Are you a client let down by the service you have received from an adviser such as a solicitor, barrister, surveyor, financial adviser or accountant? Do you wish to bring a negligence claim? Do you want to know if you can challenge your lawyer’s fees? Are you a professional facing a complaint or claim, a challenge to your fees or a dispute with insurers?
I can advise you on the merits of your case or guide you through the relevant procedures; I draft or respond to court or other documents such as statements of case, witness statements, costs points of dispute, letters of claim or complaint; I can represent you in court hearings, mediations or other meetings.
My work is divided equally between acting for clients and acting for professionals and their insurers, so I am very familiar with the pressures and tactics on both sides
I always try to give advice which is comprehensive, realistic and easy to understand. It is vital that clients understand the court process, and will always be candid about the risks facing them.
I am approachable and unstuffy: ‘a very valuable team member, who inspires real confidence’ (2016 – Costs); ‘extremely good on paper and very user friendly’ (2015 – Professional Liability).
I am hard-working and go the extra mile for my clients to guide them through what can be very stressful situations for them.
I recently acted for a landowner against a well-known firm of land agents in respect of a negligent application for planning application. The agents were adopting an intransigent approach. Bringing counsel on board to draft court proceedings made all the difference, and the case settled shortly afterwards. The key was in analysing all the material and getting the expert to focus on the relevant issues, so that we could set out a detailed chronology of what had gone wrong. Quoting the agents’ own website back at them to show all the expertise they had claimed also rather undermined their case that they were not expected to meet particular standards.
Over a number of years I acted in a large claim by a retailer against a firm of auditors, with a pleaded value of several million pounds. We were able to keep the other side constantly under pressure, by resisting their application to amend their case, pressing them for disclosure of documents, applying for security for costs, opposing their application for an adjournment and so on. Eventually we achieved a very favourable settlement. Knowledge of the detailed rules of procedure, and how to apply them to exert pressure on the other side, is crucial in obtaining an advantage in any litigation.
My specialist areas of practice are professional negligence and costs. I am also a qualified mediator. I have 17 years’ experience as a barrister in a well-regarded commercial set of chambers, 4 New Square. I am ranked as a leading junior in both of my practice areas by the Legal 500.
What my clients say
‘approachable and a pleasure to work with; he provides clear, thorough advice and is great in conference with clients’ (Legal 500, 2016 – Professional liability).
‘extremely good on paper and very user friendly’ (2015 – Professional Liability).
You have been very helpful and supportive at a very difficult time for us and… I would not hesitate in recommending you to others. (solicitor/direct access client)
“I cannot thank you enough for your brilliant advocacy, kindness and support at court this week” (a recent client in costs proceedings)
"Thank you again for all your help - I'm so grateful for all your calm reassurances and of course excellent knowledge." (London solicitor)
"It has been a pleasure working with Stephen... Stephen clearly went beyond our contract to understand our ... case to ensure the best outcome. He took time to understand all the angles and perspectives of our claim in formulating the most effective strategy." (direct access client, contract dispute)
Professional & academic
I won a scholarship studying classics at New College Oxford. After teaching for a year in Australia I took the law conversion course at City University in London and the Bar Vocational Course at the Inns of Court School of Law. I won a prince of Wales Scholarship from Gray’s Inn. I undertook my pupillage at 4 New Square and became a tenant in 2001.
I am a member of the Executive Committee of the Professional Negligence Bar Association.
I am Chairman of the Gray’s Inn Barristers’ Committee and a qualified advocacy trainer through Gray’s Inn.