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 the use of ingenuity, tactical thinking, detailed preparation, and experience, particularly in 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”, 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” and described as “…extremely bright and very good tactically” and “…excellent and very persuasive on his feet.” The 2016 directories say that ‘He is very efficient, provides commercial advice and quickly gets to the real issues.’ (Legal 500) and “Hugh demonstrates wit and energy, and is tremendously likeable too”, “Hugh knows professional negligence inside-out, and is great to work with”, and “He is phenomenally bright and gives very practical advice.” (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 8th edition 2017), and has been since 1992. He is the author of Lawyers’ Liabilities Sweet & Maxwell 2002 (2nd edn, new edition in preparation), 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.