‘Excellent, pragmatic and user-friendly’, Beale & Co is recognised in the South West market for its strength in construction-related professional negligence disputes. In addition, it is increasingly developing a reputation for handling complex claims for clients in the legal and financial sectors. The practice has a varied client base, acting both for insured professionals and a host of prominent insurers. Joe Eizenberg leads the team and handles claims for a range of professionals, while Giles Tagg handles much of the team’s work in the construction space alongside David McArdle. Joe Bryant specialises in acting for solicitors and insurance brokers. Simon Mathews was promoted to partner in October 2021.
Professional negligence in South West
Other key lawyers:
Giles Tagg; David McArdle; Joe Bryant; Simon Mathews
‘The team at Beale and Co provide exceptional client service. Beales are a leading firm in handling Design and Construct Professional Negligence disputes and have achieved great results for a number of our clients.’
‘An excellent, pragmatic and user-friendly defendant team. Robust where necessary but never antagonistic for the sake of it, and always seeking a commercial solution.’
‘The team at Beale and Co provide exceptional client service. Beales are a leading firm in handling Design and Construct Professional Negligence disputes.’
‘Extremely approachable and with a vast amount of knowledge in the construction sector. High quality advice. Excellent to work with- reliable, they do what they say they will and generally make my life easier. Absolute experts in construction insurance and on top of all key developments in this sector.’
‘Giles Tagg is excellent, delivering accurate and concise advice in his own unique style. The recently promoted Simon Mathews is also extremely pragmatic and easy to deal with.’
‘David McArdle and Simon Matthews are specialists in their field and fully understand the needs of their clients. They provide clients with clear concise advice.’
‘They are simply a pleasure to deal with, understanding commercial and time pressures of all involved in any disputes. They work with people to ensure best outcome and value for the clients. I see them as the premier Professional Negligence law firm dealing with construction related insurance work in the region.’
‘Giles Tagg is an exceptional lawyer and probably the best construction insurance lawyer outside London. He consistently delivers great results and has excellent commercial instincts. He is pragmatic and commercial but always brings his sense of humour, putting everyone at ease.’
Arthur J Gallaghers
- Acting in the defence of an architect and their insurer in a complex multi-party litigated claim, with a value of c£40 million, relating to cladding and fire safety issues.
- Acting in the defence of an insurance broker in relation to a claim for c.£20 million involving allegations of fraudulent acts.
- Acting in the defence of a solicitor and their insurer in relation to allegations that the solicitor failed to advise on various onerous terms in a lease. Claim value of c.£15 million
Burges Salmon LLP‘s claimant-side practice stands out for its work in the pensions sector, where Suzanne Padmore and Justin Briggs act for trustees and employers in litigation against consultants, administrators, legal advisors and actuaries. Beyond pensions, the team is also engaged to handle claims against financial advisors and solicitors in relation to private wealth advice; practice head Andrew Burnette has an additional specialism in acting for lenders in professional negligence claims. Burnette is praised for his ‘keen eye for detail’.
Other key lawyers:
Suzanne Padmore; Justin Briggs; Sara Charteris-Black; Caroline Brown
‘Andrew Burnette is an excellent lawyer with a keen eye for detail.’
‘Andrew Burnette is not only an outstanding lawyer but has impressed me with his understanding of the personal and commercial position I face in helping me with the pressures that I am under. He is responsive, attentive and always entirely on top of the issues we are dealing with. Being partner led is a clear distinguishing factor with Burgess Salmon and I always feel I am getting the benefit of Andrew Burnette’s expertise.’
‘The team has impressed me with its responsiveness, strength in depth (From Partner down to trainee) and knowledge of even the smallest details across what is a very complex case and huge volume of documents. Efficient use of cost is always front of mind and the use of e-disclosure and AI to pull together the numerous strands of the case has been exceptional.’
‘Strong team. Meticulous work. Well organised.’
‘Andrew Burnette is a hardworking excellent solicitor. Sara Charteris-Black punches well above her weight and gives the impression of being a much more senior associated than she is.’
PSGS Trust Corporation Ltd
Astrel 1 UK Loan S.A.R.L & Others
- Advised Astrel 1 UK Loan S.A.R.L & others on a surveyor negligence claim against a market leading firm regarding the overvaluation of two neighbouring mansions in St James’ Park, London, which stood as security for a £30 million bridge-to-sell loan.
- Represented the Trustees to the Robert Horne Group Pension Scheme in a high-value claim against a leading pensions consultancy and an international law firm stemming from errors committed in the closure of a defined benefit scheme to future accrual and in implementing other scheme changes.
Clarke Willmott LLP focuses on claimant-side professional negligence work, handling high-value claims against a range of insured professionals. In addition to representing individuals and companies, the practice also stands out for its work handling group claims. The team is jointly led by Alex Jakubowski and Philippa Hann. Jakubowski has a notable specialism in handling claims on behalf of businesses against their energy brokers, while Hann has a strong track record in litigation related to financial services, with Stephen Searle also noted for his knowledge of this space. Esther Woolford offers additional expertise in negligence claims related to agricultural property.
Alex Jakubowski; Philippa Hann
Other key lawyers:
Stephen Searle; Esther Woolford
‘A very good choice for any claimant seeking to pursue a professional negligence claim, they simply are not phased by going against anyone.’
‘Alex Jakubowski is considered and patient. Will identify the issues likely to get results the quickest.’
‘Very capable and with the necessary expertise to deal with professional negligence claims involving multi claimants.’
‘Very efficient and provide helpful detailed instructions to counsel. Always looking for an opportunity to settle on satisfactory terms.’
‘Strong property knowledge.’
Wellesley Finance Ltd
Lloyds Bank Plc
JZ Flowers international
Gooch and Housego plc
Orkney Fishermen’s Society
Solihull Moors Football Club
The Cornish Bakery Shops Ltd
ESP Colour Ltd
- Acting for Wellesley Finance in a claim against Currie and Brown arising from negligent conduct of their role as a project monitoring surveyor.
- Acting for Kal Tire in a claim against UK Direct Business Solutions and TotalEnergies arising from the payment of c£470,000 hidden commission in the energy sector.
- Acting for Arbuthnot Latham in professional negligence claims against valuers arising from over valuation of property taken as security for lending.
Clyde & Co
Clyde & Co has a broad professional negligence practice which sees them acting for a range of high-profile insurers and their policyholders. Solicitors, auditors, construction contractors and surveyors are all represented by the team, which also acts for insurance brokers. Tony Nurse-Marsh departed the practice in 2021, with Jim Taylor taking over as practice head. Taylor works alongside Philip Evans in the Bristol office; both partners offer extensive experience across coverage disputes and claims. Taylor ‘always knows his brief’, while Evans is valued for his ‘unflappability and evident intellect’.
Other key lawyers:
Philip Evans; Toby Rouse
‘All members of the various teams work together, supportively, to provide a thorough service to their clients. They work to know their brief and analyse strengths and weaknesses in the client’s interests.’
‘Jim Taylor always knows his brief and thinks through what served the clients’ interests best.’
‘The team is responsive, commercial and is particularly sensitive to commercial relationships that the insured client might be trying to protect/maintain whilst dealing with a claim.’
‘A very professional team with excellent client focus and capacity for detailed analysis. Feel like a very safe pair of hands.’
‘Philip Evans is painstaking in his approach leaving no argument unturned. His unflappability and evident intellect make even the toughest case manageable lifting considerable weight of his client’s shoulders. Having only used central London firms for PII cases in the past I can understand why Philip and his team are a favourite with insurers.’
‘Toby Rouse is always very responsive and easy to deal with. Philip Evans is knowledgeable and very strategic in a mediation. He understands that insurers may not always be to concerned with the legal points by the time a mediation takes place as the considerations may be more commercial.’
‘There is an experienced knowledgable team to assist and advise on professional negligence claims. They are always happy to advise and help deal with matters with great confidence.’
‘I mainly deal with Philip Evans based at the Bristol office. I have known him for many years and he is always available to advise and assist where necessary.’
CMS has a ‘proactive and helpful’ professional negligence practice, focusing on defending insured parties, insurers and brokers against claims. The team continues to be highly active in the construction sector, representing clients including architects, engineers, surveyors and contractors in high-value disputes. The practice is also frequently instructed by other professionals such as solicitors and company directors. The Bristol practice forms a part of the wider firm’s insurance and reinsurance group under the leadership of Ed Foss in London. Key names to note in Bristol include Cheryl Gibson, who focuses on matters involving construction professionals, and Zoe Burge, who focuses on the defence of solicitors and other non-construction clients. Robert Jones regularly acts in defence of surveyors as well as insurance brokers.
Other key lawyers:
Cheryl Gibson; Zoe Burge; Robert Jones; John Enoch; Caroline Hall
‘Excellent proactive advice and good technical knowledge of the subject matter.’
‘Proactive and helpful, always available for queries.’
Acapella Syndicate 2014
AEGIS Managing Agency Limited
W R Berkley Insurance (Europe) Limited
- Defending an international engineer and its insurers in a £36m (increasing from £20m) complex litigation involving multiple parties concerning the construction of a large-scale abattoir.
- Representing an insurer and a solicitor in a claim arising from the theft of client money by a solicitor.
- Defending a major broker against a claim concerning the placement of run-off cover relating to a US$5m dispute.
DAC Beachcroft LLP
DAC Beachcroft LLP continues to handle professional negligence cases on behalf of a range of insured professionals, and also provides advice to insurers on coverage issues in this space. Practice head Marcus Campbell stands out for his work in advising insurance brokers, while Philip Roberts and Nick Hillyard are the driving forces behind the practice’s strong offering to construction professionals. Graham Briggs is ‘fantastic to work with’ and handles directors and officers claims as well as taking the lead on many of the practice’s coverage disputes. Caroline Cherry heads up the firm’s claims handling unit.
Marcus Campbell; Caroline Cherry
Other key lawyers:
Nick Hillyard; Graham Briggs; Philip Roberts; Charlie Bending; Kylie Poyner; Tessa Rook; Rebecca Smith
‘Marcus Campbell and Rebecca Smith provide invaluable experience and market leading expertise which secures optimal solutions for their clients.’
‘I have been dealing with DAC Beachcroft’s professional negligence practice for over 20 years now and have always found the team, headed by Helen Staines (ably assisted by Tessa Rook) to be professional, courteous and extremely knowledgeable.’
‘I have always found both Helen Staines and Tessa Rook to be excellent litigators who both work extremely hard for their clients. I deal mostly with Tessa Rook who is both competent and knowledgeable and has managed on many occasions to reduce our company’s payments to aggrieved insured parties by careful and considered negotiation. Tessa’s approach is always fair and reasonable.’
‘This team’s experience with situations similar to ours for similar firms is valuable.’
‘Rebecca Smith is extremely effective. She has great listening skills and is very supportive of clients who are often in difficult positions that they are not used to.’
‘The team have got to know how we work and how we like to work with our third parties. They have a cost efficient and client centric approach.’
‘Graham Briggs is fantastic to work with.’
Aviva Insurance (Corporate & Specialty Risks)
Zurich Financial Services
Markel International Insurance Company
- Defending an insurance broker following property insurers declining to pay the claim because of on the policyholder allegedly failed to disclose information relating to prior insolvencies.
- Providing coverage and monitoring advice to Zurich in relation to a criminal investigation into tax fraud and money laundering of over £150m.
- Defending a claim against a University for direct discrimination, victimisation and breach of contract.
DWF specialises in acting for insurers, brokers and insured professionals, defending against claims as well as advising insurers on coverage issues. The practice offers broad expertise in this space, with particular experience in handling claims against construction and financial services professionals. Litigation related to data breaches is an increasing source of work for the team. Simon Mason leads the team, which has significantly expanded in recent years. Other key figures in the practice include John Eastlake and Ian Welland, both of whom have considerable experience in this space. Director Alexandra Cartwright also specialises in this area and handles claims against solicitors and insolvency practitioners.
Other key lawyers:
John Eastlake; Ian Welland; Alexandra Cartwright
‘DWF’s South West Professional negligence team are excellent lawyers. They have particularly supported us with negligence claims against accountants, property and construction professionals. What makes DWF stand out is their desire to innovate and provide wider business support with complimentary offerings such as their young professionals network whereby they are offering training to our young employees.’
‘Simon Mason stands out as an excellent leader in the business. He regularly oversees some of our most complicated matters, which he diligently handles.’
‘A highly approachable team who are keen to offer assistance, advice and training and are leading experts in the field of Data Protection, GDPR and all related queries.’
‘Simon Mason is a key contact at DWF – open, friendly and with a sharp legal knowledge.’
- Defending insurers and their insured solicitors in allegations of professional negligence in respect of three separate instructions.
- Representing insurers and insured solicitors in a multi-party action in the Business and Property Courts brought by executrix of an estate of a deceased victim of fraud perpetrated by solicitors instructed in the conveyance of his property. Proceedings on-going.
- Defending a claim by a developer against our insured QS/Contract Administrator – one of 6 defendants. Settlement reached after proceedings were issued but before significant steps were taken.
RPC‘s sizeable professional negligence practice offers wide-ranging expertise in this space, acting for professionals in the legal, financial services and construction sectors as well as for insurance brokers. The team is also adept at handling directors and officers claims. The practice counts many of the most prominent PI insurers in the market amongst its clients, and also receives direct instructions from professional firms. Rhian Howell leads the Bristol office and has many years of experience acting in the defence of barristers and solicitors. Will Sefton is also active in representing legal professionals and also handles prominent cases involving directors, and Ben Goodier leads much of the team’s work in the construction industry. Rachael Healey and Robert Morris are the key names to note in cases related to financial services, with Healey particularly focused on the pensions industry. David Allison and Kirstie Pike were promoted to the partnership in May 2021.
Simon Laird; Rhian Howell
Other key lawyers:
Will Sefton; Ben Goodier; Rachael Healey; Robert Morris; David Allison; Kirstie Pike; Scott Ashby
‘Huge breadth of experience for construction industry insured clients. The construction team is unrivalled in Bristol for size and experience. Their financial services insurance team is the best in the business.’
‘The Bristol team is exceptionally cohesive and mutually supportive. They understand how each other work and have a facility to provide the best person for the job in hand.I can think of no comparable team which works better.’
‘Rob Morris is a very strong professional indemnity partner, with a great team. He engages fully with matters, and is a pleasure to work with.’
‘Ben Goodier is a delight to work with- down to earth and approachable, he has a unique approach to claims due to his ability to read people. He has secured some excellent results, always having commercial resolutions in mind.’
‘Kirstie Pike has seen it all before and is never phased.’
‘Rachael Healey is simply tremendous. She is incredibly hard working and seriously bright. She comes on board, immediately is on top of the claim having a good grasp of all issues, with ideas no one else has considered and all delivered in her down to earth style.’
‘David Allinson was a great promotion – very user friendly and approachable, hardworking and strong on his legal advice and analysis.’
‘Will Sefton and Claire Revell led an extremely capable team. Will and Claire’s calm and knowledgeable approach was excellent. They model best practice for the extended team and it was evident that junior members were well supported and supervised.’
At Michelmores LLP, the professional negligence team has a focus on acting for claimants but is also experienced in acting in the defence of professionals. The practice’s work covers alleged negligence related to investments, construction, probates and property transactions, involving claims against solicitors as well as construction and financial services professionals. The team is also engaged on claims against insurance brokers. Fiona Pearson leads the team and has experience acting on both sides of professional negligence disputes. Ben Sharples has a specialism in professional negligence claims related to agriculture, while Jonathan Kitchin takes the lead on matters involving financial services.
Other key lawyers:
Ben Sharples; Jonathan Kitchin; Rachel O’Connor; Alice Daniels
‘Fiona Pearson – extremely client-focused; very diligent; has a wealth of defendant-side insurance knowledge; very responsive.’
‘Ours was an extremely weighty matter and Michelmores’ dealt with the enormous amount of evidence extremely efficiently through the implementation of a data room. I cannot recommend this firm highly enough. Anyone considering litigation should seriously consider them as front runners.’
‘Fiona Pearson has just guided us seamlessly through the most testing of Professional Negligence cases. She is extremely professional, always calm, never patronising and possibly one of the most hard working and dedicated individuals I have ever met. I firmly believe that I would not have been able to continue down the extremely difficult path had Fiona not been walking beside me.’
Landmark Information Group
Camp Kerala Holdings Ltd, Camp Kerala UK Ltd & Camp Kerala LLP
- Advising Landmark Information Group on an ongoing basis in relation to claims against a provider of environmental and planning date services relating to reports in respect of planning permissions.
Osborne Clarke LLP draws on its expertise in pensions and construction law to handle professional negligence litigation involving these sectors. The practice predominantly represents claimants, such as developers and pension plan trustees, but also offers defence-side expertise in this space. Claims involving solicitors are another area of focus for the team, with Clare Robinson leading on this work. Charles Crowne and director Katherine King handle claims in the pension space, frequently working alongside pensions specialist Paul Matthews. The practice has a sizeable construction disputes team, with Rob Horne and associate director Rob Adjetey particularly prominent in this area. Tom Ellis leads the overall practice from London.
Other key lawyers:
Clare Robinson; Charles Crowne; Katherine King; Paul Matthews; Rob Horne; Rob Adjetey; Neeva Rice
‘Very knowledgeable about the practice area and determined litigators.’
‘Hard working, thorough, dedicated, easy to work with.’
‘A strong team with widespread experience of audit negligence in particular. In my experience the firm has strong individuals at all levels.’
‘Tom Ellis is an experienced partner with a strong pedigree of acting in substantial audit negligence matters.’
‘I think they are very well organised and good at not duplicating work between partner and senior associate i.e. if the senior associate can cover the lion’s share of the work, to keep costs down, that will happen (with appropriate partner oversight).’
‘Paul Matthews – hugely experienced (and knowledgeable) in pensions and professional negligence cross over work. Neeva Rice – very straight talking, to the point, and efficient. She drives the case forward with her levels of organisation.’
The Pension Protection Fund
- Advising PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in respect of a claim brought by the settlor of a remuneration planning arrangement.
Offering clients ‘very broad experience’, TLT stands out for its work with financial services clients, acting for building societies, retail and commercial lenders, investment companies, clearing banks and mortgage administrations in both making and defending against claims. The team’s work includes handling claims against solicitors, surveyors and auditors. Neil Franklin leads the team and is well-regarded for his work handling a range of professional indemnity cases for financial services clients.
Other key lawyers:
Victoria Mabbett; Sam McCollum; Katie Hill
‘Well-known team in lender professional negligence claims. Very broad experience and always relevant. Proactive about making sure clients are up to date with relevant knowledge. Always keen to introduce legal innovation where possible. Particularly like the use of High Q Collaborate for managing matters and submitting instructions.’
‘Neil Franklin is knowledgeable and reliable. Likes to get to know the client and always a good sounding board.’
Pullmaflex UK Limited and the Trustees of the Leggett and Platt UK Pension
Ashfords LLP acts for companies and private individuals in claims against professionals including surveyors, solicitors and accountants. Rory Mac Neice co-leads the team and also handles the general litigation practice; he handles claims against a range of professionals, with a particular focus on claims against veterinary professionals related to bloodsports. Victoria Bonnet also serves as practice co-head and focuses on disputes related to property transactions, while Stephen Homer handles claims in the construction sector. Senior associate Chris Freeman is noted for his work advising lenders on claims.
Rory Mac Neice; Victoria Bonnet
Other key lawyers:
Stephen Homer; Chris Freeman
‘We have complete confidence they are in control of what is happening, great communication and knowledge.’
‘Rory Mac Neice is such a formidable opponent that I can honestly say if your case is good then I can’t possibly see how you could lose.’
- Advised a banking client in connection with claim against professional valuers of a commercial property used for secured lending.
- Acted for John Hales (a major racehorse owner) in connection with a dispute with a veterinary clinic, following the death of his racehorse whilst under the clinic’s care.
- Advising a household name manufacturing site in respect of a substantial claim against its former solicitors in relation to security granted by the Claimant for the liabilities of a related trading company.
Kennedys has a varied professional negligence practice, acting in the defence of insured professionals from sectors including construction, financial services and the law. Helen Ager leads the Taunton-based team and has deep experience in this space. Agar is supported by Michelle Johnston and Danielle De Val, both of whom were promoted to legal director in September 2021. Johnston is noted for her focus on representing solicitors and their insurers, while De Val has recently acted in a number of claims against company directors. The practice also frequently works alongside the office’s claims handling team, led by Vittorio Cinque. The firm recently bolstered its offering in Bristol with the addition of Laura Hurst, who moved across from the London office in October 2021. Hurst, who was also promoted to partner in the same month, has a broad professional indemnity practice.
Helen Ager; Laura Hurst
Other key lawyers:
Michelle Johnston; Danielle De Val; Vittorio Cinque; Michael Smale
‘The collaboration between offices is something to be admired. The team are innovative and hardworking.’
‘Michelle Johnston is incredibly comprehensive and very good at managing competing interests and difficult parties. She is always willing to go and above and beyond.’
‘Work well with others in other offices.’
Dual Corporate Risks
Lester Aldridge LLP continues to handle negligence claims against a range of insured professionals, including surveyors, auditors, accountants and solicitors. The team represents private individuals as well as companies, liquidators and creditors in these disputes. The ‘technically excellent’ Chris Evans leads the team and the overall dispute resolution practice. Other names to note in the team include Kate Stewart, who focuses on claims related to property transactions, and Michael Veal, who provides clients with ‘very sound legal analysis’.
Other key lawyers:
Kate Stewart; Michael Veal; Benjamin Kerley; Rachel Gimson
‘Efficiency, engagement, realistic approach’
‘Michael Veal – thoughtful, very engaging, very sound legal analysis.’
‘Chris Evans is technically excellent. Benjamin Kerley is friendly and concise.’
Stephens Scown LLP
With offices in Exeter and Truro, Stephens Scown LLP specialises in acting on the claimant side of professional negligence litigation. The practice has carved out a particular niche in handling claims against solicitors related to transactions; it also acts in cases related to family law and handles claims against other professionals such as architects. The team has also been recently instructed on cases involving the growing issues of cyber fraud and data breaches. Catherine Mathews and Toby Claridge jointly lead the team, with Richard Slater also recognised for his work in disputes involving legal professionals.
Catherine Mathews; Toby Claridge
Other key lawyers:
Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP‘s Bristol office works closely with its teams in Southampton and London to act in the defence of professional negligence claims, representing insured professionals from sectors including construction, accounting and the law. The key figures to note in Bristol are managing associate Zoe Lettieri and associate Susan Periselneris.
Sushma MacGeoch – Head of Insurance Disputes (UK wide)James Robins Head of regional team
Other key lawyers:
Zoe Lettieri; Susan Periselneris
‘WBD has great strength in depth in professional negligence work, and is admired for its expertise by peers undertaking similar insurance-backed defendant work.’
‘Womble Bond Dickinson have a pragmatic and sensible approach to dealing with professional negligence matters. The team have the necessary technical expertise together with the relevant commercial acumen required to obtain great results for its clients.’
AIG Europe (UK) Limited
Solicitors Indemnity Fund
Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund