Professional negligence in South East


The Tunbridge Wells-based team at Cripps advises both regional and national clients in high value claims involving solicitors, surveyors, financial advisors accountants, and architects. Russell Simpson, who leads the specialist disputes team, handles complex claims and is ‘always on top of the details‘. He works alongside Pradeep Oliver, who focuses on claims regarding mismanaged and mis-sold financial arrangements, including financial products, investments, and pensions, and is praised for his ‘clear thinking, calm and confident’ approach. Associate Tristam Razzell also has a focus on financial services claims.

Practice head(s):

Russell Simpson

Other key lawyers:

Pradeep Oliver; Tristam Razzell


‘Pradeep Oliver was incredibly professional; I felt immediately at ease speaking to him and he built trust with me very well. He brought Tristam Razzell in on our second call when we did a deep dive. Tristam then took the lead and asked a series of investigative questions. This call assured me that I was happy to work with Tristam moving forward.’

‘I am seriously impressed by Pradeep Oliver. He displayed clear thinking and and a calm and confident way of dealing with the argument and counter argument. This led to a highly satisfactory conclusion for me.’

‘Notable attributes include perseverance and good communication.’

‘Russell Simpson is particularly adept at explaining complex issues.’

‘Cripps has longstanding expertise in this area, acting both for claimants and defendants. They are a tried and tested outfit.’

‘Russell Simpson is a dedicated litigator, who works extremely hard for his clients, is always on top of the details of a case, and will not accept second-best.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for 20 private clients bringing a group action against their solicitors for negligent advice surrounding their investment in a failed hotel development scheme.
  • Instructed in place of other solicitors by an ultra-high net worth individual who is bringing a claim against his accountants/tax advisors for failing to declare the income within an offshore trust structure and the benefit of a tax free loan on his tax returns from 2009 to 2017.
  • Acted for a private client in relation to a claim against former solicitors who failed to issue proceedings under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 within the 6 month limitation period.


The claimant-focused team at Dentons is highly regarded for dealing with claims against accountants, construction professionals, architects, and solicitors. In 2020, the team closed its Watford office and moved to an entirely agile working environment, while still being able to draw on its long-established Milton Keynes base. Practice co-chair and solicitor advocate James Fairbairn offers 'astute advice' and many years of experience, working with Tim Constable, an 'excellent negotiator' who has particular expertise in banking matters. Senior associate Sarah Rutnah is also seen as a 'standout' member of the team, often acting for international corporations.

Practice head(s):

James Fairbairn; Tim Constable

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Rutnah


‘A responsive, capable and very client-focused team, who understands their banking clients’ needs and priorities.’

‘Tim Constable is very bright and very client-centric, extremely pragmatic and an excellent negotiator.’

‘Dentons have a very high quality professional negligence practice. They have real in-depth knowledge and deal with claims on a friendly but perspective basis. ’

‘Tim Constable is one of the ablest solicitors in professional negligence. He has a real attention to detail, writes very well and is liked by both clients and opponents.

The practice has particular talent in dealing with professional negligence disputes that arise out of banking transactions involving solicitors and valuers.’

‘Tim Constable is an excellent lawyer. He has a fine grasp of the law and is adept at tackling the most technical of issues. His communication skills are first rate.’

Sarah Rutnah stands out as a talented associate who has been a rising star for some time now. She is bright, personable and a team player who you definitely want on your side.’

‘James Fairbairn is very experienced and grasped the issues immediately, giving us good advice on how the case would proceed. He was also very careful to highlight the pros and cons of proceeding with legal action and to carefully consider the other parties arguments so that we could comprehensively rebut them. As laymen, we were always concerned that once you started legal actions, it could become like a runaway train, but James always kept everything on an even keel and advised us on next steps and costs well before they had been actioned. His astute advice ultimately led us into a satisfactory settlement with the other party.’

Key clients

National House-Building Council

Freeths LLP

The Oxford-based professional negligence team at Freeths LLP is highly regarded for its advice relating to legal and financial professionals, as well as those working in property, technology, and IT. Notably, the team is experienced acting for both claimants and defendants on all relevant matters. Head of department Duncan Crine has a 'cool and wise head', and leads the team on high-profile claims, while Oxford managing partner Sarah Foster is known for her wide-ranging work on claims with a trust or probate background, and property litigation leader Clare Bellis 'goes the extra mile'.

Practice head(s):

Duncan Crine; Sarah Foster

Other key lawyers:

Clare Bellis


‘Greater depth of experience than might be expected in an office of this size.’

‘Duncan Crine is great for a complex professional negligence dispute, where many different interests need to be managed; a cool and wise head in what can be stressful and difficult cases.’

‘Clare Bellis has a great mix for property and professional negligence expertise and goes the extra mile.’

Work highlights

  • Defended a company director in a complex, high value and long-running claim concerning a very successful national coffee chain.
  • Acted for the claimants in a professional negligence claim against their former conveyancing solicitors to recover substantial losses incurred in a property purchase transaction.
  • Provided specialist professional indemnity insurance policy advice to a firm of solicitors in relation to the operation of aggregation of claims for insurance purposes with total value exceeding £3m.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

The specialist professional negligence team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP covers the full range of claims, including those concerning surveyors, construction contractors, accountants, barristers, and IT professionals. The 'first-rate' lead partner in the Southampton team is James Robins, who is highly experienced in a wide range of claims. Associate Ivan Roots is known for his work regarding defence of claims by financial institutions, while associate Helen Creech specialises in the defence of professional risk claims.

Practice head(s):

James Robins

Other key lawyers:

Ivan Roots; Helen Creech; Sarah Tivey


‘This is a first-rate practice. Meticulous, calm and measured approach from the whole team and excellent value for money. ’

‘James Robbins is excellent. First-rate lawyer with a calm and measured approach, very easy to work with and highly responsive. Ivan Roots, Sarah Tivey and Helen Creech are also excellent lawyers. ’

‘This team is able to draw on specialist legal knowledge, skills and experience across the wider firm, a vital strength when tackling litigation that can cover disputes based on a wide variety of factual scenarios and applicable legislation. Their service is friendly, prompt, efficient and competent but not at the cost of thoroughness.’

‘James Robins is a safe but imaginative pair of hands, a rare combination of prudence and courage. You feel that while he is completely on your side he will not shy away from giving you unwelcome news and he does everything possible to find a solution.’

‘Womble Bond Dickinson have strength in depth in this area. They have a particularly good understanding of the needs of insured defendants and provide an excellent service defending claims against such parties and advising insurers in relation to such disputes.’

‘James Robins and Helen Creech are first class. They combine proficiency in the law with excellent pragmatic judgment and are brilliant with clients too.’

‘Good service-led team who are both practical and commercial in their approach.’

Blake Morgan LLP

The Southampton professional negligence team at Blake Morgan LLP represents individuals, NGOs, companies, and trustees regarding sensitive and confidential matters involving a wide range of professions, including solicitors, financial advisers, and construction and property professionals. Richard Portlock leads the team on all matters, extending to areas involving financial professionals and solicitors. He is joined by legal director Michael Colledge and senior associate Heather Welham, who is known for her work relating to regulatory matters, and associate Stephen Cannell.

Practice head(s):

Richard Portlock

Other key lawyers:

Michael Colledge; Heather Welham; Stephen Cannell


‘Michael Colledge handled my case and was professional and tenacious throughout the long-drawn out process.’

Mayo Wynne Baxter LLP

The claimant-focused team at Mayo Wynne Baxter LLP advises on a wide range of high-value negligence claims against professionals, including against solicitors, accountants, architects, and surveyors. The practice is lead by the 'extremely client-centric' Karim Mohamed, an accredited mediator who works exclusively on professional negligence claims. He is supported by paralegal Rosie Fletcher.

Practice head(s):

Karim Mohamed

Other key lawyers:

Rosie Fletcher


‘Mayo Wynne Baxter offer unparalleled expertise on the South Coast in bringing and defending professional negligence claims against solicitors, accountants, and finance industry professionals.’

‘Karim Mohamed demonstrates total commitment to each one of his cases and seems to have a photographic memory for details of the documents.’

‘A very friendly and supportive team.’

‘Karim Mohamed took a strong personal interest in our case.’

‘Karim Mohamed deserves specific recognition. He is extremely client-centric and ensures that his client is provided with the best advice so that his client is fully aware of the options available and the risk attached to each. He is able to handle document-heavy cases with ease and put in place suitable systems so his legal team has the appropriate information to hand.’

Moore Barlow

Moore Barlow, having successfully bedded in the merger of Moore Blatch and Barlow Robbins in May 2020, has expanded its professional negligence team to provide extensive coverage for medium-sized companies and high-net-worth individuals seeking advice regarding solicitors, tax advisors, and conveyancing matters. Dispute resolution, civil litigation and commercial mediation head David Foster has decades of experience of mediating professional negligence claims. Associate Andrew Reid is an expert in professional negligence claims against solicitors and financial mis-selling claims; associate Esther Millard has particular experience of claims against solicitors.

Practice head(s):

David Foster

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Reid; Esther Millard


‘This team is highly adept at dealing with professional negligence cases of all types and for all client types, from individuals to businesses to large commercial institutions such as lenders. They are also well equipped to and used to managing group litigation. The team includes several partners and a number of associates with true professional negligence specialism, which remains relatively unusual on the claimants side (outside of lender claims).’

‘The firm has been dealing with my matter for over two years, and in that time I have been shown the utmost respect, understanding and commitment from all whom I have come into contact with, from the legal secretary, to my solicitor and partner of the department. Moore Barlow have been a breath of fresh air, always approachable, delivering on timescales, and communicating throughout the process. This is how all law firms should operate.’

‘My case was given to Andrew Reid, who has been very proactive on the matter. He has delivered to timescales and taken ownership of my case. Andrew is always contactable and has updated me throughout, which in turn has instilled confidence that he cares and is striving for the right outcome. I have found Andrew to be a very experienced and conscientious individual, and he has worked tirelessly on my case.’

‘Esther Millard is very pleasant to work with and has good attention to detail.’

Key clients

The Mortgage Monkey

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is highly experienced advising both individuals and companies acting as claimants against professionals including accountants, architects, and construction specialists such as surveyors, contractors, and engineers. The team, which is co-led by Stephen Burns, David Savage, and Duncan Elson, frequently advises on high-value claims in the financial services, construction and legal sectors. Andrew Keeley is particularly experienced in bringing claims against construction professionals.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Burns; David Savage; Duncan Elson

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Keeley


‘Stephen Burns is a canny operator with great enthusiasm for his clients’ cause.’

‘They have a very good grasp of all the key points and don’t get too bogged down in name-calling or chest-beating. The team is willing to take on board client’s views rather than insist they need to know everything to form their own views.’

‘Stephen Burns is cool-headed, can see where a good outcome is, and works towards it in the most direct way possible.’

Key clients

Icon 1992 Limited

Duncan Lewis Solicitors

Duncan Lewis Solicitors acts on complex and high-value claims for both private clients and companies on the full range of professional negligence issues. Notably, the team has extensive experience with vulnerable individuals with mental health conditions, as well as assisting in professional negligence claims against legal, financial, and engineering professionals. Team co-director Sobashni De Silva represents clients on claims such as negligent misstatement, working with co-director Anthony Okumah in Harrow.

Practice head(s):

Sobashni De Silva; Anthony Okumah