‘Very bright, robust, dedicated and thorough’ – Legal 500, 2015 (Leading Junior: Professional Negligence)
Siân has considerable experience of claims involving professionals of all types. The Directories speak of Siân as a “rising star for construction and solicitors claims”; “one to watch”, and her profile is described as continuing “to skyrocket”.
With a professional and scientific background, Siân relishes cases which involve scientific aspects or technical issues, and this has led to a strong practice in the Technology & Construction Court. Her practical, ‘hands on’ approach has led to instructions from civil engineering and other building contractors and sub-contractors, and this ‘pure construction’ work complements her continuing construction professionals’ practice.
Siân has particularly developed a practice involving claims arising from design and construction of farm or agricultural buildings, where the combination of her veterinary background and her experience in construction claims as well as professional liability claims has given her clients a considerable advantage.
In recent years Siân has been involved in defending high value claims against major firms of valuers in cases involving commercial properties packaged as ‘tax efficient’ investments in Denmark and the UK. These cases involved valuations using yields and estimates of rental income for hotels (K/S Lincoln et al v CBRE Richard Ellis) and factory outlet centres (Capita Alternative Fund Services & Matrix Securities v Drivers Jonas), where value was added due to the tax savings to be obtained.
Apart from the main fields of professional liability, Siân has also been involved with claims concerning agricultural land agents’ negligence and estate agent’s negligence.
Siân particularly enjoys cases in all areas of her practice which involve working alongside solicitors, and other professionals, as part of an interchangeable team, dealing with vast amounts of documentation, or claims involving large numbers of sub-claims.
Siân has experience of using electronic databases and e-documents, rather than conventional paper documents, and has been involved in an e-disclosure exercise in a major construction claim arising from a housing estate.
Siân has acted in a very wide variety of lawyers’ negligence claims, including lost litigation and other ‘loss of a chance’ and ‘package of rights’ claims (acting for and against both solicitors and barristers).
Siân acted on behalf of the Solicitors Indemnity Fund and the defendant solicitors in the “Immunity Appeals” in Arthur J.S. Hall v. Simons  1 AC 615) which considered the question of when an attack on a previous court’s decision was an impermissible ‘collateral attack’ and led to the abrogation of barristers’ immunity from suit, a victory for the solicitors, who could then seek contribution from the barristers they had instructed.
Siân acted on behalf of the defendant solicitor at all levels up to the recent Supreme Court’s decision of AIB Group (UK) Limited v Mark Redler & Co Solicitors  UKSC 58 – which confirmed that causation of loss must still be proved in a claim for equitable compensation for breach of trust, and the recoverable loss is confined to the loss actually caused by the breach of trust.
Siân acted on behalf of one of the Major Defendants (solicitors) in the The Right to Buy ‘case managed’ litigation concerning thousands of firms of solicitor, ultimately resulting in discontinuance by the Claimants at the start of trial.
Examples of her wide experience in this area include:
- Incorrect advice on planning permission requirements
- Claims arising out of mismanagement of adjudication proceedings.
- Loss of litigation / undersettlement
- Scope of solicitor’s duty to client when more than one professional advisor.
- Collateral attacks on existing judgments
- Wasted costs applications
Sian’s recent cases are profiled below.
Accountants, Auditors & Actuaries
Sian was involved in major litigation arising from tax deferral and avoidance schemes involving film finance (Chase Manhattan Bank v HIH Insurance). The various pieces of this litigation, which centred on particular ‘film slates’ came to involve teams from many of London’s largest firms of solicitors, and included an enormous disclosure exercise.
Sian has acted for and against accountants including the following cases.
Financial Services Professionals
Sian has experience of claims against independent financial advisers, including:
- Recently acted for defendant financial advisers in a secure capital bond mis-selling claim.
- Claims involving tax avoidance schemes involving film finance
- Pension mis-selling claims.
- Investment mis-selling and client mis-classification claims
- Insurance mis-selling claims.
- Acting on an appointed representatives’ claim brought under the Commercial Agents(Council Directive) Regulations 1993 against the represented insurers.
Sian’s recent experience includes acting on a claim concerning alleged misadvice on a tax avoidance scheme involving film finance.
Insurance Brokers & Agents
Sian has acted for a number of the prominent insurance broking practices. She has also represented clients against their former insurance brokers in claims concerning selling unsuitable products, failing to advise of necessary products, failure by broker and/or client to give material disclosure to insurer; claims concerning a chain of brokers: introducing, producing, placing brokers, and their respective liabilities to insured and insurer. Sian is often instructed in multi-party disputes where both insurers and brokers are defendants.
Sian’s experience in this area includes the following cases.
Surveyors & Valuers
Sian is regularly instructed to act on behalf of surveyors and valuers, and has recently been defending a number of claims brought by lenders, as well as pursuing valuers when acting for lenders and solicitors in claims arising out of mortgage transactions.
Sian has a full range of experience of:
- Claims brought by lenders
- Claims concerning overvaluation of properties including farms and commercial valuations based on rental income and yield.
- Structural survey claims, e.g. failure to detect defects; failure to detect and advise on additional parts; failure to advise of need for additional specialist surveys; failure to advise property based on red shale foundations; property development overvaluations.
- Claims involving new build properties involving NHBC and other ‘structural’ guarantee policies of insurance
Sian has been instructed in a large number of high value claims against valuers, and is familiar with the valuation methodologies in commercial property valuation for investment purposes and lending practices involved in securitisation transactions and portfolio lending. Sian was instructed in high value claim brought by a securitisation vehicle ‘SPV’ concerning the valuation of a commercial property in Germany and has recently been instructed in another high value claim concerning the valuation of a portfolio of London commercial properties valued at c. £1.5b.
She is a leading junior for this area of work having been instructed in the main cases which are now cited in this area that are outlined below.
Sian has a particular interest in claims involving technical and scientific knowledge and this has led to a strong construction and engineering practice. Sian regularly appears in the TCC. Sian has also acted for and against construction professionals in a wide range of construction disputes including arbitrations and adjudications.
Examples of Sian’s work in this area are outlined below.
Experience of acting on claims against veterinary surgeons, and in defending such claims and in disciplinary matters. Particular experience of claims concerning food production animals; milk production and milk losses; equine loss or amenity value claims; loss of opportunity (prize money in racing, show jumping).