During his time in Chambers, Jamie has built up a practice embracing professional liability work, insurance matters and commercial dispute resolution. In all that he does, Jamie brings a meticulous eye for detail and a complete commitment to the cause. He prides himself of being “a good team player” and, whilst mindful of the need to see matters from a commercial perspective, he is not afraid to take decisive action and to stick to his guns.

He is ranked in the directories for his insurance and professional liability work. Recognised by the Legal 500 (2015) as a leading New Silk in professional negligence, Jamie is described as “an exceptional talent”. Before he took silk, Jamie was also in the ‘Star’ category for professional negligence in Chambers & Partners and is now ranked in the 2016 edition as a Leading Silk for his professional negligence and insurance work. He is described as “extremely able, and provides a very incisive analysis of difficult problems”, “has an excellent grasp of issues and is not afraid to fight cases. Very easy to get on with and extremely proactive”, “highly analytical and able to see through complicated legal issues and distil them down to the essential points”.

Jamie regularly appears in the appellate courts and is equally at home in arbitration. Examples of his recent work include the ground-breaking Supreme Court decision on liability insurance in IEGL v. Zurich and a trilogy of Court of Appeal cases in the professional liability field: Schumann v. Veale Wasbrough (barristers), BPC Hotels (solicitors) and MASNOL (recovery of swap costs in lender claims).

Areas of Expertise

Commercial Dispute Resolution
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Jamie’s commercial dispute resolution experience includes freezing and proprietary injunctions (see, for example, Cherney v. Neuman [2009] EWHC 1743), pre-action disclosure applications and foreign jurisdiction issues. He also appears in arbitrations.

In particular, Jamie has:

  • Acted for Courtaulds Textiles in sale of goods case concerning supply of fabric.
  • Represented a watch manufacturer in a claim for breach of licensing agreements brought by Warner Bros.
  • Advised in respect of exclusion clauses in commercial storage agreements following the destruction of modern art in a warehouse fire in Hackney (in which Tracy Emin lost her tent)!
  • Acted for a commercial property agent in a cross-border dispute arising out of sale of German property portfolio.

A sizeable element of Jamie’s work is in the Commercial Court. His current workload includes a claim against a major City investment bank in respect of credit derivative swap transactions and a £40m claim against an aerospace company for an alleged failure adequately to insure MOD stock and equipment.

Jamie recently successfully defended MF Global against allegations of negligent advice in respect of derivatives transactions – Wilson v. MF Global [2011] EWHC 138.

Insurance & Reinsurance
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“He has great mental agility, good judgement and is good with clients.” – Chambers & Partners, 2016: Insurance

Jamie’s first exposure to insurance issues arose as part of his professional liability work. Insurance has since grown to become a key area of Jamie’s practice and one in which he is both deeply interested and deeply committed: in Court, in arbitration, as an arbitrator and in delivering talks and seminars. Jamie is now seen as an experienced practitioner in this field and was Counsel in the ground-breaking Supreme Court case of IEGL v. Zurich case, exploring coverage issues in the EL field.

On the professional indemnity side, Jamie has very extensive experience of market policies. He has a particular specialism in the Minimum Terms and Conditions (MTCs), as applying to primary layer solicitors’ policies. He is regularly appointed to arbitrate issues arising under the MTCs.

The wide incidence of mortgage fraud has led market insurers to pay close attention to aggregation and dishonesty clauses in their policies and Jamie has repeatedly been engaged to advise on these matters. This includes:

  • Dishonesty conferences
  • Notification issues (particularly Rothschild ‘blanket’ notifications)
  • Arbitrations where the market insurer is seeking a declaration that it is entitled to rely on the dishonesty exception in the MTCs

Away from the professional indemnity insurance arena, Jamie advises on a very wide range of topics, from warranties in domestic household policies to exotic ‘prize’ insurance in the on-line gaming industry. As to the latter, Jamie acted for MyLotto24 in its €24m dispute with Great Lakes following a jackpot win by one of its customers.

Jamie also has extensive D&O experience. He recently advised on notification issues in respect of a captive D&O reinsurance programme and he has been involved in coverage disputes following the Meinl Bank litigation, and the Topland affair. Jamie’s disciplinary work has also led to coverage disputes, particularly on the scope of cover side in FCA investigations.

Examples of Jamie’s practice include:

  • Interpretation of permanent health insurance and critical illness cover: Haghiran v. Allied Dunbar [2001] All ER (Comm) 97 (CA)
  • Consideration of the merit of ‘fraudulent claims and devices’ defence in the context of domestic contents policy
  • Fine art insurance
  • ATE Insurance (and attendant claims to the FOS)
  • Fire claims: Sugar Hut v. Great Lakes Insurance [2011] Lloyd’s Rep IR (Burton J)
Professional Liability
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Jamie is recognised by Chambers & Partners 2016 for his ‘formidable professional negligence practice’, described asextremely able, and provides a very incisive analysis of difficult problems.” “Has an excellent grasp of issues and is not afraid to fight cases. Very easy to get on with and extremely proactive.”

“An exceptional talent” – Legal 500, 2015 Professional Negligence

Jamie was only 4 years call when he was first recognised in the Directories for his professional liability work and since 2008 he has been in the top category in Chambers & Partners for professional negligence juniors. He has for the last 3 years been nominated as professional negligence junior of the year.

The Directories describe Jamie as “totally unflappable and brilliant on his feet”, “devastatingly intelligent” and as having “a phenomenal work rate, and the rare skill of being able to pinpoint the heart of a case very quickly”. Jamie prides himself on his total commitment to his clients’ cause and on his meticulousness.

Jamie’s interest in this field is not just confined to the cases he conducts and defends. He is a voracious reader on the topic, gives talks whenever he has time and is a committee member of the Professional Negligence Bar Association.

Accountants, Auditors & Actuaries

Jamie acts both for and against accountants, auditors and actuaries. He is highly numerate – claiming to have studied both Pure and Applied Mathematics at ‘A’ Level!

On the accounting side, he has particular experience in film finance and other tax deferment scheme cases – dating right back to the Bedford Row Film Finance litigation in 2006 onwards. In that regard, Jamie has seen the range of schemes: from sale and leaseback to UK GAAP structures.

Other examples of his work on the accountancy side include:

  • Tax planning/offshore trust claims where the trust does not have the envisaged tax sheltering effect.
  • IHT planning claims.
  • Company takeover/share-swap schemes.
  • Allegations of incorrect treatment of negative goodwill.
  • Financial advice given by a firm of accountants (Goldberg v. Miltiadous & Ors [2010] EWHC 450).

On the audit side, Jamie represented the Learning and Skills Council in a £40m claim against Deloitte & Touche for alleged negligent auditing of a further education institution (with John Powell QC and Ben Hubble QC). He is currently engaged in a FRC disciplinary matter for a ‘Big Four’ firm arising out of the failure of an AIM company.

Jamie also has substantial experience of disclosure issues arising from documents and working papers held by accountancy and audit practices, e.g., under section 235 of the Insolvency Act.

Jamie’s work in actuary cases has focused principally upon pension scheme cases, e.g., mistakes arising out of Barber equalisation and the indexing of uplift to pensions in payment.

Construction Professionals

Jamie has a particular interest in cases involving complex scientific issues. He regularly acts for and against structural engineers in relation to domestic and commercial underpinning and ground stabilisation schemes. He has often been retained by the Royal & Sun Alliance (now RSA) in claims against construction professionals (to include loss adjusters) arising out of failed underpinning/fire repair projects.

By way of example of Jamie’s work in this field:

  • He was junior counsel in a £20 million dispute against project managers and computer consultants jointly advising on the construction of an automated distribution warehouse (Universal Music v. E.C. Harris).
  • He has acted for and against architects in design and build contracts (London Borough of Dagenham v. Terrapin, UIPL v. McAlpine (£40m claim in respect of commercial premises design and build contract)).

Financial Services Professionals

Jamie is regularly instructed in claims involving financial services professionals. This aspect of his professional liability practice has come to the fore in recent years with the rise of litigation involving tax deferment schemes – such as The Bedford Row Litigation and The Innovator Litigation.

Examples of Jamie’s recent work include:

  • The involvement of pension advisers in the equalisation of company pension scheme and as to the definition of pensionable salary in an employer’s scheme.
  • Whether direct-offer advertisements for SCARP products contravened FIMBRA/FSMA guidelines.
  • Claims relating to trading of FOREX derivatives and credit default swap derivatives.
  • FSMA client classification issues.

Jamie has just concluded his involvement in a large, multi-party dispute arising from a failed bank guarantee deposit scheme (where £10m of investors’ funds was lost). There were claims against several IFAs and financial intermediaries.

Insurance Brokers & Agents

Jamie’s specialism in claims involving insurance brokers and agents complements his insurance practice (in respect of which he is recommended as a Leading Silk in Chambers & Partners).

Often, Jamie acts in multiparty disputes where both insurers and insurance intermediaries are defendants. He also has offshore experience and has, for example, advised in relation to Channel Islands disputes and pan-European coverage disputes.

Jamie’s work in this area includes:

  • Advising an online gaming company on the broker’s role in the procurement of specialist ‘prize’ indemnity insurance (€40m claim).
  • Representing an IFA following incorrect notification of pensions mis-selling claims (in the light of Rothschild v. Goodyear).
  • Acting for a Jersey company as to the broking of a commercial insurance policy for a café: Café le Lecq v. Rossborough Insurance Brokers [2012] JCRO 53.

Jamie has particular experience in business interruption cover claims (and, its counterpart, advance loss of profit cover) and has advised on that type of cover in the context of: (a) a fire at an award-winning Eco hotel project during the construction works period; (b) an arson attack at a supermarket; and (c) a recycling plant.

Jamie also regularly considers D&O issues on the broking side. He is currently involved in a substantial matter relating to European-wide litigation against a high-profile bank and its directors.

He is a member of BILA.

Lawyers

In recent years, Jamie has spent much of his time acting in various high-profile lawyers’ liability cases – both solicitors and barristers. That work has entailed court and arbitration work for both claimants and defendants/respondents and has taken him to the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords. The underlying subject matter of the dispute has been very diverse: from the purchase of football rights to the purchase of London property by a Russian Oligarch.

Jamie also undertakes wasted costs work, again for both solicitors and barristers.

The following is but a selection of Jamie’s work in this field:

  • Moy v. Pettman Smith [2005] UKHL 7; [2005] 1 WLR 581 (HL): House of Lords’ interpretation of the scope of the barrister’s duty to advise.
  • The TAG Litigation [2006] EWHC 839 (Comm): high-profile case examining solicitors’ responsibility toward ATE insurers in the wake of the collapse of ‘The Accident Group’ claims management scheme.
  • Football League v. edge ellison [2006] EWHC 1462 (Ch); [2007] PNLR 2: £150m claim brought by The Football League arising out of ONdigital’s purchase of TV licensing rights.
  • Marplace v. Chaffe Street [2006] EWHC 1919 (Ch): £80m claim brought by potential purchaser of subsidiary of Coats Viyella plc – purchase thwarted by inability to perform ‘whitewashing’ of financial assistance provided by subsidiary to purchaser.
  • Tamlura NV v. Cameron McKenna [2009] EWHC 538 (Ch); [2009] Lloyd’s Rep PN 71: £5m claim relating to a share sale agreement.
  • Cherney v. Neuman & Ors [2009] EWHC 1743 (Ch): £multi-million claim involving property purchases in London by a Russian Oligarch.
  • Pritchard Joyce & Hinds v. Batcup [2008] EWHC 20 (QB); [2008] PNLR 18 and [2009] EWCA Civ 369; [2009] PNLR 28 (CA): contribution claim between solicitors and barristers.

Jamie has also been advising of late on various issues relating to lenders’ claims against solicitors. These include:

  • Whether contributory negligence can be raised as a defence to claims for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of trust.
  • Syndication of a loan book.
  • Merrett v. Babb issues where the solicitors’ indemnity insurers have withdrawn cover.
  • Claims upon the Solicitors’ Compensation Fund.

Cases

Jamie Smith QC

Jamie Smith QC

Surveyors & Valuers

Jamie’s practice has for a long time included claims against surveyors and valuers. This is coming to prominence with the next wave of lending claims. Jamie is currently advising a number of lenders in respect of such claims, with a heavy emphasis upon actual or potential mortgage fraud. Similarly, he has been advising professional practices on the merits of various aspects of the lenders’ claims (to include syndication and contributory negligence issues).

Jamie has a full range of experience in:

  • Lenders’ claims arising out of syndicated lending and portfolio valuations.
  • Claims resulting from inaccurate commercial valuations/yield calculations (to include valuations of hotels).
  • Structural surveying cases (residential and commercial), e.g., failures to detect visible defects, to follow the ‘train of enquiry’ and to indicate the need for further expert investigation.
  • Contaminated land litigation (e.g., acting for a surveyor in a claim brought by an agricultural supplies manufacturer who purchased a former petrol station).
Disciplinary
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Jamie regularly advises on regulatory matters in solicitors and accountancy/audit fields; such issues often arising alongside the professional liability work he does across the professions.

Jamie has a particular interest in FRC disciplinary proceedings, and he recently acted for Deloitte in relation to the proceedings arising from the collapse of Aero Inventory. That hearing lasted 5 weeks and involved detailed questions as to the meaning of Misconduct under the Accountancy Scheme. There are ongoing judicial review proceedings.

Jamie also has wide experience of the challenges faced by the professions when civil and regulatory proceedings overlap; and he recently advised a solicitor’s practice in that regard (on a confidential basis) as to how to respond to a section 44B notice.

Qualifications & Memberships

He is a member of the Chancery Bar Association, the London Common Law & Commercial Bar Association, the Commercial Bar Association and the British Insurance Law Association.

M.A. (Cantab.)

VAT registration number: 811102369