a multi million pound claim brought by film finance investors, alleging negligence and breaches of FSMA 2000;
- Acted in numerous cases for Claimants and Defendants in cases involving allegations concerning failure to recommend appropriate investments
- Acted for Defendant IFA in relation to a claim alleging failure to investigate the Claimant’s domicile for inheritance tax purposes when establishing off-shore trusts
Insurance Brokers & Agents
Miles has acted and advised in connection with in numerous claims involving insurance brokers.
Chambers comments that he “is celebrated for his knowledge of insurance-related negligence claims” (2015).
Miles work in this area has included:
- Advising a claimant in relation to a failure by a broker to recommend loss of rent cover in connection with commercial property insurance against flood risks.
- Acting for the defendant broker in action alleging failure to bring to the claimant’s attention an endorsement relevant to cover against fire.
- Acting for a broker defending a claim by solicitors alleging failure to place cover in reasonable time and seeking compensation for higher premium.
- Advising a broker on claim alleging negligent failure to recommend sufficiently wide cover against electricity disruption.
- Acting in numerous claims alleging failure to place cover at all or to place it in time, leading to loss without any insurance cover.
Miles has extensive experience of claims against lawyers, from appearing as a junior in the Court of Appeal in a multi-million pound claim, to appearing in the High Court in his own right, to working in the professional liability department of a city firm of solicitors and in the claims handling section of a major professional liability insurer.
Miles also undertakes wasted costs work, again for both solicitors and barristers. He also has extensive experience of coverage issues arising from claims against solicitors and the operation of the Minimum Terms and Conditions.
The following is a selection of Miles’ work in this field:
- Acting as sole counsel and a junior for both claimant and defendant in relation to a vast number of claims arising out of negligence by solicitors in non-contentious commercial, probate and real property work, including but not limited to conveyancing, often acting for lenders.
- Acting as sole and junior counsel on both sides in connection with claims alleging negligent handling of litigation, including acting for as sole counsel for defendant solicitors in a High Court action also brought against leading counsel and alleging negligence in connection with commercial fraud litigation.
- Russell v Cornwell  EWHC 1509 (QB): successfully defeated claim against firm of solicitors on grounds of limitation. Claimant, represented by leading counsel, unsuccessfully argued that the approach in Law Society v Septhon applied.
- Olden v Bishop & Light (2014, HHJ Vosper QC), successfully defended solicitors in two related actions after 8 days of trial. Claimant alleged negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of statutory duty and sought both damages and an account of profits. In one of the two claims argued successfully that the claim should be dismissed on grounds of ex turpi causa, abuse of process and/or on the basis the claimant did not have clean hands because he effectively sought to recover the proceeds of crime.
- Sole counsel for the claimant in High Court negligence action against both solicitors and a barrister in connection with their handling of ancillary relief proceedings.
- The TAG Litigation: high-profile case examining solicitors’ responsibility toward ATE insurers in the wake of the collapse of ‘The Accident Group’ claims management scheme, led by Graeme McPherson QC, but also appearing as sole advocate on behalf of the panel firm.
- Acting for defendant solicitor accused of involvement in a fraudulent conspiracy to defraud the claimant of his beneficial interest in a high value portfolio of properties. Led by David Halpern QC.
- R (on the application of AB) v X Crown Court  PNLR 30: Represented the barrister applicant in the Administrative Court who successfully quashed a trial judge’s refusal to recuse himself from hearing a wasted costs application on the grounds of apparent bias. Led by Sue Carr QC. Miles has also represented solicitors and barristers in substantive wasted costs proceedings.
- Acting for defendant solicitors in a multi million pound claim alleging negligence and breach of confidence in connection with a complex commercial property transaction. Led by John McGhee QC of Maitland Chambers.
Miles has also lectured and written in this field and both devised and provided a training programme on the law in relation to solicitors’ liability on behalf of a firm specialising in claims against solicitors.
Surveyors & Valuers
Miles has acted in numerous claims against surveyors and valuer since the start of his career. He has been increasingly involved in this field as the current wave of lending claims has emerged in the wake of the credit crunch and the recession. He has not only acted for both lenders and solicitors in connection with particular claims, but has also provided lenders with high level advice on generic issues to assist them with recovery strategy. Miles has been involved in claims raising all the major issues thrown up by lenders’ claims including contributory negligence, fraud, coverage, syndication and the applicability of the SAAMCo ‘cap’.
By way of example, Miles has:
- Acted as sole counsel for a lender in multi-million pound claim against a surveyor for fraudulent provision of an inaccurate valuation of an industrial estate
- Acting for claimant alleging fraud by the defendant valuer causing losses in excess of £3.5m
- Acted for a defendant valuer in claim arising from allegedly inaccurate valuation of buy-to-let portfolio and its potential rental yield.
- Advised a lender on its standing to bring claims against professionals as assignee of a portfolio of mortgage loans and related quantum issues
- Acted and advised in numerous structural surveying cases, e.g. failures to detect visible defects, to follow the 'train of enquiry' and to indicate the need for further expert investigation.
- Acted for a valuation company being sued for conversion in connection with the liquidation of a company whose assets it valued.
Miles undertakes an increasing amount of costs work and has acted both on behalf of solicitors seeking costs and disgruntled clients. The costs works naturally fits with Miles’ extensive experience of solicitors’ liability and regulation.
Miles is a strong advocate of mediation and a formally accredited mediator. While acting for parties to a mediation, he built up considerable experience of the process from modest value disputes to very complex, multi-party, multi-million pound mediation.
Miles is building his practice as a mediator. He is willing to accept instructions to conduct any mediation for which he has relevant specialist legal knowledge.
Miles is frequently instructed in connection with claims involving property damage.
He has dealt with claims arising from flood, fire, electricity outage, water penetration, subsidence and heave (including tree root damage) based on various causes of action including contract, negligence, nuisance, Rylands v Fletcher and the Consumer Protection Act 1987.
Presently Miles is instructed as junior (to Graham Eklund QC) in the defence of claims put in excess of £20m arising from the destruction of a warehouse by fire
For example, Miles has acted in connection with claims involving:
- Flood damage to a city solicitors office arising from negligent installation of an air conditioning system;
- Property damage and high value business interruption caused to manufacturer by electricity outage as a consequence of negligence;
- Water penetration caused to central London flats by contractors employed by developer;
- Fire damage to neighbouring property caused by a negligent building contractor;
- Fire damage to residential property caused by a negligent heating contractor;
- Water penetration caused by negligent maintenance of premises by owner and managing agent.