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Until quite recently, if you needed help with a legal problem, you had to go to a solicitor. The solicitor could then instruct a barrister to give you specialist advice, draft court documents and represent you in court.
Now you can instruct barristers who are qualified to offer their services directly to the public, without needing to go to a solicitor. This is called “direct access” or sometimes “public access”. It can be a very cost effective way of running your case.
I work in civil/commercial law. I do not take on criminal, family, employment or insolvency matters. For a criminal case, I recommend Quentin Hunt.
I list below the areas I can help you with. Please click on any of the links to find out more.
Professional Negligence: I can help you if your professional adviser may have been negligent. I am experienced in claims against lawyers (solicitors, barristers or costs lawyers), accountants and auditors, surveyors and valuers, financial advisers, planning consultants, insurance brokers and construction professionals. Direct access clients often ask me for help drafting or amending their court documents or a letter of claim. I can give you advice on the merits and value of your claim.
Costs: I specialise in disputes about costs: where parties are arguing about costs, during or at the end of their litigation (often in “detailed assessments”). I have a particular expertise in helping clients dispute the fees of their previous lawyers (“solicitor/client assessments”). I deal with applications such as wasted costs, non-party costs orders, security for costs and payments on account. It pays dividends to consult a specialist lawyer in this technical area of law, to avoid potential pitfalls.
Property damage: I help clients in disputes about damage to their property, caused by fire, flood, subsidence, pesticide spraying, Japanese Knotweed etc. I act on claims against other property owners responsible for the damage, and claims against an insurer who has refused to pay out under an insurance policy. I have experience of acting for both policyholders and insurers. This article about Japanese Knotweed explains claims in negligence, nuisance and misrepresentation I have acted on.
Contract disputes: I help all manner of clients – individuals, SMEs, large companies such as banks and insurance companies with their contractual disputes. Recent cases have included acting for an IT provider against solicitors, advising a forestry equipment company in a claim against an accounting system provider, acting in a coverage dispute between two insurers, representing the owner of a major bookmakers firm in resisting a claim for commission by advisers. I acted for a German insurance company disputing liability to pay for a policyholder’s defence costs.
Regulatory/disciplinary: regulatory and disciplinary matters can be very challenging for professionals to deal with, particularly if the investigation or disciplinary proceeding is not covered by insurance. Direct access can be a very cost effective way for the professional to obtain help in dealing with the matter. I deal with a number of matters on behalf of lawyers and accountants/auditors. For professionals anxious about their obligations as a result of GDPR, I have co-written a series of articles on chambers’ website.
Adjudication: I act as an adjudicator through the PNBA adjudication scheme. If you have a professional negligence claim, you can agree with the other party/parties to submit the dispute to a specialist barrister to decide the case, much more quickly and cheaply than going to court.