Hall Of Fame

Rising Stars

Firms To Watch: Professional negligence

Shakespeare Martineau LLP‘s professional negligence offering was strengthened by the arrival of Karim Mohamed, who joined the firm from Mayo Wynne Baxter LLP in May 2023.

Professional negligence in South East


Cripps is often engaged in professional negligence disputes concerning architects, accountants, financial advisors, solicitors, and surveyors. The ‘highly experienced’  Russell Simpson leads the team, while Pradeep Oliver and Tristam Razzell are noted for their expertise of financial negligence. Harriet Robertson splits her time between Tunbridge Wells and London and is knowledgeable of investment and pension mis-selling. All of the individuals that have been mentioned are located in Tunbridge Wells, unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Russell Simpson

Other key lawyers:

Pradeep Oliver; Tristam Razzell; Harriet Robertson


‘Very experienced in professional negligence claims.’

‘They have the breadth to pull expertise across all areas I have needed.’

‘Cripps have a very personal approach where you are actively encouraged to discuss all aspects of the legal matter.’

‘Pradeep Oliver is very experienced, good on process, calm and solid.’

‘Tristam Razzell has an exceptional approach showing empathy and providing relevant and well targeted advice over very difficult financial matters.’

‘Russell Simpson – clear, robust, gives time where needed and tactful’.

‘Russell Simpson is highly experienced and a very safe pair of hands. He is shrewd and sensible and negotiates prudently.’

‘Russell Simpson is a standout individual. A canny litigator who has seen it all before. Very experienced and dedicated with a good commercial sense.’

Work highlights

  • Instructed by approximately 300 clients to bring professional negligence claims against solicitors and licensed conveyancers.
  • Acted for executors in a professional negligence claim against two previous firms of solicitors and a land agent.
  • Acted for a group of 87 clients in a claim against a mini-bond provider for the misselling of a mini-bond.


Based in Milton Keynes, Dentons' claimant-oriented practice operates across the construction, financial and professional services sectors, and is known for its longstanding position 'at the forefront of professional negligence claims in the banking industry'. Sarah Rutnah assists significant financial institutions on professional indemnity claims against accountants, solicitors and surveyors.

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Rutnah


‘Sarah Rutnah – calm, extremely capable, very good at analysing all sides of a problem and reaching a commercially sensible and satisfactory solution.’

‘The team has excellent knowledge of the law and has for a long time been at the forefront of professional negligence claims in the banking industry, having acted for many of the leading high street banks. In more recent years, the team has expanded to significantly increase the international nature of its cases.’

‘A commercial professional negligence team with many years of experience.’

Key clients

Apirose / Delta Hotels

Grant Coughtrey

National House-Building Council

Work highlights

  • Advised Delta Hotels on pursuing claims against project managers for failures to set a proper budget for the improvement of two Hilton brand hotels.
  • Assisted Grant Coughtrey in a professional negligence claim against an accountant and tax consultant arising out the entering into and unwinding of an E-Share tax scheme.
  • Assisted in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry by undergoing a critical review of the conduct of many parties and a wider review of accepted “professional” standards.

Freeths LLP

The sizeable Oxford dispute resolution practice at Freeths LLP acts for both claimants and defendants in an array of directors & officers’ liability insurance, legal professions as well as technology and IT professional negligence claims. Sarah Foster ’s practice encompasses contentious probate matters and related trust disputes. Clare Bellis is well-versed in professional negligence concerning property law, while Will Richmond-Coggan  is adept in data privacy breaches claims. Caroline Watson is experienced in advising financial services businesses with mis-selling claims and policy holder disputes.

Practice head(s):

Clare Bellis; William Richmond-Coggan

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Foster; Caroline Watson; Sally Goodger


‘Clare Bellis brings an unusual mix of both property litigation and professional negligence experience and expertise at a level that enables the firm to complete with bigger players in those areas.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for a major professional indemnity insurer in relation to a series of subrogated recovery claims, arising from contractor negligence.
  • Advised individual trustees of a substantial family trust who are facing claims of negligent and/or fraudulent breach of trust in relation to their administration of the trust.
  • Assisted one of three trustees in connection with tax planning and obtaining a suitable cost indemnity.

Moore Barlow

With ‘vast experience of professional negligence’  Moore Barlow assists both organisations and individuals in claims against professionals including financial advisors, lawyers, and surveyors. Team heads David Foster and Claire Haverfield split their time between Southampton and Guildford, with Haverfield focusing on commercial and contractual claims. Esther Millard in Guildford is particularly active in professional negligence and commercial disputes within the education sector. Other names to note include Southampton-based Andrew Reid, recommended for his claimant-side representation. Mark Osgood has since left the firm.

Practice head(s):

David Foster; Claire Haverfield

Other key lawyers:

Esther Millard; Andrew Reid


‘Vast experience of professional negligence.’

‘Claire Haverfield has excellent knowledge of the field and is easy to deal with – timely and efficient advice tailored to suit.’

‘Esther Millard is excellent. She is careful about getting things right so everything goes smoothly. Very easy to work with and efficient.’

Key clients

Amicus Finance Ltd

Bath & West Finance Ltd

Hall & Woodhouse Ltd

Little Fox Hotels Ltd

Blake Morgan LLP

Located in Southampton, Blake Morgan LLP handles a breadth of professional negligence claims involving financial advisers, property professionals and solicitors. As of late, the team has been engaged in claims pertaining to construction, insurance legal advice and tax planning. Richard Portlock co-leads the team alongside Michael Colledge whose key strengths lie in insurance coverage disputes. Stephen Cannell is also noted for his knowledge of financial services in addition to pension litigation.

Practice head(s):

Richard Portlock; Michael Colledge

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Cannell


‘Michael Colledge is absolutely excellent. Clear, proactive and sensible advice. I could not recommend him more highly and would use him on any contentious property litigation matter.’

‘Responsive, informative, supportive, and thoroughly professional in all their contact and communication.’

‘Working with both Michael Colledge and Stephen Cannell has been such a breath of fresh air. They provide clarity in their approach and are very willing to explain difficult technical jargon.’


Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

With expertise in pension disputes, tax and trust matters, the Guildford-based practice Charles Russell Speechlys LLP assists both individuals and company claimants. Stephen Burns is particularly active in matters pertaining to the financial services, healthcare, as well as technology and telecoms sectors. Duncan Elson is knowledgeable of negligence claims against solicitors, while David Savage has over two decades of experience in claims against construction professionals.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Burns; David Savage; Duncan Elson

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Keeley

Work highlights

  • Advised the trustees of a significant family settlement in relation to a professional negligence claim against a leading clearing bank.
  • Advised a client on a large pension negligence claim including the rectification of the pension scheme terms and issues of equalisation of normal retirement age.
  • Advised a property developer in relation to professional negligence claims against consultants and surveyors arising out of a construction project.

Mayo Wynne Baxter Solicitors

Mayo Wynne Baxter Solicitors enjoys a successful track record of claims against accountants, architects, solicitors, and surveyors. Key names to note include Rosie Fletcher and Helen Bell, who is noted for her expertise of professional negligence matters concerning property. All of the individuals that have been mentioned operate across East and West Sussex. Former practice head Karim Mohamed left the firm in May 2023.

Other key lawyers:

Rosie Fletcher; Helen Bell; Paul Rooke


‘They are very responsive, cut to the chase and know what they are doing.’

‘They have the capacity, knowledge and infrastructure to deal with high value complex claims.’

Work highlights

Duncan Lewis Solicitors

The ‘brilliant’ practice Duncan Lewis Solicitors is often sough out by charitable organisations, high net-worth individuals, and vulnerable clients on an array of professional negligence claims. Team heads Sobashni De Silva and Anthony Okumah are members of the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association and have more than a decade of experience in contentious matters. All of the individuals that have been mentioned split their team between Harrow, Middlesex, and London.

Practice head(s):

Sobashni de Silva; Anthony Okumah

Other key lawyers:

Karolina Natkaniec; Kulwant Sokhal; Thomas Clark


‘The practice has been very good at explaining the options and they are very good at communication.’

‘The team is brilliant; it’s comprised of a black female, an Asian female, and a white man. Therefore, I feel that Duncan Lewis has made a superior effort with regards to diversity. This is a part of their strength, because they can view their clients from multiple points of view and do their best work for their clients.’

‘They are a really good claimant professional negligence firm and they intrinsically understand the preparation required to get a case in order. They don’t step back when there are complicated cases or tight deadlines.’

‘Good value and great quality.’

‘Anthony Okumah is simply a class act.’

‘Sobashni de Silva is an outstanding professional. She oversees her team with great skill, and they appear to have the utmost respect for her and great faith in her abilities.’

‘Sobashni de Silva is a trusted advisor to clients. She is a great leader for her team and shows real commitment to developing their skills and talent.’

Work highlights

Legal Risk LLP

With a niche focus in advising law firms, their insurers and regulators on risk issues, Legal Risk LLP is particularly knowledgeable of professional disciplinary and professional liability matters. Leveraging experience as parliamentary counsel, Francis Dingwall in Oxford has recently been engaged in a professional negligence claim raised by a former client against a significant firm operating in the US. Frank Maher in Liverpool has advised an assortment of practices with compliance and insurance concerning rogue partner and employee issues.

Practice head(s):

Francis Dingwall; Frank Maher



Work highlights