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Sophie Ashford

Call 2021

Sophie is developing a broad practice across the span of Chambers’ core areas, with an emphasis on insurance, professional negligence, commercial disputes, property damage, inquests and inquiries, criminal regulatory and personal injury.

She has a busy court practice and frequently appears in the County Courts for road traffic accidents, credit hire claims, MOJ Stage 3 hearings, and infant and protected party approval hearings.

Prior to joining Chambers, Sophie was a judicial assistant to Dame Victoria Sharp, President of the King’s Bench Division in the Court of Appeal. She also trained as a commercial solicitor at White & Case in their London and Singapore offices, spending a year in Commercial Disputes on both arbitration and civil litigation cases, six months on secondment in-house at Nestle and six months in the Financial Restructuring and Insolvency team.

Insurance & Reinsurance

Sophie sat with David Myhill and James Sharpe during pupillage which gave her exposure to a broad spectrum of insurance work. Examples of her insurance work during pupillage include:

  • Advice for an insurer on the prospects of successfully overturning a longstanding Court of Appeal decision (during pupillage).
  • Advice for an insurance broker in a claim brought for a failure to place adequate insurance coverage (during pupillage).
  • Advice for an insurer on a potentially fraudulent claim brought in relation to water damage.


Sophie benefits from experience gained as a pupil supervised by James Sharpe. Her work included assisting in preparing skeletons and preparing for applications. Examples of her recent work include acting for the insurer of a large hotel chain in relation to losses suffered by a guest during a stay.

Before joining Chambers, Sophie built up significant experience in this area as a trainee solicitor. For example:

  • Assisting with witness statements and disclosure tasks in a deceit claim arising out of a private equity investment.
  • Assisting with a filing for a worldwide freezing injunction.
  • Whilst part of the Restructuring and Insolvency team Sophie assisted with court proceedings to secure an extension of administration. She also was involved in providing advice to directors on their duties.
  • Sophie’s experience in-house at Nestle has provided her with a very commercial and practical approach to disputes.

Professional Negligence

During her pupillage seat under the supervision of James Sharpe, Sophie assisted with a strike out application and drafting a defence to a claim brought by the purchasers of a business against an LLP and one of its members. This was in respect of allegations of auditor negligence in failing to detect fraud in the business’s accounts.

Property Damage

Sophie gained considerable experience in property damage claims during pupillage, including:

  • Drafting a defence in a cavity wall insulation installation case (during pupillage).
  • Drafting a defence in relation to hot works and repairing fire damage to a shop (during pupillage).
  • Drafting particulars of claim in an action brought for fire damage to the roof of a building (during pupillage).

Personal Injury

During pupillage seats with Helen Pagett, Jack Macaulay and David Myhill, Sophie was exposed to a wide range of clinical negligence and personal injury claims. This included:

  • Drafting a counter-schedule and providing advice on settlement parameters in case involving a delayed breast cancer diagnosis (during pupillage).
  • Drafting a counter-schedule for the settlement of a claim brought under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (during pupillage).

Her own recent work includes:

  • Representing a school in relation to a teacher bringing a COVID-19 related claim against her employer.

As a judicial assistant, Sophie assisted Nicola Davies LJ in a mesothelioma claim which assessed a widow’s dependency where the deceased had built up a substantial family business: Paramount Shopfitting Company v Rix [2021] EWCA Civ 1172.

Inquests & Public Inquiries

Sophie gained wide-ranging experience of this area whilst undertaking pupillage with Mike Atkins and Helen Paggett, assisting on a variety of cases including:

  • Aiding preparations for an inquest into the death of a university student.
  • Aiding preparations for an inquest into the death of an employee on a shop floor.
  • Assisting with preparation ahead of a PIR in response to a request by the coroner for written submissions on Article 2.

Criminal Regulatory & Environmental

Sophie gained experience during pupillage of a variety of health and safety proceedings whilst supervised by Mike Atkins. Prior to joining Chambers, Sophie was seconded to the in-house legal team at Nestle UK where she worked on a broad range of regulatory matters.

As judicial assistant to Dame Victoria Sharp P, Sophie assisted with the case of R v Rebelo [2021] EWCA Crim 306. The indictment alleged a food regulatory offence and both unlawful and dangerous act manslaughter and gross negligence manslaughter. The Court of Appeal considered whether the trial judge’s direction on causation in respect of gross negligence manslaughter was appropriate.



  • BA in History – First Class, Jesus College, University of Cambridge
  • GDL (Distinction), LPC (Distinction) and Bar Transfer Test, BPP University

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