Professional negligence in West Midlands

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP has a first-class team that is known for its work in the professional indemnity insurance market. It is a large department with three full-time professional indemnity partners in Birmingham. It handles many multimillion-pound claims involving brokers, construction professionals, financial lines and loss adjusters to name but a few. The team includes Angus Turner who is highly recommended for his work on solicitors’ negligence claims. Neil Frankland is the first port of call for his work on construction and insurance brokers' negligence claims. David Gooding’s expertise spans claims against accountants and independent financial advisers in addition to more general coverage issues.

Testimonials

Angus Turner is just superb and very, very sensible‘.

Key clients

AIG

Pen

Capita

MUM

C N A

Elite

Aon

Accredited Insurance (Europe) Ltd

HCC

Work highlights

  • Acting for a contractor in relation to cladding issues, which involves claims against numerous third parties where potential loss exceeds £5m.
  • Acted for a law firm in proceedings relating to its involvement in a series of complex residential and commercial property transactions and investments as well as litigation against third parties.
  • Successfully acted in the defence of claims in relation to the administration of a business and trusts within it.
  • Instructed by insurers (and as nominated advisers for a top 50 law firm) to advise on the defence of a multimillion-pound claim against the firm and counsel arising out of their handling of the defence of product liability claims.
  • Advising on the defence of allegations of negligence following an insurer having declined a claim, following a significant fire.

BLM

BLM continues to be instructed by a wide range of insurers and corporates to deal with high-value and complex claims. The practice represents professionals of all disciplines and is recognised for its expertise in professional indemnity litigation. In 2019/20 the group noticed an increase in claims against accountants and tax advisers arising out of tax mitigation schemes and disguised remuneration schemes. It has also been busy advising on claims about mortgage advice. Julian Smart heads the department. Smart has particular expertise in cases involving fraud and the recovery of misappropriated funds on behalf of clients. He is recommended for his considerable expertise in freezing and tracing assets. Lucy Tolond specialises in handling professional indemnity and financial claims and is instructed by professional indemnity insurers and directly by financial services institutions. Alison Siniver is also highly regarded.

Practice head(s):

Julian Smart

Other key lawyers:

Lucy Tolond; Alison Siniver

Testimonials

The team is a strong group with wide-ranging experience in handling claims against various types of professions. The lawyers are measured and assured in their advice and take a collaborative approach to claim and litigation management, engaging with insureds, insurers and experts at all points‘.

Lucy Tolond and Julian Smart are both truly excellent partners, with great attention to detail and experience’.

Lucy Tolond is calm and experienced‘.

Lucy Tolond – technically excellent, very strategic, very robust, great with clients. Julian Smart – also very bright, excellent communicator with clients, great management style‘.

Key clients

Zurich Financial Lines

QBE

RSA

Ardonagh Group (formerly Towergate Financial (Group) Ltd / Towergate Insurance Ltd)

Everest Syndicate 2786

European Risk Insurance Company

Aviva

Hiscox

NFU Mutual

Collegiate

Work highlights

  • Advising in the defence of various interest-only mortgage claims.

Kennedys

Kennedys has a substantial presence in the defendant professional indemnity market in the region and beyond. Eamon Mooney heads the team and is very well-regarded for his work on claims against construction professionals and claims against accountants. Patric Rouendaal is another prominent member of the team who has a particular focus on claims against solicitors. The practice has expanded significantly at partner level. Paul Chaplin joined the team from DWF. Chaplin has many years of experience in advising insurers on policy-related matters and in the defence of claims against a wide range of their professional insureds including solicitors, accountants and brokers. Steve Oates who also joined the team from DWF concentrates primarily on defending claims against lawyers, construction professionals and brokers. Oates also defends expert witnesses, directors and officers on many liability claims.

Practice head(s):

Eamon Mooney

Testimonials

The team doesn’t just plod through the steps of litigation – proactively takes steps to resolve claims – very dynamic and fantastic attention to detail from Patric Rouendaal‘.

Kennedys Birmingham is our “go to” firm. Patric Rouendaal – incredibly sharp. Fully engaged with all matters that he is supervising – a very impressive individual‘.

The team is absolutely outstanding; the lawyers are all incredibly bright and extremely responsive. The partners lead the team by example and Steve Oates and Paul Chaplin are excellent new additions. The team stands out because of its commitment to attention to detail and its legal expertise‘.

Steve Oates – incredibly talented and commercial‘.

Key clients

AIG

Allianz

Liberty

Travelers

RSA

Solicitors Indemnity Fund

AXA XL

Pen Underwriting

Sompo

Hiscox

Chubb

CFC Underwriting

CNA Hardy

Vantage Professional Risks

Nexus

Dual Corporate Risks

Aqueous Underwriting

Zurich

Work highlights

  • Advising on  the defence of a multimillion-pound and multi-party litigation that arises from the demerger of a family group of businesses and includes allegations of breach of fiduciary duty and negligence against the accountants.
  • Successfully appealed a decision not to strike out the claim against the client, a firm of solicitors.
  • Instructed by the professional indemnity insurers of a roofing design sub-contractor.
  • Acting for its solicitor client who has been involved in multimillion-pound satellite disputes connected to the RBOS Shareholders Action Group Company, which has featured in the press many times due to a public falling-out between entities involved in the shareholder litigation and allegations of links to a fraudster.
  • Defending a firm of accountants in a highly complex multimillion-pound claim relating to tax by a museum which is a registered charity with a related commercial arm.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP

Shakespeare Martineau LLP is currently acting for claimants in numerous professional negligence cases, many of which are funded using conditional fee arrangements. These claims range in value from tens of thousands of pounds to millions of pounds. The types of defendant include solicitors, accountants and barristers as well as independent financial advisers and pension trustees. Mark Beesley heads the team and is an established and well-regarded name in the Midlands. Beesley has a wealth of experience in dealing with complex professional negligence claims primarily for the claimant but he has also defended some claims. Michael Young is currently leading the firm’s efforts in building new lower value claim instructions via the Lime brand for volume and consumer business.

Practice head(s):

Mark Beesley

Other key lawyers:

Michael Young

Testimonials

‘Very thorough and very determined.’

‘Shakespeare Martineau stands out in the field of professional negligence for the excellent and specialist service which it delivers in a field which spans every possible industry. The team draws upon a wealth of experience amidst the talented lawyers which make it up. Any client who has instructed Shakespeare Martineau starts from a position of distinct advantage.’

‘Michael Young is an intelligent and talented lawyer. He has a strong commercial instinct and steers his clients through litigation with sound and pragmatic advice, though can be relied upon to fight a client’s corner fearlessly when needed. Michael has a keen eye for the tactical advantage and is a true asset to any client.’

Key clients

Ansell RUS LLC

National Grid plc

Garner Investments Ltd

Starston International Ltd

Mr and Mrs Pointon

Direct Line plc

BDW Trading Ltd

Mr Jonathan Bird

Diffusion Alloys Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising on a claim in conjunction with bespoke tax specialists relating to various financial schemes that have since been pursued by HMRC.
  • Advising its client about a problem with a guarantee for a Russian contract; the guarantee was against an English company.
  • Advising a company over a loss of opportunity negligence/breach of contract claim against an architect who incorrectly prepared a reserved matter planning application, resulting in the client being unable to appeal a refusal of the reserved matters application on a relatively minor issue leading to an inability to develop the site of 400 houses.
  • Advising its client who was in the process of buying a house – the defendant solicitors processing his transaction were hacked and the client received emails that tricked him into sending his purchase monies to criminals, the majority of which has been unrecovered by the police.
  • Acted for the claimant in a case about the extent of a SIPP operator’s duty to carry out due diligence checks on unregulated and high-risk investments before allowing them to be held in a SIPP.

DWF

DWF has a growing reputation in substantial accountancy negligence claims allied with its strong historic expertise in claims against construction professionals and professionals in public authorities. With Derek Adamson at the helm the team continues to build excellent relationships with some of the UK’s leading insurers and its impressive client base includes major insurers and insurance brokers. It has niche expertise in cases where professional negligence overlaps into other practice areas such as criminal law and health and safety. Paul Donnelly handles a wide range of personal injury claims including historic abuse claims for social services departments. Paul Chaplin and Steve Oates are now at Kennedys.

Practice head(s):

Derek Adamson

Other key lawyers:

Paul Donnelly

Key clients

Zurich

Birmingham City Council

Gallagher Bassett

Munich RE

Coventry City Council

Inter-Hannover

Travelers

AXA XL

Markel (UK) Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting for the owner and chartered surveyor in a claim after a gas explosion caused catastrophic burns to the tenant of the flat.
  • Instructed to act for a local authority and its social services department in relation to a claim arising out of their alleged negligence in the performance of their social services function.
  • Advising on a  claim relating to alleged professional negligence over a 15-year period by its client’s social services department in failing to take a family of nine children into care sooner, resulting in chronic neglect (and physical and sexual abuse).

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP works as one team across Birmingham and Nottingham and handles a substantial portfolio of professional negligence claims. The team is led by Chris Busby with the support of Nottingham-based Sarah Langham and Birmingham-based Neville Gray. It advises on claims for major banks covering both residential and commercial lending. In addition the group is adept at acting for pension trustees and major corporates on pensions-related professional negligence claims against actuarial firms and solicitors.

Practice head(s):

Chris Busby

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Langham; Neville Gray

Key clients

Santander UK plc

Carey Pensions UK LLP/ Carey Pension Trustees UK Ltd

Coventry Building Society

Wright Hassall LLP

Sarah Perry and Gemma Carson head the large claimant professional negligence department at Wright Hassall LLP. The versatile team acts for major UK lenders in the recovery of losses by way of claims against negligent solicitors and valuers in the aftermath of mortgage frauds primarily. It also advises on negligent actions arising out of advice on wills, trusts and tax planning. Other areas of expertise lie in the financial sector and it routinely advises clients over failed EBT and other disguised remuneration planning schemes. The practice additionally advises on negligent actions in property transactions. Clients include blue-chip national and multinational companies.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Perry; Gemma Carson

Other key lawyers:

Nathan Talbott

Testimonials

The team is effective, cost-effective and insightful. Nathan Talbott is one of the most sensible litigators I have dealt with in a long time‘.

Sarah Perry is great to work with‘.

Key clients

Coventry Building Society

Group Action

Work highlights

  • Advised clients on a professional negligence claim against solicitors.
  • Advising a group of investors on professional negligence claims against an asset management company and its directors.

Gateley Plc

Gateley Plc has an excellent practice that works solely with claimants. Over the years it has acted for clients with claims against a wide range of professionals, from solicitors to insolvency practitioners and quantity surveyors. Stephen Goodrham is a key contact and he also heads the commercial dispute resolution department. Mark Wilson frequently advises on complex fraud-related litigation such as claims for dishonest assistance, conspiracy and breach of fiduciary duty. Peter Davies is a partner in the construction department and works on claims against various construction professionals such as architects, project managers and geotechnical/geo-environmental engineers.

Key clients

Major national housebuilder

Work highlights

  • Advising a major housebuilder in a claim against a ground remediation contractor for failure to identify significant obstructions and contamination in the ground at the client’s site, which is a former colliery in the North West.
  • Advising a major housebuilder on a claim where the option had been drafted negligently and the client’s then solicitors also gave incorrect advice on the timing of the exercising of the option.
  • Advising a major housebuilder in a claim against consulting engineers, who failed to specify a sufficient number of bed joint reinforcements in the blockwork of houses.

Sydney Mitchell LLP

Sydney Mitchell LLP continues to act on a number of high-quality professional negligence cases ranging from individuals who have personally suffered from professional negligence to commercial organisations that were wrongly advised by valuers on property transactions. Kamal Majevadia is a key member of the team. Associate Sundeep Bilkhu is another important contact. Bilkhu primarily acts for various leading lenders and individuals in bringing claims against surveyors, accountants and architects.

Practice head(s):

Kamal Majevadia; Sundeep Bilkhu

Work highlights

  • Pursuing a claim for damages in the sum of £280,000 against a bank for overvaluing a property, when connected individuals were committed of fraud in the Crown Court and received custodial sentences.
  • Acting in a claim against a firm of solicitors which failed to register a charge against a property prior to releasing funds.
  • Instructed to represent a client in a negligence claim against his former solicitors (the defendant) arising from a personal injury claim in which the defendant failed to meet the court timetable to file the client’s witness statement, resulting in the client being unable to file any evidence in his claim for personal injury arising out of a car accident.
  • Representing a client against a solicitor to recover losses which stem from negligently failing to bring a claim within the limitation period under the Inheritance (Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
  • Acting in a claim for solicitor’s negligence and breach of a solicitor’s undertaking arising out of failing to obtain a first legal charge.