What sets us apart as leaders in professional liability work is a thorough understanding of those areas of law within which the professionals themselves operate.
At Wilberforce Chambers we combine dedicated experience in professional negligence with an impressive knowledge of contracts, trusts, tax, complex corporate structures and transactions, pension regulation, land law, financial services, construction law, intellectual property and insurance. That’s why we are recommended as “A first port of call for solicitors with cases with a heavy chancery bias” and for our “real specialist knowledge” delivered by “strong barristers” (Chambers & Partners).
We aim to give clear, practical and realistic advice. This commitment to user-friendly service, combined with our rigorous approach to legal issues and strong advocacy skills, ensures that we stand out from the competition, particularly in complex and difficult cases. Our determination to get the best for our clients also means that we seek to be closely involved in all aspects of the litigation process, from the earliest stages to the ultimate determination, helping to review the best options at each step. In addition, many of our members are trained mediators and arbitrators who can assist in settling disputes without the requirement for potentially costly court litigation.
Our members’ experience encompasses a wide variety of professional negligence work, including claims against solicitors, barristers, accountants, auditors, actuaries, construction professionals (including engineers, architects, surveyors and project managers), finance practitioners (including tax and pension advisers), company directors and insurance brokers.
Wilberforce has over many years been involved in some important cases involving the liability of professionals. Some of the more recent cases include:
- N v RBS – complaint brought by N (whose identity is anonymised) that the bank acted in breach of its duty of care/mandate in freezing its accounts and then terminating the banking relationship with immediate effect. One of The Lawyer’s Top 20 cases of 2019.
- Tiuta International Ltd (in Liquidation) v De Villiers Chartered Surveyors Ltd – professional negligence Supreme Court case against valuers, who made an early summary judgment application which turned on the proper application of the ‘but for’ test of causation.
- David Roberts Art Foundation Ltd v Marlene Riedweg – acting for the vendor of land, a charity, in respect of a contract for the sale of land for over £8m which the defendant failed to complete.
- Caliendo v Mischcon de Reya – acting for the solicitors in a claim in relation to sale of Queen’s Park Rangers to Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone. One of The Lawyer’s “Top 20” cases of 2015
- AG of Zambia v Meer Care Desai & Others – case involving issues were whether the defendant firm was a sole practitioner or a partnership and whether the purported partner was vicariously liable.
- Symrise v Baker McKenzie – a professional negligence claim arising out of the Mexican tax implications of a highly leveraged acquisition by a private equity fund.
- Earl of Cardigan v Moore – high profile action by the Earl of Cardigan against trustees of the Savernake Estate.
- MG Rover Collapse – claim against Deloittes arising from the collapse of The MG Rover Group
- Sea Containers Pension Schemes – professional liability claim arising from alleged failed equalisation of the scheme.
Our members offer expert advice and advocacy in relation to a wide range of professional liability and disciplinary issues.
Our work includes:
- Advising on the merits of potential proceedings.
- Advising on pre-action protocol letters.
- Drafting statements of case setting out the client’s case.
- Advising on the content of, and settling reports to, insurers, ensuring that the costs and consequences of the various options are evaluated.
- Appearing at interlocutory hearings.
- Advising on evidence, tactics, merits and settlement.
- Advising on the content of, and settling, witness statements.
- Liaising with experts and helping them to express their opinions clearly in reports.
- Advising on Mediation Statements and appearing at mediations.
- Appearing at trials and subsequent appeals.
We also have experience in dealing with regulatory issues in relation to a variety of different professional bodies.