The PNLA asked Jayna Patel of Dutton Gregory – PNLA South of England Representative – to gather together speakers to prepare filmed talks in a conference sponsored by Outer Temple Chambers. Outer Temple hosted a live Q&A session at their amazing chambers overlooking the famous RCJ entrance on The Strand as well as highly convivial drinks on 1 November 2022.
It is not over as the filmed talks and the Q&A session are still available to view using the PNLA website Events page for new tickets https://www.pnla.org.uk/event/the-new-normal-professional-negligence-liability-update-pnla-online-conference-hosted-by-jayna-patel-of-pnla/ and for existing ticket holders using the login links already provided.
The storm clouds are currently gathering as the economic climate gives rise to conditions which are familiar to many specialists in this type of dispute. For all practitioners thinking about enhancing their skills and their practice this conference provides an outstanding wide ranging review of current issues and case law.
Specific types of claim covered
Surveyors where three speakers provide an update: Simon Wilton of Hailsham Chambers who acted for the Appellant in the recent landmark case of Large v Hart & Anor  EWCA Civ 24 (15 January 2021) likely to be the starting point for all such claims moving forward and Robert Strang of 3 Hare Court who acted for the Appellant in the Privy Council case Charles B Lawrence & Associates v Inter-commercial Bank Ltd (Trinidad and Tobago)  UKPC 30 (22 November 2021). Nick Curling of TLT who has many years of experience acting for mortgage lenders provided his thoughts on the likely trends in this area. All three of these talks provide an excellent basis for preparations for the anticipated flood of claims looming in this economic climate.
Pensions and Financial Services covered by Nicholas Hill of Outer Temple Chambers – an area where there is a depressing amount of fraudulent activity giving rise to claims against professionals. Recent ground breaking case law – notably Adams v Options UK Personal Pensions LLP  EWCA Civ 1188 (30 July 2021) is opening the door for new types of claim as highlighted by Nicholas. This case was a significant victory for Wixted & Co solicitors and two former members of their team attended the Q&A event. This is in particular an area of law where claims arise requiring Group Litigation and the commercial and practical issues arising were addressed by speaker Jonathan Sachs of BDB Pitmans. The complexity of the evidence and law require both skilful handling and resources and both these filmed talks will assist anyone thinking of entering the fray.
Insolvency Practitioners which was the subject of Helen Pugh of Outer Temple Chambers looking at the various aspects where claims can arise in their capacity both as office holders and potentially running claims on behalf of the estates they represent. This is a highly specialist area where practitioners like Helen are rare and hugely valuable for those involved with the insolvent. Rachel Auld of Indemnity Legal covered the useful tool of the Third Party Rights Against Insurers legislation and cautioned care to ensure whether the 1930 Act could still apply rather than the extended powers in the 2010 Act in relation to claims against the insured insolvent. At the Q&A session Rachel also mentioned the added complication of insolvent insurers and how assessing the commercial viability of such claims will depend on whether or not the Financial Services Compensation Scheme is engaged. Both talks contain useful and important information for those involved in disputes where insolvency is an aspect. Indeed this topic overlaps with the following group of speakers where the legal shift in the last couple of years has rocked the foundations of the commercial world and beyond.
Accountants and Auditors addressed by three speakers Moira Hindson of event sponsors Moore Kingston Smith, Jason Karas of Mishcon Karas from Hong Kong and Mark Davis from Mishcon De Reya. We also warmly welcomed attendance at the Q&A session Peter Lees of Squire Patten Boggs who represented the successful claimant Manchester Building Society against Grant Thornton in the ground breaking case Manchester Building Society v Grant Thornton UK LLP  UKSC 20 (18 June 2021) featuring not only as a case against auditors and accountants but also in other talks as changing the approach of the Courts to all professional negligence claims alongside the associated judgment in the clinical negligence case of Khan v Meadows (Rev1)  UKSC 21 (18 June 2021). Mark Davis acted for Assetco the successful claimant in Assetco Plc v Grant Thornton UK LLP  EWCA Civ 1151 (28 August 2020) another ground breaking decision opening the door to more claims in this sector. Jason Karas also linked the way forward for such claims to the insolvency world as covered by Helen Pugh of Outer Temple Chambers. All these talks provide a very informative spring board for those involved in the commercial sector looking at this type of claim and the changes over the last few years.
Insurance brokers was the topic for expert insurance broker Roger Flaxman whose many years of experience in their changing roles and responsibilities provides a unique insight into the way this industry works. One practical point highlighted at the Q&A session is the importance of trying to find an appropriately experienced expert for the type of insurance concerned. As Roger confirmed organisations like The British Insurance Brokers’ Association may not be able to assist and finding referral sources including within the PNLA network could be a challenge. This talk provides a great deal of helpful information to those conducting such disputes.
Background to conducting this type of claim competently
Within the ever changing legal and practice rules this aspect featured within this conference with keynote addresses from Tiffany Scott KC of Wilberforce Chambers and Richard Hitchcock KC of Outer Temple Chambers.
Tiffany provide a litigation round up and notably urged keeping an eye on the Civil Justice Council consultation about the role of the pre action protocols. This could signal a change extending sanctions for issued claims which differ from the case presenting pre-action. The consequence could be to enhance the need for costs front loading and being virtually ready for trial before issue.
Richard chose to highlight the ever crucial topic of limitation and the hugely topical sections 14A and 32 of the Limitation Act 1980. The surge of claims on the horizon likely from mortgage lenders against conveyancing solicitors and surveyors will inevitably include close attention to these sections and Richard emphasised the importance of obtaining all the professional files at the earliest possible stage. Whether a claim comes one side of the line or not is never going to be easy to assess if the events took place more than 6 years earlier and whether it is therefore time barred is a basic starting point in all such disputes.
Rocco Pirozzolo of Harbour Underwriting was, as always a welcome speaker covering the scope for litigation funding and ATE insurance in this type of dispute. Rocco’s experience working with PNLA members over many years is probably unrivalled and his thoughts on the way to approach funders and the chance of an early chat about specific claims are immensely helpful.
Kevin Wonnacott of event sponsors Wonnacott Consulting rounded up the day with the vital topic of costs. His talk gave his practical guidance on how to approach summary assessment, budgeting and detailed assessment. The ever changing landscape for solicitors makes it harder than ever to ensure the proper costs recovery for clients. Mark was reassuring and pragmatic saying that that the key role for the legal team is to ensure proper evidence on their files from which the information can be obtained to comply with the relevant regime and technology.
Katy Manley PNLA President provided a few closing remarks, the most important being to celebrate and congratulate Jayna Patel of Dutton Gregory for Chairing an outstanding first conference. Outer Temple Chambers and the PNLA are hoping that we will repeat this event in 2023.
To answer the question posed – this was undoubtedly such a fantastic conference because of the speakers whose breadth of expertise and eloquence were enjoyed by everyone who attended the event and we offer our very grateful thanks.
To buy a ticket for the filmed talks and the Q&A session, download the conference pack and feedback form please access https://www.pnla.org.uk/event/the-new-normal-professional-negligence-liability-update-pnla-online-conference-hosted-by-jayna-patel-of-pnla/
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