Chris specialises in commercial disputes, with a particular focus on professional liability, insurance, mortgage and banking litigation, and construction and engineering.

Chris regularly acts for both claimants and defendants, acting both for and against lenders, contractors and professionals, and is often instructed as sole counsel in substantial High Court matters.  He is also presently retained by both financial advisors and accountants defending various claims brought by taxpayers in respect of various tax schemes, and recently acted for the successful defendants in Halsall v Champion Consulting Ltd [2017] EWHC 1079 (QB).

Chris has also been led on a number of high profile professional liability and construction disputes in recent years.  These include Gemini (Eclipse 2006-3) Plc v CBRE Limited and Warwick Street (KS) LLP (a securitised lender claim seeking damages in excess of £230m), the Right to Buy litigation, and the Part 20 Claim in Co-operative Group Ltd v Birse Developments Ltd (claim by Birse against its structural engineer and geotechnical design specialist).

In mortgage and banking, Chris was part of the team acting for RBS in Property Alliance Group v RBS, involving issues as to mis-selling of swaps, LIBOR-rigging, and the Global Restructuring Group within RBS, and he has been led in numerous claims involving alleged interest rate hedging products.

Prior to commencing pupillage, Chris studied Law at the University of Warwick, where he obtained a First Class degree.  He then spent three months as an intern at the Cape Town office of Bowman Gilfillan Attorneys, one of the largest commercial law firms in South Africa, followed by five months as a Blue Book Stagiaire at the European Commission in Brussels.

Chris was awarded a Major Scholarship from the Inner Temple for his BVC year.  During this time, he also represented the Inner Temple at the World Debating Championships 2009.  Immediately before joining 4 New Square, Chris spent 6 months at the Court of Appeal, working as a Judicial Assistant to Lord Justice Mummery and Lord Justice Rix.  Since joining Chambers, Chris has also completed a combined six months on secondment at three leading City firms, undertaking professional liability and construction work.

 

Areas of Expertise

Banking & Financial Services
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Chris has considerable experience of banking disputes, and is instructed by major high street lenders in respect of both commercial and consumer banking matters, ranging from contractual disputes to allegations of fraud.  Chris has a particular interest and specialism in alleged ‘interest rate hedging products’, having acted both for and against major lenders in respect of these matters.

Chris also has a substantial practice acting on behalf of lenders in respect consumer and commercial mortgage litigation, and he is frequently instructed in professional liability claims by lenders against solicitors and valuers, and by consumers against financial advisors.  Details of this work may be found under the “Real Property” and “Professional Liability” tabs respectively.

 

Cases

Property Alliance Group v RBS

Instructed as part of the legal team led by Tim Lord QC in Property Alliance Group v RBS, a banking dispute in t...

Property Alliance Group v RBS

Instructed as part of the legal team led by Tim Lord QC in Property Alliance Group v RBS, a banking dispute in the Chancery Division, involving issues as to mis-selling of swaps, LIBOR-rigging, and the Global restructuring Group within RBS.

Claims in respect of alleged interest rate hedging products

Acting on behalf of a major high street lender in a Commercial Court claim, brought by a borrower engaged in the prop...

Claims in respect of alleged interest rate hedging products

Acting on behalf of a major high street lender in a Commercial Court claim, brought by a borrower engaged in the property development business, concerning contractual formation, stepped fixed rate loans alleged to be interest rate hedging products, arguments concerning contracts for differences and various alleged breaches of the FSA Rules.  Further, acting on a lender claim involving in an allegation of contributory negligence in respect of the mis-selling of alleged interest rate hedging products.

Claim in respect of ‘loan-switching’

Advising a major lender in relation to ‘loan-switching’ and the contractual incorporation of the lender’s stand...

Claim in respect of ‘loan-switching’

Advising a major lender in relation to ‘loan-switching’ and the contractual incorporation of the lender’s standard rates, terms and conditions.

Claim in respect of alleged contractual agreement to capitalise arrears

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Claim in respect of alleged contractual agreement to capitalise arrears

Successfully representing a major high street bank in respect of an alleged contractual agreement to capitalise arrears.

Claim in respect of alleged fraudulent payments

Successfully representing a major high street bank in respect of the making of allegedly fraudulent payments from a c...

Claim in respect of alleged fraudulent payments

Successfully representing a major high street bank in respect of the making of allegedly fraudulent payments from a customer’s bank account, and damages in respect of consequent losses alleged to have arisen thereafter.

Claim in respect of alleged identity fraud

Successfully representing a major high street bank in a claim against non-domiciled borrowers denying liability on th...

Claim in respect of alleged identity fraud

Successfully representing a major high street bank in a claim against non-domiciled borrowers denying liability on the basis of alleged non-service outside the jurisdiction, and alleged identity fraud.

Commercial
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A large potion of Chris’ work is commercial in nature, ranging from banking litigation to professional liability actions by corporate entities.  Details of this work may be found under the relevant tabs.

Chris is also developing a practice in specialising in ‘pure’ contractual and other disputes, including in respect of commercial agency agreements, share purchase agreements, compromise agreements and disputes arising out of them.  Chris also has experience of bailment, carriage, sale of goods, commercial services, and web hosting contracts.

Commercial Chancery
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Chris undertakes a wide range of work falling within the ‘Commercial Chancery’ spectrum, ranging from banking and mortgage disputes to professional liability claims with real property, trusts or insolvency angles.  Details of this work may be found under the relevant tabs.

Construction & Engineering
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Chris has built up a substantial construction and engineering practice, acting both for and against employers, their insurers, building contractors and sub-contractors, in both commercial and residential contexts.  He frequently appears in the Technology & Construction Court as well as the County Court, as well as advising on substantive issues and the relevant pre-action protocol.  In addition, Chris is regularly instructed in construction adjudications, both substantively and in jurisdictional challenges.  He is a member of TECBAR and the Society of Construction Law.

Chris has recently been led or involved in two higher profile construction disputes, Trustees of the Marc Gilbard 2009 Settlement Trust v OD Developments and Projects Ltd [2015] EWHC 70 (TCC) and Co-operative Group Ltd v Birse Developments Ltd [2014] BLR 359.  Chris also has very substantial experience of acting, in his own right, acting for and against building contractors, and also against engineers, particularly in the fields of mechanical, electrical, heating and gas engineering.  Since 2014, Chris has also gained substantial experience of jurisdictional challenges and other procedural issues arising in construction adjudications involving contractors.

In undertaking this work, Chris benefits from having undertaken a secondment to the construction team of a leading firm of solicitors in the City, which is ranked in Chambers & Partners for both Construction and Professional Negligence: Technology & Construction work.

Chris also has a substantial practice acting in claims and adjudications brought against construction professionals, and he is frequently involved in claims involving both builders and professionals.  Further details of this work may be found under the appropriate ‘Professional Liability’ tab below.

Building Contractors

Chris was heavily involved in the drafting and preparatory work on behalf of the successful employer in Trustees of the Marc Gilbard 2009 Settlement Trust v OD Developments and Projects Ltd [2015] EWHC 70 (TCC), concerning the conclusivity of final certificates. The employer was represented by Anneliese Day QC.

Chris was also involved in Co-operative Group Ltd v Birse Developments Ltd [2014] BLR 359, alongside Fiona Sinclair QC and Richard Liddell, defending Birse Developments Ltd in a claim in relation to the construction of internal flooring, external hardstanding and drainage systems at a large commercial distribution centre.

Recent or ongoing instructions in his own right include:

  • A challenge to a final certificate made by a contractor, concerning variations instructed following the issue of a completion certificate, the valuation of variations, the exercise of employer’s powers, claims for defects and delay, and a ‘global’ claim.
  • An adjudication brought by on employer on the basis of overpayment in respect of works executed, defective and non-compliant work, the additional building and professional costs of completion following a building contractor’s repudiation, liquidated and general damages, and breach of bailment.
  • A claim by an employer and his building insurer against a ‘design and build’ contractor and its sub-contractor, for damages in respect of water ingress and damp issues in a basement.
  • A defence and counterclaim against an employer for loss of profit and wasted expenditure, and alleging repudiatory breach by denial of access to site, interference with the performance of the contract administrator, the engagement of alternative contractors, and delay in providing payment and instructions.
  • An adjudication to be brought by a contractor in respect of unpaid certified sums, non-certification, unpaid VAT, and various loss and expense claims.
  • A claim against a contractor for damages in respect of delay and defective construction of a residential property extension, amounting to repudiatory breach.
  • A claim against a contractor in respect of defective sewage works, including a failure to warn the employer as to further defects existing in the sewage system.
  • A claim brought by a building contractor in respect of alleged breach of contract and conversion, in respect of materials left on site.
Engineers

Chris also frequently acts in claims brought by and against engineers, particularly in the fields of mechanical, electrical, heating and gas engineering.  Recent and ongoing instructions include:

  • An employer’s claim in the Technology & Construction Court in respect of the allegedly defective design and installation of electrical circuits and supply systems to medical equipment.
  • An employer’s claim in the Technology & Construction Court, brought by two major British retailers against two electrical engineering firms, in respect of the defective installation, commissioning, testing and certification of electrical switchgear.
  • A claim by an employer and his building insurer against a contractor which failed to ascertain the existence of an extant air conditioning and dehumidification system, and consequently recommended that unnecessary equipment be installed.
  • Successfully defending a claim brought against a leading British multinational company, in respect of its provision of gas engineering services to third parties under the Department of Energy and Climate Change Warm Front Scheme.
  • Advising on the employer’s ability to undertake various electrical engineering works itself, rather than instructing the contractor.
Adjudication

Since 2014, Chris has also gained substantial experience of jurisdictional challenges and other procedural issues arising in construction adjudications involving contractors.  This includes:

  • Successfully resisting a jurisdictional challenge made on the basis of inconsistencies as to the sums claimed in the adjudication and referral notices.
  • Successfully arguing that the doctrine of without prejudice privilege applies in adjudications.
  • Successfully resisting an application by a contractor to submit a rejoinder.
  • Advising a contractor in respect of the refusal, prior to the issuing of an adjudication notice, to permit the contractor to access the site.
  • Advising on the meaning of the crystallisation of a ‘dispute’, and the circumstances in which the knowledge of a project manager can be imputed to his principal.
Insurance & Reinsurance
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Although Chris more often acts in respect of professional liability claims against insurance brokers than on pure insurance matters, Chris has experience of coverage issues both during pupillage and in his own right.  His knowledge and experience in advising insurers on coverage matters has been enhanced by the combined six months spent on secondment at three leading City firms, undertaking professional indemnity and construction work.

Chris also deals with a wide range of claims against insurance brokers, particularly in respect of allegations of material non-disclosure, misrepresentation or failure to comply with the terms of an insurance policy.  Further details of this work may be found under the appropriate ‘Professional Liability’ tab.

Cases

Claim concerning waste processing plant

Drafting Points of Claim in an arbitration between the operator of a waste processing plant and its insurer. The disp...

Claim concerning waste processing plant

Drafting Points of Claim in an arbitration between the operator of a waste processing plant and its insurer. The dispute concerned the proper interpretation of the insuring terms of the policy, and the interpretation and alleged non-compliance with the policy’s co-operation clause.

Claim concerning home contents policy

Advising in respect of the proper interpretation of a home contents insurance policy, including issues as to the exte...

Claim concerning home contents policy

Advising in respect of the proper interpretation of a home contents insurance policy, including issues as to the extent of ‘gadget insurance’.

Third Party (Rights against Insurers) Act 1930

Advising on rights to documentation under the Third Party (Rights against Insurers) Act 1930, in circumstances where ...

Third Party (Rights against Insurers) Act 1930

Advising on rights to documentation under the Third Party (Rights against Insurers) Act 1930, in circumstances where judgment had not been obtained.

Professional Liability
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Chris is a specialist in professional liability claims, and he is frequently instructed in claims against accountants, tax advisors, financial advisors, insurance brokers, lawyers, surveyors and valuers, property agents and construction professionals.  Chris regularly acts for both claimants and defendants, and often appears in the High Court as sole counsel.  He has also been led on a number of high profile professional liability cases in recent years.

Since joining Chambers, Chris has completed a combined six months on secondment at three specialist professional indemnity firms, all of which are ranked in Chambers & Partners as a leading firm for a variety of professional negligence work.  Chris is a member of the Professional Negligence Bar Association.

Accountants & Tax Advisers

Chris has developed a rapidly expanding practice acting on behalf of accountants and tax advisers in respect of claims concerning tax schemes, tax-efficient investments and other tax mitigation or deferral strategies.

Chris has developed a rapidly expanding practice acting on behalf of accountants and tax advisers in respect of claims concerning participation in tax schemes, tax-efficient investments and other tax mitigation or deferral strategies. Most recently, led by Graham Chapman QC, he was instructed on behalf of the successful defendants in Halsall v Champion Consulting Ltd [2017] EWHC 1079 (QB).  He continues to be led on a number of ongoing claims due to be heard in 2017.

This work dovetails closely with Chris’ substantial practice in defending financial advisors; as of 2017, Chris is instructed as sole counsel acting on behalf of three financial advisors in a claim brought by around 60 claimants, mostly former professional sportsmen, being represented Peters & Peters LLP. Further details may be found in the appropriate tab below.

Chris also has experience of claims involving failed inheritance tax planning, and advising in respect of the Government Rent a Room Scheme. Away from tax, Chris has also defended claims involving negligent accounting and auditing.

Cases

Halsall v Champion Consulting Ltd

Successfully defending a claim against tax advisers, seeking damages in excess of £6m, in respect of participation...

[2017] EWHC 1079 (QB)
[2017] EWHC 1079 (QB)
Halsall v Champion Consulting Ltd

Successfully defending a claim against tax advisers, seeking damages in excess of £6m, in respect of participation in gift aid relief schemes and the Scion Sole Trader film scheme.  Led by Graham Chapman QC.

Claim in respect of gift aid relief schemes and Eclipse film partnerships

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Claim in respect of gift aid relief schemes and Eclipse film partnerships

Acting on behalf of tax advisers in respect of a claim, seeking damages in excess of £12m, concerning participation in gift aid relief schemes and numerous Eclipse film partnerships.  Led by Graham Chapman QC.

Claim in respect of Timeless and Eclipse film partnerships, and gift aid relief schemes

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Claim in respect of Timeless and Eclipse film partnerships, and gift aid relief schemes

Acting on behalf of tax advisers in respect of a claim, seeking substantial damages, concerning participation in Timeless Releasing LLP, numerous Eclipse film partnerships, and various gift aid relief schemes.  Led by Graham Chapman QC.

Claim in respect of failed inheritance tax planning

Acting on behalf of the defendant, successfully securing the discontinuance of a claim, brought by the beneficiary of...

Claim in respect of failed inheritance tax planning

Acting on behalf of the defendant, successfully securing the discontinuance of a claim, brought by the beneficiary of a deceased client, in respect of inheritance tax planning alleged by HMRC to have fallen foul of the Gift with Reservation of Benefits provisions.

Claim in respect of negligent accounting

Acting on behalf of an accountant in a claim alleging negligent preparation of accounts, improper treatment in respe...

Claim in respect of negligent accounting

Acting on behalf of an accountant in a claim alleging negligent preparation of accounts, improper treatment in respect of directors’ loan accounts and intangible assets, and the improper writing off of liabilities.

Claim in respect of alleged auditing work

Acting on behalf of an accountant alleged to have undertaken auditing duties, and raising a defence under the Compani...

Claim in respect of alleged auditing work

Acting on behalf of an accountant alleged to have undertaken auditing duties, and raising a defence under the Companies Act 2006, s.1157.

Financial Services Professionals

Chris has a developed a substantial practice acting in claims against financial advisors, is presently retained on a number of claims in the High Court, and also has experience of disputes before the Financial Ombudsman.

Chris’ practice covers a broad range of claims against financial advisers, in claims concerning allegedly negligent advice in respect of investments made directly, as well as investments made via personal pension schemes. He regularly deals with allegations concerning the suitability of investments, unregulated collective investment schemes, investments with an international flavour (such as foreign property funds and other property investments), alleged failures to explain the risks of investments and other financial products, and pensions switching advice, particularly involving block transfers and the tax treatment of allegedly unauthorised payments or investments.

As of 2017, Chris is also instructed on behalf of three financial advisors in a claim brought by around 60 taxpayers (represented Peters & Peters LLP), mostly professional or former professional sportsmen, concerning their participation in various film partnership and investment tax schemes.  The tax-related elements of this work dovetail closely with Chris’ practice acting on behalf of accountants and tax advisers, details of which may be found under the appropriate tab above.

Chris has also benefited from several months spend on secondment at a specialist professional indemnity firm in the City, which is ranked in Chambers & Partners as a leading firm for professional negligence work in respect of financial practitioners. During this time, Chris worked directly for the author of the chapter on financial advisers in Simpson: Professional Negligence and Liability, and gained substantial experience of claims against financial services professionals, as well as related claims against product providers.  This work involved claims in the civil courts and before the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Cases

Claim in respect of film partnership and investment schemes

Acting on behalf of three financial advisors in a claim brought by around 60 taxpayers, mostly professional or former...

Claim in respect of film partnership and investment schemes

Acting on behalf of three financial advisors in a claim brought by around 60 taxpayers, mostly professional or former professional sportsmen, being represented Peters & Peters LLP.  The claim, issued in the Chancery Division, concerns the claimants’ investments in various film partnership and investment tax schemes, including Ebony, Grosvenor Park, Holbein, Neptune, Quartz and Scion Premier.

Aggregated claims brought against insurer in respect of alleged negligent advice

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Aggregated claims brought against insurer in respect of alleged negligent advice

Acted on behalf of an insurer in respect of aggregated claims brought under the Third Party (Rights Against Insurers) Act 1930.  The claims concern allegedly negligent advice to participate in foreign property funds.

Claim in respect of investment in foreign property

Successfully representing the defendant in a dispute concerning the value of a pension investment in Australian farm...

Claim in respect of investment in foreign property

Successfully representing the defendant in a dispute concerning the value of a pension investment in Australian farmland, including resisting the claimant’s  late application to adduce expert valuation evidence.

Claim in respect of alleged failure to advise client to sue previous advisor

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Claim in respect of alleged failure to advise client to sue previous advisor

A claim involving an allegation that a financial advisor owed duties to his client to advise his client as to potential professional negligence claim against a previous financial advisor.

Claim in respect of life insurance and critical illness cover

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Claim in respect of life insurance and critical illness cover

Representing the defendant in a High Court claim concerning alleged ‘ongoing’ duties and advisory failures in respect of life insurance and critical illness cover.  The trial is due to commence in early 2018.

Claim in respect of investment plan structured as life insurance

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Claim in respect of investment plan structured as life insurance

Claim involving allegations of unsuitability and failure to properly advise claimants in respect of an offshore investment plan structured as a life insurance product.

Insurance Brokers & Agents

Having gained substantial experience of claims against insurance brokers during his secondment to a specialist professional indemnity firm in the City, Chris has now developed a considerable practice in his own right in claims against insurance brokers, appearing as sole Counsel in both the High Court and County Courts.  As of 2017, Chris is instructed as sole Counsel in a Commercial Court claim likely to be quantified in excess of £1m, brought by the former owners of two well-known hotels on the Blackpool Promenade.

Chris is regularly instructed in claims where the client has found itself uninsured, including where the insurer has successfully avoided cover on grounds of misrepresentation, material non-disclosure and breach of warranty.  He also has experience of claims where brokers are alleged to have failed in their duties once policies have incepted. Chris is also familiar with defences of causation and contributory negligence in respect of an insured’s failure to scrutinise proposal forms and insurance policy terms.

This area of work increasingly dovetails with Chris’ substantial practice in claims against financial advisers, particularly in respect of critical illness and life insurance cover.  Further details may be found under the appropriate tab above.

Cases

Claim concerning Blackpool hotels

Instructed as as sole Counsel in a Commercial Court claim, likely to be quantified in excess of £1m, on behalf of th...

Claim concerning Blackpool hotels

Instructed as as sole Counsel in a Commercial Court claim, likely to be quantified in excess of £1m, on behalf of the former owners of two well-known hotels on the Blackpool Promenade. The matter concerns the declinature of claims and avoidance of policies in respect of the two hotels, following substantial property damage, on grounds of misrepresentation and material non-disclosure.

Claim concerning declinature of MPPI policy claims

Claim involving the declinature of cover under a number of Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance policies, on the gr...

Claim concerning declinature of MPPI policy claims

Claim involving the declinature of cover under a number of Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance policies, on the grounds that the insured property was not the claimant’s ‘main home’.

Claim concerning alleged failure to place life insurance policy

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Claim concerning alleged failure to place life insurance policy

Claim brought by the deceased’s estate and widow in respect of the alleged failure to place a life insurance policy.

Claim in respect of defective notification

Claim by a professional in respect of alleged failures to notify insurers of relevant circumstances, defective notifi...

Claim in respect of defective notification

Claim by a professional in respect of alleged failures to notify insurers of relevant circumstances, defective notifications, alleged failures to advise insured clients in respect of blanket notifications and failure to protect the client’s interests once a dispute with insurers had arisen.

Claim in respect of alleged failure to explain policy provisions

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Claim in respect of alleged failure to explain policy provisions

Claim by a shop own in respect of an alleged failure to explain critical provisions in building and contents policies, resulting in the client’s breach of warranty.

Claim by footballer in respect of ‘career-ending injury’ insurance

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Claim by footballer in respect of ‘career-ending injury’ insurance

Claim brought by a footballer in respect of alleged non-disclosure in the procurement of ‘career-ending injury’ insurance.

Lawyers

Chris has built up a thriving practice acting both for and against solicitors, appearing in court and undertaking drafting and advisory work. He is frequently instructed in claims with an underlying subject matter of a litigious, matrimonial, commercial or real property nature, including Sale & Rentback schemes, and the Right to Buy provisions.

Chris is most often instructed on behalf of solicitors, but is also acting with increasing frequency on behalf of lenders. Chris has substantial experience of claims involving breach of trust and breach of undertaking, as well as more common contractual and tortious claims for breach of the lender’s terms or CML handbook, particularly where the alleged breaches result in properties being occupied by individuals claiming to have interests which are binding on the lender.  Chris also acts for private clients, including purchasers and lessees of commercial and residential property.

Chris is also being instructed with increasing regularity in claims against barristers, including contribution or Part 20 claims brought by solicitors in respect of allegedly mishandled litigation.

In all of his work, Chris has benefited from a cumulative 6 months’ first-hand experience of the day-to-day work of litigation solicitors and claims handlers, having undertaken a number of secondments at leading professional indemnity firms in the City.

Cases

Right to Buy litigation

Led by Ben Hubble QC and Amanda Savage, acting on behalf of solicitors in lead cases in the Right to Buy litigat...

Right to Buy litigation

Led by Ben Hubble QC and Amanda Savage, acting on behalf of solicitors in lead cases in the Right to Buy litigation.

Claim by freeholder in respect of joint ownership planning conditions

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Claim by freeholder in respect of joint ownership planning conditions

Claim by a freeholder in respect of the alleged negligent drafting of leases of properties subject to shared ownership restrictions.

Claim by purchaser in respect of alleged failure to advise as to joint ownership rules

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Claim by purchaser in respect of alleged failure to advise as to joint ownership rules

Claim by a joint purchaser of residential property in respect of the alleged failure to advise as to varying species of joint ownership, and alleged wrongful completion of TR1 Form.

Claim by tenant in respect of alleged negligent advice as to break clauses

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Claim by tenant in respect of alleged negligent advice as to break clauses

Claim by commercial tenant of industrial property in respect of negligent advice as to ‘material compliance’ condition contained within a break clause.  Led by David Halpern QC.

Claim by developer in respect of the issuing of allegedly defective notices to complete

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Claim by developer in respect of the issuing of allegedly defective notices to complete

Claim by developer in respect of the issuing, to overseas property investors, of allegedly defective notices to complete on residential flats within a development.

Lender claim in respect of wrongful execution of Certificates of Title and Execution and failure to register charge

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Lender claim in respect of wrongful execution of Certificates of Title and Execution and failure to register charge

Lender claim against solicitors in respect of the execution of Certificates of Title and Execution, in circumstances where the borrowers were not the sole owners and had not executed any charge, and subsequent failures to protect the lender’s position.

Lender claim in respect of wrongful paying away of mortgage monies

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Lender claim in respect of wrongful paying away of mortgage monies

Retained as sole counsel in a substantial High Court claim brought by a major high street bank in respect of the paying away of mortgage monies. Issues include the substance and interpretation of the ‘default terms’ of the trust which arises when a lender pays mortgage monies to a solicitor acting on its behalf, in the event that the CML Handbook and lender’s standard terms do not apply, and the extent of the doctrine of subrogation to a vendor’s lien.

Claim concerning alleged undersettlement of commercial IP litigation

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Claim concerning alleged undersettlement of commercial IP litigation

Claim concerning alleged incompetent conduct and consequent undersettlement of a complex IP dispute in the Chancery Division, said to be worth over £10m.  Led by Jamie Smith QC.

Claim concerning negligent assessment of prospects of success in litigation, and refusal of WP offers

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Claim concerning negligent assessment of prospects of success in litigation, and refusal of WP offers

Acting on behalf of claimant in a claim against its solicitors and barrister on the basis of overly optimistic assessment of the claimant’s prospects of success in litigation, and the refusal of without prejudice offers.

Claims in respect of alleged undersettlement of matrimonial finance proceedings

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Claims in respect of alleged undersettlement of matrimonial finance proceedings

Representing solicitors in two claims brought by divorcees against solicitors and barrister, concerning alleged negligent advice and undersettlement of claims for pension sharing orders and spousal maintenance orders.

Claim in respect of alleged failings in exercise of Powers of Attorney and Deputyship

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Claim in respect of alleged failings in exercise of Powers of Attorney and Deputyship

Claim by beneficiaries against solicitors for breach of duties of care in the exercise of Powers of Attorney and Deputyship, including the failure to maintain residential property.

Claim in respect of alleged negligent drafting of will

Claim brought by beneficiary seeking to extend the White v Jones principle in respect of advice given to testato...

Claim in respect of alleged negligent drafting of will

Claim brought by beneficiary seeking to extend the White v Jones principle in respect of advice given to testator, and in respect of alleged negligent drafting of a will.

Surveyors & Valuers

Chris has built a substantial practice acting for and against surveyors and valuers, in claims brought by both lenders and purchasers of commercial and residential property. He combines his experience in this area with his work in the related field of construction claims and claims against constructional professionals, and is comfortable in dealing with those claims concerning alleged defects in buildings, as well as allegations of commercial overvaluation.  Chris also has substantial experience of corporate valuation matters.

Chris was recently instructed as junior counsel to Justin Fenwick QC and Graham Chapman QC, to act on behalf of CBRE in the case of Gemini (Eclipse 2006-3) Plc v CBRE Limited and Warwick Street (KS) LLP, a securitised lender claim seeking damages in excess of £230m.

More generally, Chris has considerable experience in claims brought by both lenders and purchasers in respect of the overvaluation of properties, and claims against building surveyors who are alleged either to have failed to identify structural defects in property. He has advised and acted on a wide range of valuation issues, including the applicability of the ‘bracket’ to portfolio cases and structural reports, various recoverability issues in lender claims, and allegations of faulty lending practices.  In addition, Chris is frequently instructed to act on cases with limitation issues, including arguments under s.14A and the valuation of borrowers’ covenants.

Chris’ involvement in corporate valuation matters include the valuation of unlisted companies, as well as those listed on various stock exchanges, including the Alternative Investment Market and Channel Islands Stock/Securities Exchanges, as well as the FTSE Main Market.

Claims against surveyors and valuers frequently also involve contribution claims against solicitors, and vice versa, Chris is regularly involved in both bringing and defending such actions. Further details may be found under the appropriate tab above.

Cases

Gemini (Eclipse 2006-3) Plc v CBRE Limited and Warwick Street (KS) LLP

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Gemini (Eclipse 2006-3) Plc v CBRE Limited and Warwick Street (KS) LLP

Securitised lender claim seeking damages in excess of £230m. Chris was heavily involved in advising on an extensive range of issues, including statutory and equitable assignment, joinder of the original lender, duties of care, and various issues in respect of causation and loss following the Court’s decision in Titan Europe 2006-3 Plc v Colliers International UK Plc.  The claim, which concerned a property portfolio valued by the defendants at more than £1bn, was named in The Lawyer’s top 20 cases of 2016.

Lender claim in respect of alleged overvaluation of industrial property

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Lender claim in respect of alleged overvaluation of industrial property

Claim for damages of over £6,000,000, brought by a major lending institution against surveyors alleged to have overvalued industrial property let to commercial tenants.  Led by Jamie Smith QC.  The claim, which settled in late 2016, concerned inter alia valuation methodology, the effect of periodic ‘refinancing’ or redemption of lending by the same lender, and the ‘shelf life’ of valuation reports.

Claim by sub-prime lender

Claim by a sub-prime lender, involving issues such as the treatment of ‘advance interest repayments’ and similar...

Claim by sub-prime lender

Claim by a sub-prime lender, involving issues such as the treatment of ‘advance interest repayments’ and similar retentions, and the recoverability of abnormally high costs of funding, and hedging costs and break fees.

Claims by buy-to-let investors against valuers instructed by lenders

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Claims by buy-to-let investors against valuers instructed by lenders

Presently retained in respect of two claims bought by buy-to-let purchasers in respect of the alleged overvaluation of ‘holiday let’ homes.  Issues include the extent of applicability of Scullion v Bank of Scotland [2011] 1 WLR 3212, and the relevance of gifted deposits and cash back incentives.

Claims against building surveyors in respect of damp walls

Acting on two claims against building surveyors in respect of the alleged negligent diagnosis or detection of damp in...

Claims against building surveyors in respect of damp walls

Acting on two claims against building surveyors in respect of the alleged negligent diagnosis or detection of damp in walls.

Halsall v Champion Consulting Ltd [2017] EWHC 1079 (QB) and other cases

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Halsall v Champion Consulting Ltd [2017] EWHC 1079 (QB) and other cases

Acting on behalf of tax advisers in respect of various professional liability claims brought by taxpayers.  Claims included issues as to the valuation of shell companies and holding companies, both unlisted and when listed on AIM and CISX.  Led by Graham Chapman QC.

Property Agents

Chris is regularly instructed to defend property agents in claims brought by landlords, tenants and purchasers of property.  His work in this area focuses on claims brought against estate agents in their capacity as property managers, and he is familiar with the RICS standards and guidance notes applicable to this field of work.

Chris has also co-ordinated numerous training seminars provided by 4 New Square on this area of law, combining his approach to professional negligence work with his knowledge of substantive landlord and tenant law.

Cases

Multi-party claim by leaseholder in respect of the alleged mismanagement of insurance monies

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Multi-party claim by leaseholder in respect of the alleged mismanagement of insurance monies

Defending a substantial multi-party claim, brought by the owner of two properties on a development in the North West, against a managing agent appointed by the management company. The claim concerned the alleged mismanagement of insurance monies, said to have been misappropriated by fraud.

Claim by landlord in respect of breaches of AST committed by agent

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Claim by landlord in respect of breaches of AST committed by agent

Claims by a landlord for indemnities in respect of property management services, where the agent was alleged to have committed breaches of a tenancy agreement on the landlord’s behalf.

Claim by landlord in respect of the alleged negligent vetting of tenants

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Claim by landlord in respect of the alleged negligent vetting of tenants

Claim by landlord in respect of the agent’s letting of residential property to a company, and alleged failure to properly vet incoming tenants.

Claim by landlord in respect of the alleged negligent drafting of tenancy agreements

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Claim by landlord in respect of the alleged negligent drafting of tenancy agreements

Claim by landlord in respect of the alleged negligent drafting of tenancy agreements and related notices, resulting in alleged delay in recovering possession.

Claim by landlord in respect of the failure to comply with the rules concerning tenancy deposits

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Claim by landlord in respect of the failure to comply with the rules concerning tenancy deposits

Claim in respect of the alleged failure to comply with the rules concerning tenancy deposits, and the landlord’s consequent inability to serve s.21 notices under the Housing Act 1988.

Claim by purchaser in respect of alleged negligent misstatement

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Claim by purchaser in respect of alleged negligent misstatement

Successfully obtaining a strike-out, without a hearing, of a claim brought by a purchaser of a property on the basis of alleged negligent misstatement.

Construction Professionals

Chris has built a substantial practice acting both for and against construction professionals, including architects, contract administrators, project managers, structural and related engineers, and quantity surveyors. He has experience of claims brought against these professionals by third parties.

Chris regularly appears in the Technology & Construction Court, and is also frequently instructed on adjudications. Chris is a member of the PNBA, TECBAR and the SCL.

This area of professional liability dovetails with Chris’ construction and engineering practice, including acting for and against mechanical, electrical, heating and gas engineers. It also combines with his experience in the related field of professional negligence claims against building surveyors.  Further details may be found under the appropriate tabs above.

Cases

Claim in respect of defective cladding and render system

Presently instructed as sole counsel in a substantial claim in the TCC, brought on behalf of a sub-contractor in resp...

Claim in respect of defective cladding and render system

Presently instructed as sole counsel in a substantial claim in the TCC, brought on behalf of a sub-contractor in respect of an extension and partial refurbishment of a hospital in Blackburn. The claim concerns liability to the main contractor, a joint venture between two major national contractors, in respect of the faulty design by a sub-subcontractor of the external cladding and render system.

Adjudication against an architect in respect of rural auction mart

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Adjudication against an architect in respect of rural auction mart

An adjudication brought by the owner of large rural auction min art site against an architect, in respect of the negligent drafting of a specification of works, and the subsequent negligent supervision and certification of the works.

Claim against an architect in respect of defective oil tank enclosure

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Claim against an architect in respect of defective oil tank enclosure

A claim against an architect based on negligent design of an oil tank enclosure, failure to comply with planning requirements, selection of an unsuitable contractor, and failure to properly supervise construction works.

Claims against architects in respect of water ingress and damp issues

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Claims against architects in respect of water ingress and damp issues

Advising an employer and his building insurer in a claim against an architect for damages in respect of the failure to specify an appropriate scope of works to remedy water ingress and damp issues, and acting on a claim against an architect in respect of alleged deficiencies in its approach to the restoration of a building damaged by water used to extinguish a fire.

Claim against an architect in respect of the non-issue of contractual notices

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Claim against an architect in respect of the non-issue of contractual notices

Advising an employer on a claim in respect of an architect’s failure to issue appropriate notices in respect of liquidated damages.

Claim against an architect in respect of negligent planning advice

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Claim against an architect in respect of negligent planning advice

Claim against an architect in respect of wrongful advice as to necessity for planning application in a conservation area, and negligent assessment of prospects of success of planning application.

Contribution claim against an architect in respect of alleged faulty design of hotel

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Contribution claim against an architect in respect of alleged faulty design of hotel

A contribution claim brought by a contractor against an architect, alleging faulty design of balconies and balustrades on a new-build hotel.

Claim by purchaser against developer’s architect

A contribution claim by a purchaser of a new-build property against an architect, where the architect had been engage...

Claim by purchaser against developer’s architect

A contribution claim by a purchaser of a new-build property against an architect, where the architect had been engaged by the developer-seller to provide a completion certificate.

Claims by purchasers in respect of the issuing of Professional Consultant’s Certificates
Claims by purchasers in respect of the issuing of Professional Consultant’s Certificates
Claims against engineers in respect of defective foundations

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Claims against engineers in respect of defective foundations

Claims in respect of the defective design, construction or approval of foundations, particularly where damage has been caused by variations in soil moisture levels.

Claims against engineers in respect of property conversions and extensions

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Claims against engineers in respect of property conversions and extensions

Claims in respect of the defective design, construction or approval of property conversions and extensions.

Co-operative Group Ltd v Birse Developments Ltd

Acting alongside Fiona Sinclair QC and Richard Liddell, Part 20 claim by Birse Developments Ltd against its structura...

[2014] BLR 359
[2014] BLR 359
Co-operative Group Ltd v Birse Developments Ltd

Acting alongside Fiona Sinclair QC and Richard Liddell, Part 20 claim by Birse Developments Ltd against its structural engineer and geotechnical design specialist.

Real Property
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Chris is regularly instructed to act on behalf of major banks, building societies and other lending institutions in all aspects of mortgage law, and mortgage litigation, and he has written and delivered training seminars to both lending institutions and solicitors’ firms on the topic of subrogation.  This work dovetails with Chris’ substantial practice acting on behalf of lenders in banking disputes, details of which may be found under the ‘Banking & Financial Services’ tab.

Chris also advises and acts on landlord and tenant and other real property matters, further details of which are provided below.

Mortgage

Chris is regularly instructed on behalf of mortgagees and receivers to deal with a variety of mortgage-related claims.

He is frequently instructed on possession and money judgment claims, including in cases where arrears have been cleared or capitalised, previous proceedings have failed, or the lender relies on subrogation.  He also has experience of possession issues arising out of disclaimed property.

In addition to possession claims, Chris deals with a variety of claims brought by borrowers, including allegations that lenders have sold property at an undervalue, claims against lenders alleged to have charged or incurred improper or unnecessary fees and charges (including claims where lenders have made payments to freeholders), allegations by borrowers of deceit, undue influence, misrepresentation, and non est factum, and issues arising under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

Chris’ sound grounding real property law means he is also comfortable dealing with the priority issues that frequently arise in mortgage litigation, including in relation to ‘all monies’ charges, rights of consolidation and tacking, and competing charges.  He has substantial experience of applications for alteration or rectification of the Land Register.

Landlord and tenant

Chris has advised and acted in numerous commercial and residential landlord and tenant claims, representing landlords, LPA receivers, estate agents, property managers, leaseholders and tenants.  On the commercial side, he has advised in relation to the renewal of business leases under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, and on covenants against letting in long leases.  On the residential side, he is familiar with assured shorthold tenancies, claims for possession, issues concerning deposits, and claims by landlords and tenants in respect of repair covenants or dilapidations.  He has also appeared on behalf of a long leaseholder in a service charge dispute in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber).

General real property work

Chris has also advised and acted on more general real property issues, such as charges and charging orders, overriding interests and easements, particularly in the context of lenders’ claims and other claims against conveyancing solicitors, estate agents and mortgage advisers.  He also advises and acts on misrepresentation claims brought by sellers against purchasers.

Qualifications & Memberships

Memberships

London Common Law & Commercial Bar Association

Professional Negligence Bar Association

Society of Construction Law

Technology and Construction Court Bar Association

 

Education

LLB (Warwick) (First Class)

 

VAT registration number: 121985215