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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)

Professional Liability

Dermot regularly acts in a wide range of professional negligence claims. Because of his long experience in commercial, chancery and property-related disputes, his cases predominantly concern claims in these and related fields. He advises in connection with, and conducts claims, concerning solicitors, barristers and licensed conveyancers; surveyors, valuers, planning consultants and architects; financial advisers, accountants, and other finance professionals; brokers and other insurance professionals.

Selected Cases

  • Defending accountants in claims from former clients alleging that they were negligently advised to enter a scheme in order to obtain business premises renovation allowance and thereby reduce income tax liabilities.
  • Acting for the commercial tenant of large office premises in £multi-million claim against solicitors for damages arising from the failure of the solicitors to draft an effective break notice, which would have terminated the head lease 10 years before its expiry by effluxion of time.
  • Acting for freehold proprietors and their insurers of substantial part residential and part commercial/retail building in action against construction company and building design company under Defective Premises Act 1972 and in negligence concerning defective design and construction of primary and secondary supports for mechanical, electrical and public health installations and fire stopping system that caused fracturing of soil vent pipes and substantial flooding; additional claim against architects under Defective Premises Act and in negligence for failing to reject design.
  • Acting for proprietors of newly-constructed townhouse against construction company under Defective Premises Act for failures concerning capping off of drainage pipe which permitted entry of waste into the property on the failure of a pumped waste collection system.
  • Defending solicitor-executor in claim by beneficiary of valuable estate under Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act; solicitor-executor alleged to be personally liable for consequences of premature distribution of substantial part of estate and for failing to adopt a neutral stance; related claims for alleged negligence concerning failure to give advice about deed of variation to minimise exposure to IHT.
  • Acting for claimant against various companies within an IFA group in respect of allegedly defective advice concerning tax avoidance film partnership and music recording artist partnership schemes. Complaints included inadequate steps to establish the client’s objectives and his attitude to investment risk; whether or not misrepresentations had been made to the client about the extent to which the schemes had HMRC approval; whether or not there had been manipulation of forms after they had been completed by the claimant; and as to the extent of liability under s39 of FSMA. Case is reported on a procedural issue – whether a default judgment against one defendant is binding on another defendant in the same action (Page v Champion Financial Management Ltd & Ors [2014] EWHC 1778 (QB))
  • Acting for accountants defending counterclaim alleging negligent preparation of financial statements for parent company which allegedly overstated profits of subsidiary and thus related fee/commission arrangements between parent and subsidiary; issues included content of client’s instructions and scope of retainer, including extent to which accountants were under obligation to investigate the client’s instructions.
  • Acting for accountants defending counterclaim from former client alleging negligent advice in connection with distribution of trust assets allegedly resulting in shortfall in trust assets to cover client’s personal liabilities as trustee.
  • Accountants claiming unpaid fees; client defending claim and counterclaiming on basis that directors had been exposed to personal claims for breach of warranty in share purchase agreement as a result of failure of accountants to give accurate advice during negotiations
  • Acting for property developers in claim against solicitors, architects and planning consultants arising from allegedly negligent conduct of purchase of, and subsequent residential redevelopment of, former commercial site.
  • Acting for company in successfully mediated claim against firm of surveyors appointed by insurers for negligent insurance valuation concerning commercial premises subsequently damaged by fire.
  • Acting for London hotel proprietors in claim against solicitors for negligent advice in connection with the purchase of a hotel.
  • Advising mortgagees in connection with claim against surveyors for allegedly negligent overvaluation of residential property.
  • Advising landlord in connection with claim against former managing agents for failing to warn of disrepair.
  • Advising Dutch company on merits of claim against liquidators for misfeasance.
  • Claim against trading standards department of local authority for allegedly negligent advice concerning regulations governing operation of an unlicensed slaughterhouse.
  • Claim against insurance brokers concerning advice given in connection with completion of proposal for critical illness insurance.
  • Claim against solicitors concerning failure to warn purchaser of agricultural and development property about public rights of way.
  • Claim against solicitors concerning allegedly negligent disposal of share portfolio.
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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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