About me

I was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1996.

I live in Nottinghamshire, near the town of Newark, but travel nationally through England and Wales, attending courts and visiting clients.

I currently practise from Ropewalk Chambers in Nottingham.

For nearly 20 years, since before the decision of the House of Lords in Dimond.v.Lovell I have been involved in advising upon and arguing credit hire claims. I undertake trials in the County Court, appeals in the County Court, High Court and Court of Appeal and also deal with the costs issues and costs assessments arising from credit hire claims.

I accept instructions in the field of credit hire on the basis only of a privately-paid retainer. I do not undertake work in this field on a conditional fee basis.

My fees for the written work that I undertake can be based on an hourly rate of £275 per hour plus VAT. But I usually work on the basis of a “fixed fee”:  a fee agreed in advance for legal drafting, advisory work, and court appearances. I take into account how long a piece of work will take me, how complex it is, how much responsibility you are asking me to assume and draw up a fixed price quotation based on those factors. Typical brief fees are £2250 plus VAT for an application, £3000 plus VAT for a half day appeal and £3500 plus VAT for a 1 day trial. For longer cases, please ask for an estimate. My fees are competitive with my peers at the London and Manchester Bars in this area of legal practice.

If we haven’t spoken before, then I would suggest telephoning me for a chat about your case and how I might be able to help on 0115 9472581. I am fortunate enough to be quite busy and my diary fills up quickly.  If you would like to instruct me to represent you in court, I would suggest booking me 2 to 3 months in advance of the hearing, as otherwise I will probably already be engaged doing something else. If the case is a substantial one, which requires several days or weeks of my time, I will usually charge a staged brief fee or my clerks will fixed a “deemed date” for the delivery of the brief, upon which date my brief fee becomes payable. My diary changes on a daily basis as cases come into and go out of the diary, so you can always ask my clerk to take your case as a second booking and assuming the case first in the diary settles, I will be able to take your case instead. My clerk tries to fit conferences within the gaps between court work and in the afternoons and evenings when court has finished for the day.

In terms of paperwork such as drafting pleadings or a written Advice, I try to work to a 10 working day turnaround period. I can, if there is real urgency undertake work more quickly than that.

The law and practice of credit hire claims is surprisingly rich in knotty points of law. Whether it is dealing with concepts of damages, mitigation, market rates, betterment, loss of profits or enforceability of the underlying credit hire contracts, the role of hire cars in the 21st century is comparable to that of ships in the 19th century, in developing the substantive law of damages. I regularly advise on points of law arising out of credit hire claims. I have a deep knowledge and understanding of motor insurance law, including issues arising under the Road Traffic Act 1988.

Since the start of my career as a barrister, I have argued road traffic accident claims, having conducted hundreds of trials over the last 20 years both in the county court and the magistrates court, covering all the conceivable ways it is possible to have an accident. I have argued credit hire cases on appeal in the county court, High Court and Court of Appeal. I regularly draft grounds of appeal, skeleton arguments and conduct the advocacy on appeal.

For many years I have dealt with claims concerning uninsured and untraced drivers. I am familiar with the various schemes which apply to both uninsured and untraced drivers. n addition I have advised upon and drafted submissions to arbitrators appointed by the MIB under its untraced drivers scheme and advised upon claims in the Commercial Court challenging the determinations of arbitrators. Devotees of litigation concerning the MIB will be interested to see how the scheme now requires a driver to utilise his own comprehensive insurance cover to mitigate his loss, where this is available including the use of a courtesy car rather than permitting him the freedom to incur and claim credit hire charges.

A necessary part of my work has involved consideration of the European Union directives which apply to road traffic insurance law both in pursuing and defending claims for indemnities under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and under the various MIB schemes. I am familiar with the principles of the interpretation and application of EU law and the detail of the provisions of EU Directives.

The majority of my work takes place in London, particularly in the Central London County Court, the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

I am accordingly happy to advise in conference in London, either at solicitors offices or chambers in the Temple.

I travel nationally across England and Wales: from Truro to Newcastle or wherever the work takes me.

Although I live outside of London and have chambers in Nottingham, my fees are never more expensive than those of my peers at the Bar in London,

I have undertaken the Bar Council’s training course for Direct Access work.

I am pleased to consider instruction from businesses such as insurance companies and claims handling organisations, and foreign lawyers under the Direct Access scheme.

More details of the scheme can be found here:Public Access Scheme Guidance

However I do not generally act for members of the public directly.

I am a referral lawyer. I consider that most individuals will be better served by a firm of solicitors, who can offer more support to individual members of the public.

I am happy to recommend solicitors, many of whom I have worked closely with over the years and who I have working relationships with.

 

5 comments

  1. Hi Andrew,
    Hope you are well.
    I am coming across an increasing number of cases whereby the third party insurers are offering a “free car”, ie an intervention letter, however the letter is usually headed in bold print “Without Prejudice”. I cannot see how the letter can be construed as a firm offer of a free car when the letter is clearly marked in this way.
    It seems to me that the third party insurers want to have their cake and eat it. Surely if the letter is marked in such a way, this cannot be used in evidence at a later court hearing.
    I would welcome your thoughts on the matter.

    1. The “Without prejudice” rule is a rule of evidence which excludes
      communications aimed at settlement of a dispute, from being capable of production as evidence in court. For a letter to be without prejudice rule to apply, there must be a dispute, negotiations genuinely aimed at settlement of the dispute and the court deals with substance rather than form: whether or not a letter is marked “without prejudice” is not definitive as to whether the without prejudice rule applies.
      The courts will always consider substance over form and conduct an objective evaluation. I suspect the insurance company is simply misusing the term: there is no reason why they would want to keep the offer secret. But you are entitled to take it at face value and ask for any such letter to be excluded from the evidence by the court.

  2. Dear Andrew

    I wonder if I might ask you a question? I would be extremely grateful. The defence always say that Clark and Ardington provides that the engineers fee is irrecoverable as a matter of law. Is there not still an argument that the engineer fee is recoverable on the basis of a contractual clause in the credit hire agreement? Specifically, I note that there is no mention of a contractual clause in Mr Lagden’s and Mrs Clark’s claims under the “Helphire” scheme.

    1. I doubt it. The contract might provide that the credit hire agreement will give him any number of goodies, but they wouldn’t necessarily be reflected in the measure of damages, which is the tortious measure for loss of use. However engineers fees are routinely recovered as solicitors disbursements in litigated cases.

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