The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms

Case Studies

Significant cases our Partners are or were involved in:

  • M Holleran -v- Severn Trent Water (No.2) [2007] EWHC 1830 (Comm)
  • Challenge to the Asset Management Programme of works (AMP 3) selection process covering the 5 year period 2000 - 2005. Main issues: breach of implied agreement to be treated fairly and receive sufficient tender enquiries for work up to the value of £15 million a year. Claim withdrawn on second day of the trial. Acting for the Defendant

  • R -v- Balfour Beatty Rail Infrastructure Services [2006-2007]
  • Hatfield rail disaster on 17 October 2000 and subsequent prosecution of the defendant under section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (the 1974 Act), to persons not in its employment in breach of section 33 of that Act. At about 12:23 on 17 October 2000 a GNER train, bound from London to Leeds, was rounding a bend between Welham Green and Hatfield stations at 115 miles per hour when two sections of the track disintegrated and the train was derailed. The track failed as a result of brittle fractures, initiated by gauge corner cracking (GCC). The gauge corner is part of the curved portion of the railhead and GCC results from rolling contact fatigue. Acting for the Defendant.EWCA Crim 1586 [2007] Bus LR 77 Court of Appeal Criminal Division

  • R -v- The Office of Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis
  • Health and safety prosecution under section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (the 1974 Act) of the service following the fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell station in July 2005. Acting for the Defendant.

  • M Holleran -v- Charles Haswell and Partners Ltd [2005]
  • Claim by unsuccessful bidder in the Severn Trent Water AMP 3 procurement process. Claim by civil engineering contractor against consultant engineering company as alleged consortium partner, following the claimant's failed application to be included in the list of qualified contractors for pipework contracts. Main issues: Implied contracts, Utilities Procurement, fiduciary duties.

  • Buncefield Fuel Depot Explosion [2005]
  • Major fire and a series of explosions on 11 December 2005 at the Hertfordshire Oil Storage Terminal, an oil storage facility located near the M1 motorway, Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, England; one of the largest oil-products storage depots in the U.K. Acting for Insurers and suppliers of gauges and telemetry equipment.

  • M Holleran -v- Severn Trent Water [2004]
  • Challenge to the procurement process of the fourth five-year programme, known as AMP4, for maintenance, renewal and improvement of reservoirs, pipelines, pumping stations, treatment plants and sewerage systems contracts totally in the region of £1.5 - £2 Billion. Main issue: whether the claim was barred by the operation of regulation 32(4) of the Utilities Contracts Regulations 1996 M Holleran Ltd -v- Severn Trent Water Limited [2004] EWHC 2508 (Comm) Commercial Court.

  • Johnston Construction Ltd -v- Charles Haswell and Partners Ltd [2002](Arbitration)
  • The failure of the Weston-Super-mare Storage and Transfer Tunnel. The claim concerned the design and construction of the two GRP pipelines in the concrete benching, the design life of which was to be 100 years and capable of accepting a working pumping pressure of at least 4 bar. Failure became apparent after 2.5 years when the effluent mains burst through and displaced the concrete benching. Issues: The interaction of the flexible GRP pipe and the concrete surround: tensile failure of the concrete followed by fatigue failure of the GRP. Claim in region of £3.3m. Acted for the consulting design engineer.

  • Ladbroke Grove rail crash (1999 incident, proceedings 1999-2005) for Thames Trains
  • Acting for insurers in the aftermath of the accident, throughout the public inquiry into the circumstances of the accident and subsequent claim against the railway inspectorate. Where 31 passengers lost their lives and many more injured. Complex signalling arrangement between Paddington station and Ladbroke Grove. The Ladbroke Grove Inquiry Report June 2001, HSE Books ISBN 0 7176 2056.

  • Dunblane Shootings [1996-2000]
  • An inquiry that followed the shooting in 1996 of sixteen children and one adult by Thomas Hamilton at Dunblane Primary School, Scotland. Acted for the British Shooting Sports Council. See National Rifle Association and others -v- United Kingdom [2000] 30 EHRR CD 144 European Court of Human Rights

  • Royal Reinsurance & Ors -v- Tai Ping and Central Insurance Co. Ltd [1999] LLoyds 472
  • Commonly referred to as GAN -v- Tai Ping. Engineering reinsurance. Acted for reinsurer.

  • Heathrow Express tunnel collapse [1999]
  • (1994 incident, 1999 trial) The tunnel collapse occurred in October 2004 during the construction of a tunnel for the Heathrow Express Rail Link. The civil engineering disaster caused a huge crater to appear between the airport's two main runways and caused damage to car parks and buildings. Acting for main contractor.

  • Abbey National -v- Key Surveyors Nationwide [1996] 3 All ER 184 Court of Appeal Civil Division
  • Appeal ruling on the admissibility and scope of expert evidence in negligence claims by mortgage lenders against property valuers. The central question was whether an expert witness was required to have first-hand knowledge of property values and recent transactions in the particular area of the country in which he was asked to give his opinion to the court.

  • National Trust -v- Haden Young Ltd [1996] 72 BLR 1
  • Recovery action following a major fire at listed National Trust property Uppark House in the region of £22 million.

  • Buchanan -v- Eagle Star [1994]
  • War risks Liberian civil war - Pre-emptive strike to establish non-liability of underwriters. Main issues: jurisdiction and causation. A supermarket in the Liberian town of Buchanan was looted in 1990 by local residents, ahead of the advancing rebel forces led by Charles Taylor. Proceedings were brought by underwriters in England for a declaration that the looting was caused by civil war or insurrection and so outside the scope of policy indemnity. The court agreed that it was.

  • Flying Colours -v- Assicurazioni Generali [1993] 2 Lloyd's 184
  • Contingency Insurance, film producers indemnity policy. Main issue: policy coverage. A film company was contracted to produce a series of advertisements involving location filming in Europe. Due to excessively mild weather the filming could not take place and a dispute arose between the producers and their insurers over the scope of cover and quantum of recoverable loss. The Court of Appeal ruled in the insurers' favour.

  • Beoco -v- Alfa Laval [1995] OB 137
  • Refinery explosion. Explosion of a heat exchanger at the claimant's works at Bootle, Liverpool. No one was injured but significant property damage and business interruption losses. Issue: indemnity and recklessness. Beoco -v- Alfa Laval [1995] OB 137

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