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Hamish Fraser

Call 2021

Hamish has developed a broad practice across the span of Chambers’ core areas, including commercial disputes, construction, clinical negligence, criminal regulatory, inquests and inquiries, insurance, property damage, professional negligence, product liability, and personal injury.

Hamish is an experienced and capable advocate, having appeared as sole counsel in the High Court, Crown Court, and the Magistrates’, Coroners’, and County Courts.

Recent examples of Hamish’s work include:

  • Finsbury Food Group Plc v. Axis Corporate Capital UK Ltd [2023] (awaiting judgment): representing the defendant W&I insurers in relation to the £20m acquisition of a food manufacturing business. The buyer of the business claimed under the W&I policy on the basis of alleged breaches of a number of warranties under the share purchase agreement (led by Daniel Shapiro KC).
  • Environment Agency v South West Water Limited [2023] (awaiting judgment): representing the defendant water company in this environmental prosecution relating to seven pollution incidents over the course of 2016 – 2018 (led by Dominic Kay KC and Malcolm Galloway)
  • Reeves v Drew & Ors [2022] EWHC 159 (Ch): representing the successful defendant in one of the most valuable probate claims to have been determined in this jurisdiction, and in which findings of dishonesty were made against the claimant and other witnesses (led by Constance McDonnell KC).

These examples are indicative of the breadth of Hamish’s experience, which means he is well-equipped to advise across a wide range of legal issues and also to adapt his style of advocacy to suit a diverse range of tribunals.

Hamish originally read English at the University of Oxford, where he graduated with a First Class degree. After turning to law, he gained a Distinction in every subject on the GDL and was graded Outstanding on the BPTC. He has been awarded a number of prizes and scholarships, including the Crowther Shield for public speaking and the Tancred scholarship from Lincoln’s Inn.

Commercial

Hamish welcomes instructions across a broad range of commercial disputes, including sale of goods and supply of services, breach of contract, misrepresentation, bailment, commercial fraud, insolvency, and financial services. Examples of his recent work include:

  • Finsbury Food Group PLC v. Axis Corporate Capital UK Ltd [2023] (awaiting judgment): Representing a group of insurers who underwrote a buyer-side W&I Policy in respect of the acquisition of a company by a publicly listed company. The buyer claimed £4m under the policy alleging that the seller had breached a number of warranties under the share purchase agreement meaning the company was less valuable than it had understood (led by Daniel Shapiro KC).
  • Representing a firm of insurance brokers in regard to a £4m claim by the insured company alleging it had suffered losses which were not covered by its insurance policy due to the defendant’s negligence in failing to arrange an appropriate scope of cover and/or failing to disclose material facts such that the insurer avoided the policy for non-disclosure and misrepresentation (led by Daniel Shapiro KC).
  • Representing a firm of solicitors retained in relation to the acquisition of £6.5m of commercial debt. It was alleged that the solicitors had negligently failed to advise about certain title issues which rendered some of the debt valueless (led by Daniel Shapiro KC).
  • Advising on potential causes of actions in company, contract and tort law directly against the directors of a well-known construction firm which had unexpectedly entered into liquidation after its directors had made misleading market statements.
  • Advising and drafting particulars of claim to enforce a without prejudice settlement agreement made in relation to a defamation claim.
  • Advisory work pertaining to the presentation of a winding up petition by a creditor to a construction firm.
  • Representing a fertility clinic against a contractual claim brought by a staffing agency alleging they had employed a nurse directly in order to avoid fees.
  • Representing a holiday park company in an insolvency dispute resisting an application by creditors to place the company into administration.
  • Successfully representing a firm of estate agents against a contractual claim that they had failed to repay a commitment fee to a prospective tenant.
  • Successfully striking out a claim brought against an insurance company for a failure to provide cover to a taxi driver which he alleged had caused him £100k of losses.

During pupillage, examples of Hamish’s work included:

  • Drafting a skeleton argument and assisting preparations for the Court of Appeal proceedings in Spire Healthcare Ltd v Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Ltd [2022] EWCA Civ 17. The matter concerned the interpretation of aggregation clauses in insurance contracts and arose from multiple claims brought against a private hospital by patients injured by the disgraced breast surgeon, Ian Paterson.
  • Advice in relation to an alleged breach of a share purchase agreement in relation to a private equity backed acquisition of a pharmaceutical company. Valued at supra £10 million.
  • Preparing defence and advice in a sale of goods dispute concerning allegedly defective steel rolls which were manufactured in Germany. Involved difficult jurisdictional issues.
  • Advice in relation to an £2m sale of goods claim by the purchasers of allegedly defective articulated trailer movers after an operator was killed by a crushing injury.
  • Preparing advice on the contractual interpretation of a major infrastructure contract awarded by the City of Westminster council in relation to a dispute over the value of work completed.
  • Drafting defence in a contractual claim relating to the installation of a security system which allegedly failed during a heist, allowing circa £1m of stock to be stolen.
  • Prepared written points of claim on behalf of a Lloyd’s syndicate for an arbitration against a managing agent for breach of the binding authority agreement.

Construction & Engineering

Hamish’s experience in this area is complemented by his exposure to insurance disputes, professional negligence claims against engineers and surveyors, and employers’ liability claims in the context of construction contractors.

Examples of Hamish’s work in this area include:

  • Preparing a defence and advice on behalf of a construction company who had allegedly sprayed concrete onto a neighbouring companies’ property causing damage.
  • Acting for a contractor in relation to a dispute arising out of the construction of a residential extension.

Whilst on pupillage:

  • Preparing an advice in relation to a claim brought by Network Rail against structural engineers after improvements works allegedly caused a landslip which derailed a train causing substantial damage and serious personal injury. Valued at supra. £10 million.
  • Preparing advice on the contractual interpretation of a major infrastructure contract awarded by the City of Westminster council in relation to a dispute over the value of the work completed.
  • Written advice in relation to a claim brought by Network Rail against an adjacent property owner after sludge spilled onto the railway causing circa £1m of damage and disruption.

Clinical Negligence

Seats with Farrah Mauladad KC and David Myhill during pupillage means Hamish has had exposure to clinical negligence cases in a range of different areas.

Examples of Hamish’s work in this area include:

  • Drafting the Defence for an NHS Trust alleged to have negligently performed a caesarean section leading to mobility and urogynaecological issues.
  • Drafting the Defence for an NHS dentist alleged to have negligently undertaken the extraction of a tooth leading to an oral-antral communication and sinusitis.

Whilst on pupillage his work included:

  • Advice in relation to a claim brought against an NHS Trust alleging a negligent failure to refer him for HIV testing.
  • Advice in relation to a claim brought against a dental practice after allegedly negligent dental care led to the development of severe periodontal disease and a brain abscess.
  • Preparing a defence against a claim in relation to an alleged failure to diagnose haemophilia before a knee operation which led to serious complications and an above knee leg amputation.
  • Advice on behalf of an NHS Trust on the prospects of bringing a claim against a funeral services company who had failed to return the ashes of cremated children to their parents, resulting in claims for psychiatric harm being brought against the NHS Trust. Complex issues of limitation and duties in bailment and tort considered.
  • Defence on behalf of a GP in relation to a claim brought by the estate of a deceased woman alleging a negligent failure to identify signs of congestive heart failure.
  • Preparing a defence and counter-schedule in relation to a claim against an NHS trust for secondary psychiatric harm allegedly caused by witnessing their partner’s deterioration in health in hospital.
  • Preparing a skeleton argument defending an application for wasted costs brought against an expert witness in a clinical negligence trial.

Criminal Regulatory & Environmental

Hamish is developing an environmental, criminal regulatory, and health & safety practice. He has appeared as sole counsel in both the Crown Court and Magistrates’ Court, including in regulatory proceedings and driving cases. Hamish was instructed in the following matters:

  • Environment Agency v South West Water Limited [2023] (awaiting judgment): a long-running Environment Agency prosecution of a water company concerning a series of alleged illegal water discharge activities and contraventions of environmental permits (led by Dominic Kay KC and Malcolm Galloway)
  • Reeves v Reeves & Curnock [2023] EWHC 73 (Ch): representing the claimant in these quasi-criminal contempt of court proceedings in relation to allegedly false statements made in previous proceedings. Useful guidance provided by the court on the test for permission to bring committal proceedings.

Inquests & Public Inquiries

Hamish regularly appears at both Pre-inquest Review and Inquest hearings, including Article 2 Inquests, for healthcare providers, public bodies, and companies. Recent examples of Hamish’s work include:

  • PB Inquest (Woking Coroners’ Court, January 2023): Acting for council adult social services in relation to the death of a man with motor-neurone disease who was found to be malnourished. Despite a conclusion of neglect in the council’s own Section 42 safeguarding report, the Coroner accepted Hamish’s submissions distinguishing the test for neglect in a Section 42 report and for a finding in a Coroners’ Court. No finding of neglect was accordingly made.
  • KB Inquest (Reading Coroners’ Court, January 2023): Acting for the care home in relation to the death of a resident who had developed aspiration pneumonia after PEG feeding.
  • LB Inquest (Woking Coroners’ Court, December 2022): Acting for a council-run supported housing provider after the death of a resident by drug overdose.

Hamish also gained wide-ranging experience of this area whilst undertaking pupillage with Farrah Mauladad KC, assisting on a variety of cases including:

  • Preparing written submissions to the coroner in relation to whether the procedural obligation under Article 2 was triggered. The inquest concerned a mentally ill man who had died whilst being restrained by security guards after he had started assaulting members of the public.
  • Aiding preparations for an inquest into the death of a young woman who died from a drug overdose. Farrah Mauladad KC represented the therapist who last saw her before she died.
  • Aiding preparations for an inquest into the suicide of a woman directly after she had just visited a counselling service.

Insurance & Reinsurance

Pupillage seats spent with James Sharpe and David Myhill mean Hamish is comfortable with insurance and reinsurance related disputes in a diverse set of circumstances. His recent work includes:

  • Representing a group of insurers who underwrote a buyer-side W&I Policy in respect of the acquisition of a company by a publicly listed company. The buyer claimed £4m under the policy alleging that the seller had breached a number of warranties under the share purchase agreement meaning the company was less valuable than it had understood (led by Daniel Shapiro KC).
  • Representing a firm of insurance brokers in regard to a £4m claim by the insured company alleging it had suffered losses which were not covered by its insurance policy due to the defendant’s negligence in failing to arrange an appropriate scope of cover and/or failing to disclose material facts such that the insurer avoided the policy for non-disclosure and misrepresentation (led by Daniel Shapiro KC).
  • Drafting particulars in relation to a coverage dispute after insurers declined to provide an indemnity for fire damage at a commercial premises due to breach of occupancy conditions.
  • Defending an insurance company against a contractual claim from a policy holder alleging he should have been paid his vehicle’s salvage value.
  • Successfully striking out a claim brought against an insurance company for a failure to provide cover to a taxi driver.

During pupillage, examples of Hamish’s work include:

  • Drafting a skeleton argument and assisting preparations for the Court of Appeal proceedings in Spire Healthcare Ltd v Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Ltd [2022] EWCA Civ 17. The matter concerned the interpretation of aggregation clauses in insurance contracts and arose from multiple claims brought against a private hospital by patients injured by the disgraced breast surgeon, Ian Paterson.
  • Advice on a circa £10m claim against an insurance broker alleging that insufficient cover was procured so as to indemnify an investment company in respect of a claim brought in the US for alleged breach of fiduciary duty and interference with contract.
  • Drafting defence in an action concerning the tortious duties owed by a placing broker to a producing broker and to the insured.
  • Prepared written points of claim on behalf of Lloyd’s syndicate for an arbitration against a managing agent for breach of the binding authority agreement.
  • Preparing a defence and advice in relation to a coverage dispute after an insurer refused to indemnify a partnership for flooding damage caused by an automatic sprinkler system in a factory.

Professional Negligence

Hamish has experience in claims brought against an assortment of different professionals, including architects and engineers, solicitors, financial advisors, accountants, and insurance brokers. His recent work includes:

  • Representing a firm of insurance brokers in regard to a £4m claim by the insured company alleging it had suffered losses which were not covered by its insurance policy due to the defendant’s negligence in failing to arrange an appropriate scope of cover and/or failing to disclose material facts such that the insurer avoided the policy for non-disclosure and misrepresentation (led by Daniel Shapiro KC).
  • Representing a firm of solicitors retained in relation to the acquisition of £6.5m of commercial debt. It was alleged that the solicitors had negligently failed to advise about certain title issues which rendered some of the debt valueless (led by Daniel Shapiro KC).
  • Representing a firm of solicitors alleged to have caused the claimant to lose the opportunity of bringing successful litigation against a well-known delivery company by missing a contractual limitation period. The underlying matter concerned a breach of contract and negligent/fraudulent misrepresentation claim.
  • Preparing a defence on behalf of a firm of solicitors who were alleged to have negligently prepared and advised on an option agreement.
  • Successfully representing at trial a lettings management agency who were alleged to have provided a poor standard of service.

Whilst on pupillage Hamish’s work included:

  • Drafting defence in relation to a claim against financial advisors alleging negligent advice which had caused a multi-million tax liability and loss of investment opportunity.
  • Advice in relation to a professional negligence claim brought by Network Rail against structural engineers after improvements works allegedly caused a landslip which derailed a train causing substantial damage and serious personal injury. Valued at supra. £10 million.
  • Advice on a circa £10m claim against an insurance broker alleging that insufficient cover was procured so as to indemnify an investment company in respect of a claim brought in the US for alleged breach of fiduciary duty and interference with contract.
  • Drafting defence in an action concerning the tortious duties owed by a placing broker to a producing broker and to the insured.
  • Drafting a defence to a multi-million pound claim brought by a property development company against its solicitors alleging a negligent failure to exercise an option.
  • Drafted defence to a professional negligence claim against a mortgage broker who advised an interest only product.
  • Drafting particulars of claim and advice in relation to a solicitors’ negligence claim after a third party pretended to be the Claimant and defrauded him.

Product Liability

Hamish has experience of product liability disputes in contract, tort, and under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, and in both industrial and consumer contexts. His proficiency is enhanced by a broad practice across contractual, clinical negligence, personal injury, and criminal regulatory disputes.

Examples of Hamish’s work include:

  • Advising and successfully representing at trial a business which was alleged to have hired out defective inflatable play equipment after a child was injured when a bouncy castle suddenly deflated at a school ‘fun day’.
  • Successfully defending at trial a claim brought against a car repair garage after a defective turbo charger was installed leading to catastrophic engine failure.

Examples of Hamish’s work during pupillage include:

  • Advice in relation to an £2m breach of contract claim by the purchasers of allegedly defective articulated trailer movers after an operator was killed by a crushing injury.
  • Assisting preparations for trial of a claim against a manufacturer of pressure regulating valves which had allegedly malfunctioned causing circa £1m damage in a residential property.
  • Preparing particulars of claim and advice concerning an allegedly defective washing machine which caught fire causing damage to a residential property.
  • Drafting an advice in relation to a claim brought in contract and under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 against a supplier of forestry and agricultural machinery. The claimant was claiming contribution for liability to an employee who had suffered a serious injury whilst using a firewood processor.

Property Damage

Hamish welcomes instructions in property damage matters across a broad spectrum of areas, including fire and flood damage, negligent building work, road traffic accidents, and tree root encroachment.

Hamish’s recent instructions include:

  • Drafting particulars of claim for the owners of a bridge which had been completely destroyed by a motorist who had been swept downstream whilst attempting to cross a river.
  • Successfully representing at trial a firm of motor mechanics who had allegedly destroyed a car engine due to negligent fitting of a turbocharger.
  • Preparing a defence and advice on behalf of a construction company who had allegedly sprayed concrete onto a neighbouring companies’ property causing damage.
  • Representing a local council against a claim in contract and tort alleging the council was liable for possessions which had been stolen from the claimant’s car left in the council-run car-park.
  • Acting for a contractor in relation to a dispute arising out of the construction of a residential extension.

Whilst on pupillage, Hamish assisted with a number of cases including:

  • Advice in relation to a professional negligence claim brought by Network Rail against structural engineers after improvements works allegedly caused a landslip which derailed a train causing substantial damage and serious personal injury. Valued at supra. £10 million.
  • Assisting preparations for trial of a claim against a manufacturer of pressure regulating valves which had allegedly malfunctioned causing circa £1m damage in a residential property.
  • Preparing a defence and advice in relation to a coverage dispute after an insurer refused to indemnify a partnership for flooding damage caused by an automatic sprinkler system in a factory.
  • Written advice in relation to a claim brought by Network Rail against an adjacent property owner after sludge spilled onto the railway causing circa £1m of damage and disruption. Issues included non-delegable duties in the context of an independent contractor defence and potential liability under Rylands v Fletcher.

Personal Injury

Hamish has broad experience advising, drafting and acting on personal injury matters.  He appears regularly in the County Court on behalf of defendants and claimants on small claims and fast track matters.  As a pupil, he assisted members of Chambers on a variety of personal injury matters including in respect of psychiatric claims as a secondary victim, and claims under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, the Occupiers Liability Act 1957, and the Protection from Harassment Act 1977.

Examples of his recent work include:

  • Preparing a defence on behalf of the owner of two dogs which were alleged to have knocked over someone walking in a London park causing a broken leg and hip. Claim brought in negligence and under the Animals Act 1971
  • Representing at trial a driver who had pulled out of a junction into the path of a speeding motorcycle causing fatal injuries to the motorcyclist and minor injuries to the pillion passenger. Liability split 25:75 in favour of the defendant driver.
  • Advising a company running catering services at an Army base in Germany in relation to a claim brought by an Army chef alleging he was attacked with a knife by one of the company’s employees.
  • Advising and successfully representing at trial a hirer of inflatable play equipment after a child was injured when a bouncy castle suddenly deflated at a school ‘fun day’.
  • Representing a public house after an employee cut herself on broken glass whilst emptying a rubbish bag.
  • Representing an events company after a guest slipped on a bathroom floor and injured herself at a party.

Awards


  • Buchanan Prize for outstanding performance on the BPTC (Lincoln’s Inn, 2020)
  • Advocacy Scholarship (BPP, 2019)
  • Tancred Scholarship (Lincoln’s Inn, 2019)
  • Winner, the Crowther Shield for public speaking (Lincoln’s Inn, 2019)
  • Winner, the Crown Office Mooting Competition (2018)
  • The Janet Quigley Prize for Middle English studies (Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, 2016)

News


Qualifications


  • BPTC (Outstanding), BPP
  • GDL (Distinction), City University
  • English Language & Literature (First Class), University of Oxford

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