M.A. (Cantab.) B.C.L. (Oxon.)
Tel: +44 20 7822 2036
Email Clerk: firstname.lastname@example.org
Year of Call: 1987
Hugh's practice centres on professional liability, with particular emphasis on claims against lawyers and accountants, commercial litigation, particularly insurance and fraud claims, and costs. 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 has been “praised for his ability to clarify the most complex legal issues, and sources deem him "uncannily accurate" in his advice.” The 2015 directories describe him as “Very bright and able to zoom in on the relevant points and issues instantly.” (Legal 500), "…extremely bright and very good tactically.” and “…excellent and very persuasive on his feet." (Chambers).
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 fifty mediations. He is very comfortable with a wide variety of complex technical evidence, from medical to engineering, including statistical analysis.
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  EWHC 639; reported at an interlocutory stage at  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  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.
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  PNLR 290) and the Hepatitis C Litigation (see A v. National Blood Authority  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.
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 such as the treatment of goodwill and in particular the detection of fraud (particularly involving thefts by trusted members of staff), and the duties of accountants retained by trusts. Hugh acts both for the defendant professionals, and for claimants. Although his two ‘A’ levels in mathematics are a distant memory, Hugh is very comfortable with figures.
- audits using the wrong lists of debtors and defective advice given to the company’s owners to invest in it
- many claims against accountants for failure to detect fraud
- claims against an accountant for failing to advise on remunerating directors by repayment of loan accounts leading to large tax losses
- the successful defence at trial of a claim against an accountant for negligent advice on tax relief in relation to the Enterprise Investment Scheme
- several claims against accountants for failures to advise on CGT and other tax liabilities, BES relief and potential tax mitigation, incorrect advice about the tax consequences of non-residents purchasing property in the UK, and claims in relation to failed tax avoidance schemes
- claims relating to accountancy work on company sales and takeovers
- the successful defence of a claim at arbitration by an accountant against his insurers on the basis of fraudulent nondisclosure.
- a claim against an actuary for failure to advise trustees properly in relation to levies by the Pension Protection Fund.
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.
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  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, and also in claims against insurers. 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.
Current and recent cases include:
- A claim for the failure to inform insurers of commercial property owners of the insolvency of companies where one of the owners had been a director
- A contribution claim brought by a retained broker against a third party broker for failure to advise on advance loss of profits cover for a hotel which was damaged by fire.
- A claim for failure to advise construction professionals about their fidelity insurance.
- A claim in the Commercial Court against a broker for failing to obtain effective insurance or notify insurers timeously in relation to deprivation of goods by a foreign government.
- Claims against insurance brokers for failing to obtain any or any effective insurance, or to pass on information from the insured to the insurer, leading to avoidance of cover after fire or other loss.
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:
- Defective commercial agreements, particularly with a chancery flavour. This includes: failures to comply with company law requirements in various respects such as in the purchase of the company’s own shares; tax-inefficient structuring of agreements in a wide variety of ways; defective shareholder agreements; failures to analyse the collective effect and working of suites of agreements; failures of advice to clients as to the effect of contractual provisions; failures to ensure that contracts were binding by reason of lack of authority or negligent drafting; failures to advise on the wisdom of transactions; and duties owed to third parties.
- Claims of fraud against solicitors or claimants in a wide variety of contexts, including lenders’ claims against allegedly fraudulent solicitors, and the insurance repercussions of fraud.
- Conveyancing negligence in claims brought by lending institutions, commercial clients, and individuals. These include: the full range of lenders’ disputes, of which he has done many in the recent wave of such claims; many claims by individuals in relation to fraudulent gifted deposit schemes; claims in relation to shared equity schemes; claims concerning allegedly negligent advice given to spouses; failures to check title and planning permissions; negligence in relation to contaminated land; failures to advise properly on break clauses; failures to advise on capacity; and a number of claims involving conveyancing fraud.
- Lost or bungled litigation of all types, including failed professional liability claims, commercial disputes, and even boundary disputes. This includes failed medical negligence and personal injury cases, where Hugh is able to bring to bear his knowledge and experience of the underlying areas of litigation, in which he continues to practice. Such claims include many alleged undersettlements of claims for Vibration White Finger against British Coal, and a number of complex failed clinical negligence cases.
Cases in the last few years include the following:
- Represented the successful defendant in a claim by a lender as to whether she was held out as a partner and whether the lender relied on such representations, in UCB Home Loans v Soni, at first instance and in 2013 in the Court of Appeal.
- Represented the successful defendant in October 2011 on a preliminary issue on limitation in Boycott v RWPS Solicitors, a claim by a former cricketer complaining that property was held with his former partner on a joint tenancy.
- Represented the successful claimant in Youlton v Charles Russell  EWHC 1032 (Ch), where solicitors failed to take steps to ensure that agreements between a company and its pension scheme trustees were not open to challenge on grounds of want of authority and conflict of interest.
- Represented the successful insurer in Goldsmith Williams v Travelers Insurance Co Ltd  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.
- Represented the solicitors in Mishcon de Reya (a firm) v Barrett  1 BCLC 153, a partly successful strike-out application concerning the appointment of provisional liquidators.
- Represented the successful solicitors in Miller v Garton Shires (a firm)  PNLR 273, a claim concerning bungled personal injury litigation.
- Represented the successful claimant in St Pauls Travellers Insurance Company Limited v. Okporuah  EWHC 2207 (Ch), a mortgage fraud claim.
- Represented the successful solicitors at first instance in Fulham Leisure Holdings v. Nicholson Graham & Jones  EWHC 158 (Ch),  2 All ER 599,  P.N.L.R. 23 (on waiver of privilege); and  EWHC 2017 (Ch),  4 All ER 1397 (Note) , (2007) PNLR 5, which concerned the drafting of a shareholders’ agreement.
- Represented the unsuccessful solicitors in Ball v. Druces & Attlee (A Firm)  P.N.L.R. 23 and  P.N.L.R. 39 (failure to protect founder’s rights in the Eden Project).
- Represented the barrister in Hansom & ors v E Rex Makin  EWCA Civ 1801, an appeal on relief from sanctions.
- Represented the defendant, losing at first instance but succeeding in the Court of Appeal against Leading Counsel and thus disposing of the claim on a preliminary issue in Haq v. Singh  1 WLR 1594, which concerned the meaning of change of capacity in CPR rule 17.4(4).
- Represented the unsuccessful barrister in the wasted costs case of B v. B (Wasted costs: abuse of process)  3 F.C.R. 724.
- Represented the successful claimant at first instance on a limitation preliminary issue, to be overturned by a majority of the Court of Appeal, in Havenledge Ltd. v. John & Partners  Lloyd's Law Rep PN 614 and  Lloyd's Law Rep PN 223.
- Represented the successful claimant in Bacon v. Howard Kennedy  PNLR 1, a disappointed beneficiary case.
Surveyors & Valuers
Hugh acts for claimants and defendants in actions brought against surveyors and valuers. He has extensive experience of lenders claims on both sides, and has been heavily involved in the recent round of lenders’ litigation. He is familiar with the principles of commercial property valuations, including hotels and public houses, and allegations of contributory negligence. Recent cases include many claims concerning the purchase of buy to let properties, claims of defective structural surveys, and the successful defence of a claim brought against a valuer with an obiter finding of 60% contributory negligence in Paratus v Countrywide  PNLR 12. He acted for JD Wetherspoon in a claim for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty against their former property finders, which was successful after a two month trial, see  EWHC 639 (Ch), and reported at an interlocutory stage at  PNLR 555, and related litigation reported at.  EWHC 1088 (Ch).
Hugh has a significant practice in costs work, which naturally fits with his primary expertise of solicitors’ liability claims. His experience includes (among other things):
- Detailed assessments
- challenge to provisional assessments
- formation and termination of retainers
- interrelationship between claims for costs and negligence
- the making and appeal of costs orders
- costs management hearings and costs budgets in a wide variety of cases, including personal injury and multiparty litigation
- non-party costs orders
- wasted costs applications
- relief from sanctions post Mitchell and Denton