Hugh Evans

Education

M.A. (Cantab.) B.C.L. (Oxon.)




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

Year of Call: 1987

Profile

Evans, Hugh

Hugh's practice centres on professional liability, with particular emphasis on claims against lawyers and accountants, and commercial litigation, particularly insurance and fraud claims, and an increasing amount of costs work. His litigation philosophy is: (1) to give the clients clear and practical advice on how best to resolve their legal difficulties;  (2) to succeed at trial by using ingenuity, tactical thinking, detailed preparation, and experience, particularly to cross examination; and (3) to be a friendly, accessible and helpful member of any legal team.

Hugh has been listed as a leading professional negligence junior by the directories for many years. He has been described as "fantastically clever" and “... highly recommended especially for solicitors’ professional negligence cases.” It is said that he has a “logical approach and likeable manner”, that he is “bright, commercial and efficient ... acts for defendants and claimants in significant solicitors’ negligence claims”, that he is “witty and academically sound,” and even that he “makes the litigation process as painless as possible.” He was reported in the directories in 2013 as “praised for his ability to clarify the most complex legal issues, and sources deem him "uncannily accurate" in his advice” (Chambers UK) and  “a real favourite” (Legal 500).

Hugh writes extensively on professional liability. He is the editor of the chapters on solicitors and barristers in Jackson and Powell on Professional Liability (Sweet & Maxwell 7th edition 2011), and has been since 1992. He is the author of Lawyers' Liabilities Sweet & Maxwell 2002 (2nd edn), and nearly thirty articles in a variety of academic journals, particularly Professional Negligence.

Hugh’s trial work has taken him to all divisions of the High Court, particularly the Chancery Division, as well as the County Court, and many arbitrations. He also has extensive experience of ADR, and has taken part as advocate in over forty mediations. He is very comfortable with a wide variety of complex technical evidence, from medical to engineering, including statistical analysis.

 


International Arbitration

Hugh has experience of arbitrations is predominantly coverage disputes in relation to professional indemnity policies. Recent disputes which did not settle and concluded in awards have concerned whether a relationship between lawyers amounted to a partnership, the application of the successor practice rules, and fraudulent nondisclosure by an accountant.


Commercial Dispute Resolution

Hugh acts for claimants and defendants in a variety of commercial disputes concerning insurance, fraud, or those with a professional liability dimension.  He represented J D Wetherspoons in a two month trial in a successful claim against their former property finders for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty by [2009] EWHC 639; reported at an interlocutory stage at [2007] PNLR 555.


Construction & Engineering

Hugh's construction work centres on claims against architects, engineers and surveyors. He is comfortable with technical, scientific and mathematical concepts. He has fought a number of architects' negligence cases at trial, mostly relating to allegations of negligent design, and negligent supervision and administration of works. Recent engineer’s cases include an arbitration against the builders of a garden centre which has spawned continuing claims against the foul and surface water drainage engineers, a number of claims in relation to leaking basements and roofs, and a £17m claim against structural engineers in relation to the Regent Quarter development at King’s Cross which settled in 2009. Surveyors’ work includes claims of negligent valuations and surveys, mostly by lenders, and maladministration of building contracts.


Insurance & Reinsurance

Hugh's practice includes extensive experience of insurance law, particularly coverage disputes in relation to professionals, and insurance issues in insurance brokers' cases. 

Hugh has extensive experience in professional indemnity policies, most of which have been the subject of arbitration. Recent disputes which did not settle and concluded in awards have concerned whether a relationship between lawyers amounted to a partnership, the application of the successor practice rules, the successful defence of a claim by an accountant on the basis of fraudulent nondisclosure, and (in 2013, which settled during the arbitration) the defence of a claim in relation to construction professionals on the basis of fraudulent nondisclosure. Hugh also represented the successful insurer in Goldsmith Williams v Travelers Insurance Co Ltd [2010] EWHC 26 (QB), a claim under the Third Parties (Rights against Insurers) Act 1930 which failed because the insured company's directors engaged in or condoned mortgage frauds.

These claims are typical of Hugh’s practice and experience. Hugh is very familiar with solicitors’ policies and the Minimum Terms and Conditions, and his experience includes dealing with aggregation issues and dishonesty.

Outside professional liability policies, Hugh has dealt with a variety of insurance disputes.  Current and recent cases include: disputes about ATE policies; fire and flood damage claims concerning domestic and particularly commercial property, fraud claims especially in relation to fire damage; late notification misrepresentation and nondisclosure issues in a wide variety of policies (including the successful defence at trial of a fire claim on the basis of fraudulent nondisclosure); and subsidence claims.


Product Liability

Hugh has experience of multi-party litigation relating to product liability, and has acted for the claimants in a number of cases, including the HIV Haemophiliac Litigation case (see Re HIV Haemophilia Litigation [1996] PNLR 290) and the Hepatitis C Litigation (see A v. National Blood Authority [2002] Lloyd's Rep. P.N. 487, where Hugh successfully used the provisions of the CPR to circumvent provisional damages requirements). He has a particular interest in complex epidemiological issues, and in the tactics and organisation of group litigation. He also has extensive experience of clinical negligence claims and personal injury litigation. He is author of the section on group litigation in Jackson and Powell on Professional Liability.


Professional Liability

Hugh has been listed as a leading professional negligence junior by the directories for many years. He has been described as  "fantastically clever"  and “... highly recommended especially for solicitors’ professional negligence cases.” He has a “logical approach and likeable manner”,  “Bright, commercial and efficient ... acts for defendants and claimants in significant solicitors’ negligence claims”,  “witty and academically sound,” he “makes the litigation process as painless as possible.” 

Hugh writes extensively on professional liability. He is the editor of the chapters on solicitors and barristers in Jackson and Powell on Professional Liability (Sweet & Maxwell 6th edition 2007), and has been since 1992. He is the author of Lawyers' Liabilities Sweet & Maxwell 2002 (2nd edn), and nearly thirty articles in a variety of academic journals.

Accountants, Auditors & Actuaries

Hugh is regularly instructed in claims against accountants and auditors. Claims include topics as diverse as taxation matters (particularly failed tax avoidance schemes), audit responsibilities and the detection of fraud, and the duties of accountants retained by trusts. While mostly acting for the defendant professionals, Hugh also acts for claimants.  Although his two ‘A’ levels in mathematics are a distant memory, Hugh is very comfortable with figures (the result of double maths A levels).

Recent and current cases include:

Construction Professionals

Hugh's construction work centres on claims against architects, engineers and surveyors. He is comfortable with scientific and mathematical concepts. He has fought a number of architects' negligence cases at trial, mostly relating to allegations of negligent design, and negligent supervision and administration of works. Recent engineer’s cases include an arbitration against the builders of a garden centre which spawned claims against the foul and surface water drainage engineers, a number of claims in relation to leaking basements and roofs, and a £17m claim against structural engineers in relation to the Regent Quarter development at King’s Cross.   Surveyors’ work  includes claims of negligent valuations and surveys, mostly by lenders (such as the successful defence of a surveyor in Paratus v Countrywide [2012] PNLR 12), and maladministration of building contracts.

Financial Services Professionals

Hugh undertakes claims against Financial Services Professionals, acting for claimants and defendants.  Recent instructions include the defence of a claim for allegedly negligent pension advice brought by a wealthy financier. Hugh has acted for defendant insurance brokers in a wide variety of disputes.

Insurance Brokers & Agents

Hugh is regularly instructed in claims against insurance brokers. Claims include failures to bring material clauses to the attention of the insured, failures to inform insurers of material facts, and claims revolving around dishonesty. While mostly acting for the defendant professionals, Hugh also acts for claimants.

Recent and current cases include:

Lawyers

Hugh has an extensive practice in lawyers' liability work. He acts for defendants, instructed directly or via panel firms, and also on behalf of claimants. He particularly relishes cases with complex and difficult facts and law, but he also enjoys courtroom rough and tumble, and in particular cross-examination. He applies tactical thinking, including in mediations, of which he has extensive experience.

Most cases are won or lost on issues of causation and damages. Hugh applies ingenuity to problems of causation. On quantification of damages, he enjoys working with accountants and other experts, and he is very comfortable with scientific and mathematical concepts.

Hugh brings to his practice his extensive knowledge and reflection on the law. He edits the chapters on solicitors and barristers in Jackson and Powell on Professional Liability, and has done since 1992, he is the author of Lawyers' Liabilities (2nd edn 2002) and some thirty articles, mostly on lawyers' liabilities. In the wasted costs case of Medcalf v. Mardell Lord Bingham, giving the leading speech, said: "This House is grateful for the perceptive commentary on the weaknesses of this jurisdiction made by Hugh Evans, "The Wasted Costs Jurisdiction" (2001) 64 MLR 51", and Lord Hobhouse described the article as "valuable".

Hugh's experience and practice covers almost the entire range of lawyers' liability work, including, for instance, defective wills, errors in agricultural law, wasted costs, and even bungled matrimonial and criminal cases. However, the major part of his lawyers’ liability work is in four areas:

Cases in the last few years include the following:

Surveyors & Valuers

Hugh acts for claimants and defendants in actions brought against surveyors and valuers. He has extensive experience of lenders claims, and is familiar with the principles of commercial property valuations, including hotels and public houses, and allegations of contributory negligence.  Recent cases include the successful defence of a claim brought against a valuer with an obiter finding of 60% contributory negligence in Paratus v Countrywide [2012] PNLR 12, and a claim which was successful after a two month trial for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty by J D Wetherspoons against their former property finders, see [2009] EWHC 639 (Ch), and reported at an interlocutory stage at [2007] PNLR 555, and related litigation reported at. [2013] EWHC 1088 (Ch).

Clinical Practitioners

Hugh works principally for claimants in a wide range of clinical negligence cases which include: failures to diagnose or treat cancers, tumours, heart disease and fistulas; negligent eye, bowel, laparoscopic and cosmetic surgery; neo-natal injuries; negligent treatment of psychiatric illness; and viral infections from blood transfusions and other treatment. Current claims include a number of ophthalmic cases. He enjoys getting to grips with complex medical issues and epidemiological evidence, and has a specialist expertise in multiparty litigation. Hugh also undertakes personal injury litigation, principally for claimants. This includes accidents at work and road traffic accidents, and he has a particular interest in fibromyalgia and chronic pain.


Costs

Hugh’s growing costs work naturally fits with his primary expertise of solicitors’ liability claims. He has experience of cases concerning (among others):