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Dermot Woolgar

Call 1988

"Dermot is one of the most methodical barristers I have ever come across. He is positive in his advice and has an excellent calming manner which is very reassuring to clients."
(Legal 500)


All aspects of non-marine insurance, including disputes concerning the construction of policy conditions, materiality of non-disclosure, extent of insurable interests, fraudulent claims, subrogated claims and general coverage disputes.

Selected Cases

  • Advising national housebuilder concerning the proper construction of a restrictive covenant insurance policy; issues concerned effect of claims control and claims cooperation clauses on the scope of cover.
  • Acting for suppliers of construction materials and their insurers in c£3m product liability dispute concerning defective pressure-sensitive adhesive. The adhesive failed prematurely. The contractors who had purchased the defective adhesive and who had used it in the course of their businesses claimed against the suppliers for the cost of the associated remedial works, and related losses. On recommendations made by loss adjusters who had been appointed by the suppliers’ insurers, the contractors’ claims were settled. The suppliers then sued the assembler to recover the settlement sums and other related costs and losses. The assembler in turn sued the adhesive manufacturer. The two actions were conjoined. Both the assembler and the manufacturer attributed the premature failure to workmanship errors by the contractors, and to defects in the chemistry of the adhesive. Additionally they were very critical of the settlements: they complained that the loss adjusters and the insurers’ solicitors could not have been satisfied that the contractors had used the adhesive, that they had wrongly conceded liability and causation and had unreasonably focussed instead only on quantum, that they had failed to take into account workmanship errors, that they had failed to subject the quantum of the contractors’ claims to sufficient scrutiny, that they had failed to exploit a limitation of liability clause in the suppliers’ terms and conditions, that the rates used were excessively generous, that the settlements included payments for losses which were too remote, and that the loss adjusters had generally failed to give adequate explanations in their evidence for the settlements. Highly complicated materials failure and organic chemistry evidence. Following a trial of several test cases, but before judgment, the assembler discontinued against the manufacturer. Judgment subsequently given for the suppliers: all allegations of workmanship errors were dismissed and all the settlements were found to have been reasonable, both in principle and in amount (DIPT Ltd & Ors v Sanglier Ltd; Sanglier Ltd v Apollo Chemicals Ltd [2023] EWHC 426 (TCC)).
  • Acting for registered provider of social housing seeking to enforce its rights against the NHBC under a series of NHBC Buildmark Choice warranties and policies in respect of 50 flats in a multi-storey part-residential and part-office building in London. NHBC had acted as the approved inspector under Part II of the Building Act 1984 in respect of the development. Accordingly, under Part E of the Buildmark Choice warranties and policies, NHBC agreed to pay for repairs where, because of non-compliance with the Building Regulations relating to inter alia fire safety, there was “a present or imminent danger to the physical health and safety of the occupants”. Social housing provider alleged widespread non-compliance with the Building Regulations relating to fire safety, comprising inter alia unsealed penetrations between flats and protected common corridors, unsealed service penetrations between common corridors and common stairs, undersized fire doors, timber panelling with inadequate surface spread of flame rating, unclosed or unsealed cavities, missing cavity barriers, and poorly located electrical service risers. NHBC contested liability, alleging inter alia that there had been late notification, that the defects were within the scope of various exclusions, and that there was in any event no present or imminent danger to the physical health and safety of the occupants.
  • Acting for property developer of part-commercial, part-residential, building destroyed by fire, seeking specific performance of the architect’s obligation to execute collateral warranties in favour of the building’s residential lessees. The terms of the warranties included restrictions on the architect’s liability to the beneficiaries and the architect’s PI policy excluded liability for most claims arising out of a collateral warranty. The spread of the fire was alleged to have been greater than it would have been but for design errors on the part of the architect. The court was required to determine the architect’s PI insurers’ contentions that the architect would be entitled to rely on the contributory negligence of the contractor as a partial defence to any claim under the warranties (Oakapple Homes (Glossop) Ltd v DTR (2009) Ltd (In Liquidation) & Ors [2013] EWHC 2394 (TCC))
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  • LLB (Hons) (Manchester University)
  • Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration (Chartered Institute of Arbitrators)


  • Chair, Bar Council Overseas Territories Working Group
  • Member, Bar Council International Trade Working Group
  • London Court of International Arbitration
  • Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association (Committee Member)
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association
  • Technology and Construction Bar Association
  • Commercial Bar Association
  • Administrative Law Bar Association


Co-author of chapter on Construction Insolvency in Emden’s Construction Law

“Regulation or Red Tape: the UK equity release market”: co-author (with Rob Sheldon and Liam Corrigan of DWF LLP) of chapter in Making the Most of Equity Release: Perspectives from Key Players, published by The Smith Institute, March 2012

“Still an Empty Concept?”: co-author (with Keith Shaw of Pinsent Masons LLP) discussing the implications of NYK Logistics Ltd v Ibrend Estates BV [2011] EWCA Civ 683 on the meaning of “vacant possession”, published in the Estates Gazette, 23 July 2011

“The Seduction of Iconoclasm”: discussion of the exemptions for religious organisations in the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations, published in Law and Justice 2007, 158, 64

“Citibank NA v MBIA Assurance SA & Ors [2007] EWCA Civ 11”: co-author (with Justin Davis of Crown Office Chambers): Case Commentary published in International Corporate Rescue: Vol 4 (2007) Issue 5


“Dermot Woolgar’s advocacy is exceptional; he is very smooth and judges just love him. He is exceptionally experienced and has seen it all before.”… “Dermot is as impressive in conference as he is in a written advice. He has unusually broad knowledge and experience without any lack of depth.”

Chambers & Partners, 2024

“Dermot is a meticulous and thoughtful practitioner. He leaves no stone unturned.”

Legal 500, 2024

“Dermot is a clear, methodical thinker who understands what arguments will win favour with the court.”

Legal 500, 2023

“Dermot Woolgar is a well-regarded junior with a vast expertise in property-related construction disputes. He regularly works on adjudication enforcement proceedings, disputes heard in the TCC and arbitrations. He has experience of acting both domestically and internationally.” “He brings a really practical angle; he is very good at taking a step back to make clear the practical implications of any decisions before the TCC judges.” “He considers things thoroughly.” “Dermot Woolgar is unflappable and very focused. He is excellent in his court presentation.”

Chambers and Partners, 2023

“Dermot is very personable, breeds confidence in all who instruct him and clients alike. When sat behind him in court you nearly always think you have instructed the superior counsel.”

Legal 500, 2022

“Dermot is one of the most methodical barristers I have ever come across. He is positive in his advice and has an excellent calming manner which is very reassuring to clients.”

Legal 500, 2021

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