Overview By far the most significant number of professional liability cases…
Helen Evans KC is a leading barrister practising in professional negligence, fraud, disciplinary and insurance work. She was appointed QC in March 2022.
Prior to taking silk, Helen was ranked by the legal directories as a leading junior in the fields of professional liability, insurance and professional discipline. In 2021 she was named Chambers and Partners Junior of the Year in the Professional Negligence category and in April 2022 she was “Lawyer of the Week” in the Times. She has previously been identified by Who’s Who Legal as one of the two most highly regarded juniors at the professional negligence bar. Recent comments from the directories include:
Helen is particularly known for her expertise in claims against accountants, auditors, other financial professionals and lawyers as well as her fraud and disciplinary work. Her work increasingly has an offshore, corporate or insolvency element.
Accountants, auditors and other financial professionals: Helen’s recent experience includes claims about a wide variety of negligent tax and investment advice, and numerous claims against auditors arising from frauds. Helen’s professional liability practice sits alongside her disciplinary work in the field, and she has in depth knowledge of both accountancy and financial services regulation. She has acted for several of the UK’s leading accountancy firms as well as many other national firms. She has appeared before the FRC and been involved in advising on FRC investigations, as well as other accountancy regulators. She is currently involved in the FRC proceedings arising out of the collapse of Carillion, named by the Lawyer as one of the Top 20 cases for 2022.
Lawyers: Helen is involved in high profile claims against solicitors and barristers. Many of her cases have a very high value and some involve offshore or cross-border elements. Recent examples of her work include the leading Court of Appeal proceedings relating to abuse of process in claims against solicitors (Allsop v Banner Jones), and acting successfully for the defendant firm in a 5 week trial claim brought by the former CEO of Inchcape against his solicitors (Brearley v Higgs & Sons). Helen has acted on a wide range of claims against lawyers and is co-editor of the solicitors’ and barristers’ chapters in Jackson & Powell on Professional Liability (with Hugh Evans). She also undertakes disciplinary work, including proceedings before the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal and the Bar Tribunal.
Other professionals and corporate work: Helen has experience of a broad range of disputes against surveyors and valuers (many of which have involved alleged large scale frauds). She also handles litigation by and against insurance brokers, insolvency practitioners, companies and company directors.
Civil fraud: Helen is known for her work handling complex long running fraud cases as well as numerous urgent applications for freezing and proprietary injunctions, Norwich Pharmacal and Bankers Trust orders. Since 2020, Helen has been involved in committal proceedings before the County Court, High Court and Court of Appeal against both solicitors and a barrister. Helen also appears for the insurers in the claim brought by Discovery Land Company arising out of alleged fraud at the Jirehouse practice.
Insurance: Helen’s practice involves a number of insurance disputes but particularly those involving business interruption, credit risk, professional indemnity and other management insurance. Examples of her current or recent work include appearing for the insurers in the claim brought by Discovery Land Company arising out of alleged fraud at the Jirehouse practice, managed arbitrations arising from Covid-19 business interruption, and a multi-party, multi-million pound claim against insurance agents.
“She is fantastic on her feet. Knows the detail inside out and unflappable, but not arrogant. In fact she is the opposite of that and is incredibly kind and personable. She is a technician as well as showing being commercially sensible and astute. It is always a pleasure working with her.” “Helen is very hands on and approachable; she operates very much as ’part of the team’. Her attention to detail is second to none and you are always confident that she has thought through every point and angle. Her technical skills are exceptional. Her advocacy is clear and precise; she is able to make the judge see exactly what she wants.”– Legal 500,2023
“Helen is great to work with. She is efficient and available despite being in huge (and well-deserved) demand.” – Chambers & Partners, 2023
“She is such a pleasure to work with. Clients really like her; frankly it’s impossible not to. She’s impressively on top of the detail, she grasps issues very quickly and her drafting skills are second to none. She takes a very tactical, sensible and commercial approach.” “Helen is incredibly astute, not afraid to really get into the details of a case and excellent with clients.” “Fantastic. She gives clear, effective advice and is a pleasure to work with.” – Chambers & Partners, 2022
“She is in a class of her own: wonderfully hands-on and pitch perfect in her ability to grasp the issues” – Legal 500, 2021
“She is brilliant at getting stuck into a claim and working as part of a team with solicitors. Her drafting and technical ability are excellent and she never misses a trick.” “She is very good on the detail, gets to grips with the case quickly, is very good at managing clients and building rapport, and her advice is very commercial and realistic.” – Chambers & Partners, 2020
Helen is described by the Legal Directories as “one of the most highly regarded barristers in the field”, “highly sought after for her professional negligence expertise” and “considered a go-to by solicitors.” She has been listed as a recommended junior for professional liability work for some years in the Legal 500, Chambers and Partners, Who’s Who Legal and Legal Experts. Comments include that Helen is “not afraid of standing up and fighting for a point”, that “she provides technically excellent advice and is a real fighter” and that she is “formidable on paper, on her feet, and in cross-examination”. Her work is described as being of “exceptionally strong quality” and “commercial”, and she is commended for her “first-rate service.”
Helen handles a broad variety of claims against solicitors, with recent examples including Allsop v Banner Jones (a case on collateral attack heard by the Court of Appeal in December 2020) and Brearley v Higgs & Sons (relating to the application of loss of a chance principles to allegations of dishonesty). Helen has acted in several pieces of large multi-party or managed litigation (including large frauds and “right to buy” schemes). Helen has also acted in numerous barristers’ negligence cases and has experience of wasted costs claims and civil restraining orders. Helen is the co-editor of the solicitors’ and barristers’ chapters in Jackson & Powell on Professional Liability (with Hugh Evans). She also undertakes disciplinary work and acts in proceedings before the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal and Bar Disciplinary Tribunal.
Helen has particular expertise in claims against financial professionals, including accountants, auditors, insolvency practitioners and IFAs. Such claims have encompassed a wide variety of negligent tax and investment schemes, due diligence, business valuation and advice about financial products. She has considerable experience of claims with a financial services, insolvency or auditing element. In recent years, Helen has acted in relation to several sets of proceedings brought by the Financial Reporting Council, and has also represented clients in ICAEW and ACCA matters.
Helen also acts in disputes against surveyors and valuers (many of which have involved alleged large scale frauds). She has represented banks bringing claims against a variety of professionals arising out of property frauds as well as for the professional defendants. She is well regarded for her expertise in obtaining freezing injunctions and other urgent interim remedies arising from fraud.
Helen is co-editor of the chapters on solicitors and barristers in Jackson & Powell on Professional Liability, and her lawyers’ liability practice has a broad scope:
Helen is well regarded for her work involving accountants and auditors, which has included the following:
Helen has been involved in a number of claims against independent financial advisors including claims arising from a range of financial products such as equity release schemes and various mortgage, insurance and pension vehicles as well as offshore investments and tax schemes. She has also been involved in cases of allegations of mis-selling as well as negligent advice and investment strategy.
Recent examples of her work include:
Helen has acted in a number of disputes involving the alleged wrongdoing of directors and officers. Recent examples of her work include
Helen has experience of defending insolvency practitioners from claims arising out of the allegedly negligent conduct of administrations or liquidations. Such claims have involved issues such as:
Helen has extensive experience of defending professionals against claims initiated by insolvency practitioners, including direct claims and misfeasance proceedings under the Insolvency Act.
Helen has acted on a number of claims both for and against valuers, involving residential and commercial premises (and both one-off and portfolio valuations);
Examples of Helen’s work include the following:
Helen also has wide experience of claims both for and against insurance brokers, from disputes arising over one-off policies to placing larger insurance schemes. Her work involves a wide range of insurance products, from property and professional indemnity insurance to medical and disability insurance.
Recent examples of Helen’s claims include:
Helen has been recommended for many years for her insurance practice in the Legal 500. Recent editions describe her as:
Professional indemnity and related insurance
Helen has extensive experience in coverage disputes arising out of professional practice. In 2022, Helen represented AXIS (along with Patrick Lawrence KC and Ian McDonald) in the High Court trial of its coverage dispute arising out of the Jirehouse practices (Discovery Land LLC v AXIS). The dispute concerned whether the fraud was condoned by a 2nd partner in the practice (or whether he had only been a sham partner).
Helen frequently advises on issues relating to dishonesty, condonation, aggregation, non-disclosure and other questions of interpretation of policies.
Helen has experience of advising on policies covering professionals as diverse as solicitors, accountants, financial advisers, directors & officers, mortgage agents and construction professionals. Her work often involves dishonesty issues, or has a corporate or insolvency related angle. She is often instructed to advise insurers and insureds collectively at short notice on freezing injunction applications, which can often involve complex coverage questions that need to be accommodated before the applications can proceed.
Examples of Helen’s recent work in this area include:
Helen’s insurance work tallies very well with her extensive experience of professional liability, disciplinary, corporate and injunctive matters.
Other types of insurance
Helen is also frequently called on to advise on other types of insurance dispute, most frequently with a construction, financial, insolvency, motor or property damage connection. Recent examples of her work include:
“Extremely knowledgeable and empathetic.” – Legal 500, 2023
“The quality of Helen’s written work is exemplary. As an advocate, Helen is tenacious and impressive. Helen is unflappable under pressure and her attention to detail sets her apart amongst her peers”, “A name to note as she is instructed in high-profile disciplinary matters”, “An extremely bright junior who easily inspires clients’ confidence.” – Legal 500, 2020, 2021 and 2022 editions
Helen’s disciplinary and regulatory practice is primarily focused on lawyers, accountants and auditors. She is recommended in the Legal 500 for her disciplinary work. Comments in the directories include “she knows her stuff in regulatory issues like no one else and adds a lot of value”, and “hardworking, good with clients and has a good grasp of the detail”.
Helen has been involved in cases before the major accountancy regulators and the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. Until it was disbanded in 2020 she was a member of the Bar Standards Board’s Panel of Prosecuting Counsel and still prosecutes cases for the BSB on an ad hoc basis.
Featured Regulatory & Disciplinary cases
Helen is co-editor of the chapters on solicitors and barristers’ negligence in Jackson & Powell on Professional Liability and therefore has in-depth knowledge of lawyers’ practices and regulatory rules.
Helen also has extensive experience of accountants’ and auditors’ negligence cases, tax and financial services regulation, which provides an ideal backdrop for financial disciplinary work. She is often involved in cases focusing on the interplay between financial services regulation and the role performed by professionals such as accountants (e.g. pursuant to ICAEW rules) and solicitors.
Helen is a member of the Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers and regularly writes on disciplinary and regulatory matters.
“Absolutely brilliant technically; she has certainly developed a niche in freezing orders and injunctions” – Chambers & Partners, 2021
Helen is sought after for her extensive experience in numerous multi-million pound claims arising from solicitors’ misappropriations of client funds. In 2019-2020 Helen acted in two sets of complex litigation arising out of frauds by solicitors, one of which led to contempt proceedings before the Court of Appeal and the other involved multi-party litigation in the Chancery Division.
Helen has also recently been involved in pursuing a high value insurance coverage dispute arising out of an underlying large-scale fraud by a professional.
Helen regularly advises on the liability of accountants, auditors, directors, insolvency practitioners and others for frauds. Her cases often involve a company law or insolvency element and she is experienced at dealing with fraud in both the corporate and partnership context. She is adept at dealing with complex forensic accountancy evidence. Helen has extensive experience of obtaining urgent orders, including freezing injunctions, proprietary injunctions, orders to restrain parties from leaving the jurisdiction, committal and Norwich Pharmacal and Bankers Trust orders. She often handles multiple connected applications in quick succession. She is calm under time pressure and strategic in her approach.
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