Lord David Hope, sitting as Chief Justice of the Abu Dhabi Global…
David Halpern KC has been rated for many years in the legal directories as a leader in the fields of property litigation and professional liability claims.
Since taking Silk in 2006, his practice has broadened to include a wide range of Chancery and commercial work.
He enjoys working as part of a team with other lawyers and experts in a broad range of disciplines, in relation to both litigation and advisory work. He relishes cases involving difficult questions of law but is also very alive to the client’s requirement for clear advice and commercial solutions. He accepts appointments as an arbitrator and is regularly instructed to participate in mediations.
He sits part-time as a deputy High Court judge in the Chancery Division and is an advocacy trainer for Gray’s Inn, where he is a Bencher. He acts as a mentor for young barristers doing pro bono work on the Advocate scheme.
“David Halpern has an excellent legal brain and wonderful advocacy skills.” (Chambers & Partners 2023)
“Unfailingly polite, always manages his case load well , lets you know when he will deliver and more importantly delivers on time.” (Legal 500 2023)
“Very knowledgeable and gives good strategic advice. He’s good on some of the more complex areas of professional indemnity law.” “If I want a binding opinion on a complicated issue of law, he is a go-to.” (Chambers & Partners, 2022)
“Immensely knowledgeable and always gets on well with clients.” “He has particular expertise in solicitors’ negligence, and is very hands-on and extremely approachable.” “He’s an imaginative advocate.” (Chambers & Partners, 2021)
“He is a walking fountain of knowledge with case law references to match. He is commercially aware and focuses on achieving the outcome the clients are seeking.” “A charming man with an agile and creative mind, a great person to have on your team. There is nothing which fazes him.” (Legal 500, 2021)
“He has fantastic insight, is immensely knowledgeable and is brilliant with clients.” “He has an impressive knowledge of property and professional negligence law, and his drafting is quick, excellent and concise.” “He is charming in his advocacy, but it’s also underpinned by a real intellectual strength.” (Chambers & Partners, 2019)
“His advocacy is strong and to the point, and he is quick to raise relevant points in cross-examination.” “He can find and sustain a cause of action where lesser barristers would fail.” (Legal 500, 2019)
“David is amazing; he is a fount of legal knowledge and his ability to pinpoint issues and form an early view is invaluable.” “Very intelligent, pragmatic and commercial.” “Very personable and extremely knowledgeable with great technical skills and a great turnaround. He pays very close attention to detail.” (Chambers & Partners, 2018)
‘His knowledge is encyclopaedic, and he attacks even the most intractable legal problems with zeal and gusto.” (Legal 500, 2017)
“A highly experienced silk whose broad commercial chancery experience feeds into his sophisticated professional negligence practice. He handles a broad range of claims arising from business and property disputes, and also takes on cases involving insurance elements. He’s a first-rate analyst of the facts, and an impressive authority in chancery law. He provides excellent, clear delivery to clients.” (Chambers & Partners, 2017).
“He adopts a client-friendly and very practical approach, and is a terrific strategic thinker.” “Never more at home than when dealing with tricky cases” (Legal 500, 2016).
“A very sound and meticulous advocate who is very good at what he does.” “He is extremely intelligent with excellent client-handling skills” He “has considerable expertise in claims relating to negligent financial advice” and is “very well equipped to handle commercial disputes”. (Chambers & Partners, 2016). “A very bright guy, who gets all the angles of a case. He’s diligent and conscientious.” “He is very thorough, as well as good-humoured and approachable” (Chambers & Partners, 2015).
“A very sound property lawyer with a great reputation. He is often hired by developers due to his strong business acumen. He also has a property-related professional negligence practice, and is an excellent all-rounder.” (Who’s Who Legal 2015).
“Unbelievably brilliant. He is the advocate for all seasons, and fantastically easy to deal with. He’s incredibly direct in terms of identifying the problem, fantastic on his feet and a huge amount of fun.” “A master tactician,” “fantastic on complex areas of law and extremely collaborative in his approach. The lawyer’s lawyer.” (Chambers & Partners, 2014).
David’s core areas of practice require him to make or defend allegations of fraud and to seek or resist freezing orders and other interim relief. His specialised knowledge of equity and trusts is of particular value when dealing with constructive trusts and tracing claims.
He is regularly instructed by professional indemnity insurers to conduct indemnity conferences in order to examine the insured for possible dishonesty.
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David undertakes a wide range of commercial work, especially in relation to the construction of contracts and other documents. His work includes disputes relating to the sale of goods, agreements for intellectual property rights and share sale warranties.
In 2022 he acted for the successful claimants in a trial in the Abu Dhabi Global Market Court, where it was held that a “drag along” notice had been improperly served on the claimant shareholders.
He is currently acting in relation to a number of collective investments schemes involving land banking.
He has acted in cases involving “peer-to-peer” lending.
A more detailed breakdown is provided under following headings:
David spent 20 years as a junior in Chancery chambers before moving to 4 New Square and then taking Silk. As Chambers & Partners says, he has “broad commercial chancery experience” and is “an impressive authority in chancery law”. He sits part-time as a deputy High Court judge in the Chancery Division.
A detailed breakdown of his commercial Chancery work is provided under the following headings:
David’s work in this field is principally concerned with:
In 2022 he acted for the claimant shareholders in AC Network Holding Ltd v Polymath Ekar SPV1  ADGMCFI 9, who successfully disputed the validity of a “drag along” notice in a trial in the Abu Dhabi Global Market court.
He is also regularly instructed in relation to partnerships, joint ventures and LLPs.
David began his professional life in Chancery chambers, where he gained considerable experience during the recession of the 1990s in insolvency work, both individual and corporate. During the latest recession he has been involved in a number of domestic and international insolvencies, acting variously for liquidators, secured and unsecured creditors, directors, auditors and shareholders. He has also acted in disqualification proceedings.
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David’s insurance work focuses particularly on issues relating to professional indemnity insurance but also extends to general commercial insurance. He has advised a major mutual indemnity insurer on its mutual status.
He is currently instructed to act for HDI Global Specialty SE as respondent to a second appeal by Siddique, which has been fast-tracked for hearing by the Court of Appeal. It concerns the applicability of FSCS v Larnell  QB 808 to the Third Parties (Rights Against Insurers) Act 2010 and the impact of insolvency on limitation.
Indemnity and coverage matters on which he is regularly instructed include:
He accepts instructions to act as arbitrator in relation to coverage disputes.
He acted for the successful claimant in Bishop of Leeds v. Dixon Coles & Gill and HDI Global Specialty  EWCA Civ 1211;  PNLR 5, where the Court of Appeal held that an insurer was not permitted by the SRA Minimum Terms to aggregate losses caused by thefts by one solicitor from multiple clients, despite the fact of “teeming and lading”.
David’s work has a significant international dimension, which is reflected both in work offshore and in conflict of laws issues in England. His offshore work mirrors the breadth of his domestic practice. He is a former chairman of the International Subcommittee of the Chancery Bar Association. He has been called to the Bar in Gibraltar, has appeared in the Abu Dhabi Global Market Court and has given expert evidence in US proceedings.
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David has been rated for in the Directories for professional liability work since the mid-1990s. Before he took Silk he was the highest-rated junior and was shortlisted by Chambers & Partners for Professional Negligence Junior of the Year. He is rated by Chambers & Partners (2024). the Legal 500 (2023) and Who’s Who Legal (2023) as a leading Silk for professional liability.
“Very knowledgeable and gives good strategic advice. He’s good on some of the more complex areas of professional indemnity law.” “If I want a binding opinion on a complicated issue of law, he is a go-to.” Chambers & Partners
“David has useful insight into how judges are likely to approach questions of law and evidence. An astute tactician who holds sound judgement and is strong on the law.” – Legal 500
“He has an excellent legal brain and produces wonderful advocacy.” – Chambers & Partners
“He is a walking fountain of knowledge with case law references to match. He is commercially aware and focuses on achieving the outcome the clients are seeking.” – Legal 500
“He has particular expertise in solicitors’ negligence, and is very hands-on and extremely approachable.” “He’s an imaginative advocate.” Chambers & Partners
“He has an impressive knowledge of property and professional negligence law, and his drafting is quick, excellent and concise.” “He is charming in his advocacy, but it’s also underpinned by a real intellectual strength.” –Chambers & Partners
David developed his practice as a junior in Chancery chambers. This made him an obvious choice for professional liability claims in his core areas of expertise. He continues to be especially well known for his work in claims relating to property, business and finance, but as a Silk he has broadened his practice to include claims against professionals in a wide range of disciplines, as well as coverage issues in relation to professional indemnity insurance.
In the best tradition of the Bar, he will act for either claimants or defendants. He believes that this helps him to give objective advice to all his clients and to provide them with the most effective representation in court.
David has considerable experience of claims against auditors and accountants, including both auditing and advisory work. He has a thorough understanding of accounts and of the audit process. He edited the chapter on Accountants and Auditors in Jackson & Powell on Professional Liability between 2002 and 2015 and wrote a new chapter on Actuaries. An article he wrote on auditors’ liability was cited by Lord Neuberger in the Supreme Court in Bilta v. Jetivia  1 AC 1 at .
Chambers & Partners says that David “has considerable expertise in claims relating to negligent financial advice” and is “very well equipped to handle commercial disputes”. He regularly deals with claims arising out of the investment powers and duties of trustees and other fiduciaries, claims against IFAs for negligent investment advice and claims for the mis-selling of financial products.
A major part of David’s practice is acting for or against solicitors and barristers in a wide range of cases, but especially in relation to areas of Chancery and commercial law which are within his particular expertise. He is rated in the Directories for property litigation as well as for professional negligence. He is also able to draw on experience outside the Chancery and commercial fields, for example the understanding of criminal law and procedure which he gained from sitting for several years as a Recorder in crime.
David acted for Dreamvar Ltd in the leading Court of Appeal authority on identity fraud in conveyancing.
He represented the appellant in the Supreme Court in the landmark case of Hughes-Holland v. BPE.
He advises on coverage issues (for further details, see under the heading Insurance).
David is ranked as a leading silk for Real Estate Litigation by both Chambers & Partners and Legal 500.
‘His knowledge is encyclopaedic, and he attacks even the most intractable legal problems with zeal and gusto.’ (Legal 500, 2017).
Chambers & Partners (2018) describes David as someone who “displays excellence in both professional negligence and property litigation.” Chambers & Partners (2017) in recommending David for Real Property litigation as well as Professional Liability litigation, says that he is “”very technically gifted on property matters” and (in 2016), “he is noted for his specialist knowledge in matters concerning valuation principles.”
David is regularly instructed in claims involving surveyors and valuers, particularly in relation to valuation and planning issues, and he frequently works with experts in these fields. He has considerable experience in relation to the valuation of development land.
“I use David when I have a tricky problem with lots of angles. His advice is excellent throughout.” “David has an encyclopaedic knowledge of case law and is very user-friendly.” – Chambers & Partners, 2024
“David Halpern has an excellent legal brain and wonderful advocacy skills.” – Chambers & Partners
David is rated as a leading Silk in property litigation by The Legal 500 (2023), Chambers & Partners (2024) and Who’s Who Legal (2023).
He has been described by Who’s Who Legal as “a very sound property lawyer with a great reputation. He is often hired by developers due to his strong business acumen.”
His real property work regularly includes litigation and advice on:
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Although much of David’s work is more commercial in nature, he has a thorough grounding in the traditional Chancery fields of wills, trusts and probate. He is experienced in contentious and non-contentious probate and in the construction and rectification of wills and trusts, and he advises trustees, fiduciaries and personal representatives on all aspects of their functions.
Featured Wills, Trusts and Probate cases
In this podcast episode, barristers David Halpern KC and Ben Elkington KC…
David is a member of of the Chancery Bar Association and is a former chairman of its International Subcommittee. He is also a member of the Property Bar Association, the Professional Negligence Bar Association and COMBAR.
On 15 November 2023, the Supreme Court delivered its long-awaited judgment in…
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