QOCS and setting off costs orders: the Supreme Court’s decision in Ho v Adelekun
The Supreme Court gave judgment today in the case of Ho v…
Stephen Innes has established a busy commercial practice. He is recommended as a leading junior for professional liability and costs work.
Ranked as a leading professional liability and costs junior by Chambers & Partners, Stephen is described in recent editions as “an astute and experienced barrister” (2023 – Professional Liability) “very easy to work with and flexible and he knows his stuff” and “A very good opponent” (2023 – Costs);
“personable and hard-working. His advice and judgement are always sound. He comes across as someone who thinks very deeply about the case in a way that reassures you that nothing has been missed” (2022 – Professional Liability);
“He is incredibly responsive and creative in terms of both his strategic advice and his costs arguments, which he articulates in a logical and highly persuasive way. He demonstrates a wealth of knowledge on the relevant jurisprudence” (2022 – Costs);
“A real expert, who is hard-working, extremely easy to work with and has encyclopaedic knowledge.” “Produces very user-friendly, commercial and pragmatic advice, and good client service” (2021 – Professional Liability);
“An understated performer who just gets right to the point. Costs judges are quite particular and prefer people who know the rules and don’t try to muddy the issues. Stephen is one of those people they like to deal with” (2021 – Costs);
Stephen is described in the Legal 500 as being ‘very knowledgeable and quick to get to the crux of the matter. He has deep knowledge of costs law.’ (2023 – Costs) ‘Good knowledge, clearly a specialist and able to think creatively to assist his clients to achieve their aims.’ (2023 – Professional Negligence)
‘very bright and pragmatic, he has a relaxed air of quiet confidence about him’ (2022 – Costs);
‘level-headed and provides advice in a non-technical way. Extremely genuine, sensible counsel’ (2021 – Costs), ‘he has very good judgement, and is very measured and sensible. He never gets gung-ho; he behaves as if it’s his money and/or reputation on the line, and gives pragmatic advice’ (2021 – Professional Negligence).
Stephen is regarded as being personable and easy to work with. He always strives to provide sound practical advice and to focus on a strategic approach to litigation.
Stephen’s practice is in commercial dispute resolution, with his main areas of specialism being professional liability, costs, professional discipline/regulatory and property damage. Experience of particular types of litigation, such in employment, personal injury, insurance, consumer credit and chancery, proves invaluable in the context of professional liability and costs work.
A key area of expertise, on which Stephen lectures with Ben Patten QC, is property fraud claims against solicitors, involving in particular cyber and “Friday afternoon” fraud. Recently Stephen has written and advised extensively on claims involving Japanese knotweed.
Stephen was a member of the Executive Committee of the Professional Negligence Bar Association for several years and a member of the London Common Law & Commercial Bar Association. Stephen is a bencher of Grays Inn
Stephen has a particular interest in wellbeing at the bar. He is a member of the Wellbeing at the Bar Working Group and the Mindful Business Charter’s working group, as well as 4 New Square Chamber’s wellbeing committee.
Stephen Innes is an accredited mediator and conducts mediations in his specialist areas of professional liability and costs. Stephen is a trained and accredited adjudicator under the PNBA adjudication scheme. Stephen is regularly instructed as an arbitrator to provide binding or non-binding determinations in matters of insurance and costs.
Stephen Innes accepts clients under the Bar’s direct access scheme, and further details can be found on his direct access website verycivilbarrister.co.uk
Stephen specialises in helping direct access clients in dispute with their former solicitors, whether in disputing costs or in investigating potential claims of professional negligence.
Stephen has published a short guide “3 Common mistakes made by clients in challenging solicitors’ fees“.
To request a FREE copy, please click here.
Stephen also regularly represents professional in regulatory/disciplinary matter and can be instructed on a direct access basis to save costs.
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“Stephen is an astute and experienced barrister.” – Chambers & Partners, 2023
“Good knowledge, clearly a specialist and able to think creatively to assist his clients to achieve their aims.” – Legal 500, 2023: Professional Negligence
“Personable and hard-working. His advice and judgement are always sound. He comes across as someone who thinks very deeply about the case in a way that reassures you that nothing has been missed.” – Chambers & Partners, 2022: Professional Liability
“He has very good judgement and is very measured and sensible. He never gets gung-ho; he behaves as if it’s his money and/or reputation on the line and gives pragmatic advice.” – Legal 500, 2021: Professional Liability
“A real expert, who is hard-working, extremely easy to work with and has encyclopaedic knowledge.” “Produces very user-friendly, commercial and pragmatic advice, and good client service.” – Chambers & Partners, 2021: Professional Liability
“Thoughtful and industrious.” – Legal 500, 2020: Professional Liability
“He is very helpful and approachable, gives pragmatic and practical advice, and is good on his feet.” “He’s good on the papers and has good attention to detail. He looks at the case from all angles and his mild-mannered demeanour can be very effective with judges.” – Chambers & Partners, 2020: Professional Liability
“Very impressive” – Chambers & Partners, 2019: Professional Liability
“Excellent drafting and clear, concise advice.” – Legal 500, 2019: Professional Liability
“He throws everything at a case but remains fair. He is very diligent and thorough, but at the same time practical. He listens and explains things, and his skills as a qualified mediator feed into his negotiations.” – Chambers & Partners, 2018: Professional Liability
“Extremely proficient.” – Legal 500, 2017: Professional Liability
Stephen is recommended as a leading junior in professional negligence in Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500.
Stephen has equal experience of acting for defendants and for claimants. Tactical thinking is crucial and Stephen is acutely aware of the commercial imperatives of defendants and their insurers, and of the pressures facing claimants.
Stephen’s experience of litigation in a number of diverse fields such as employment, personal injury and clinical negligence, Inheritance Act claims, insurance and costs all assists him in dealing with related professional negligence claims.
As well as the more mainstream categories of professionals, Stephen has been involved in defending a number of more unusual claims such as against LPA receivers, professional trustees, mortgage packagers, estate agents and swimming pond installers.
Featured Professional Liability cases
Cases on which Stephen is currently acting
Stephen has been involved in all stages of litigation, acting both for claimants and for solicitor and barrister defendants. Stephen is often involved at the early stages of a claim, drafting correspondence under the professional negligence pre-action protocol and advising on strategy and the merits of a claim. He has considerable experience in successfully striking out claims and applying for summary judgment.
Types of case commonly dealt with include: lost litigation and negligent conduct of litigation; negligent conveyancing; defective drafting of wills and trust deeds; incorrect administration of estates; failure to advise on liability under various documentation such as loan agreements, guarantees, mortgages or leases. Recently Stephen has been instructed in large claims relating to legal expenses insurance.
In lost litigation claims Stephen benefits from considerable first-hand experience of underlying commercial litigation, in particular in personal injury, employment and Inheritance Act claims. Through property-related professional liability claims, he has often been involved in related proceedings, such as claims for rectification, applications to the Land Registry Adjudicator, claims for specific performance and claims against vendors for misrepresentation.
Stephen has considerable experience of successfully defending wasted costs applications against solicitors, often where the solicitors have been hampered by legal professional privilege.
Stephen has very substantial experience of mortgage-related work and is frequently involved in claims alleging fraud or breach of trust and fiduciary duties. Work in this field includes:
Stephen has experience of a number of claims against surveyors and valuers and his considerable experience in acting for lenders in mortgage-related work proves useful in claims against surveyors said to have provided negligent mortgage valuations. He has been involved in several successful applications for summary judgment. Work on claims against surveyors/valuers includes:
Stephen has been involved in numerous claims against accountants. Recent examples include:
Stephen spent his first 18 months in practice involved in a substantial piece of film finance litigation involving claims by insurers against the insurance brokers. Since then he has acted in a number of claims for and against insurance brokers, often involving allegations that a broker has failed to draw policy provisions to the attention of the insured or failed to notify a claim to insurers. Examples of cases in which Stephen has acted:
Stephen has acted in a number of claims arising out of investment advice and mis-selling of financial products. Examples include:
“Stephen is very easy to work with and flexible and he knows his stuff.” “A very good opponent.” – Chambers & Partners, 2023: Costs Litigation
“Stephen is very knowledgeable and quick to get to the crux of the matter. He has deep knowledge of costs law.” – Legal 500, 2023: Costs
“Very bright and pragmatic, he has a relaxed air of quiet confidence about him.” – Legal 500, 2022: Costs
“He is incredibly responsive and creative in terms of both his strategic advice and his costs arguments, which he articulates in a logical and highly persuasive way. He demonstrates a wealth of knowledge on the relevant jurisprudence.” – Chambers & Partners, 2022: Costs Litigation
“Level-headed and provides advice in a non-technical way. Extremely genuine, sensible counsel.” – Legal 500, 2021: Leading Costs Junior
“An understated performer who just gets right to the point. Costs judges are quite particular, and prefer people who know the rules and don’t try to muddy the issues. Stephen is one of those people they like to deal with.” – Chambers & Partners, 2021: Costs Litigation
“A reliable, calming presence; appears unflappable throughout unfolding litigation.” – Legal 500, 2020: Leading Costs Junior
“Working with Stephen is a stress-free, seamless experience. He has fantastic knowledge of the areas in which he practises, and provides clear advice and guidance.” “Judges like him; he has a manner which is gentle but effective.” – Chambers & Partners, 2020: Costs Litigation
“Very knowledgeable of costs matters.” – Legal 500, 2019: Leading Costs Junior
“A dynamic thinker, who is extremely approachable and superbly knowledgeable.” – Legal 500, 2017: Leading Costs Junior
Over the last decade Stephen has established a thriving practice in costs related work. Stephen regularly appears in the SCCO and in costs cases in other courts. His experience of numerous detailed assessment hearings is proving invaluable in relation to costs management hearings.
Stephen has considerable experience of successfully defending wasted costs applications against solicitors and barristers and in dealing with applications for security for costs and third party costs orders in large commercial cases.
Stephen has contributed to the Lexis Nexis Practice Notes on costs and on Relief from Sanctions. He has spoken at the London ACL Conference and the Liverpool Law Society Costs Conference. He has lectured extensively and had a number of articles published on topics such as hourly rates, costs budgeting, relief from sanctions, Part 36 and third party costs orders.
Stephen is an accredited mediator and a member of the specialist panel of mediators with CADR: for more information, see www.costs-adr.com.
Recent Costs cases
Stephen is regularly instructed in disciplinary cases, in which he draws on his considerable experience in the professional liability field. Stephen’s main fields of expertise relate to claims against solicitors and accountants/auditors.
Stephen is very aware of the costs constraints which may affect professionals facing disciplinary investigations or proceedings, and is able to accept instructions from professionals under the Bar’s Direct Access Scheme.
Featured Regulatory & Disciplinary cases
Stephen regularly appears in the county courts and in the commercial and other divisions of the High Court, as well as being instructed to attend mediations and other settlement meetings.
Stephen has considerable experience in mortgage related claims, including numerous appeals in the County Court and High Court. Instructed in a number of claims involving mortgage frauds. Stephen was involved in the leading recent cases on duties owed by mortgagees selling properties to connected parties:
Stephen was recently successful in defending a finance company in a claim alleging sale at an undervalue of mixed residential/retail premises: Aodhcon v Bridgeco  EWHC 535 (Ch).
Examples of general commercial litigation experience include claims concerning consumer credit agreements and accident car hire, recruitment and estate agents’ commission, landlord and tenant disputes, franchise agreements, nuisance and product liability, subrogated claims by property insurers.
Stephen has a particular interest in claims in bailment and conversion of goods, having acted in a number of claims and appeals concerning the assertion of liens over vehicles.
Stephen has considerable experience of all stages of personal injury claims, for both claimants and defendants: he has been instructed in claims including those involving industrial accidents and work related diseases, tripping and slipping cases and road traffic accidents.
Stephen has obtained a number of freezing Injunctions in the High Court. He has considerable experience of various methods of enforcement such as charging orders and orders for sale.
Stephen has been involved in the TAG litigation, further large claims involving legal expenses insurance, and claims arising out of the Buncefield explosion.
Featured Commercial Dispute Resolution cases
An extensive part of Stephen’s practice involves acting for mortgage lenders in claims involving: claims for possession, often involving subrogated claims, equitable charges and allegations of undue influence and non est factum, claims for mortgage shortfalls arising on the sale of a property – Stephen is very familiar with arguments relating to limitation, mortgage indemnity insurance and sale at an undervalue; cases where the mortgage lender has sold to a connected entity. He is currently acting in a number of claims where mortgage fraud is being alleged.
Stephen regularly appears in the Chancery Division in applications involving charging orders, orders for sale and freezing injunctions.
Through property-related professional liability claims, he has often been involved in related proceedings, such as claims for rectification, applications to the Land Registry Adjudicator, claims for specific performance and claims against vendors for misrepresentation.
Stephen has acted in a number of claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
Featured Chancery cases
Stephen is regularly instructed in insurance and reinsurance matters.
Featured Insurance & Reinsurance cases
Stephen has wide experience of property damage claims, usually acting for the insurers of professionals in defending claims or in making subrogated claims to recover their outlay.
Stephen has been involved in claims for damage caused by explosion, fire, flooding, plumbing leaks and tree roots.
Stephen has particular expertise in claims relating to Japanese knotweed, with experience for acting for claimants and defendants, in claims against solicitors, surveyors and landowners.
Stephen was called to the Bar in 2000 and is an established senior junior. His practice covers general civil and commercial law, with particular expertise in professional liability and costs. Stephen is well known for being approachable and client friendly and for giving practical commercial advice. His sympathetic and down to earth manner is well suited to acting as a mediator.
Stephen is very conscious that mediation can itself become an expensive exercise and welcomes enquiries for half day, as well as longer, mediations. Stephen believes that time is more productively spent in exploring the parties’ objectives, wishes and concerns than rehearsing the arguments which are already familiar to them, and it should often be possible to avoid the need for written or oral position statements.
Stephen was trained and accredited as a mediator by Costs ADR (www.CADR.com) of which he is a member. As well as being able to mediate in the general civil/commercial field, Stephen covers mediations specifically concerned with costs. In addition to the more familiar facilitative mediation, Stephen is able to offer evaluative mediation, where the parties can request various options for more active assistance, including guidance or a non-binding assessment. Stephen has acted as a mediator in a number of cases which have been settled at or shortly after the mediation.
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