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Peter Houghton

Call 2005

"Peter is hardworking and studious. He has an excellent eye for detail and his drafting skills are superb. Takes on work at short notice that others might fear to touch."
(Legal 500, 2021)

Insurance & Reinsurance

Peter’s insurance practice stems chiefly from his work in personal injury and industrial disease litigation. He has advised on and litigated policy coverage issues.

He was second junior counsel (led by Colin Edelman KC and David Platt KC) for Excess Insurance in the Employers’ Liability Policy Trigger Litigation in the QBD (eight week trial before Burton J), in the Court of Appeal and ultimately in the Supreme Court.

Recent work includes:

  • Acting for one historic EL insurer of a dissolved company which wrongfully exposed a former employee to asbestos, causing him to develop mesothelioma. Peter’s client paid the employee’s claim at a time when no other insurance cover for the company could be traced. Some years subsequently other insurers, who had uploaded their details onto ELTO, were traced and pursued for contributions under the equitable principle in IEGL v. Zurich. One has contributed but the other refuses to do so alleging that the equitable claim for contribution is time barred. The claim between insurers will determine the limitation period applicable to an equitable claim for contribution as envisaged by the majority in IEGL.
  • Acting for a PL insurer in a fatal mesothelioma case which concerns the impact of the Trigger Litigation on the ’10 year rule’ in Bolton MBC v. MMI. The claim is worth approximately £1m and is ongoing. There is a dispute between PL insurers as to whose policy responds.
  • Acting for an EL insurer in a fatal mesothelioma claim in which indemnity was successfully declined on the grounds that the deceased was contractor and so not a ‘person under a contract of service’ within the terms of the policy.
  • Acting for the PL insurer of a nationwide retailer, one of whose employees (whilst off duty but visiting the workplace) was very seriously assaulted by another. The claim raises interesting issues of whether the EL or PL policy should respond.
  • Advising the beneficiaries of certain accidental death benefit insurance policies where the policy holder had died but the insurers had refused to pay out under the policies. The case turned on issues of proximate cause and interpretation of ‘accidental bodily injury’. Following Peter’s involvement the insurers paid out.
  • Advising a leading insurer as to whether certain claims fell under an EL or a group motor policy both issued to a national company.

Selected Cases

  • Durham v. BAI (Run Off) Ltd (the Employers’ Liability Policy Trigger Litigation):
    • [2008] EWHC 2692 (QB)
    • [2010] EWCA Civ 1096
    • [2012] UKSC 14

Civil/Insurance Fraud

Peter has many years’ experience in the defence of fraudulent motor claims on behalf of many of the UK’s major motor insurers. He regularly defends claims involving low velocity impacts, staged or fictitious accidents and phantom passengers and has secured findings of fundamental dishonesty. He understands the importance of thorough preparation in such matters and welcomes the opportunity to be involved in case preparation at an early stage, especially assessing the evidence of lay witnesses in conference.

Selected Cases

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  • MA (Hons) (Cantab) (Double First Class)
  • MPhil (Cantab) (Distinction)
  • CPE (City) (Distinction)
  • BVC (ICSL) (Outstanding)
  • Lord Brougham and Lord Denning Scholarships (Lincoln’s)



“He is exceptionally intelligent, a go-to for complex cases to unpick difficult liability or quantum arguments. A real details man.”… “Peter is incredibly knowledgeable in his field and his attention to detail in his drafting is superb. He is able to empathise with clients whilst remaining professional.”

Chambers & Partners, 2024

“Peter is the most detail-orientated junior at the Bar. He is massively intelligent.”

Legal 500, 2024

“His grasp of the issues and ability to retain information are hugely impressive. He is meticulous in his preparation and his interaction with clients and experts is exemplary, as is the quality of his legal and tactical advice.”

Chambers & Partners, 2022

“An exceptionally robust advocate who presents arguments in an extremely persuasive manner, and also takes an active role both pre and post hearings.”

Legal 500, 2022

“He is very knowledgeable and has a real depth of expertise in disease litigation.”

Chambers & Partners, 2022

“He is very good, knows what he’s talking about and makes all the right points.”; “He is very analytical but pleasant to deal with.”

Chambers & Partners, 2021

“Peter is hardworking and studious. He has an excellent eye for detail and his drafting skills are superb. Takes on work at short notice that others might fear to touch.”

Legal 500, 2021

“He is very good at tailoring his advice to each client.”; “He is extremely reliable, very responsive and has a calm manner.”

Chambers & Partners, 2021

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