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Michele De Gregorio

Call 2003

“Immensely hardworking, very bright, an excellent lawyer, and very good with clients”
(Legal 500 2018)

Property Damage

Michele has a wealth of experience of claims arising out of fires, floods, tree root subsidence and other property damage. He has experience of applications for injunctive relief (quia timet and final) in various scenarios ranging from building operations to the escape of water from canals and of golf balls from golf courses.

Michele appeared for the successful appellant in the Court of Appeal in the seminal case on strict liability for the escape of fire, Gore v Stannard t/a Wyvern Tyres [2014] QB 1 (CA), and he is frequently instructed in complex and technical cases in this field.

Selected Cases

  • Hall v Environment Agency [2017] EWHC 1309 (TCC) – subrogated recovery claim against the Environment Agency for property damage caused by negligent flood defence works. Finding that s.177 of the Water Resources Act 1991 did not provide an exclusive remedy so as to preclude an action in negligence.
  • Acting for insurers in a claim for an indemnity in respect of storm damage, raising a dispute over the scope of an arbitration clause – application for a stay of proceedings under section 9 of the Arbitration Act 1996.
  • Acting for the Canal and River Trust in proceedings seeking injunctive (quia timet) relief in respect of the potential collapse of a canal embankment adjacent to the claimant’s premises.
  • Advising insurers as to notification issues, exclusions and coverage in respect of a claim for an indemnity under a public and products liability policy, in respect of a £1.3m claim against the insured arising out of water damage to commercial premises in Central London.
  • Acting for the claimant’s insurers in a c. £1m subrogated recovery action (TCC) arising out of the spread of fire and smoke to the claimant’s confectionary factory.
  • Acting for insurers in a claim (brought as assignees of the insured’s rights of action) against a utility company in respect of damage caused by the escape of water from a mains pipe during line-stopping operations for the Crossrail project.
  • Acting for the claimants’ insurers in a claim under the CPA 1987 in respect of an escape of water caused by a defective swimming pool liner.
  • Acting for one of three defendants in TCC proceedings concerning allegedly defective water cooled chiller units at Cannon Bridge House.
  • Ageas v Gunaratnam [2016] EWHC 845 (QB) – appeal against decision granting relief from sanctions.
  • Acting for the claimants’ insurers in £3m claim against an electricity distributor arising out of a fire caused by a fallen power line.
  • Acting for the claimants’ insurers in a subrogated recovery action in respect of tree root subsidence at the claimants’ premises.
  • Gunaratnam v Ageas [2014] EWHC 593 (QB) – claim for an indemnity under a home insurance policy in respect of damage caused by escape of water.
  • Acting for the defendant golf club in a claim for an injunction to require the club to relocate a hole on its golf course due to alleged nuisance by the escape of golf balls onto the claimant’s property.
  • Acting for the developer of a prestigious development in Belgravia in connection with a potential interim (quia timet) injunction in respect of building works. Michele was led by Michael Curtis QC, and instructed together with Crispin Winser and Caroline McColgan.
  • Gore v Stannard t/a Wyvern Tyres [2014] QB 1 (CA) – seminal Court of Appeal decision on the application of strict liability under Rylands v Fletcher in cases involving the escape of fire. Michele appeared as sole counsel at first instance and was led by Jonathan Waite QC in the Court of Appeal. A PLC article on the case is available here.
  • Instructed, together with Ben Quiney QC, in a series of adjudications concerning a fire at a major London hotel development.
  • Acting for the claimant’s buildings insurers in two subrogated recovery actions (total value over £1m) against a specialist commercial flue cleaning company arising out of fires at two of the claimant’s restaurants. Settled at mediation.
  • Acting for defendant’s insurer in a claim arising out of the escape of kerosene from an oil storage tank, involving a claim based on strict liability under Rylands v Fletcher.
  • Acting for the defendant’s building insurer in a claim by neighbouring owners for trespass caused by the construction of an extension without consent or proper notice under the Party Wall (etc) Act 1996.
  • Acting for the claimant’s insurer in a subrogated recovery action arising out of an escape of water at the claimant’s premises caused by a blocked sink due to the negligence of the defendant cleaning contractor.
  • Acting for property insurers in a TCC claim involving the escape of water from a West-End restaurant into a neighbouring restaurant.
  • Acting for a renewable energy company in a claim arising out of damage to specialist equipment for use in offshore wind farms.
  • Advising the defendant’s insurer in a claim arising out of a fire due to a bonfire in a steel bucket on the defendant’s land, raising potential strict liability under Rylands v Fletcher.
  • Acting for the claimant’s insurers in a subrogated recovery action arising out of a fire at industrial premises caused by hot works in an adjoining unit, raising issues as to the liability of an occupier for the negligence of independent contractors in escape of fire cases.
  • Acting for the claimants’ insurers in numerous subrogated recovery actions against electricity distributors in cases involving fires caused by resistive heating faults in cut-out fuse assemblies – since Smith v UKPN.
  • Acting for claimant’s insurer in a subrogated recovery claim against the contractors that supplied and installed a refractory roof lining at the claimant’s sugar beet furnace, which collapsed.
  • Acting as sole counsel for the claimant at trial in a subrogated recovery action arising out of flooding to the claimant’s property caused by the defendant’s failure to maintain a nearby watercourse.
  • Acting for the defendant’s public liability insurer in a claim arising out of the supply of a component product used for the manufacture of BMW and Mini door panels.
  • Acting for the claimant’s insurer in a claim arising out of flooding to the claimant’s premises caused by blocked or inadequate culverts on land occupied and controlled by the defendants.
  • Acting for the claimant’s insurer in an action against a security guard company arising out of malicious damage to commercial property caused by an unauthorised intruder.
  • Acting for the claimants’ insurer in a claim against the supplier and manufacturer of a tractor that was destroyed by fire.
  • Acting for the claimant’s buildings insurer in a subrogated recovery claim arising out of an escape of water caused by a defective water tank valve manufactured and supplied by the defendant.
  • Acting for the defendant’s public liability insurer in a tree root subsidence claim, involving issues as to reasonable foreseeability following Berent v Family Mosaic Housing.
  • Acting for the defendant’s insurer in a claim arising out of damage allegedly caused to the claimant’s telephone cables (beneath the defendant’s golf course) during construction works.
  • Represented the successful claimant at trial (TCC) in a subrogated recovery action under the CPA 1987 arising out of a fire caused by a defective microwave oven.
  • Acting for the insurer of a company specialising in industrial and marine heat exchangers in relation to a claim arising out of the escape of solution caused by corrosion of part of a heat exchanger.
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Recommendations


“A very reassuring presence in conference and in court”

Legal 500 2018, Construction

“Very impressive. He knows his stuff and is a calm, persuasive advocate” and “Very user-friendly”

Chambers & Partners 2018, Property Damage

“Immensely hardworking, very bright, an excellent lawyer, and very good with clients”

Legal 500 2018, Insurance & Reinsurance

“A very reassuring presence in conference and in court”

Legal 500 2018, Construction

“Very impressive. He knows his stuff and is a calm, persuasive advocate” and “Very user-friendly”

Chambers & Partners 2018, Property Damage

“Immensely hardworking, very bright, an excellent lawyer, and very good with clients”

Legal 500 2018 (Insurance & Reinsurance)

“He is bright, immensely hardworking and inspires confidence in clients.”

Legal 500 2017

“Superbly responsive with a terrific eye for detail.”

Legal 500 2016

“Down to earth and very good at calming down heated situations.”

Legal 500, 2017

“His knowledge of case law and its application is up to the minute.”

Legal 500 2016

“A very strong, capable and down-to-earth barrister with a pragmatic approach.”

Legal 500 2015

“Technically very good.”

Legal 500 2014


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