Graham Eklund KC has a broad ranging and thriving civil and commercial practice, with a particular focus on insurance and reinsurance claims, where he specialises in defending insurers against fraudulent claims and acting on other claims where there are policy coverage issues.
Graham was shortlisted for the ‘Insurance Silk of the Year‘ (2019) award by Chambers & Partners UK.
He has a substantial practice in product liability and property damage claims. His professional negligence practice focuses on claims relating to insurance brokers and financial advisors. In relation to personal injury claims, he predominantly deals with catastrophic injuries and claims where there is a principle of law in issue as to liability.
He has a friendly client focused approach, but is regarded as a tough operator who is not shy of the detail in a case and as a barrister who will fight his client’s corner tenaciously.
Graham has long been recommended as a leading Silk in the legal directories (Chambers UK Bar, Legal 500 and Who’s Who Legal: UK Bar). In the 2022 edition of Chambers he is recommended in three categories – insurance, product liability, and property damage (see below).
Chambers 2022 included:
“A highly effective advocate with a tremendously calm, reassuring manner.” “He has great analytical skills for cases with a complex liability or indemnity angle.” “He is knowledgeable of cases involving insurers.”
Chambers 2021 included:
“He is very good on a technically challenging case.”, “An outstanding barrister and a strong advocate. He’s impressive.”, “He offers a pragmatic approach and is easy to use, strategic and very smart.”, “He’s well regarded by the insurance industry and a very effective cross-examiner.”
Chambers 2020 included:
“He has an extraordinary breadth and depth of knowledge and has very good courtroom skills.” ,”He’s a great cross-examiner.”, “He’s very good on his feet and excellent with clients.” ,”Determined, relentless and robust.”, “Always very good on his feet and very good with clients.”, “He is very calm and cuts to the heart of a case very quickly. Because of his easy manner he is very popular with clients.”
Chambers 2019 included:
“technically astute and always a great choice with clients”, “very knowledgeable”, “extremely highly regarded”, “a very safe pair of hands”, “Graham is sharp and drills down into the key issues in cases. He is excellent with clients and has a great legal mind”, “an excellent barrister. Very pragmatic and approachable”, “his experience is evident in his superb written work and advocacy. He demonstrates excellent attention to detail and technical brilliance at all times.”
Chambers 2018 included:
“a go-to man for the most difficult cases”, “extremely professional and very responsive, he’s user-friendly even when dealing with the most heavyweight, complex litigation”, “determined, relentless and robust”, “he is sharp and gets to the key issues very quickly when analysing a case”, “extremely professional, very responsive and user-friendly.”
Chambers 2017 included:
“someone you want on your side when something gets a bit knotty”, “client-friendly and an excellent advocate”, “he’s absolutely superb and a pleasure to work with – a really, really sharp man”, ” he sees the heart of the issue immediately and never loses focus”, “he enjoys a tremendous popularity based on his thorough application to his instructions, his courteous style and his great client awareness”, “his legal skills are first-rate and he’s also calm and unflappable which instills confidence”, “clients value his direct, no-nonsense approach and judgement.”
Chambers 2016 included:
“a very calm and collected performer, who is unruffled in court. He presents a case in a very measured way and often with success. He is a formidable opponent.”, “he’s incredibly user-friendly from a solicitor’s perspective. He is good at working as part of a team and you receive a cradle to grave service”, “he is very bright, able to cut through extraneous detail and very good on his feet.”
Chambers 2015 included:
“Fights for the insurer and really looks after their interests“, who is “a formidable opponent“, whose “direct, no-nonsense approach and judgement is valued“, who “is very good at getting to the heart of the issues and not being distracted by a large volume of information” and “who has handled a number of catastrophic fire cases” and has “very good judgement, gives very clear advice and takes a robust approach“.
Who’s Who Legal: UK Bar 2015 record that he is “first and foremost a sensational trial advocate” a “hard nosed man” who is a “go to Silk for insurers”.
In the 2019 edition of Legal 500 Graham is recommended in three categories – insurance, product liability and professional negligence. The Legal 500 describes him as being “known for his knowledge of the law, abilities as an advocate and adviser, practical wisdom and interaction with clients” (2019) “an excellent communicator and is good with clients”, “a clear thinker, who inspires calm confidence in clients” (2017) “entirely unflappable” with “a courteous but incisive style” (2016). He is “The go-to counsel on policy wordings” and that in respect of product liability he “Features regularly in insurance-related claims.’ For profession negligence claims it records he “Goes beyond the call of duty for clients” and he has “An impressive breadth of knowledge and extremely good client handling skills.”
In his insurance practice, Graham acts for a wide range of major insurers, both in the company market and the Lloyd’s market. He has particular experience in representing insurers on coverage issues (policy interpretation, misrepresentation and non-disclosure, breach of condition/warranty and fraud). Many of his cases in this area have been reported.
A particular speciality is fraud. He has been conducting fraud trials for 25 years and is noted for his judgment and ability in this area, having conducted a large number of trials where he has successfully established fraud on the part of the insured. In a recent very unusual case when acting for Aviva, he established that the claimant/insured had submitted a fraudulent claim to an earlier insurer (NIG) and that the fraudulent claim on NIG was a material fact which ought to have been disclosed to Aviva. NIG itself had not alleged or proved fraud when dealing with the claim made to it.
His product liability practice embraces claims in respect of serious damage caused by fires, many of which have been caused by the failure of electrical items or defective electrical installations. Recent claims also include the failure of gaskets in medical products, the failure of silicone breast implants and the use of a fungicide (dimethyl fumarate) as an anti-mould agent in the use of leather furniture. He has experience of claims arising from failed agricultural crops and the use of faulty fertiliser for the growing of crops.
Graham’s busy property damage practice involves both recovery actions and defending substantial claims against insureds. Examples include fires in a waste processing centre (£10 million), a paper storage warehouse (£13 million), an industrial estate (c£25 million) and a copper manufacturing plant (£15 million).
He undertakes professional indemnity work, particularly claims involving insurance brokers and financial advisors. His extensive insurance practice and experience makes him ideally placed to act in these fields.
Graham’s personal injury practice is focused on catastrophic personal injury claims, especially those arising out of motorsport accidents and other claims where there are issues of principle involved relating to liability.
Graham has a very extensive practice covering insurance and reinsurance of most classes of risk, including particularly general commercial liability (EL/PL/products); property, business interruption and economic loss claims; professional indemnity; motor; financial risk. Within these fields he regularly represents insurers on commercial indemnity issues arising from claims by their insureds.
He regularly advises on, and acts in, substantial coverage disputes and in business disputes between insurers, underwriting agencies and reinsurers. He acts for insurers in substantial subrogated actions to recover their outlay. He is familiar with regulatory obligations of insurers under FSMA 2000 and with advising on the FOS jurisdiction (including challenges). He also advises on indemnity insurance issues, including notifications and coverage.
Particular specialities are acting on claims where fraud is alleged against the insured, frequently working closely with forensic accountants, claims where there are allegations of non-disclosure or misrepresentation of material facts at inception or renewal and claims where there are issues of breach of condition or breach of warranty. Many such claims have gone to trial and have been reported. A selection of reported cases are included below. A more extensive list of his reported cases can be found here.
He is recommended in the Guides as a leading Silk in this field:
“Everything you would expect of a superbly accomplished QC – mastery of the cases but also the deftest of touch with everyone involved in the case preparation. A really assured touch with clients and witnesses. No bombast, only quiet, calm, complete competence, and a fine eye for detail and strategy.” – Legal 500 2022
“He is approachable and pragmatic and is a lateral thinker.” “He is exceptionally responsive and detailed and clear on the law.” – Chambers & Partners 2022
“Fantastic for both advice and advocacy.” – Legal 500 2021
“A leader who is constantly and utterly reliable and never in the slightest bit fazed.” – Chambers & Partners 2021
“A fine and rigorous eye for detail and an enormously calm but determined presence in consultation and in court.” – Legal 500 2020
“He has an extraordinary breadth and depth of knowledge and has very good courtroom skills.” “He’s a great cross-examiner.” – Chambers & Partners 2020
“Technically astute and always a great choice with clients.” “Very knowledgeable.” – Chambers & Partners 2019
“Known for his knowledge of the law, abilities as an advocate and adviser, practical wisdom and interaction with clients.” – Legal 500 2019
“Determined, relentless and robust”, “he is good at getting past the noise and identifying the key points.” – Chambers & Partners 2018
“A clear thinker, who inspires calm confidence in clients.”– Legal 500 2018
“Someone you want on your side when something gets a bit knotty”; “He’s absolutely superb and a pleasure to work with – a really, really sharp man.” – Chambers & Partners 2017
“A go-to counsel for policy wordings.” “He is very accessible and is really seen as someone who fights for the insurer and really looks after their interests.” – Chambers & Partners 2015
“An impressive breadth of knowledge and extremely good client handling skills” – Legal 500 2015
Featured Insurance & Reinsurance cases
Graham has represented insurers and private clients for many years in claims relating to damaged property, particularly in respect of claims arising out of fires. These involve considerations of contractual or tortious liability and a wide range of causes of the fires and other damage.
He is recommended in Chambers & Partners as a Leading Silk in this field.
“A highly effective advocate with a tremendously calm, reassuring manner.” “He has great analytical skills for cases with a complex liability or indemnity angle.” “Graham is a good courtroom advocate who is smart and likeable. He is knowledgeable of cases involving insurers.” – Chambers & Partners 2022
“He has an extraordinary reputation in this market.” – Chambers & Partners 2021
“He’s very good on his feet and excellent with clients.” “Determined, relentless and robust.” – Chambers & Partners 2020
“An excellent barrister. Very pragmatic and approachable.” “His experience is evident in his superb written work and advocacy. He demonstrates excellent attention to detail and technical brilliance at all times.” – Chambers & Partners 2019
“Determined, relentless and robust.” – Chambers & Partners 2018
“He sees the heart of the issue immediately and never loses focus.” “He enjoys a tremendous popularity based on his thorough application to his instructions, his courteous style and his great client awareness.” – Chambers & Partners 2017
Many of his cases noted in the Insurance and Reinsurance section deal with property damage.
Featured Property Damage cases
Graham has undertaken a substantial amount of personal injury litigation, representing Claimants and Defendants. His practice is wide ranging and extensive, now involving primarily catastrophic injury cases. Over the years, many cases have involved issues of principle as to liability – including the duty of adults when supervising children at a party (bouncy castle party), the duty owed by a holiday provision company to adult clients undertaking risks they could assess for themselves, the duty owed by a nursery school to young children playing under supervision in a woodland area, the duty of a mother to her child to ensure the child is protected in a car by an appropriate car seat and the duty of a motorsports organisation to users of a racing circuit, when approving safety measures for the racing circuit. He has acquired a special practice dealing with cases arising from serious accidents occurring at racing circuits in the United Kingdom.
Featured Personal Injury cases
A substantial part of Graham’s practice includes product liability claims. Many such claims involve complex forensic, scientific, engineering and manufacturing issues which occur in many of the insurance and reinsurance cases he handles, particularly where there are allegations of breach of condition or breach of warranty of an insurance policy.
Graham is recognised as being able to get to grips easily and readily with issues of fact, expert matters and issues of principle. Serious issues of causation typically arise. Detailed forensic analysis, which Graham enjoys, is often required. Over the years, he has become experienced and adept in a wide range of claims and losses in the industrial and agricultural sectors.
“Has very sound judgement.” – Chambers & Partners 2022
“He is great at giving an overview of a case, and the clarity he brings is a real strength. He provides very good and careful advice.” – Chambers & Partners 2021
“Lots of expertise in both fire and flood-related cases.” – Legal 500 2021
“Reliable, approachable and well-liked by clients.” – Legal 500 2020
“Always very good on his feet and very good with clients.” – Chambers & Partners 2020
“Graham is sharp and drills down into the key issues in cases. He is excellent with clients and has a great legal mind.” – Chambers & Partners 2019
“Good understanding of legal arguments.” – Legal 500 2019
“He is sharp and gets to the key issues very quickly when analysing a case.” “Extremely professional, very responsive and user-friendly.” – Chambers & Partners 2018
“He is an excellent communicator and is good with clients.” – Legal 500 2017
“His legal skills are first-rate, and he’s also calm and unflappable which instills confidence.” “Client-friendly and an excellent advocate.” – Chambers & Partners 2017
Cases referred to in his insurance and reinsurance section should also be referred to. Other examples of his current and recent work (which did not involve insurance or reinsurance issues) are below.
Featured Product Liability cases
For many years, Graham has been recognised as a leading Silk in the area of professional indemnity work.
“He is very capable.” – Legal 500 2020 and 2021
“He is very calm and cuts to the heart of a case very quickly. Because of his easy manner he is very popular with clients.” – Chambers & Partners 2020
Previously described by Chambers & Partners 2019 and Legal 500 2019 as “Extremely highly regarded.” “A very safe pair of hands.” “He regularly handles cases involving financial negligence, as well as brokers negligence cases.”
“Clients value his direct, no-nonsense approach and judgement” ,”his legal skills are first rate, but he’s also calm and unflappable.” – Chambers & Partners 2017
His professional indemnity practice involves a range of claims, particularly more recently those in respect of negligent financial advice and in respect of insurance brokers’ negligence. A broker’s conduct is often an issue in insurance claims he handles, especially where non-disclosure or misrepresentation at inception or renewal is alleged or the broker has failed to advise on the terms of an insurance policy where it is alleged that there has been a breach of condition or breach of warranty by the insured. Brokers are often added as parties to claims where the insurer denies liability on grounds which have involved the broker’s inadequate conduct.
Examples of his current and recent work (not including those cases where an insurance broker has become involved in an insurance or reinsurance dispute) include the following.
Graham has been engaged in representing parties at mediations for many years and has long experience in and of the mediation process. He is a CEDR qualified mediator and brings to his practice as a mediator, his extensive experience from his broad practice which is described elsewhere in the summary of his practice. He conducts mediations across the wide range of disputes which come to mediation, believing that it important to focus on the process of dialogue between the parties if a mediation is to be successful and to be proactive in bringing the parties to a settlement. Examples of cases or issues he has mediated successfully include a dispute concerning the under settlement of a difficult and unusual personal injury claim; apportioning of costs between a party and that party’s representatives; the amount of ATE premiums to be paid to insurers by solicitors who held a right on behalf of those insurers to grant ATE cover to the solicitors’ clients. He considers the mediation process commences as soon as he has been appointed, at which point he can immediately start engaging in dialogue with the parties in confidence, in a flexible and approachable manner. He regards his job as not being done until the ink is dry on the settlement agreement, whether that happens at the formal mediation or sometime afterwards.
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