Professional Liability and Regulatory Conference 2024

4 New Square Chambers’ flagship Professional Liability and Regulatory conference returns on Wednesday 28th February 2024 at The View, Royal College of Surgeons.

Renowned for being the top set in this field, our one-day conference gives you the opportunity to hear from leading experts who will bring insight into current issues in professional liability, regulatory and disciplinary law across a range of professions and sectors.

This conference is an essential event for anyone practising in this area and is a great opportunity to hear from renowned practitioners and meet like minded professionals.

Click here to download talk materials and handouts

Address

The View at The Royal College of Surgeons

The View is a modern conference space in the heart of London with state of the art facilities and spectacular views across the city.

The College is centrally located at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, within easy walking distance of Holborn (Piccadilly and Central lines) and Temple (District and Circle lines) underground stations. It is a short taxi or underground journey from most major rail stations. Two NCP car parks are situated nearby in Covent Garden and Bloomsbury Square.

Accessibility

The building is fully accessible from street level with a ramp at the front entrance to the building
and lift access to all floors.

If you have access needs, please let us know by calling 0207 822 2000 or by emailing
events@4newsquare.com

This event is free to attend but places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

For more information and to RSVP, please contact the event team:

T: +442078222000

E: events@4newsquare.com

If you need assistance during the event, please contact:

Georgie MacLellan, Business Development Manager
T: +447743494888

E: g.maclellan@4newsquare.com 

Louise Cochrane, Marketing Executive
T: +447874869155

E: l.cochrane@4newsquare.com

Conference Sessions

David Halpern KC and Anthony Jones

It has been a momentous year in the law of deliberate concealment as a ground for extending the limitation period. The Supreme Court in Canada Square v Potter has removed 20 years of excrescences added by the lower courts. Further major developments include Primeo Fund in the Privy Council and other significant cases.

David and Anthony will discuss s.32 of the Limitation Act 1980 with particular focus on recent developments. This will be of relevance to all litigators who have to grapple with the thorny issues surrounding deliberate concealment and other grounds for extending limitation periods.

Neil Hext KC and Benjamin Fowler

In two recent cases, Ashraf v. Lester Dominic Solicitors [2023] EWHC 2800 (Ch) and Discovery Land Company LLC v. Axis Specialty Europe SE [2022] EWHC 585 (Comm), a party has come unstuck at an interlocutory hearing because of inconsistencies in the position it wished to take with that which it had taken at an earlier stage. In the first of the cases, the result was catastrophic for the claimant. Ben Hubble KC and Neil Hext KC explore the application of abuse of process arguments where a party has changed its mind as to how to present its case. How many bites of the cherry should a party be given, and when should the court say that enough is enough?

Roger Stewart KC

Roger Stewart KC explores when lawyers owe duties to third parties and considers two recent cases: Ashraf v Lester Dominic, concerning solicitors in conveyancing transactions, and McClean v Thornhill, concerning tax barristers advising promoters.

Graeme McPherson KC and Miles Harris

Graeme McPherson KC and Miles Harris will survey the operation of the aggregation provisions to be found in different PI wordings, including the Solicitors Minimum Term and Conditions, and consider how the law stands after the Court of Appeal’s decision in Discovery Land Co LLC & Ors v Axis Specialty Europe SE [ [2024] EWCA Civ 7.

Daniel Saoul KC, Mark Cullen and Seohyung Kim

Dan, Mark and Seohyung will give a whistlestop tour of some of the tools available for holding directors to account, and for defending such claims. The talk will focus on the current state of the law in relation to directors’ duties and the circumstances in which directors can be held liable to their companies (including consideration of the Supreme Court’s decision in Sequana), personal liability to third parties for corporate fraud in tort and in equity, and claims under Section 423 of the Insolvency Act 1986.

Paul Mitchell KC and Isabel Barter

Following Amathus Drinks v EAGK LLP, Paul Mitchell KC and Isabel Barter will explore auditors’ duties of care to third parties, focusing on the critical issues of purpose, knowledge and reliance in such cases. They will also consider the effect of Bannerman disclaimers. This session this will be of particular relevance to those practising in financial professionals’ negligence, not least given the increasingly frequent and often high-profile nature of auditors’ negligence claims.

Michael Bowmer and Ben Patten KC

Michael Bowmer and Ben Patten KC will be in conversation looking at the landmark decision of the Court of Appeal in Churchill v. Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council [2023] EWCA Civ 1416 in which it was recognised for the first time that the Court can compel parties to mediate. Among the many difficult questions the case raises are whether such a radical step was needed or indeed a good idea? How might compulsory work in practice and what cases and situations might benefit from a new approach? Is it appropriate for professional liability and commercial claims? Is in fact anything really going to change? It is hoped that the session will be an opportunity for the audience to share their experiences of mediation, whether good, bad or ugly, and their concerns and hopes for what promises to be a whole new landscape in the field of dispute resolution.

Jamie Smith KC and Will Birch

Jamie and Will will be analysing the two main types of accessory liability claims that may be brought against professionals: for dishonest assistance and knowing receipt. Each type of claim will be broken down into its constituent parts and key questions answered by reference to recent case law. Particular focus will be placed upon the knowledge requirement for each type of claim and a review of knowing receipt claims following the decision of the Supreme Court in Byers v. Saudi National Bank. Attendees will hopefully come away with a clear idea of the basic building blocks of each type of claim and of core aspects and pitfalls associated with such liability.

Siân Mirchandani KC and Paul Fisher

Siân Mirchandani KC and Paul Fisher provide a summary of the key points of principle in recent cases relating to the Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA 2022). What common points are being taken by parties in litigation? How are cases currently being pleaded?  How are the arguments evolving? There will also be a fireside chat format as  Siân discusses some of the new types of claim on the horizon (for example, claims against product manufacturers). This talk is ideal for professional liability and construction practitioners who are seeing BSA and/or Grenfell-type claims coming through the door  – from those who want to remind themselves of the basics, to those who have ample experience but want to consider where these disputes are heading in 2024.

Charles Phipps and Chris Greenwood

Solicitors routinely assist their clients in asserting privilege in the ordinary course of litigation, and they are also familiar with the implied waiver which releases the bond of privilege when lawyers are sued by their former clients. But what happens when the claimant against a solicitor is not a former client, or not the only former client? Charles and Chris examine some of the legal and practical issues that arise for solicitors when third parties make production applications, or claims for damages or wasted costs – not against the former clients, but against the solicitors themselves. They also consider the position when the joint privilege of former clients has to be addressed. What are the principles applicable in such situations, and how should solicitors respond?

Clare Dixon KC and Ben Smiley

Regulators continue to grapple with when it is and is not appropriate to take action against solicitors or barristers who are accused of misconduct in their personal life. We will look at where the law and guidance has got to on this issue before considering two areas which often sit at the boundary of professional and public life – sexual misconduct and the misuse of social media. What sort of conduct, and in what context, risks disciplinary action? If you act for or against lawyers in disciplinary matters, or have ever pressed “post” and then regretted it, then this talk is for you.

Helen Evans KC and Marie-Claire O’Kane

We will be exploring the range of different tactics used by professionals try to limit or exclude their liability, identifying where they run into difficulty and which methods are most likely to work. We will consider the attitude not only of the courts but also of the regulators, and identify how various clauses have fared in recent litigation. We will unpack the court’s attitude to limiting the scope of a retainer and sending a disclaimer to a client part way through a dispute in Lewis v Cunningtons, as well as explaining the recent refusal to strike out a claim against auditors despite the presence of a Bannerman disclaimer in Amathus Drinks v EAGK. The talk is aimed at anyone advising on whether limitations of liability or disclaimers are likely to work, and acts as both a refresher on the core principles and a legal update.

David Turner KC and Conor Ewing

David Turner KC and Conor Ewing will address the question of whether there is a true distinction between dishonesty and lack of integrity, considering:

  • The evolution of the civil test for dishonesty, from Twinsectra v Yardley to Ivey v Genting Casinos
  • The regulatory offence of acting without integrity
  • Squaring the circle: Jackson LJ’s judgment in Wingate v FCA
  • The dichotomy in practice: the approach of the Courts, regulators and tribunals

The session should be attended by anyone practising in the field of professional discipline, whether on the regulatory side or for respondents to regulatory proceedings.

Shail Patel and Will Cook

Appointed representatives (“ARs”) are high on the agenda for financial regulatory reform. The FCA says they cause widespread customer harm. This workshop covers what ARs are, their legislative framework, and key issues arising in claims against ARs and their principals. It also discusses the findings of the FCA’s consultations in the area, and recent reforms to the rules, leading to the question – will these changes increase or decrease the scope for claims ?

Alison Padfield KC and Diarmuid Laffan

In this informal discussion, Alison Padfield KC and Diarmuid Laffan will consider the impact of the insured’s fraud on professional indemnity policy coverage, and in particular whose knowledge counts and for what purposes. The session will include the duty of fair presentation of the risk under the Insurance Act 2015, construction of policy wordings, and condonation of fraud after Axis v Discovery Land in the Court of Appeal.

Patrick Lawrence KC and Carola Binney

Allegations of impropriety invariably raise the stakes, but in claims against professionals they can have particularly damaging – and potentially catastrophic – consequences for the individuals involved, including from a regulatory and reputational perspective. Despite regular judicial reminders about the importance of ensuring that such allegations are properly founded, they are frequently used by claimants as a strategic device to leverage a settlement. With reference to recent case law, Patrick Lawrence KC and Carola Binney discuss the weaponisation of allegations of malpractice, and share their thoughts on how to respond sensitively but robustly when the propriety of a client’s conduct is called into question. The session is designed for all professional negligence practitioners, and will consist of a talk followed by a Q&A.

Paul Parker

What makes a safe workplace environment? What behaviour is not to be tolerated? Where do you draw the line? And what can you, the individual, do about conduct that gives you cause for concern? As our regulators continue to increase their scrutiny of what goes on behind closed doors, this talk will examine the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority’s approach to the above questions. It will provide you with guidance as to what behaviour to call out, and what not; when, and when not, to call it out; to whom to call it out, and how. It will tell you what might happen if the impalpable line is crossed. It should be of interest to all echelons within your firm, from the avuncular (but not overly) senior partner to the thrusting (but not overly) first seat trainee.

Speakers

Roger Stewart KC

Call: 1986 Silk: 2001

Patrick Lawrence KC

Call: 1985 Silk: 2002

David Halpern KC

Call: 1978 Silk: 2006

Graeme McPherson KC

Call: 1993 Silk: 2008

Ben Hubble KC

Call: 1992 Silk: 2009

David Turner KC

Call: 1992 Silk: 2009

Ben Patten KC

Call: 1986 Silk: 2010

Neil Hext KC

Call: 1995 Silk: 2015

Jamie Smith KC

Call: 1995 Silk: 2015

Paul Mitchell KC

Call: 1999 Silk: 2016

Alison Padfield KC

Call: 1992 Silk: 2018

Siân Mirchandani KC, FCIArb

Call: 1997 Silk: 2019

Daniel Saoul KC

Call: 2008 Silk: 2019

Clare Dixon KC

Call: 2002 Silk: 2021

Helen Evans KC

Call: 2001 Silk: 2022

Paul Parker

Call: 1986

Charles Phipps

Call: 1992

Michael Bowmer

Call: 1997

Miles Harris

Call: 2003

Shail Patel

Call: 2006

Chris Greenwood

Call: 2009

Ben Smiley

Call: 2009

Isabel Barter

Call: 2010

Anthony Jones

Call: 2011

Paul Fisher

Call: 2012

Mark Cullen

Call: 2013

Diarmuid Laffan

Call: 2014

Seohyung Kim

Call: 2016

Carola Binney

Call: 2019

Will Cook

Call: 2019

Conor Ewing

Conor Ewing

Call: 2020

William Birch

Call: 2021

Enquiries

This event is free to attend but places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

For more information and to RSVP, please contact the event team:

T: +442078222000

E: events@4newsquare.com

If you would like to know more or have a question please talk to our clerks

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