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Alexander Antelme KC

Call 1993 • KC 2014

"Alexander is probably the most incisive barrister I have ever worked with. He brings a clarity that is helpful from the outset."
(Chambers UK, 2023)

Property Damage

Alex acts for Claimants and Defendants in cases involving damage to property and consequential losses both in relation to issues of primary liability and insurance coverage. Cases have involved fires, explosions, floods, landslips and contamination by oil leakage.

Alex is regularly instructed where there is an overlap with his other areas of expertise, for example, where the cause of the fire is related to a product or the property damage was sustained alongside personal injury or death. Alex is often asked to oversee the various strands of the litigation arising out of a single incident, especially where separate legal teams are concerned with specific aspects of a case.

Selected Cases

  • The Grenfell Tower Litigation – Alex is retained in relation to civil claims arising out of the Grenfell Tower fire.
  • Edgington v Guymer – Alex acted for the gas installer in relation to a domestic explosion which destroyed a property and seriously injured the occupants. The case demanded careful and rigorous analysis, and presentation, of technical expert evidence. Shortly before trial, the claim against Alex’s client was abandoned.
  • Lloyd-Jones v Whirlpool – Alex acted for the property insurer when a fire commenced in a residential flat. The cause of the fire was alleged to be a domestic drying machine. As well as the property damage, two men were killed in the fire. Alex’s role included coordinating with the deceased’s representatives to ensure that a coordinated approach was advanced by all interested parties. The matter was compromised.
  • Howmet Limited v Economy Devices Limited & Others – A catastrophic fire destroyed factory premises. Alex acted for the manufacturer of a liquid level-sensing device in successfully defeating the claim at trial. The case was successfully defended at trial and the appeal dismissed by the Court of Appeal. Key legal issues involved duties of care, reliance, causation and the controlling minds of companies.
  • The Hatfield Colliery landslide – Alex acted for a sub-contractor at the Hatfield Colliery when a significant landslide led to the disruption of the local rail network.
  • Malmaison, Oxford – Alex acted for electrical sub-contractors in litigation arising out of a fire at a luxury hotel in Oxford, which had been converted, from a prison.
  • Harooni v Rustins – Alex acted for the Defendant company which the Claimants alleged was responsible for the spread of a devastating fire at warehouse premises in north London. The Claimant alleged that paint products stored in the Defendant’s premises caused the spread of a fire to its premises. The claim relied on the rule in Rylands v Fletcher and was dismissed at trial.
  • The Buncefield Litigation – For a significant part of three years, Alex was involved in the Buncefield Litigation arising out of the massive gas explosion in Hertfordshire in December 2005. He was part of Total’s team in the three-month trial of preliminary issues in the Commercial Court in 2008 and in the Court of Appeal in January 2010. He was instructed to appear in the Supreme Court but the matter settled shortly before the hearing. The value of the litigation was in the region of £1bn and involved disputes between oil companies, commercial property owners and private individuals. Issues included contractual disputes, construction of indemnity clauses, insurance, product liability, the recovery of pure economic loss in tort, vicarious liability, public nuisance, private nuisance and the rule in Rylands v Fletcher. Alex was the only member of Total’s legal team (solicitors or counsel) to be instructed at first instance and at both appellate levels.
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“Alexander is highly sophisticated, extremely easy to work with and exceptionally thorough in his analysis”…. “Alexander is incredibly efficient. He brings an energy to cases which others don’t, and he is results-driven.”

Chambers & Partners, 2024

“Alex Antelme is brilliant – elegant and not a word wasted”…. “He has excellent control of the evidence.”

Chambers & Partners, 2024

“Super responsive, utterly charming to work with, a sentiment shared by the clients. He is incisive, a font of wisdom and a great strategist. He is absolutely the counsel you want on any case, the tougher the case – the greater the need for his involvement.”

Legal 500, 2024

“He is incisive, a font of wisdom and a great strategist. He is absolutely the counsel you want on any case, the tougher the case – the greater the need for his involvement.”

Legal 500, 2024

“Alexander is a master of detail. He is very charming and easy to work with on high-value claims.” “He is very strong on technical issues whilst at the same time being able to explain the legal issues in a clear and concise fashion, which makes him very strong on his feet and in conference.” “Alexander is an excellent barrister. He is very commercial and takes a very client-friendly approach.”

Chambers & Partners, 2023

‘Super responsive, utterly charming to work with, a sentiment shared by the clients ‘ ‘An extremely skillful, powerful and impressive advocate. Goes above and beyond to get to grips with complexities of a case.’ ‘Alex has impressive advocacy skills and is extremely talented. He is very clever and makes a complex issue sound very simple.’ ‘Real attention-to-detail, excellent pleadings and written advice. A polished advocate with an ample charm which hides a tough negotiator.’

Legal 500, 2023

“A fantastic advocate – he is really amazing, very slick, sharp and has the ear of the court.” “He has an absolute eye for detail, is extremely no-nonsense and gets very good results. His opinion is very much respected.”

Chambers & Partners, 2022

“A living legend of product liability practice; extremely sharp, sees bigger picture, speaks with authority and technical brilliance.”

Legal 500, 2022

“A very affable silk with a rapier-like intelligence and the willingness to fight points other KCs might not want to take on.”

Legal 500, 2021

“Detailed and thorough analysis of complex legal and factual issues. Tremendous knowledge of personal injury and product liability issues.”

Legal 500, 2021

“A remarkably astute, highly-experienced and technically brilliant KC whose dedication, focus and legal precision is exemplary.”

Legal 500, 2021

“A very measured, sensible and effective advocate who inspires confidence.”; “A very persuasive advocate with great tactical acumen.”; “His cross-examination of experts is very good indeed.”

Chambers & Partners, 2021

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