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Alexander Antelme QC

Call 1993 • QC 2014

"A superb advocate...calm,unflappable, terribly charismatic"
(Chambers UK 2019)

Property Damage

Alex acts for Claimants and Defendants in cases involving damage to property and consequential losses both in relation to primary questions of liability and issues of 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

  • 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. Keys 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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Recommendations


“He’s really a superb advocate; he’s calm, unflappable and terribly charismatic…great intellect…charming, civilised and fair…first-rate operator”

Chambers and Partners 2019

“A great advocate who knows his stuff…first-class advocate, one of the leading silks in the product liability field”

Legal 500 2019

“A barrister of great intellect who has a large caseload of complex high-value matters…very experienced, approachable and good with clients…provides clear, realistic advice…meticulous preparation…a formidable advocate…very robust…excellent technical skills…dominant force at the negotiating table”

Chambers and Partners 2018

“A passionate advocate who communicates persuasively”

Legal 500 2018

Alex was nominated for Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence ‘Silk of the Year’

Legal 500 2017


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