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Professional and financial risks

Blog

FOS proposals to clear the back-log - attractive or not?

Published on 18 October 2021. By Cory Gilbert-Haworth, Associate and Rachael Healey, Partner

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The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has proposed a temporary approach to the classification of certain complaints in an attempt to alleviate their complaints backlog exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The approach could see firms looking to pro-actively resolve complaints before a defined cut off date before FOS reaches a decision so that the complaint is recorded separately and not as a "change in outcome" (i.e. where a complaint has been rejected by a business and upheld by FOS). The consultation was open for a short two-week period between 4 and 18 October 2021.

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Publication

The Professional Negligence Law Review, Edition 4

Published on 13 August 2021. By Nick Bird, Partner

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This fourth edition of The Professional Negligence Law Review provides an indispensable overview of the law and practice of professional liability and regulation in 15 jurisdictions. The Professional Negligence Law Review contains information that is invaluable to the large number of firms, insurers, practitioners and other stakeholders who are concerned with the liability and regulatory issues of professionals across the globe. The variation in law and practice across the different jurisdictions is very noticeable and underlines the usefulness of a guide such as this.

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Blog

Aggregation under the solicitors' minimum terms: are primary layer insurers ready for potentially limitless liability?

Published on 13 August 2021. By Laura Stocks, Partner and George Barratt, Associate

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In Baines v Dixon Coles & Gill the Court of Appeal has substantially limited the extent to which claims against solicitors can aggregate.

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Blog

Solicitors' Undertakings: will the lacuna in the law undermine the smooth and efficient transaction of legal business

Published on 28 July 2021. By Laura Stocks, Partner and Tom Toulson, Senior Associate

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Solicitors undertakings are a vital tool in legal practice to ensure the smooth running of litigation and transactional matters.

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Blog

Rocha-Afodu v SRA – the regulator's powers over solicitors' private lives are examined again

Published on 26 July 2021. By Graham Reid, Partner and Charlotte Thompson, Associate

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If the boundary between a solicitor's professional and private lives were ever to be mapped, it would probably look like the coastline of Norway - infinitely complex, jagged and largely rocky. The da Rocha-Afodu v SRA decision ([2021] EWHC 1666 (Ch)) is another Divisional Court case exploring this difficult terrain, following upon that of Beckwith v SRA [2020] EWHC 3231 (Admin).

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Blog

The Regulatory Spotlight is shining bright and not just on AFMs

Published on 14 July 2021. By James Wickes, Partner

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On 20 June 2021, the FCA published its findings from the review it carried out on host Authorised Fund Management firms during 2019-2020. The purpose of the review was "to test the viability of the host Authorised Fund Manager (AFM) business models and assess whether conflicts of interests were being effectively managed."

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Blog

Supreme Court Changes to the Assessment of Loss in Professional Negligence Claims

Published on 18 June 2021. By Nick Bird, Partner and Bryony Howe, Senior Associate

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On 18 June 2021 the Supreme Court handed down two judgments in cases examining the application of the SAAMCo principles. These are principles that have dominated the law of professional liability since 1997 and limited the recovery of damages by claimants against professionals. In these judgments the Supreme Court significantly alters the tests for determining whether a particular loss falls within the scope of duty of the professional.

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Blog

A tale of loss, limitation and a flawed transaction: why a loss may not feel like a loss

Published on 28 May 2021. By Peter Mansfield, Partner

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A recent Court of Appeal decision, Elliott v Hattens [2021] Civ 720, has once again raised the vexed issue of when the limitation period starts to run in a flawed transaction case. Does it start running immediately or at some later date? .

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Publication

It's Cocoa, Jim, but not as we know it: Court's modern interpretation of underwriters' and brokers' duties #4 - getting the witness evidence right and new rules

Published on 12 May 2021. By Tim Bull, Partner and Matthew Wood, Senior Associate and Elizabeth Singleton, Associate (Australian Qualified)

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This is the fourth and final article in our series following the decision in ABN Amro Bank N.V. v Royal Sun Alliance Insurance plc and 13 Underwriters and Edge Brokers (London) Limited, in which RPC acted for Edge.

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Blog

Escalating ground rents: CMA takes further action against developers

Published on 26 April 2021. By Scott Ashby, Partner and Anna Murley, Senior Associate

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A look at the recent developments in the leasehold market and the effects on leasehold owners and future purchasers.

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Blog

It's Cocoa, Jim, but not as we know it: Court's modern interpretation of underwriters' and brokers' duties #3 - A broker's harsh reality

Published on 19 April 2021. By Tim Bull, Partner and Matthew Wood, Senior Associate and Elizabeth Singleton, Associate (Australian Qualified)

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This is the third article in our series following the decision in ABN Amro Bank N.V. v Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc and 13 Underwriters and Edge Brokers (London) Limited, in which RPC acted for Edge. Please click here for our first article, setting out a more detailed background to the case.

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Publication

It's Cocoa, Jim, but not as we know it: Court's modern interpretation of underwriters' and brokers' duties #2 – The underwriters defence

Published on 09 April 2021. By Tim Bull, Partner and Matthew Wood, Senior Associate and Elizabeth Singleton, Associate (Australian Qualified)

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A modern show of the historic defence strategy at its worst, or should that be best? We'll let you decide.

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Blog

Company Top Guns may face HMRC investigation

Published on 01 April 2021. By James Wickes, Partner and Alison Clarke, Of Counsel

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HMRC clamping down on furlough fraud by companies in Danger Zone

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Publication

It's Cocoa, Jim, but not as we know it: Court's modern interpretation of underwriters' and brokers' duties #1 - An overview of the case

Published on 30 March 2021. By Tim Bull, Partner and Matthew Wood, Senior Associate and Elizabeth Singleton, Associate (Australian Qualified)

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In this series of articles we take a look at the decision in ABN Amro Bank N.V. v Royal & Sun Alliance plc and 13 Underwriters and Edge Brokers (London) Limited. In this article we give an overview of the case. The remaining articles will focus on particular areas of the case, these will be: 1. Underwriters' duties 2. Brokers' duties 3.Witness evidence

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Blog

Stamp Duty Holiday. Not a "holiday" for conveyancers.

Published on 24 March 2021. By Layla Todd, Associate

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In an attempt to prevent the housing market from stalling during the COVID 19 pandemic, a stamp duty holiday was announced for all residential purchases under £500,000 between 8 July 2020 and 31 March 2021.

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Blog

BEIS issues White Paper: D&O perspective

Published on 19 March 2021. By Simon Goldring, Partner and Cristina Faro, Associate

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The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has today released its White Paper, setting out its proposals for audit reforms and corporate governance, entitled "Restoring trust in audit and corporate governance".

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Blog

SPACs Invaders – Implications for D&O insurers

Published on 12 March 2021. By Simon Goldring, Partner

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The EU's former Financial Services Commissioner, Lord Hill, has delivered the anticipated UK Listing Review which contains recommendations for reform of the UK's current listing regime. This included changes to listing rules with a focus, amongst other things, on special purpose acquisition vehicles (SPACs). SPACs are more flexible than formal IPOs and are used to raise capital in order to merge with/acquire another company. In the US, commentators predict an increase in securities claims involving SPACs, so this development is potentially relevant to London market D&O insurers.

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Blog

800 DB Transfer complaints to the FOS: A 44% increase in one year

Published on 01 March 2021. By Emma Murphy-O'Connor , Associate

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The FOS have seen the number of complaints relating to defined benefit transfer advice increase by 44% since 2019. However, the proportion of decisions being upheld appears to have fallen.

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Blog

Disciplinary investigations against architects #5 - Referral to Professional Conduct Committee

Published on 16 February 2021. By Emma Wherry, Senior Associate and Sarah O'Callaghan, Associate

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Further to our previous four articles detailing the stages of the Architect Registration Board's disciplinary process up to the Investigations Panel Stage, this article considers the steps that are taken by the ARB in order to refer the matter to the Professional Conduct Committee and the steps that an Architect may wish to take to prepare for that hearing.

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Blog

GameStop – a game of chicken?

Published on 04 February 2021. By Simon Goldring, Partner

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The race to purchase shares in ailing American video game retailer, GameStop, has taken the investment world by storm over the last week, with amateur traders waging war on professional hedge funds.

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Blog

SMCR: an effective deterrent?

Published on 05 November 2020. By Shauna Giddens, Associate

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The Senior Managers & Certification Scheme (SMCR) was introduced in early 2016 to establish "effective governance in firms by encouraging greater individual accountability". However, following a response to a recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request, questions have been raised as to its effectiveness as a deterrent.

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Publication

The illegality defence – Stoffel v Grondona revisited

Published on 30 October 2020. By Sarah Lloyd, Associate and Nick Bird, Partner

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"No court will lend its aid to a man who founds his cause of action upon an immoral or an illegal act." This was the opening line of the Supreme Court's 2016 decision in Patel v Mirza , quoting the decision of Lord Mansfield in Holman v Johnson from 1775. Why then has the Supreme Court – in Stoffel v Grondona - declined the appeal of a firm of solicitors who relied on this long established principle when defending itself from a professional negligence action brought by a fraudster?

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Blog

Swift v Carpenter: A new approach to accommodation claims

Published on 23 October 2020. By Rhian Howell, Partner and Michelle Dean, Senior Associate

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The recent landmark decision in Swift v Carpenter (2020) demonstrates a fundamental change in the way that accommodation claims in personal injury cases are quantified, in a manner that is likely to have a significant impact on the value of those claims. Below we take a brief look at how the assessment of accommodation claims has changed, and consider the impact this might have on insurers involved in professional negligence cases arising out of personal injury cases.

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Blog

Legal advice privilege extended to in-house foreign lawyers

Published on 30 September 2020. By Tina Campbell, Senior Associate

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The court has held that a foreign company's communications with its in-house lawyers attract legal advice privilege irrespective of the local status of the lawyer

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Blog

Part 36: avoid a storm, use the form!

Published on 23 September 2020. By Harriet Keltie, Senior Associate and Will Sefton, Partner

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Pepperall J's impressively clear judgment in Essex County Council v UBB Waste (2020) makes it abundantly clear that, when it comes to Part 36 Offers, the rules are strict. If litigants wish to reap the significant rewards of this regime, the price they must pay is to ensure they (or their solicitors) follow the rules on how offers should be made.

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Blog

A Warning to Architects to be Smart about their Social Media

Published on 11 September 2020. By Emma Wherry, Senior Associate and Laura Sponti, Paralegal

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The Architects Registration Board has recently erased Peter Kellow from the register of architects as a result of a racist post on his Facebook which was publicly visible.

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Blog

Invest in due diligence for dubious schemes

Published on 26 August 2020. By Oliver Plunkett, Paralegal and Claire Revell, Partner

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The SRA provides updated guidance for firms to avoid becoming involved in dubious investment schemes.

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Blog

Reflective loss in claims against solicitors and accountants after Marex

Published on 14 August 2020. By Nick Bird, Partner and Laura Stocks, Partner

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The so called "rule against reflective loss" has been clarified in an important decision handed down by the Supreme Court in Marex Financial Ltd v Sevilleja [2020] UKSC 31.

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Blog

Where there's a will there's a remote possibility of a way

Published on 03 August 2020. By Simon Love, Senior Associate and Will Sefton, Partner

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In the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic the government has acted to change the law to allow wills to be witnessed remotely.

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Blog

Is more co-operation the new normal?

Published on 07 July 2020. By Jonathan Wyles, Of Counsel

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What keeps you as a lawyer awake at night during the coronavirus pandemic? The list is likely to be very long and the fear of making a mistake will be close to the top. Help may come from some unexpected quarters such as the Courts.

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Blog

Relief from sanction: claimant being forced to pursue his solicitors for negligence is not desirable

Published on 23 June 2020. By Aimee Talbot, Senior Associate and Will Sefton, Partner

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A recent High Court decision demonstrates a common-sense, realistic approach to relief from sanctions. Solicitors might have become used to judges, when striking claims out, reassuring the claimant that they can always sue their solicitors for negligence. In a welcome judgment, Mr Justice Fancourt reversed a decision to refuse relief from sanction.

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Blog

SRA powers and client legal professional privilege: Part I

Published on 23 June 2020. By Graham Reid, Partner

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Legal professional privilege gets a pretty good billing in the case-law.

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Blog

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal: new rules, new game?

Published on 05 May 2020. By Graham Reid, Partner

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There are few things that strike fear into the heart of a solicitor more than the prospect of being sent to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. This article looks at its new rules of procedure.

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Publication

COVID-19: The suspension of wrongful trading provisions and a moratorium for businesses in restructuring: what is the likely impact on Insurers?

27 April 2020

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On 28 March 2020 the Business Secretary announced further new far-reaching measures to help businesses combat the financial impact of COVID-19.

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Blog

Judicial guidance on listing of hearings remotely

Published on 22 April 2020. By Rhian Howell, Partner and Aimee Talbot, Senior Associate

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Senior judges have issued guidance to the judiciary on listing hearings in light of the current coronavirus situation. This gives litigants some clues as to how the court will approach upcoming hearings.

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Blog

Disciplinary investigations against architects #4 - investigations panel stage

Published on 14 April 2020. By Sarah O'Callaghan, Associate

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Further to our previous three articles which provided (1) an overview of the Architect Registration Board's disciplinary process and (2) a review of the complaints stage (3) the review stage, this article explains the next stage of a disciplinary investigation against an Architect: the investigations panel stage.

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Publication

Insurance broker E&O exposures: COVID-19

26 March 2020

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As insurers brace themselves for large volumes of notifications across all lines of business relating to Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) we expect to see a second wave of E&O notifications by insurance brokers when policyholders (businesses and individuals) find themselves without adequate cover for losses relating to the pandemic. Some insurers are already seeing a spike in such notifications.

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Blog

Coronavirus/COVID-19 and the Impact on Litigation

Published on 23 March 2020. By Michelle Dean, Senior Associate and Graham Reid, Partner

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In these unusual times, we are all having to adapt our social, family and working lives to deal with an unprecedented global situation which throws up a vast number of new worries and issues to deal with. This article looks at concerns raised specifically about litigating in the current climate.

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Blog

Coronavirus/COVID-19 – Regulatory Update

Published on 23 March 2020. By Michelle Dean, Senior Associate and Graham Reid, Partner

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Our lawyers' liability and regulatory team take a look at the areas of solicitors' regulation that are likely to be impacted by Coronavirus/COVID-19 and the consequent move towards working away from the office.

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Blog

Beware a broad brush approach to costs assessment

Published on 10 March 2020. By Stacey Davies, Associate and Will Sefton, Partner

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Court of Appeal dismisses former client's objection to solicitors' invoices on assessment.

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Publication

Artificial Intelligence and law firms – considerations for lawyers and insurers arising from M&A transactions

24 February 2020

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Law firms continue to broaden their reliance on artificial intelligence (AI) across different practice areas. Many are partnering with third party tech companies to develop the application of AI in corporate due diligence and contract drafting, litigation document disclosure and as an aid to predicting litigation outcomes. However do insurers really understand what challenges AI technology presents to law firms and how it might be changing their risk profile?

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Blog

Disciplinary investigations against architects #3 – The review stage

Published on 24 February 2020. By Sarah O'Callaghan, Associate and Emma Wherry, Senior Associate

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Further to our previous two articles which provided (1) an overview of the Architect Registration Board's disciplinary process and (2) a review of the complaints stage we explain the next stage of a disciplinary investigation against an Architect, the review stage.

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Blog

Bossing the rules - the SRAs enforcement strategy

Published on 21 February 2020. By Sarah Lloyd, Associate and Graham Reid, Partner

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The new SRA Standards and Regulations came into force on 25 November 2019. In this article in our 'Bossing the Rules' series, Sarah Lloyd and Graham Reid examine the SRA's enforcement strategy which sets out their approach to the new rules. Important reading for solicitors and those who insure the profession as guidance on the new rules is scarce.

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Blog

CE-Filing nightmare not so scary if you act quickly…

Published on 20 February 2020. By Nick Bird, Partner

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We all know that CE-filing at court can sometimes be difficult, particularly when you are trying file documents close to the deadline. Whilst this case involves the filing of a Notice of Appointment of Administrators, this case may give solicitors comfort if something similar happens in litigation and a genuine mistake has been made in the e-filing process which, on the face of it, would mean that the document was filed out of time.

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Publication

SRA v Ryan Beckwith and the regulation of the private lives of solicitors

Published on 17 February 2020. By Graham Reid, Partner and Charlotte Thompson, Associate

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In October 2019, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) upheld professional misconduct allegations against Mr Ryan Beckwith, an ex-magic circle partner. The Tribunal’s reasons were published on 30 January 2020.

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Blog

Legal advice privilege not lost by repeating the client's instructions

Published on 17 February 2020. By Will Sefton, Partner and Tom Toulson, Senior Associate

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In Raiffeisen Bank International AG v Asia Coal Energy Ventures Ltd (1) Ashurst LLP (2) [2020] EWCA Civ 11, the Court of Appeal has confirmed that legal advice privilege over a client's instructions to their lawyers is not lost, merely because the client authorises their lawyers to repeat the substance of those instructions to another party.

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Blog

FRC - The Final Curtain Call

Published on 13 February 2020. By Rachael Healey, Partner

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The FRC has released its draft budget plan and budget for 2020/21.

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Blog

High Court grants proprietary injunction over Bitcoin cyber ransom payment to a third party

Published on 31 January 2020. By Bethan Griffiths, Senior Associate

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Instances of Ransomware are becoming increasingly common. We regularly deal with these types of cases and are seeing an escalation in both the sophistication of the attacks and the ransom demands being made.

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