Mark enjoys a very high reputation in the area of professional liability.
Described in 2015 edition of The Legal 500 as “one of the brightest silks on professional indemnity law” and in Chambers & Partners 2016 as an “excellent” leading silk in this area and who is “user-friendly and provides clear, reliable advice”, “able to quickly get to grips with complex professional negligence litigation” and “an out-and-out professional negligence expert – he knows the law backwards”.
Mark’s work in this area concentrates on professional liability in a commercial context. Mark regularly acts for both claimants and defendants, both because he is professional bound by the “cab rank” rule to do so and because he feels that it is important to understand how cases appear to both sides.
He enjoys working as part of a team with professional, expert clients, specialist solicitors and expert witnesses. He is sensitive to the commercial and other pressures which claims against professional firms and individuals entail.
As well as extensive experience of claims against a wide range of professions, Mark regularly acts and advises in coverage disputes under professional indemnity policies.
Mark has been an editor of Jackson & Powell on Professional Liability (Sweet & Maxwell, 6th edition, 2007) since the 3rd edition (1992).
In the 3rd and 4th editions he edited the chapter on Insurance Brokers and in the 4th edition he wrote the chapter on Members’ and Managing Agents at Lloyd’s. In the 5th 6th and 7th editions Mark edited the chapters on Duties, Remedies, Contribution between Defendants and Defences. In the current 8th edition he has retained responsibility for the chapter on Defences and taken over editing the chapter on Accountants and Auditors.
Mark is a former chairman of the Professional Negligence Bar Association.
Accountants, Auditors & Actuaries
Mark has acted in many claims against accountants and auditors, including claims for negligent audit work, negligent preparation, review and audit of management accounts and negligent advice (including negligent tax advice, both corporate and personal). He is highly numerate and has a thorough understanding of the audit process, the statutory and regulatory regimes and the relevant auditing standards.
Mark’s experience in large-scale audit claims goes back over 20 years to when he acted for Maxwell pension funds (in particular MCC pension fund) against the auditors of pension funds and fund managers.
He edits the chapter on Accountants and Auditors in the current edition of Jackson & Powell on Professional Liability.
Extensive experience of acting for claimants and defendants including claims in relation to design, contract administration, ground investigations and foundations.
In relation to design, claims in which Mark has been instructed have involved defective architectural and engineering features and failure to provide the information to which the contractor was designed in time.
In relation to contract administration, Mark has sued and defended project managers, architects and quantity surveyors for allegedly inadequate advice as to a wide variety of matters including how to respond to issues which arise during the course of a project, cost and delay.
In relation to ground conditions, Mark has extensive experience of cases involving a range of foundations in a variety of ground conditions, from simple slab foundations to piled foundations in peat bogs and landfill sites. Cases have included a housing estate where the houses were adequately supported by piles but the roads, paths, services and drains sank several metres and a housing development in a landfill site where negative skin friction on the piles caused the show house to collapse before the other houses had been finished.
Mark has been involved in cases concerning a wide range of buildings and structures, including complex structures such as hospitals, nuclear power stations and theatres and relatively simple structures such as warehouses. He relishes the challenge of mastering technical engineering issues.
Mark is listed as a leading silk in the area of professional negligence in technology and construction in the current edition of Chambers & Partners.
Insurance Brokers & Agents
Work in this area is related to Mark’s extensive practice in Insurance and Reinsurance. He was first instructed in a broker’s negligence claim in 1987. He has sat alongside an underwriter at Lloyd’s and knows how brokers and underwriters deal with each other in practice.
Mark edited the chapter on insurance brokers in the 3rd and 4th editions of Jackson & Powell on Professional Liability and wrote the chapter on members’ and managing agents at Lloyd’s in the 4th edition. He is also co-author of the chapter on insurance brokers in Cannon & McGurk on Professional Indemnity Insurance (OUP, 2nd edition 2016).
Mark has very extensive experience of acting for claimants and defendants in claims against solicitors and barristers, including claims arising from commercial, corporate and property transactions, claims concerning lost or mishandled litigation, investment schemes (including fraudulent schemes, collective investment schemes and other claims concerning Financial Services legislation and regulation) and mortgage fraud.
The underlying litigation and transactions in cases in which Mark has been instructed range from shipping and aviation litigation in the Commercial Court to high volume personal injury litigation and from multi-million property and share transactions to the purchase of relatively modest homes. He has acted in claims against lawyers for allegedly negligent drafting of and advice concerning a wide range of corporate transactions. Mark has acted on claims against top City firms and High Street sole practitioners.
Mark has acted for defendant solicitors in group litigation concerning allegedly negligent failure to advise as to home income plan/equity release mortgages and in relation to the exercise of the right to buy local authority housing. He has particular experience of the interaction of a solicitor’s retainer with the regulatory regime which applies to financial and mortgage advisers.
Mark also acts and advises as to disputes as to coverage under professional indemnity insurance policies, including issues of alleged dishonesty. He is co-author of Cannon & McGurk on Professional Indemnity Insurance (OUP, 2nd edition 2016).
Surveyors & Valuers
Mark has acted for and against valuers in claims involving high-value residential property and commercial property following the falls in property prices in the late 1980s and after the collapse of Lehman brothers in 2008.
He has been involved in numerous cases involving residual valuations and is well versed in the arguments as to the margin of permissible error in relation to the components of such valuations as well as the overall figure. He appeared in the leading case of Merivale Moore v. Strutt & Parker  Lloyd’s Rep PN 734. He is currently instructed in a number of high value claims against valuers in relation to development sites and commercial properties.
Arguments as to contributory negligence and failure to mitigate are frequently raised in such claims and Mark has extensive experience of issues as to allegedly negligent lending and failure to take steps to take possession of the mortgaged properties.
Mark appeared for lenders on an appeal as to whether syndication of a loan resulted in the claim for damages disappearing into a black hole: Helmsley Acceptances Ltd v. Lambert Smith Hampton Group Ltd  EWCA Civ 356 and has advising in cases involving sale/assignment of loans by way of warehousing and securitization.
Financial Services Professionals
Mark has been involved in numerous claims against financial services professionals. He is fully familiar with the regulatory regime under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, including conduct of business rule books, the working of the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Mark’s experience in this area goes back to claims for breaches of conduct of business rules under the Financial Services Act 1986.
He appeared in ICS v. West Bromwich Building Society  Lloyd’s Rep PN, which concerned the mis-selling of equity release mortgages/home income plans. He has acted in claims for mis-investment of pension funds, including claims for “churning” and inappropriate selection of investments. More recently, in the Right to Buy litigation, Mark defended solicitors against claims relating to mortgages taken out by people exercising their right to buy in the context of MCOBS.
Mark also advises as to claims for compensation to the Financial Ombudsman Service and Financial Services Compensation Scheme and appears in related applications for judicial review. Recent cases include Emptage v. Financial Service Compensation Scheme Ltd  EWCA Civ 729 (acting on successful challenge to assessment of compensation for mortgage mis-selling by FSCS) and advising a group of investors claiming compensation for mis-selling of traded life policy investments.