Neil specialises in Commercial Law, Insurance/Reinsurance, and Professional Negligence. Recognised by Chambers & Partners as a leading Silk in Insurance, he has been described as “incredibly talented and great to work with”, “ferociously bright, with an excellent eye for detail”, “an excellent analyst of claims” and “a very effective advocate” who “provides clear and business-focused advice”. 

His practice includes an expertise in urgent interlocutory relief, including freezing injunctions, Norwich Pharmacal orders and Bankers Trust applications, as well as in all aspects of insurance/reinsurance, acting for both insurers and insureds. In the commercial field he focuses particularly on commercial fraud, including claims for misappropriation of corporate assets, while in the area of professional negligence his work covers lawyers, insurance brokers, construction professionals, surveyors and accountants.

He edits the chapter on surveyors in Jackson & Powell on Professional Liability.

Areas of Expertise

Commercial Dispute Resolution

Technically excellent and a real fighter” – Chambers & Partners 2017

Neil’s experience includes disputes arising out of share sale agreements, breach of warranty, commercial property transactions, insurance and reinsurance, partnerships, joint ventures, guarantees and performance bonds, contractual construction, breach of fiduciary duty, director’s duties, constructive trusts, and misrepresentation.  He has a particular interest in commercial fraud litigation and asset tracing claims.

He has been in a number of high profile commercial fraud cases, frequently involving international elements and disputes arising out of the ownership and management of companies and joint ventures.  He has experience of tracing funds in foreign jurisdictions.  He regularly litigates in the Commercial Court and in arbitration, and has appeared on a number of occasions in the Court of Appeal.

His practice includes an expertise in urgent interlocutory relief, including freezing injunctions, Norwich Pharmacal and Bankers Trust orders.

He has been described in the directories as “ferociously bright, with an excellent eye for detail”, his “judgment is very good in difficult situations,” and he “provides clear and business-focused advice”.  He is ranked in Chambers & Partners for Insurance.

His cases include:

  • Rollerteam Ltd v. Riley [2016] EWCA 1291 (CA); [2015] EWHC 1545 (Ch); Sherlock Holmes International Society Ltd v. Aidiniantz [2013] EWHC 1381 (Ch) (claim against shadow director for misappropriation of gate proceeds of museum; issues included directors’ powers and duties, breach of fiduciary duty, freezing injunctions and misappropriation of corporate assets; dispute subsequently arising out of settlement agreement; applicability of s. 2 Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989).
  • Re TPD Investments Ltd [2016] EWHC 507 (Ch) (third party disclosure application arising from s. 994 petition relating to joint venture company alleging that ownership of company had been wrongly removed from company’s control; dilution of applicants shareholding; and debts wrongly allocated to the company).
  • Zurich Insurance plc v. Asons Solicitors Ltd (2016) (QB) (freezing injunction arising out of alleged misrepresentation relating to costs claims; claim in deceit, unlawful means conspiracy and restitution).
  • Ambey Capital Private Ltd v. Virgin Infraa Asia Investments Inc [2014] EWHC 3345 (QB) (freezing injunction arising out of cross-border advanced fee fraud via Cypriot bank accounts allegedly perpetrated by BVI company against Indian conglomerate in relation to funding for Nepali construction project; issues include conspiracy to defraud, misrepresentation, guarantees and restitution).
  • Barclay Pharmaceuticals Ltd v. Waypharm LP [2012] EWHC 306 (Comm) (a £9m letter of credit fraud arising out of presentation of false invoices and freight forwarder’s certificates of receipt; issues included tracing of payments through French SAS, conspiracy to defraud, unlawful means conspiracy, unlawful interference, inducing breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, secret profits and restitution).
  • Wirecard Bank AG v. Scott (2009) (claim by banks for alleged conspiracy to defraud in relation to the supply of Olympic tickets; issues included deceit, conspiracy, constructive trusts, freezing injunctions and a claim under section 15 of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986).
Insurance & Reinsurance

“Particularly good on highly technical insurance issues” – Chambers & Partners 2017

Neil acts for both insurers and insureds dealing with the entire range of coverage issues.  He has experience that is both broad and in depth, encompassing issues of non-disclosure and misrepresentation, breach of warranty, application of conditions precedent, as well as aggregation, the Third Parties (Rights Against Insurers) Act and, in the field of professional indemnity, notification.  His experience includes public liability policies, material damage/business interruption, directors & officers insurance, construction/erection all risks, jewellers block policies and professional indemnity.  He regularly advises both insurers and insureds on policy response, including on questions of fraud, and has also advised insurers on changes to policy terms.

He has acted in a number of cases involving claims on financial advisers’ liability policies arising out of FCA mandated remediation schemes, dealing with both coverage and notification issues, and in particular the threshold for notification of circumstances.

He has significant experience in relation to the issues that commonly arise in relation to the solicitors’ minimum terms, including the meaning and effect of the aggregation clause, and its application to bulk retail practices.

He is recognised in Chambers & Partners as a leading Silk in Insurance, “technically excellent and a real fighter”, “Incredibly bright and hard working, and particularly good on highly technical insurance issues” , “he’s an absolutely brilliant teamworker and someone who looks at the detail and picks up points other people would miss (Chambers & Partners, 2017); “He is incredibly technically minded and ferociously bright, with an excellent eye for detail”  (Chambers & Partners, 2016); “he identifies the key issues and provides clear and business-focused advice”  (Legal 500, 2015).

His important cases in this field include:

  • Channon v. Ward [2017] EWCA Civ 13 (Court of Appeal; representing broker in £1.8m claim arising out of failure to place accountants’ PI cover; whether notional policy would have paid out)
  • Ocean Finance & Mortgages Ltd v. Oval Insurance Broking Ltd (2015) (acting for brokers in the context of an £4m claim arising out of alleged failure to make a block notification in respect of sale of PPI products)  
  • Acting for the Claimants in an arbitration brought under the Third Parties (Rights against Insurers) Act 1930 concerning the aggregation provisions of the solicitors’ minimum terms (2015)
  • Homeserve plc v. RSA (2014) (claim against insurers by financial services provider for costs of remediation exercise mandated by FCA)
  • Jones v. Environcom Ltd [2010] Lloyd’s Rep IR 190 (whether insurers seeking negative declaration in relation to cover can obtain security for costs against counterclaiming insured)
  • Dedames v. NFU Mutual [2009] EWHC 2805 (non-disclosure and affirmation)
  • Mopani Copper Mines plc v. Millennium Underwriting Ltd [2009] Lloyd’s Rep IR 158 (significance of deletions to construction of reinsurance slip)
Professional Liability

‘Incredibly talented and great to work with’– The Legal 500, 2015 

Neil’s practice in this area focuses on lawyers, brokers, construction professionals and accountants.  He deals with all aspects of lawyers’ liability, from solicitors’ negligence to vicarious liability for fraud.  He has been instructed on a number of high value and complex cases, including claims arising from the purchase of a football club, an alleged conspiracy to appropriate copyright material, and a US hedge fund’s finance of a property development in Pakistan.

His work in the context of brokers dovetails neatly with his insurance practice, with claims frequently being brought against both insurers and the brokers.  His experience here encompasses the brokers’ duty to obtain insurance that meets the insured’s needs, to ensure that the insured understands its duty of utmost good faith, and to explain relevant exclusions, warranties and conditions precedent.  It also includes the difficult causation and scope of duty issues that can arise where breach of duty is established.

He has considerable expertise in relation to disputes arising from tax mitigation schemes, having been involved in litigation over the Evolution and other film finance schemes.  He has dealt with numerous professional liability cases with a tax element, acting for or against lawyers, accountants and financial advisers.  He has also had significant experience in the management of group litigation.

Neil’s practice also includes claims against construction professionals and accountants.  He recently acted for the Claimants in a €40m claim against accountants and solicitors.  He acted for actuaries in a €30m claim arising out of the purchase of a pension fund.

His cases include:

  • Channon v. Ward [2017] EWCA Civ 13 (Court of Appeal; representing broker in £1.8m claim arising out of failure to place accountants’ PI cover; whether notional policy would have paid out)
  • Ocean Finance & Mortgages Ltd v. Oval Insurance Broking Ltd (2015) (acting for brokers in the context of an £4m claim arising out of alleged failure to make a block notification in respect of sale of PPI products)
  • acting for the Claimants  in group litigation brought against a firm of solicitors, and subsequently in arbitration against insurers, alleging failures in the advice given regarding an equity release scheme (2015)
  • AW Group Ltd v. Taylor Walton [2014] EWCA Civ 592 (Court of Appeal; solicitors: acting for respondent solicitors in appeal against dismissal of claim arising out of purchase of industrial estate)
  • Community Gateway Association Ltd v. Beha Williams Norman Ltd [2011] EWHC 2311 (TCC) (defending housing consultant in £16m claim arising out of transfer of local authority housing stock)
  • Jones v. Environcom Ltd [2010] PNLR 27 (brokers: claim for failure of broker to explain duty of utmost good faith; whether insured insurable)
  • Berry v. Laytons [2009] EWHC 1591 (solicitors: claim for negligent advice on Commercial Agents Regulations)
Construction & Engineering

Neil is frequently instructed in cases that have a construction or engineering element.  He has significant experience of mastering the complex technical and contractual issues that arise, and quickly assimilates the detail.  He has familiarity with a number of the standard form building contracts.  His experience includes litigating and advising upon the effect of the joint insurance provisions in both the JCT and NEC standard forms.

His cases include:

  • Advising on insurance cover of subcontractor in £multi-million claim arising out of defective construction of stands at sports stadium (2016)
  • A £30m claim on an insurance policy arising out of a claim brought by the employer for defects in the design of a waste processing plant (2015).
  • Advising building owners on defects alleged in design, specification and installation of heat exchanger units in air conditioning system in office buildings (2015).
  • Gondola Holdings v. Mersh (2014).  Claim arising from flood damage to computing equipment caused by allegedly defective design and installation of air conditioning equipment in ceiling void; HVAC engineering evidence and analysis of design of a/c drainage system.
  • A multi-million pound claim by a large construction company against solicitors instructed to advise on amendments to DOM/2 and NEC3 forms of subcontract; pay-when-paid provisions in standard contractual terms
  • Claim by specialist concrete contractor against insurers arising out of alleged defects in certain structures at Wembley stadium; allegations of failure of design and construction management (2011).
Property Damage

Neil has expertise both in breadth and in depth in relation to property damage cases.  Many of his cases relate to fires or floods, whether they be claims brought against a defendant alleged to be responsible for starting a fire, or ancillary claims on an insurance policy or against a broker.  He has significant experience of the technical issues that commonly arise, including investigation of the cause of the fire, issues relating to fire detection, prevention and spread, architectural/engineering questions arising out of the design of properties, and compliance with building regulations.

His cases in this field include:

  • claim against brokers arising out of catastrophic fire at waste management facility (ongoing);
  • Bacup Holding Co Ltd v. Navigators: claim against insurers and brokers arising out of flooding of warehouse as a result of river breaking its banks during storm (2015);
  • acting for defendant contractors in claim arising out of flood at office premises (2015);
  • claim arising out of fire at factory; issues included causation of fire; whether device controlling heater defective or negligently designed (2013)
  • Jones v. Environcom Ltd [2010] Lloyd’s Rep IR 676: claim against insurers and broker re fire at waste processing plant; issues included causation of fire; whether insured’s processes in breach of health and safety regulations;
  • Mopani Copper Mines plc v. Millenium U/W Ltd [2009] Lloyd’s Rep IR 158: preliminary issues relating to significance of deletions to construction of reinsurance slip arising out of damage done to an electrostatic precipitator in smelting plant in Zambia;
  • Bartoline v. RSA [2007] Lloyd’s Rep IR 423: whether expenses arising out of environmental clean-up following fire covered under public liability insurance policy;
  • acting for subcontractor in relation to claim arising out of significant fire at a superstore; issues included causes of fire-spread, and compliance with building regulations (2003).

Qualifications & Memberships

Neil is a member of COMBAR, BILA and the London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association.

LLB (Bristol) European Legal Studies

VAT registration number: 672594012