Stephen was called to the Bar in 2000 and has established a practice as a busy commercial junior. He is recommended as a leading junior for professional liability and costs work.

Described in the Legal 500 as ‘A very valuable team member, who inspires real confidence’ (2016 – Costs); ‘Approachable and a pleasure to work with; he provides clear, thorough advice and is great in conference with clients’ (2016 – Professional liability) ; ‘highly reliable, and able to assimilate large quantities of documents and distil the key points’ and ‘extremely good on paper and very user friendly’ (2015 – Professional Liability), Stephen is regarded as being personable and easy to work with. He always strives to provide sound practical advice and to focus on a strategic approach to litigation.

Stephen’s practice is in commercial dispute resolution, with his main areas of specialism being professional liability and costs. Experience of particular types of litigation, such in employment, personal injury, insurance, consumer credit and chancery, proves invaluable in the context of professional liability work.

Stephen is a member of the Executive Committee of the Professional Negligence Bar Association and a member of the London Common Law & Commercial Bar Association. Stephen is the Chairman of the Gray’s Inn Barristers’ Committee.

Stephen is an accredited mediator.

Areas of Expertise

Professional Liability
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Approachable and a pleasure to work with; he provides clear, thorough advice and is great in conference with clients.’– Legal 500, 2016: Professional Liability

Stephen is recommended as a leading junior in professional negligence in the Legal 500.

Stephen has equal experience of acting for defendants and for claimants. Tactical thinking is crucial and Stephen is acutely aware of the commercial imperatives of defendants and their insurers, and of the pressures facing claimants.

A large part of his caseload at present involves claims by lenders against solicitors and valuers, with associated insurance disputes, and Stephen presents talks and seminars in this field.

As well as the more mainstream categories of professional, Stephen has been involved in defending a number of more unusual claims such as against LPA receivers, professional trustees, mortgage packagers and swimming pond installers.

Cases

Harding v BMA

Stephen is defending a claim against the BMA by a consultant psychiatrist. Several parts of the claim were struck out...

[2017] EWHC 5 (QB), LTL 13/1/2017
[2017] EWHC 5 (QB), LTL 13/1/2017
Harding v BMA

Stephen is defending a claim against the BMA by a consultant psychiatrist. Several parts of the claim were struck out on grounds of limitation and in relation to duty of care.

Lawyers

Stephen has been involved in all stages of litigation, acting both for claimants and for solicitor and barrister defendants. Stephen is often involved at the early stages of a claim, drafting correspondence under the professional negligence pre-action protocol and advising on strategy and the merits of a claim. He has considerable experience in successfully striking out claims and applying for summary judgment.

Types of case commonly dealt with include: lost litigation and negligent conduct of litigation;  negligent conveyancing; defective drafting of wills and trust deeds; incorrect administration of estates; failure to advise on liability under various documentation such as loan agreements, guarantees, mortgages or leases. Recently Stephen has been instructed in large claims relating to legal expenses insurance.

In lost litigation claims Stephen benefits from considerable first-hand experience of underlying commercial litigation, in particular in personal injury, employment and Inheritance Act claims. Through property-related professional liability claims, he has often been involved in related proceedings, such as claims for rectification, applications to the Land Registry Adjudicator, claims for specific performance and claims against vendors for misrepresentation.

Stephen has considerable experience of successfully defending wasted costs applications against solicitors, often where the solicitors have been hampered by legal professional privilege.

Stephen has very substantial experience of mortgage-related work and is frequently involved in claims alleging fraud or breach of trust and fiduciary duties. Recent work in this field includes:

  • Pulvers v Chan [2008] PNLR 9: acting for solicitors claiming against parties involved in split title mortgage frauds including mortgage brokers, a conveyancer and mortgage borrowers; the claims were successful brought at trial and in some cases by summary judgment applications;
  • the Dunlop Haywards litigation: Stephen acted for a firm of solicitors caught up in a lender’s claim following a fraudulent over valuation of commercial property; this involved defending a claim by the lender, and bringing proceedings against another parties, alleging dishonesty and breach of undertaking;
  • acting for solicitors in litigation arising from Morris Properties transactions in Leeds;
  • numerous claims for and against solicitors involving allegations of failing to disclose incentives, and misapplication of trust monies;
  • defending high value claims by purchasers of securitised loan books;
  • successfully arguing a preliminary issue in relation to a breach of trust claim and the effect of SAAMCo in a claim against a solicitor (Brokerhouse v OJS [2011] PNLR 23)
  • A number of claims where solicitors who drafted testamentary documents have been caught up in disputed probate disputes (such as in Greaves v Stolkin [2013] WTLR 1793)

Cases

Pulvers v Chan

Stephen acted for the insurers of a firm of solicitors in successfully recovering substantial sums from a former empl...

[2008] PNLR 9
[2008] PNLR 9
Pulvers v Chan

Stephen acted for the insurers of a firm of solicitors in successfully recovering substantial sums from a former employee, clients and property professionals involved in a number of frauds against mortgage lenders.

Brokerhouse v OJS Law

Stephen acted for a solicitor at a preliminary issues hearing. Lewison J determined in favour of the solicitors that ...

[2010] EWHC 3816 (Ch)
[2010] EWHC 3816 (Ch)
Brokerhouse v OJS Law

Stephen acted for a solicitor at a preliminary issues hearing. Lewison J determined in favour of the solicitors that the loss claimed by the lender did not fall within the scope of the solicitor’s duty and that a claim for breach of trust failed

Greaves v Stolkin

This case concerns a challenge to a disputed will on grounds of lack of capacity. Stephen acts for solicitors facing ...

[2013] WTLR 1793
[2013] WTLR 1793
Greaves v Stolkin

This case concerns a challenge to a disputed will on grounds of lack of capacity. Stephen acts for solicitors facing Part 20 claims raising allegations including failure to follow “the golden rule”.

Surveyors & Valuers

Stephen has experience of a number of claims against surveyors and valuers and his considerable experience in acting for lenders in mortgage-related work proves useful in claims against surveyors said to have provided negligent mortgage valuations. He has been involved in several successful applications for summary judgment. Recent work in claims against surveyors/valuers includes:

  • acting for lenders in numerous claims against valuers alleging negligence; concerning properties ranging from residential properties to commercial properties and development sites;
  • acting for solicitors facing claims by lenders and seeking contribution from valuers;
  • bringing claims against surveyors who negotiated leases for sites used by mobile telephone service providers;
  • the Dunlop Haywards litigation: Stephen acted for a firm of solicitors caught up in a lender’s claim following a fraudulent over-valuation of commercial property.

Cases

Toombs v Bridging Loans Limited

Stephen acted for the valuer in successfully striking out a claim by a lender on grounds of limitation. On appeal, HH...

[2014] EWHC LTL
[2014] EWHC LTL
Toombs v Bridging Loans Limited

Stephen acted for the valuer in successfully striking out a claim by a lender on grounds of limitation. On appeal, HHJ Seymour QC considered the issues of when loss was suffered, by reference to the value of the borrower’s covenant, and the application of section 14A of the Limitation Act 1980.

Accountants, Auditors & Actuaries

Stephen has been involved in numerous claims against accountants. Recent examples include:

  • claims arising out of film finance partnerships;
  • negligent advice about EIS schemes;
  • failure properly to incorporate and run businesses in different jurisdictions;
  • failure to prepare tax returns correctly or on time;
  • incorrect treatment of matters such as disposal of land, directors’ loans;
  • claims involving businesses such as estate agency firms, plant nurseries and caravan park

Cases

auditor’s liability

Stephen defended a firm of auditors in a claim pleaded at over £3m. A clothing retailer alleged that the auditors we...

2017
2017
auditor’s liability

Stephen defended a firm of auditors in a claim pleaded at over £3m. A clothing retailer alleged that the auditors were negligent in failing to highlight problems with the valuation of stock purchased in different currencies.

Stephen Innes

Stephen Innes

Insurance Brokers & Agents

Stephen spent his first 18 months in practice involved in a substantial piece of film finance litigation involving claims by insurers against the insurance brokers. Since then he has acted in a number of claims for and against insurance brokers, often involving allegations that a broker has failed to draw policy provisions to the attention of the insured or failed to notify a claim to insurers. Examples of cases in which Stephen has recently acted:

  • cases involving critical illness policies where there has been non-disclosure of existing conditions or previous treatment;
  • a claim relating to the non-appearance of an opera singer;
  • claims involving brokers of motor insurance policies;
  • a claim against brokers for failure to notify public and professional liability insurers of claims following the installation of a municipal water feature;
  • claims following fires at warehouses and factories.

Financial Services Professionals

Stephen has acted in a number of claims arising out of investment advice and mis-selling of financial products. Examples include:

  • A claim by a family trust alleging mis-management of its investment portfolio
  • A claim against pension advisers in relation to advice to withdraw from a company pension scheme
  • A claim relating to management of a pension scheme
  • Claims involving allegations of mis-selling of mortgage and insurance related products
  • A claim relating to the investment of a large personal injury claim settlement
Commercial Dispute Resolution
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Stephen regularly appears in the county courts and in the commercial and other divisions of the High Court, as well as being instructed to attend mediations and other settlement meetings.

Stephen has considerable experience in mortgage related claims, including numerous appeals in the County Court and High Court. Instructed in a number of claims involving mortgage frauds. Stephen was involved in the leading recent cases on duties owed by mortgagees selling properties to connected parties:

  • Mortgage Express v Mardner, Times 2 May 2005 (at first instance);
  • Bradford & Bingley v Ross [2004] EWCA Civ 1859 (in the Court of Appeal and at the successful re-trial).

Stephen was recently successful in defending a finance company in a claim alleging sale at an undervalue of mixed residential/retail premises: Aodhcon v Bridgeco [2014] EWHC 535 (Ch).

Examples of general commercial litigation experience include claims concerning consumer credit agreements and accident car hire, recruitment and estate agents’ commission, landlord and tenant disputes, franchise agreements, nuisance and product liability, subrogated claims by property insurers.

Stephen has a particular interest in claims in bailment and conversion of goods, having acted in a number of claims and appeals concerning the assertion of liens over vehicles.

Stephen has considerable experience of all stages of personal injury claims, for both claimants and defendants: he has been instructed in claims including those involving industrial accidents and work related diseases, tripping and slipping cases and road traffic accidents.

Stephen has obtained a number of freezing Injunctions in the High Court. He has considerable experience of various methods of enforcement such as charging orders and orders for sale.

Stephen has been involved in the TAG litigation, further large claims involving legal expenses insurance, and claims arising out of the Buncefield explosion.

Insurance & Reinsurance
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Stephen is regularly instructed in insurance and reinsurance matters. Examples include the following:

  • instructions by two insurers to determine which is liable to indemnify a claim;
  • a claim by an insurer against a reinsurer in respect of a mesothelioma claim;
  • critical illness and waiver of contribution benefit claims, including Malekout v. Allied Dunbar Assurance Ltd [2003] EWHC 1468 (QB) ; [2003] All ER (D) 122 and [2004] EWCA Civ 192; LTL 3/2/2004;
  • subrogated claims by property insurers, including: claims arising from the Buncefield explosion, a claim for misrepresentation by vendors, claims against construction contractors;
  • advising insurers on the drafting of policy wording for employers’ liability, product liability, property and motor insurance;
  • advising professional indemnity insurers on issues such as notification of claims and circumstances, successor practices and trade debts;
  • advising insurers where an insured is suspected of dishonesty;
  • advising on claims under the Third Parties (Rights against Insurers) Act 1930;
  • advising the owner of a warehouse on a claim under the Fires Prevention (Metropolis) Act 1774.
Chancery
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An extensive part of Stephen’s practice involves acting for mortgage lenders in claims involving: claims for possession, often involving subrogated claims, equitable charges and allegations of undue influence and non est factum, claims for mortgage shortfalls arising on the sale of a property – Stephen is very familiar with arguments relating to limitation, mortgage indemnity insurance and sale at an undervalue; cases where the mortgage lender has sold to a connected entity. He is currently acting in a number of claims where mortgage fraud is being alleged.

Stephen regularly appears in the Chancery Division in applications involving charging orders, orders for sale and freezing injunctions.

Through property-related professional liability claims, he has often been involved in related proceedings, such as claims for rectification, applications to the Land Registry Adjudicator, claims for specific performance and claims against vendors for misrepresentation.

Stephen has acted in a number of claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Cases

Aodhcon v Bridgeco

Stephen successfully defended a claim at trial where a borrower was alleging sale at undervalue by the lender. The ca...

[2014] EWHC 535 (Ch)
[2014] EWHC 535 (Ch)
Aodhcon v Bridgeco

Stephen successfully defended a claim at trial where a borrower was alleging sale at undervalue by the lender. The case is a leading recent authority on the duty of lenders to obtain the best price reasonably available.

Bradford and Bingley PLC v Peter Lesley Ross

Stephen acted for the lender in this mortgage shortfall claim, which went to the Court of Appeal and then a successfu...

[2005] EWCA Civ 394; LTL 14/3/2005; Times, May 2, 2005
[2005] EWCA Civ 394; LTL 14/3/2005; Times, May 2, 2005
Bradford and Bingley PLC v Peter Lesley Ross

Stephen acted for the lender in this mortgage shortfall claim, which went to the Court of Appeal and then a successful re-trial which vindicated the sale price achieved by the mortgagee. The decision of the Court of Appeal is the leading authority on he duty of a mortgagee when selling to a connected entity.

Costs
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A very valuable team member, who inspires real confidence. – Legal 500, 2016: Leading Costs Junior

Over the last few years Stephen has established a thriving practice in costs related work Stephen regularly appears in the SCCO and in costs cases in other courts. His experience of numerous detailed assessment hearings is proving invaluable in relation to costs management hearings.

Recently Stephen has been successful in a number of applications for relief from sanctions following the decisions in Mitchell and Denton.

Stephen has considerable experience of successfully defending wasted costs applications against solicitors.

Stephen has contributed to the Lexis Nexis Practice Notes on costs and on Relief from Sanctions. He recently spoke at the London ACL Conference and the Liverpool Law Society Costs Conference. He has lectured extensively and had a number of articles published on topics such as hourly rates, costs budgeting, relief from sanctions, Part 36 and third party costs orders.

Recent experience includes:

  • (with Patrick Lawrence QC) a large claim arising out of litigation funding for claims of industrial noise-induced hearing loss; this involved issues such as payment of alleged referral fees and the proper treatment of disbursements;
  • a challenge to a solicitor’s contentious business agreement;
  • a claim to commission for work introduced to solicitors;
  • an application to set aside a default costs certificate following a default judgment;
  • an application for an extension of time to commence detailed assessment proceedings in relation to a multi-million pound personal injury claim;
  • successfully defending wasted costs applications alleging improper conduct by solicitors in matrimonial proceedings;
  • defending an application for a non-party costs order against a solicitor following the conclusion of a large personal injury claim;
  • a dispute over the recoverability of ATE insurance premiums in a group action brought by hundreds of holidaymakers;
  • numerous detailed assessment hearings and oral hearings following provisional assessments;
  • a successful argument over the level of fixed costs recoverable under the RTA Protocol where the court has dispensed with allocation;
  • Applications for detailed assessment by clients and third parties;
  • Turner v Palomo common law assessment of costs;
  • A number of hearings on the application of the fixed costs regime for low value personal injury claim;
  • Costs and case management hearings in large personal injury and clinical negligence claims;
  • (with Nick Bacon QC) advising on an application for a non-party costs order
  • appearing in one of the leading cases on CFA funding switches (in which permission to appeal was obtained)
  • advising in relation to security for costs in substantial commercial court proceedings

Stephen is an accredited mediator and a member of the specialist panel of mediators with CADR: for more information, see www.costs-adr.com.

Cases

Kai Surrey v Barnet & Chase Farm Hospitals Trust

Stephen acted for the claimant in a detailed assessment which raised preliminary issues including in particular the r...

[2015] EWHC B16 (Costs)
[2015] EWHC B16 (Costs)
Kai Surrey v Barnet & Chase Farm Hospitals Trust

Stephen acted for the claimant in a detailed assessment which raised preliminary issues including in particular the reasonableness of the claimant switching funding from legal aid to a “CFA lite”.

Mediation
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Stephen was called to the Bar in 2000 and is an established senior junior. His practice covers general civil and commercial law, with particular expertise in professional liability and costs. Stephen is well known for being approachable and client friendly and for giving practical commercial advice. His sympathetic and down to earth manner is well suited to acting as a mediator.

Stephen is very conscious that mediation can itself become an expensive exercise and welcomes enquiries for half day, as well as longer, mediations. Stephen believes that time is more productively spent in exploring the parties’ objectives, wishes and concerns than rehearsing the arguments which are already familiar to them, and it should often be possible to avoid the need for written or oral position statements.

Stephen was trained and accredited as a mediator by Costs ADR (www.CADR.com) of which he is a member. As well as being able to mediate in the general civil/commercial field, Stephen covers mediations specifically concerned with costs. In addition to the more familiar facilitative mediation, Stephen is able to offer evaluative mediation, where the parties can request various options for more active assistance, including guidance or a non-binding assessment.

Qualifications & Memberships

B.A. (Oxon.) CPE (City)

Publications

VAT registration number: 782715995