James has substantial experience of advising and representing insurers, insureds and insurance brokers in all manner of disputes arising from insurance policies, including policy avoidance (whether for misrepresentation or breach of the duty of good faith), declinature of claims and the construction of the parties’ rights more generally.
Prior to joining chambers, James worked at Fishburns Solicitors, where he specialised in insurance and professional negligence work. Having experience of life as an advocate and working for a firm of solicitors, James has a thorough grasp of the commercial realities of any case. This enables him to give considered, calm counsel. He is also able to get to the very essence of the matter rapidly and plot an intelligent, cost effective course of action for his clients.
Example cases of note include:
Advising an insurance broker on a claim for commission against an insurer arising from a binding authority granted by the insurer to an underwriter. Raised issues of the extent to which a broker must be the effective cause of the transaction giving entitlement to commission (and whether the broker’s role could be proven) and as to interpretation of the notice clause in the binder.
Claim under a motor trader’s block policy regarding a Rolls Royce Phantom lost in an arson attack. Claim for circa £100k.
Extent and effect of insurer’s affirmation of cover under a landlord’s policy for two properties where details given of previous non-disclosure or misrepresentation were themselves not wholly accurate. Claim for circa £150k.
Claim against insurance broker for secret profits made by failing fully to disclose commission paid to it by the insurer, which commission was in addition to a fee charged directly to the insured by the broker.
While at Fishburns:
Advice on policy construction: whether various allegations by the same client in relation to the same construction project ‘arose out of’ a circumstance notified to insurers and whether they constituted one ‘Claim’ or two, so that they attached to the same policy year. Claim for circa £5 million.
Conduct of successful defence of two professional indemnity policy claims in respect of two £30 million losses arising from refurbishment of a London hotel and a PFI project for construction of a major scientific establishment, including interviewing/examining many underwriting witnesses and drafting the policy avoidance letter.