Shail is a commercial litigator with a particular focus on financial services, insurance, professional liability work and costs. He appears regularly in the High Court both as sole advocate and as part of a team. Shail prides himself on being able to quickly identify the heart of a dispute and provide practical and commercial advice leading to its resolution.
See ‘Areas of Expertise’ for more details.
“He is smart, technically very good and provides watertight advice. He is also very good with clients.” “Very intelligent, switched-on and on the ball commercially.” Chambers & Partners, 2018 (Professional Negligence: Leading Junior)
“He provides high-quality commercial advice and tactical thinking, and has a pronounced desire to work seamlessly as a member of the team. He is also impressive in terms of his speed of response and the commerciality of his advice.” Chambers & Partners, 2018 (Insurance, Leading Junior)
‘Impressive on his feet.’‘ – Legal 500, 2017 (Costs, Leading Junior)
‘An accomplished litigator who acts for and against a range of professionals including solicitors, surveyors and accountants. Frequently appears before the county courts and High Court in complex and high-profile matters. “Very strong academically and assists greatly with the preparation of evidence in a short time frame.”‘ – Chambers & Partners, 2016 (Professional Negligence: Leading Junior)
‘An innovative thinker, who brings a fresh insight to any case.’ – Legal 500, 2016 (Costs, Leading Junior)
‘Exceptionally bright, very good on the detail, commercial and always contactable.’ – Legal 500, 2015 (Professional Negligence: Leading Junior)
Recent Reported Cases
Orb and ors v Fiddler and Anciano  EWHC 361 (Comm)
Shail acted for a respondent to an unusual Norwich Pharmacal and evidence preservation order made in the context of substantial commercial court litigation. Shail (with Patrick Lawrence QC) acted on the successful application to discharge the injunction, which was set aside as an abuse of process and for significant material non-disclosures. The Judgment of Popplewell J considers the correct approach to the question of the purpose for which Norwich Pharmacal information is to be used.
E.Surv Limited v Goldsmith Williams Solicitors  EWHC 1104 (Ch);  EWCA Civ 1147
Shail was sole advocate at trial and led by Ben Hubble QC in the Court of Appeal in this claim brought by valuers against solicitors under the Contribution Act. The case raised an important point of construction of a conveyancing solicitors’ retainer under the CML Handbook and Solicitors’ Practice Rules. The trial judge, upheld by the Court of Appeal, held that the duty imported by Mortgage Express v Bowerman  1 PNLR 62 was not excluded by the terms of the retainer, and the defendant was therefore in breach of duty for failing to report the prior purchase price of the security property to its lender client.
Mathiesen v Clintons  EWHC 3056
Acting for the Defendant West End firm of solicitors in successfully defending a £15m claim arising out of the drafting of a shareholders agreement. The case involved allegations of dishonesty against the solicitors involved (which were rejected by the Court) and other legal and factual complexities. Acting with Michael Soole QC and Jamie Smith.
Yeates v Aviva Insurance plc  EWCA Civ 634
Shail appeared as counsel for Aviva in the Court of Appeal successfully resisting the Claimant’s application for an extension of time for appeal. The Court of Appeal accepted Aviva’s submissions that the Claimant had not been candid in the presentation of his application and laid down a principle that a misstatement to the court when applying for an extension would “almost inevitably lead the court to decline to exercise its discretion in favour of a would be appellant regardless of the merits of an appeal”.
Adams & ors v Ford & Ors  EWCA Civ 544;  All ER (D) 137
Shail appeared with Graham Chapman for the respondents before the Court of Appeal, successfully resisting an appeal relating to authority to issue claim forms and abuse of process. The appeal raised a novel procedural dilemma concerning proceedings issued without authority. See the ‘News’ section for further details.
Brown & Ors v InnovatorOne plc and Ors  EWHC 1321
From Autumn 2008 until the conclusion of the 18 week trial in February 2012 shail acted as junior counsel for the Claimants in Brown v InnovatorOne and Ors, a c. £50m claim involving complex tax avoidance schemes and allegations of fraud against individuals and professional advisers, led by John Powell QC and Graham Chapman. Over that period Shail gained unparalleled hands-on experience on all aspects of running complex commercial court proceedings from start to finish.
The issues arising in Innovator included breach of trust, dishonest assistance, conspiracy, insurance and coverage points, and causes of action under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, as well as a large number of procedural and satellite matters. Shail has appeared in the following Innovator related decisions:-
-  EWHC 3321 (Comm) – on mid-trial amendments to statements of case; cited at White Book vol. 1: note 17.3.7
- Bjorn Stiedl v Enyo Law LLP  EWHC 2649 (Comm) – where a defendant in the action applied to injunct the Claimants’ solicitors from acting; cited at White Book vol. 1, note 31.3.27 (where Shail appeared at the earlier hearing before Walker J).
-  EWHC 1376 (Comm) – the first reported decision on the correct interpretation of CPR 6.15, cited at White Book vol. 1 note 6.15.3 (on substituted service)
- Further interim applications and hearings:  EWHC 119 (Comm),  EWHC 215 (Comm),  EWHC 2281 (Comm),  EWHC 2905 (Comm),  EWHC 1376 (Comm).
Dominic Adams v Stewart Ford, Keydata Investments Services Ltd & Ors.
Shail was instructed with Graham Chapman for over 100 Claimant investors in technology based tax mitigation investment schemes, appearing in:-
-  EWCA Civ 544;  All ER (D) 137 (Court of Appeal, abuse of process/strikeout)
-  EWHC 3412 (Comm); stay of proceedings
-  EWHC 2101 (Comm); abuse of process/strikeout
Shail acted for the vendor bridging finance provider in Wickens v Cheval Property Developments Ltd  1 P & C.R. DG9, (2010) 154 (35) SJLB 30;  EWHC 2249 (Ch), a leading case on the meaning of the Law Society’s Standard Conditions of Sale. The dispute concerned the sale of a £1.3m stately home, issues of construction and allegations of deceit.