Miles is recommended by the Chambers and Legal 500 in the field of professional negligence.
He is praised in Chambers & Partners as “…utterly charming…and…strategically far-sighted…He gives brilliant advice…just a joy to work with.” (2017), “”Consistently delivers high-quality work, goes the extra mile and is very approachable.” “He is very, very polished – he really goes through all the papers and he thinks outside the box.” (2016), “An outstanding barrister whose personal skills are superb. He has a great ability to make you feel comfortable…” (2015), as “an absolute gem” who is “fabulous with clients and incredibly on top of the detail” (2014)
The Legal 500 has described him being “Extremely bright but user-friendly, commercial, hardworking and reliable”; (2016) ‘He provides silky smooth drafting skills and a very calm and measured approach – an absolute joy to work with.’ (2017)
He has wide experience of all issues relating to professional liability. He has represented both claimants and defendants in matters involving solicitors, barristers, licensed conveyancers, surveyors, managing agents, insurance brokers , financial advisers, tax consultants, accountants, auditors, architects and veterinary surgeons.
Miles has experience of claims involving all aspects of a professional’s potential liability, including allegations of breach of duty, retainer and trust, breach of fiduciary duty, deceit, dishonest assistance, fraudulent conspiracy and breaches of relevant regulatory provisions, such as the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
He has also provided training to firms on solicitors’ and surveyors’ liability generally and written and spoken on specific issues of importance in professional liability including limitation, privilege, the assessment of quantum in lenders’ claims, the SRA Solicitors’ Code of Conduct and coverage issues.
Accountants, Auditors & Actuaries
Miles acts both for and against accountants, auditors and tax advisers. On a number of occasions this has involved acting in multi-party, group-style litigation by investors against accountants and tax advisors involved in advising upon and/or promoting tax avoidance schemes, in particular relating to film finance. In this litigation, Miles has assisted clients in meeting allegations of negligence, breach of contract, misrepresentation, breach of trust, joint venture liability and liability under FSMA 2000. Most prominent was Miles’s involvement on behalf of Castle Tax consultants in connection with a film finance scheme operated from Jersey.
Other examples of his experience in this area include acting for/advising:
- Auditors defending a claim by investors and depositors in connection with the collapse of a bank in a foreign jurisdiction.
- Claimant charity alleging negligence by auditors permitted continued thefts by its chief-executive.
- A claimant alleging negligent valuation of a business by an accountant.
- Accountants in connection with alleged failure to provide competent financial advice.
An accountant resisting an attempt to compel answers to questions arising from an expert determination.
Financial Services Professionals
Miles is regularly instructed in claims involving financial services professionals including allegations such as failure to recommend appropriate investments and life insurance and breaches of the conduct of business rules under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
By way of example, Miles has in recent times:
- Acted on behalf of Castle Tax consultancy, one of a number of defendants to a multi million pound claim brought by film finance investors, alleging negligence and breaches of FSMA 2000 in connection with a tax avoidance investment operated out of Jersey. The case also entailed allegations of breach of trust, misrepresentation and breach of contract.
- Acted for SIPP administrator in connection with claims of breach of FSMA 2000 and negligence by investors relating to the suitability of underlying investment contained within the SIPP vehicle.
- Acted in numerous cases for Claimants and Defendants in cases involving allegations concerning failure to recommend appropriate investments.
- Acted for Defendant IFA in relation to a claim alleging failure to investigate the Claimant’s domicile for inheritance tax purposes when establishing off-shore trusts.
Insurance Brokers & Agents
Miles has acted and advised in connection with in numerous claims involving insurance brokers.
Chambers comments that he “is celebrated for his knowledge of insurance-related negligence claims” (2015).
Miles work in this area has included:
- Acting for defendant in defence of alleged failure to advise on scope of obligation to give disclosure pre-inception.
- Advising a claimant in relation to a failure by a broker to recommend loss of rent cover in connection with commercial property insurance against flood risks.
- Acting for the defendant broker in action alleging failure to bring to the claimant’s attention an endorsement relevant to cover against fire.
- Acting for a broker defending a claim by solicitors alleging failure to place cover in reasonable time and seeking compensation for higher premium.
- Advising a broker on claim alleging negligent failure to recommend sufficiently wide cover against electricity disruption.
- Acting in numerous claims alleging failure to place cover at all or to place it in time, leading to loss without any insurance cover.
Miles has extensive experience of claims against lawyers, from the Court of Appeal, to the High Court to working in the professional liability department of a city firm of solicitors, to a secondment in the claims handling section of a major professional liability insurer.
Miles has often undertaken wasted costs work, again for both solicitors and barristers. He also has extensive experience of coverage issues arising from claims against solicitors and the operation of the Minimum Terms and Conditions.
He is presently instructed as junior to Jamie Smith QC defending solicitors against the high profile conspiracy claim by Accident Exchange for £130m against a number of solicitors firms and as sole counsel defending solicitors against a claim in negligence brought by a claimant whose conviction for attempted rape was quashed after he had served 17 years in prison.
The following is a selection of Miles’ other work in this field:
- Acting as sole counsel and a junior for both claimant and defendant in relation to a vast number of claims arising out of negligence by solicitors in non-contentious commercial, probate and real property work, including but not limited to conveyancing, often acting for lenders.
- Acting for German insolvency practice bringing claim for negligence against its Guernsey Advocates arising from their conduct of proceedings brought in the name of an insolvent German company.
- Acting for Claimant in multimillion pound claim for breach of fiduciary duty and negligence against ‘magic circle’ firm. Resolved on satisfactory terms.
- Acting as sole and junior counsel on both sides in connection with claims alleging negligent handling of litigation, including acting for as sole counsel for defendant solicitors in a High Court action also brought against leading counsel and alleging negligence in connection with commercial fraud litigation.
- Russell v Cornwell  EWHC 1509 (QB): successfully defeated claim against firm of solicitors on grounds of limitation. Claimant, represented by leading counsel, unsuccessfully argued that the approach in Law Society v Sephton applied.
- Olden v Bishop & Light (2014, HHJ Vosper QC), successfully defended solicitors in two related actions after 8 days of trial. Claimant alleged negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of statutory duty and sought both damages and an account of profits. In one of the two claims argued successfully that the claim should be dismissed on grounds of ex turpi causa, abuse of process and/or on the basis the claimant did not have clean hands because he effectively sought to recover the proceeds of crime.
- Acting for the claimant in High Court negligence action against both solicitors and a barrister in connection with their handling of ancillary relief proceedings.
- The TAG Litigation: high-profile case examining solicitors’ responsibility toward ATE insurers in the wake of the collapse of ‘The Accident Group’ claims management scheme, led by Graeme McPherson QC, but also appearing as sole advocate on behalf of the panel firm.
- Acting for defendant solicitor accused of involvement in a fraudulent conspiracy to defraud the claimant of his beneficial interest in a high value portfolio of properties. Led by David Halpern QC.
- R (on the application of AB) v X Crown Court  PNLR 30: Represented the barrister applicant in the Administrative Court who successfully quashed a trial judge’s refusal to recuse himself from hearing a wasted costs application on the grounds of apparent bias. Led by Sue Carr QC. Miles has also represented solicitors and barristers in substantive wasted costs proceedings.
- Acting for defendant solicitors in a multi million pound claim alleging negligence and breach of confidence in connection with a complex commercial property transaction. Led by John McGhee QC of Maitland Chambers.
Miles has also lectured and written in this field and both devised and provided a training programme on the law in relation to solicitors’ liability on behalf of a firm specialising in claims against solicitors.
Surveyors & Valuers
Miles has acted in numerous claims against surveyors and valuer. He has not only acted for both lenders and solicitors in connection with particular claims, but has also provided lenders with high level advice on generic issues to assist them with recovery strategy. Miles has been involved in claims raising all the major issues thrown up by lenders’ claims including contributory negligence, fraud, coverage, syndication and the applicability of the SAAMCo ‘cap’.
By way of example, Miles has:
- Acted as sole counsel for a lender in multi-million pound claim against a surveyor for fraudulent provision of an inaccurate valuation of an industrial estate.
- Advised in connection with claim for over €50m arising from allegedly negligent valuation of commercial retail premises in an another European jurisdiction.
- Acting for claimant alleging fraud by the defendant valuer causing losses in excess of £3.5m.
- Acted for a defendant valuer in claim arising from allegedly inaccurate valuation of buy-to-let portfolio and its potential rental yield.
- Advised a lender on its standing to bring claims against professionals as assignee of a portfolio of mortgage loans and related quantum issues.
- Acted and advised in numerous structural surveying cases, e.g. failures to detect visible defects, to follow the ‘train of enquiry’ and to indicate the need for further expert investigation.
- Acted for a valuation company being sued for conversion in connection with the liquidation of a company whose assets it valued.