Chris Greenwood has a commercial practice, specialising in professional liability, construction and engineering, and insurance claims.
“He’s brilliant in writing and with experts. He takes the time to explain things to clients. He’s really user-friendly and commercial” – Chambers & Partners, 2023
“Chris is a very capable barrister with strong client skills” – Chambers & Partners, 2023
“His drafting, advocacy and enthusiasm are excellent. He is also a real team player” – Legal 500, 2023
“A very user-friendly barrister who is very good in court and not afraid of giving tough advice” – Chambers & Partners, 2022
“A very impressive, very capable advocate” – Chambers & Partners, 2022
“High quality, very detailed work. A real team player and a pleasure to work with, which is a view shared by others working with him” – Legal 500, 2022
“A very personable and responsive junior” – Legal 500, 2022
“He stood out in a complex accountants’ tax mitigation scheme matter. He’s got a real understanding of the underlying tax matters, and produces very thorough written advice. He’s excellent in conference and is a real team player” – Chambers & Partners, 2021
“A very tenacious opponent” – Chambers & Partners, 2021
“Extremely detailed in his advice, both in writing and in conference. His particulars of claim are comprehensive and miss no point. He is extremely empathetic with clients and able to build rapport. His service to solicitors is excellent” – Legal 500, 2021
“A talented, level-headed and hard-working barrister” who “gives plain, direct advice” – Chambers & Partners, 2020
“A really skilled strategist and a valuable team player” – Legal 500, 2020
“He is very hardworking and clever, with a great legal mind” – Legal 500, 2019
Chris is ranked as a leading junior in Professional Negligence work by both Chambers & Partners (Band 4) and Legal 500 (Band 4), and also by Legal 500 as a leading junior in Construction (Band 4).
Chris is frequently instructed as sole counsel in High Court professional liability claims across the professions, often with pleaded values exceeding £1m, acting on behalf of claimants and defendants. He is also frequently instructed as junior counsel in high value and high profile cases, including as specialist ‘professional negligence junior’ to King’s Counsel from outside Chambers. Recent reported cases include:
Prior to 2020, Chris was led in a number of high profile professional liability disputes, including (led by Justin Fenwick KC and Graham Chapman KC) Gemini (Eclipse 2006-3) Plc v CBRE Limited and Warwick Street (KS) LLP, a lender claim for damages in excess of £230m named in The Lawyer’s ‘Top 20 Cases of 2016’, and (led by Graham Chapman KC) the series of claims beginning with Halsall v Champion Consulting Ltd & Ors  PNLR 32, now a leading case on accountants’ liability in respect of tax avoidance schemes.
Chris’ construction practice typically involves claims concerning defective engineering, and claims involving both main contractors and construction professionals . Recent instructions have included acting (led by Ben Patten KC) on behalf of the employer in claims for damages exceeding £15m brought against developers, main contractors and construction professionals concerning a commercial warehouse subject to substantial settlement, and (led by Garry Borland KC) on behalf of main contractors in a multi-million pound dispute concerning the defective design and engineering of a retractable seating system. Chris has experience both as sole and junior counsel in TCC litigation, and also acting as junior counsel in arbitrations.
Chris also frequently acts as sole counsel on behalf of both insurers and commercial insureds in disputes concerning insurance policies, and is frequently sought out in coverage disputes where subsequent or concurrent professional liability claims against insurance brokers are either brought or contemplated.
Prior to joining 4 New Square, Chris spent 6 months at the Court of Appeal, working as a Judicial Assistant to Lord Justice Mummery and Lord Justice Rix.
Chris specialises first and foremost in professional liability claims, and is ranked as a leading Professional Negligence junior by both Chambers & Partners (Band 4) and Legal 500 (Band 4). He is frequently instructed in claims against accountants, tax advisers, financial advisers, mortgage brokers, insurance brokers, solicitors, barristers, insolvency practitioners, surveyors and valuers, and property agents.
Chris often appears in the High Court as sole counsel, frequently in claims for seven-figure sums, and has been led on a number of high profile professional liability cases in recent years.
Since joining Chambers, Chris has also completed a combined six months on secondment at three leading specialist professional indemnity firms. He is a member of the Professional Negligence Bar Association, and provides training sessions to solicitors on various areas within the field.
Chris also has a substantial practice acting in claims against construction professionals, details of which are contained in the appropriate tab below.
Chris has a well-established practice acting on behalf of accountants and tax advisers in respect of claims concerning both tax advisory and tax compliance work. He is frequently instructed as sole counsel in High Court claims, usually against KCs or senior juniors specialising in the field, and also receives instructions as to act as junior counsel to tax-specialist silks outside of Chambers.
Chris has acted on behalf of a variety of international and leading national advisory practices, and combines his expertise in professional liability claims with a sound substantive knowledge of relevant areas of tax law.
Having previously appeared in two of the leading claims concerning tax deferral and mitigation schemes, Halsall and Ingenious, Chris continues to receive high-value instructions in such claims, including those alleging fraud, bribery and breach of fiduciary duty in addition to professional liability claims.
Away from tax avoidance, Chris is now most often instructed in claims concerning tax compliance work, including in respect of remittances to the UK by offshore entities and the treatment and reporting of VAT on international product sales, and in tax advisory claims in respect of failed inheritance tax planning and gifts with reservation of benefits. He also deals with claims concerning the handling of HMRC enquiries.
Chris is also familiar with corporate valuation issues, including the valuation of unincorporated businesses and unlisted companies, as well as companies listed on various stock exchanges.
In some cases, claims concerning tax or accountancy matters (including tax avoidance schemes) are also brought against financial advisers. Further details of Chris’ work defending such advisers may be found in the appropriate tab below.
Featured cases: Tax avoidance schemes
Chris is instructed with increasing regularity in claims against barristers, including contribution or Part 20 claims brought by solicitors in respect of allegedly mishandled litigation. He typically represents either barristers or solicitors (or other professionals) making contribution claims against them, but also accepts instructions on behalf of lay clients in suitable cases.
Chris has a developed a substantial practice acting on behalf of financial advisers. His practice covers a broad range of claims concerning a variety of investments, whether made directly or via personal pension schemes. He regularly deals with allegations concerning the suitability of unregulated collective investment schemes, forex investments, foreign property funds and investments, as well as more conventional products. Chris has also acted on a number of pensions switching claims.
Chris is frequently instructed on behalf of both advisors and principals alleged to be responsible under the FSMA 2000, s.39. In addition to issues concerning the investments themselves, Chris is therefore familiar with issues concerning the scope of authorised representatives’ authority, and is frequently instructed in claims where the defences on that basis are raised.
In 2020, Chris was instructed as sole Counsel on behalf of a financial adviser in the Ingenious Litigation  EWHC 3234 (Ch), concerning investments by 300+ investors into film schemes. The tax-related elements of this work dovetail closely with Chris’ well-established practice acting on behalf of accountants and tax advisers, details of which may be found under the appropriate tab above.
Chris has also benefited from several months spend on secondment at a specialist professional indemnity firm in the City. During this time, Chris worked directly for the author of the chapter on financial advisers in Simpson: Professional Negligence and Liability, and gained substantial experience defending claims against financial services professionals and product providers, both in the civil courts and before the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Chris has a growing practice acting on behalf of insolvency practitioners, and is regularly instructed to defend professional liability claims brought against them under the Insolvency Act 1986.
In 2022-23, Chris was instructed as sole counsel in a claims against the former liquidators of a wine investment scheme pursuant to s.212, brought by subsequent liquidators of the company, concerning alleged failures to investigate the company’s assets, failures to prevent disposals of assets by directors, and breach of fiduciary duty in respect of the liquidators’ remuneration.
In 2019, Chris also successfully appeared as sole counsel in Rushmer v Atkinson, a High Court claim against a trustee in bankruptcy, brought by the bankrupt, seeking damages of c.£10m. The claimant (represented by specialist counsel) alleged that the insolvency professional failed to assign to him certain causes of action vested in the estate, and/or that those causes of action were under-settled.
The claim, pleaded in negligence, causing loss by unlawful means and for breach of the Insolvency Act 1986, s.304, was dismissed in late 2019 following a successful application for summary judgment and/or strike-out. Permission to appeal was dismissed in February 2020: Rushmer v Atkinson  EWHC 524 (Ch).
Chris is familiar and comfortable with both the CPR and Insolvency Rules, and is well placed to represent IPs in claims where issues of both professional liability and insolvency law arise.
Chris has a considerable practice in respect of claims brought business owners against insurance brokers, and since 2017 he has been instructed as sole Counsel in a number of Commercial Court and other High Court actions, usually in claims arising out of fire or water damage, or the construction and energy industries. Chris also acts in certain claims brought against brokers and financial advisers by higher net worth private individuals, typically in respect of MPPI, life or critical illness cover.
Chris is regularly instructed in claims where the client has found itself either uninsured or under-insured, including where the insurer has successfully avoided cover on grounds of misrepresentation, material non-disclosure and breach of warranty, or where no cover or insufficient cover has been placed. He also has experience of claims where brokers are alleged to have failed in their duties once policies have incepted. In all of his commercial work, Chris has a particular interest and specialism in claims for consequential loss based on non-indemnification.
This area of work increasingly dovetails with Chris’ substantial practice in claims against financial advisers, particularly in respect of critical illness and life insurance cover. Further details may be found under the appropriate tab above.
Featured cases: Commercial
Chris has received many instructions to defend claims brought against mortgage brokers, particularly in respect of interest-only mortgages, and was instructed in nearly 20 such claims during the ‘wave’ of ultimately unsuccessful ‘mis-selling’ claims which emerged in 2020 and 2021.
Chris was led by Neil Hext KC in Jago v Mortgage4You Ltd  EWHC 533 (QB), a ‘test claim’ brought against a mortgage broker, in respect of an interest-only mortgage taken out in order to invest further funds into an ultimately unsuccessful property investment.
Chris was subsequently instructed in many further claims in respect of interest-only mortgages, including claims concerning insufficient advice, and allegations that borrowers should instead have been recommended capital repayment mortgages.
Chris continues to receive instructions in respect of bespoke claims against mortgage brokers concerning higher value properties.
In acting on such claims, Chris draws not only on his extensive knowledge and experience acquired in the Jago case and the subsequent ‘wave’ of claims, but also his wider professional liability experience, and his previous substantial practice acting on behalf of mortgage lenders themselves.
Chris is regularly instructed to defend property agents in claims brought by landlords, tenants, and purchasers of property. His work in this area focuses on claims brought by commercial and agricultural landlords against surveyors and property agents in their capacity as property managers and consultants, and he is familiar with the RICS standards and guidance notes applicable to this field of work.
In 2019, Chris was led by Jamie Smith KC in a claim by a landlord of agricultural property for over £4m, brought against a leading national firm of property managers, following a successful High Court claim brought against that landlord by the incumbent tenant.
Chris has also co-ordinated numerous training seminars provided by 4 New Square on this area of law, combining his approach to professional negligence work with his knowledge of substantive landlord and tenant law.
Chris has built up a thriving practice acting both for and against solicitors. He is frequently instructed in claims with an underlying subject matter of a litigious, commercial or conveyancing nature, and increasingly also in claims concerning inheritance tax planning and the taxation of international transactions.
Chris is most often instructed on behalf of solicitors, but also regularly acts on behalf of claimants, including banks, private lenders and businesses. Chris has substantial experience of claims involving breach of trust and breach of undertaking, as well as more common contractual and tortious claims for breach of the lender’s terms or CML handbook. Chris’ private clients are often purchasers and lessees of commercial and residential property, but also include businesses and private clients seeking compensation for defectively handled litigation.
In all of his work, Chris has benefited from a cumulative 6 months’ first-hand experience of the day-to-day work of litigation solicitors and claims handlers, having undertaken a number of secondments at leading professional indemnity firms in the City.
Chris also draws on many years of experience, in the earlier years of his practice, acting on behalf of lenders in mortgage and banking litigation, and also in more general commercial litigation.
In respect of claims against solicitors concerning tax matters, Chris’ work is complemented by his substantial practice in claims against tax advisers, accountants and financial advisers, details of which may be found under the appropriate tab above.
Featured cases: Tax advice, IHT planning & Will-drafting
Chris has a substantial practice acting for and against surveyors and valuers in claims brought by lenders, purchasers and lessees of real property.
Chris was formerly instructed as junior counsel to Justin Fenwick QC and Graham Chapman QC, to act on behalf of CBRE in the case of Gemini (Eclipse 2006-3) Plc v CBRE Limited and Warwick Street (KS) LLP, a securitised lender claim seeking damages in excess of £230m.
As sole counsel, Chris has considerable experience of claims brought in respect of the overvaluation of properties. He has advised and acted on a wide range of valuation issues, including the applicability of the ‘bracket’ to portfolio cases and structural reports, recovery by lenders in respect of ‘replacement’ lending following the decision in Tiuta, and allegations of faulty lending practices. He also regularly deals with claims against building surveyors who are alleged either to have failed to identify structural defects in property. Chris is also frequently instructed on cases with limitation issues, including arguments under s.14A and the valuation of borrowers’ covenants.
Claims against surveyors and valuers frequently also involve contribution claims against solicitors, and vice versa, Chris is regularly involved in both bringing and defending such actions. Further details may be found under the appropriate tab above.
Chris has a specialist practice in claims and construction professionals. He is ranked as a leading Professional Negligence junior by both Chambers & Partners (Band 4) and Legal 500 (Band 4), and by the Legal 500 as a Leading Junior (Band 4) in Construction.
Chris is most often instructed in claims against architects and planning consultants, concerning planning and matters, engineers in respect of structural issues, and party wall surveyors. However he also acts in claims against building surveyors, contract administrators, project managers, and quantity surveyors.
In undertaking this work, Chris benefits from having undertaken a secondment to the construction team of a leading firm of solicitors in the City, which is ranked in Chambers & Partners for both Construction and Professional Negligence: Technology & Construction.
Chris’ work in these areas dovetails with Chris’ construction and engineering practice, and he is often instructed in claims against construction contractors where the allegations are of negligent design or specification, or other claims with a professional liability aspect. Details of this work may be found in the appropriate tab below.
Chris has a substantial practice acting both for and against architects, planning experts or other constructional professionals. He is most often instructed on respect of planning and design matters, but also act on claims against architects or other professionals acting as contract administrators or project managers.
Claims concerning planning matters often involve legal issues, and concurrent or contribution claims against lawyers in respect of planning advice they provide. Details of Chris’ practice acting in claims against solicitors and barristers may be found under the tabs above and below.
Chris has a substantial practice acting both for and against structural, geotechnical and other engineers, principally in respect of the defective design or specification of foundations, walls and roofs.
Recent instructions in 2021/22 have included two large claims concerning commercial property, concerning (led by Ben Patten KC) a large commercial warehouse in Stoke-on-Trent, and (as sole counsel, subsequently led by Garry Borland KC) a retractable seating system at a large arena in Scotland.
Chris has a growing practice acting in claims against construction professionals acting as surveyors under the Party Walls etc. Act 1996.
As of 2023, he is presently instructed in two claims against professionals providing services under the Act.
In the first, Owadally v Planology Ltd  EWHC 339 (KB), Chris acts for the owners of listed building, which was under development, concerning the failure to provide adequate advice as to the protection of the exposed wall from the elements.
In the second, Chris acts for the surveyor in a claim by a commercial property developer, in respect of a major development in central Sheffield. The claims concern allegations of failure to advise as to the applicability (or otherwise) of the Act, and the preparation of allegedly defective party wall notices and an invalid party wall award.
Chris has experience of drafting arbitration pleadings in construction, engineering and insurance disputes, and is developing his international arbitration practice.
Chris is ranked by Legal 500 as a leading junior in Construction (Band 4), commended both for his “high quality, very detailed work“, and for being “a real team player and a pleasure to work with, which is a view shared by others working with him“. He is also commended by solicitors and in the directories for Professional Negligence for his work ethic and abilities as a team player.
Chris is also happy to spend time working abroad where required, and in doing so he is able to draw on his international experience prior to the Bar, including a 10-week internship at a leading South African commercial law firm, and 5 months as a stagiaire at the European Commission in Brussels. He is therefore well suited to working in larger and smaller teams, both nationally and internationally.
Chris is ranked as a leading construction junior by Legal 500 (Band 4), having built up a well-regarded practice acting both for and against employers, their insurers, building contractors and sub-contractors, increasingly in commercial contexts. He is typically instructed on cases where the allegations are of defective design or engineering, or in matters which include claims against construction professionals.
Recent instructions in 2021/22 have included two large claims concerning commercial property. In the first, Chris acted (led by Ben Patten KC) in claims brought against developers, main contractors and construction professionals concerning structural movement, sloping and cracking to the floor of a large commercial warehouse in Stoke-on-Trent. In the second, he acted (led by Garry Borland KC) on behalf of main contractors in a multi-million pound dispute concerning the defective design and engineering of a retractable seating system in Scotland.
Chris additionally acts on high value residential matters, principally those concerning defective design. He was very recently instructed as sole counsel in a claim for rescission or damages in excess of £750,000, brought against the developers of a new build property constructed over public sewage pipes, water main and mains electric cables.
Chris has also previously been led or involved in several higher profile construction disputes, including Trustees of the Marc Gilbard 2009 Settlement Trust v OD Developments and Projects Ltd  EWHC 70 (TCC), concerning works to a high value residential property in Mayfair, and Co-operative Group Ltd v Birse Developments Ltd  BLR 359, concerning the construction of internal flooring, external hardstanding and drainage systems at a large commercial distribution centre.
In undertaking this work, Chris benefits from having undertaken a secondment to the construction team of a leading firm of solicitors in the City, which is ranked in Chambers & Partners for both Construction and Professional Negligence: Technology & Construction work.
Chris also has a substantial practice acting in claims brought against construction professionals, further details of which may be found under the appropriate ‘Professional Negligence’ tab below.
Chris has developed a substantial practice in pure insurance matters, often in the context of claims against insurance brokers where a party’s entitlement to an indemnity is disputed, but increasingly also in standalone disputes between insurer and insured.
Chris is most often instructed in respect of claims concerning damage to commercial or industrial buildings by fire, storm or water. However, he has a growing practice in advising on coverage under professional indemnity insurance policies, and on claims arising out of ATE insurance policies.
Chris’ knowledge and experience in advising insurers on coverage matters has been enhanced by the combined six months spent on secondment at three leading City firms, undertaking professional indemnity and construction work. However, Chris is frequently instructed on behalf of commercial policyholders, including acting as sole Counsel in a number of Commercial Court claims since 2017.
Chris also deals with a wide range of claims against insurance brokers, particularly in respect of allegations of material non-disclosure, misrepresentation or failure to comply with the terms of an insurance policy. Further details of this work may be found under the appropriate ‘Professional Negligence’ tab.
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University of Warwick – Law with European Law LLB (First)
London Common Law & Commercial Bar Association
Professional Negligence Bar Association
BVC Major Scholarship (Inner Temple)
4 New Square
London, WC2A 3RJ
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