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DAC Beachcroft Claims Limited’s six-strong team ‘knows professional negligence inside out – both the substantive law and the insurance market behind it’, and provides an ‘exceptional service’, particularly on behalf of solicitors in the defence of professional negligence claims. ‘Terrifyingly good’ team head Clare Hughes-Williamsknows everyone in the industry and is therefore aware of every new development as soon as it happens’; clients single out her ‘combination of deep knowledge of the law with excellent interpersonal skills and commercial acumen’. She is currently advising a large insurer on whether the acts and omissions of a solicitor which led to a multimillion-pound claim being brought against them are covered or excluded by the insurance document. The ‘hardworking’ Catrin Davies ‘knows her cases inside out’; in addition to defending solicitors against claims, she also has experience acting for surveyors, architects, letting agents, veterinary surgeons, doctors and dentists. ‘Exceptional’ senior associate Tom Bedford, who is praised for his ‘unmatched tenacity on behalf of his clients’ and his ‘top-notch written work’, rounds out the team. Clients include Zurich, Travelers Insurance, QBE Insurance, and Munich Re.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s Cardiff office has a particular strength acting for lenders – including Santander, Deutsche Bank and GE Money – in claims brought against solicitors and valuers, often arising from secured commercial and residential lending. Although William Ellerton left in December 2016 to join DAS Law, the team maintains a strong presence in the market, where it is led by Nick Rundle and Anthony Davies, who both undertake professional negligence work for lenders as part of their broader financial services litigation expertise. Rundle recently advised Bank of Ireland in claims against two firms of surveyors resulting from allegedly negligent advice provided in connection with a decision to advance funds on security of a commercial premises. Other recommended practitioners include ‘technically excellent’ principal associate Wayne Davies and senior associate James Coleman, who has ‘excellent technical skills and a suitably robust approach to litigation’.

The ‘first-class’ team at Berry Smithreally knows its stuff’, and is particularly well known for representing entities bringing professional negligence claims relating to property matters. Iwan Doull is the principal partner handling professional negligence work and is praised for his ‘clear advice’ and ability to ‘crystallise the key issues even in very complex matters’. Although regularly involved in property-related professional negligence matters, another major part of Doull’s practice involves representing legal expenses insurer ARAG in cases where it is seeking to recover after-the-event insurance premiums and associated losses in instances where the insured made misrepresentation. Praised for his ‘tremendous attention to detail’, Simon Care also handles professional negligence work as part of his broader real estate property litigation practice. As well as contentious work, the firm provides an advisory service to clients including The Police Federation, which has instructed the firm to implement a national audit of its relationship with panel firms instructed to deal with claims on behalf of all members of the police force in England and Wales.

Darwin Gray LLP regularly receives referrals as well as direct instructions from clients seeking to sue a wide range of professionals including solicitors, barristers, accountants, surveyors, architects and engineers. Ian Herbert is ‘a sound commercial litigator’ who has substantial expertise in the area; he is currently representing a property owner on potential claims against the property developer and architect relating to an alleged failure to install an adequate damp proof membrane to the property. The ‘pragmatic and commercial’ Stephen Thompson continues to represent bank customers in relation to claims against banks for the negligent mis-selling of interest rate hedging products. Kempton Rees also handles claimant professional negligence work as part of his broader commercial litigation practice.

Sitting within the broader commercial litigation function of the firm, which is recognised as ‘market leading for high-value and important disputes’, Hugh James handles claimant-side professional negligence matters for both private individuals and corporates. ‘Very clever and commercial’ litigation head Richard Locke is praised for his ‘down-to-earth and calm approach’, which ensures he ‘consistently achieves the best results for his clients’. Locke is representing ARAG in a complex professional negligence claim brought on behalf of their policyholder against surveyors who it is alleged failed to identify various structural problems and subsidence during the course of surveying a high-value property. The firm also specialises in financial mis-selling claims against Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs); Malcolm Evans continues to act for private claimants in claims brought against financial advisers alleging that they negligently advised to transfer their funds from their traditional occupational and/or private pensions into a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) which would then invest in extremely high-risk investments. Senior associate Abigail Flanagan and solicitor Gareth Roberts also regularly handle professional negligence work and are noted for their ‘very professional and hardworking approach’.

JCP Solicitors (which is ‘exceptionally good at managing litigation in a cost-effective manner’) acts for a range of lenders, corporates and private individuals bringing claims against solicitors. Team head Kevin O’Brien is recognised as ‘one of the best solicitors practising on the claimant side of professional negligence in the country’. O’Brien provides a ‘superb service’ and is currently representing a client in a claim brought against her former solicitors for misconduct of employment tribunal proceedings. The ‘professional and supportive’ Sophie Thomas also regularly handles professional negligence claimant work, with an emphasis on property-related solicitor claims and title rectification issues. Clients include Coventry Building Society, ITL Mortgages and Swansea Building Society.

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