Insurance and reinsurance in London Bar
With 'real strength in depth', 7 King's Bench Walk is 'by far and away the leading insurance and reinsurance set, with particularly strong QCs covering the full range of insurance, as well as counsel of all levels, who are highly efficient and able to deliver high-quality service within tight deadlines'. In recent wor of note, James Brocklebank QC acted for Azzouz Group in a claim to recover losses, which arose from the occupation of manufacturing facilities in Syria by insurgent forces. Josephine Higgs, led by Peter MacDonald Eggers QC, acted for an insured sugar trading company in an approximately $20m Commercial Court claim, which related to sugar losses from a warehouse in Ghana.
'One of the best chambers around for service', 4 New Square is a well-established major player in insurance and reinsurance work. The set has 'outstanding practitioners at all levels and the clerks are organised, competent, responsive and efficient'. Jonathan Hough QC successfully represented Royal & Sun Alliance in a Court of Appeal case, which marked the first appellate decision about professional indemnity insurance notification in a decade. In the Supreme Court, Graham Eklund QC acted in UK Insurance Limited v Holden, while, in Liverpool Victoria Insurance Ltd v Cameron, Ben Smiley acted as junior counsel for the respondent, in a significant motor insurance case. In other recent news, Amanda Savage QC took silk in 2020 further strengthening chambers at the senior end. Meanwhile, among the set's junior ranks, Diarmuid Laffan and Josh Folkard are rising stars in chambers.
'One of the leading commercial sets', Brick Court Chambers' 'clerks are well known for providing a superb service over many decades'; and the set 'has a very long and distinguished pedigree in insurance and reinsurance, with strength in depth and first-class counsels, who are available at all levels of seniority'. Neil Calver QC (elevated to the High Court as of 1 October 2020) represented Single Buoy Mooring in reportedly the largest commercial court claim in the London insurance market in 2019, which arose out of the abandonment of a mobile offshore production unit in the Norwegian North Sea. Also of note, Harry Matovu QC acted for Hiscox in a successful application for an anti-suit injunction to enforce arbitration provisions in an insurance policy.
Crown Office Chambers is 'a very strong set for insurance indemnity and represents good value for money'. Others praise the 'impressive barristers', as well as 'clerks, who are commercial in their approach and always quick and efficient'. The 'technically brilliant' Ben Quiney QC acted for a salt processing company in its insurance claim, which arose from an arson and raised complex issues relating to the alleged non-disclosure of material facts and breaches of warranty. 'A credit to the Bar and her chambers', Suzanne Chalmers represented the insurers of specialist building restoration and conservation contractors in proceedings, which arose out of the development of a terrace of luxury apartments overlooking Hyde Park.
Insurance and reinsurance disputes concerning the avoidance of cover, coverage, and points of construction issues are a staple part of Fountain Court Chambers' practice. The set is 'superb at all levels, from the leading QCs through to the junior ranks and including the clerks'; and it is 'rightly regarded as one of the leading sets for commercial disputes (including insurance disputes)'. David Railton QC is highly recommended for substantial insurance and re-insurance disputes in both court and arbitration proceedings. The 'exceptionally clever' Natasha Bennett is regularly instructed in major actions, which involve the construction of aggregation clauses in solicitors’ professional indemnity insurance policies. In recent news, Ben Lynch QC took silk in 2020, further strengthening the set at the senior end.
'A first-class set with great strength in depth', 2 Temple Gardens 'has been a favourite of insurance companies and the London market for many years, and it has a strong track record of recruiting highly talented individuals at the junior end. The set also has an outstanding team of knowledgeable clerks'. Bob Moxon Browne QC acted on behalf of life insurers in a long-running case, which concerned a Russian oligarch who died in uncertain circumstances shortly after insuring his life for vast sums. Moxon Browne QC led Lucas Fear-Segal in the case, who, with his 'formidable intellect, commanding advocacy and absolutely ferocious cross-examination skills', is a rising star in chambers. Also of note, Sonia Nolten recently appeared in the Court of Appeal in Friends Life’s appeal against a decision in a permanent health case.
3 Verulam Buildings 'has a number of very good re/insurance barristers at all levels in London, and the set's clerks are both friendly and helpful'. It has a long history of acting in insurance and reinsurance disputes, on behalf of brokers, insureds, insurers, and reinsurers, as well as insurance regulators and regulated entities. Peter De Verneuil Smith QC, who took silk in 2019, acted for Hannover Re in a reinsurance contract dispute, which related to funds at Lloyds. Elsewhere in chambers, Peter Ratcliffe is acting for the claimant in anticipated proceedings, which arise from catastrophic water damage to the roof structure of a prestigious building that was completed in 2015.
4 Pump Court's members act for insured parties and for insurers and reinsurers in disputes, both within the UK market and internationally. Andrew Neish QC acted for Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company in Commercial Court proceedings, which concerned the enforcement of a Dubai arbitration award against various layers of London market insurers. Aidan Christie QC is sought out for high-value insurance and reinsurance work with substantial international features, including in relation to the US, Caribbean, Russia, Korea, Africa, Australia, and Ireland. James Purchas acted in AmTrust v Thames Underwriting Ltd, a coverholder dispute that raised novel questions about the scope of duty of a wholesale coverholder under a binding authority.
Essex Court Chambers is 'a class act and a set full of good counsel'. Its members are experts in insurance disputes, including Bermuda Form arbitrations, but are also recognised in more traditional fields of insurance, such as marine insurance. David Scorey QC acted for Chubb in a $100m Supreme Court insurance policy claim that related to Deepwater Horizon, the worst maritime environmental pollution disaster in US history. John Lockey QC represented Weyerhaeuser in the Commercial Court, which produced the leading decision on resolving jurisdiction battles where the policy contains competing arbitration and jurisdiction clauses. The former head of chambers, David Foxton QC, has been appointed to the High Court Bench.
Quadrant Chambers 'provides excellent service and commerciality, while joint senior clerk Gary Ventura stands out as one of the best clerks in the city'. The set's insurance and reinsurance practice includes both marine insurance and non-marine insurance cases. In recent work of note, Andrew Guy Blackwood QC is acting for the underwriters in a large, six-week-long scuttling case, which is fixed to be heard in the latter part of 2020 and involves serious allegations of fraud; Tim Marland's experience includes insurance issues that arise in multi-jurisdictional aviation disasters; Luke Parsons QC represented the cargo underwriters in a claim that related to nickel fraud, and involved four parties in a 16-day Commercial Court trial.
Devereux is 'a really good set' that is regularly involved in all aspects of insurance and reinsurance-related disputes, both domestically and internationally, including arbitrations. Insurance dispute clients also benefit from the set's experience in complementary areas of work, such as professional negligence, personal injury, tax, employment, sport and pensions. Frequently brought into actions at Court of Appeal or Supreme Court stages, Colin Edelman QC acted for Travelers Insurance Company in a case that allowed the Supreme Court to review the principles concerning third-party costs orders; Andrew Burns QC acted on appeal for the excess layers reinsurers of Port of New York, which was in relation to 9/11 claims.
Hardwicke has 'a number of experienced barristers who really know their chosen fields and is really efficient and excellently led by chief executive Amanda Illing'. The set's insurance disputes work is focused on construction, property damage and professional negligence. In recent work of note, Paul Reed QC acted for Generali in a substantial Commercial Court insurance claim, which arose out of damage to an aluminium smelting facility in the Netherlands. And, in recent years, Nigel Jones QC has been heavily involved in litigation resulting from the insolvency of leading insurers, such as Enterprise Insurance. At the junior end, David Pliener is part of the legal team acting in a claim involving defective redevelopment works.
Twenty Essex's members consistently act for and against insurance entities in cases that raise questions about the construction of standard forms in common use, and which impact upon insurers and the insured. In recent work of note, Christopher Hancock QC acted for the claimant in a major declaration application, which concerned a pollution liability claim by the insurers under a P&I contract, and Charles Kimmins QC appeared in a UK Supreme Court appeal of a Bermuda Form liability insurance award, which arose from the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. Michael Ashcroft QC also has extensive experience in insurance disputes, particularly in the marine and energy sectors, but also in relation to property and legal expenses.