Rachel has a commercial and common law practice, with particular specialisms in (i) commercial & insurance, (ii) product liability and personal injury, (iii) banking & finance, and (iv) property, company and trusts. In each of these fields, she has conducted claims on her own account and as a member of a team. She has significant experience of group litigation, having been instructed as a junior on the Construction Industry Vetting Information Group Litigation and having also worked on two leading environmental group actions in chambers.
Prior to coming to the bar, Rachel was an advertising executive at one of London’s leading independent media agencies. Before commencing pupillage, she also spent a year working as an adjudicator at the Financial Ombudsman Service, where she specialised in banking and insurance disputes. Her experience in those fields enables her to bring pragmatism and a commercially-sensitive approach to litigation. In January 2013, Rachel also spent one term as Judicial Assistant to Mummery LJ in the Court of Appeal.
Commercial and Insurance
Rachel is an experienced commercial junior who has acted in a range of disputes, often as sole counsel. Her work has an increasingly international edge. Representative experience includes:
- Libyan Investment Authority v Various Defendants (Ch D): acting for a number of UK parties in a commercial conspiracy claim brought in respect of UK joint venture arrangements. Led by Vernon Flynn QC (Essex Court).
- Chevron Corporation v Amazonia Recovery Limited & others (Supreme Court, Gibraltar): instructed as junior counsel in this case concerning an alleged commercial conspiracy arising from US$18 billion judgment in respect of environmental pollution in Ecuador and associated proceedings in New York and elsewhere. Led by Vernon Flynn QC (Essex Court Chambers), Patrick Green QC (Henderson Chambers) and Jonathan Adkin QC (Serle Court).
- Bermuda Entities v Colorado Entities (Commercial Court): proceedings in the Commercial Court for an anti-suit injunction restraining litigation in Colorado, USA and elsewhere, in an investment dispute concerning Bermuda limited partnership agreement.
- Construction Industry Vetting Information Group Litigation (QBD): instructed as junior counsel by a defendant construction company in a claim for breach of confidence and conspiracy relating to the alleged blacklisting of workers for trade union related activities. Led by Geraint Webb QC.
- B v H (Commercial Court): instructed as junior counsel in a high-value contract dispute concerning an agreement for the supply of medical products.
- S v C: instructed to advise and act in the mediation of a partnership dispute concerning the proper distribution of partnership assets and the validity of a previous settlement agreement.
- Breakthrough v Specialized: instructed in relation to the recovery of a commercial debt arising out of a contract for services. Contractual interpretation and allegations of fraud are in issue.
- A v B: retained as sole counsel by a foreign hospital and health services company in relation to a contractual dispute with a European insurer which raised issues of jurisdiction and applicable law.
- Various cases at McDermott Will & Emery: whilst working as a stagiaire in Brussels, assisted Phillip Bentley QC on cases involving anti-dumping, the regulation of genetically modified food, the inward processing regime, cartelists’ right to immunity, the European approach to disclosure, and the potential for follow-on litigation in cartel actions.
- Bermuda form insurance: assisted on a case regarding the interpretation of choice of law provisions in a Bermuda Form contract dispute.
- Environmental group actions: conducted research into whether or not a settlement agreement with one joint tortfeasor precludes the bringing of a like claim against other joint tortfeasor(s).
Product Liability and Personal Injury
Rachel has a busy court practice in these areas and has acted for a range of businesses in both civil and criminal matters:
Recent instructions have involved the following products:
- Automobiles: acted in a claim for personal injury and property damage arising out of allegedly defective wiring in a private motor vehicle
- Aviation: worked on a multi-million dollar property damage claim arising out of significant fire damage to an aircraft
- Consumer goods: instructed to represent the manufacturer in a claim for personal injury and property damage following a house fire allegedly caused by a defective washing machine
- Cosmetics: instructed by the defendant manufacturer in a personal injury claim concerning allegedly defective hair colourant
- Pharmaceuticals: advised on recoverable damages in a claim concerning the fatality of a participant in a the medical trial of a new drug
- Food Contamination: assisted a senior member of chambers in a substantial loss of profit claim by a major supermarket against a manufacturer, arising out of contaminated dairy products
- Sports vehicles: instructed in several property damage claims following house fires allegedly caused by defective electronic sports vehicles
Examples of her recent Personal Injury instructions include:
- Employers’ liability: worked on various personal injury claims brought under the Health and Safety at Work Act and subordinate legislation, including claims for vibrational white finger, an ankle injury sustained during a work football match, the loss of a thumb by a marine engineer, and damages for sexual harassment by a co-worker.
- Holidays: settled pleadings and acted in personal injury claims brought under the Package Travel Regulations, including claims for injuries suffered falling from a snowmobile and a dog sled on an excursion in Norway.
- Public liability claims: instructed by a local authority in numerous fast track trials concerning slips and trips in car parks, leisure centres and on various other local authority premises
- Railways: assisted Prashant Popat QC in a criminal prosecution following a fatality on the railway
- Schools: acted for a local authority in personal injury claims by pupils following accidents and assaults on school premises, including one claim in which the claimant (a minor) had suffered unusual scarring for which there was no useful comparable
Banking and Finance
Rachel has developed a specialism in consumer credit and is frequently instructed by various financial institutions. Representative experience includes:
- Interest Rate Swaps Mis-selling: retained for several months by a major retail bank, to advise and assist in relation to the FCA review of mis-sold interest rate hedging products
- Consumer Credit: instructed in numerous fast track trials concerning the recovery of debts from consumers. Issues raised include section 75 claims, enforceability, unfair relationships, improperly executed agreements, default and termination notices, and payment protection insurance
- Credit Hire: instructed in various credit hire matters arising out of road traffic accidents, dealing with issues such as hire periods, spot rates and recoverability of damages
- Financial Services Regulation: before coming to the bar, Rachel worked as an adjudicator at the Financial Ombudsman Service, where she specialised in banking and insurance claims.
- Judicial Experience: during her time as a judicial assistant to Mummery LJ in the Court of Appeal, Rachel worked on a number of banking and finance appeals including the challenge to the valuation of Northern Rock by an associated hedge fund
Property, Company and Trusts
Rachel is developing a busy property / trusts practice and her experience covers the full spectrum of matters falling within this field. Recent cases include:
- S v A: instructed to advise and represent a shareholder in an ongoing dispute with a well-known events and entertainment company. Matters relating to data protection and bankers’ duties of confidentiality are in issue.
- Squires v Vulcan: instructed to advise and represent the respondent to a winding up petition brought in reliance upon contractual terms implied by the Scheme for Construction Contracts
- T v F: instructed as sole counsel to advise a shareholder in relation to an unfair prejudice petition under the Companies Act
- L v A: instructed to advise on the terms, enforceability and possible variation of an agreement relating to a family trust of land
- Mortgage claims: successfully represented a major mortgage lender in a possession claim defended on grounds of misrepresentation and fraud
- Business premises: acted for and advised numerous business in relation to the renewal of business leases. Recently successfully represented a charity in a high-profile business tenancy dispute which concerned allegations of misrepresentation dating back to the 1980’s
- Covenants: instructed to advise on the interpretation of various leasehold and freehold covenants relating to obligations to maintain a hedge, to erect buildings, and to put and keep premises in repair
- Boundary Disputes: retained by various private individuals to advise on disputes between neighbours concerning boundary issues and rights of way
- Service charges: appeared in the leasehold valuation tribunal in relation to statutory consultation schemes and contested service charges
Public Law: Rachel has advised and acted in a variety of public law matters, including:
- Tchenguiz v Serious Fraud Office: instructed by the Serious Fraud Office in the disclosure aspects of a multi-million pound damages claim concerning allegations of misfeasance in a public office, wrongful arrest, false imprisonment, violation of Article 8 and trespass
- R (Gregory) v City: instructed (led by Patrick Green QC) in an application for judicial review of the decision of a university appeal board, on grounds of irrationality and procedural impropriety
- R v Glenister: acted for Hertfordshire County Council in a case concerning allegations of historic sexual abuse of children, for which the Council was summoned as a witness to produce its care records for the purposes of the criminal trial. Appeared on multiple occasions in the Crown Court and successfully applied for costs out of central funds
- Re: BSP Knockholt Ltd: successfully represented the applicant in a public inquiry before the traffic commissioner, concerning compliance with tachograph regulations
- Re: Spectrum Associated Supplies: successfully represented the applicant in a public inquiry before the traffic commissioner, concerning fitness to hold a licence
- Taylor v London Borough of Waltham Forest: advised in relation to high-value bailment claim against a public body
Professional Negligence and Discipline: Rachel undertakes a range of professional negligence and regulatory work. Representative experience includes:
- Solicitors’ Negligence: represented one of the UK’s largest solicitors’ firms in a six-figure claim brought in the High Court, which was defended on grounds of negligence and breach of retainer. Successfully had the defence struck out on abuse of process grounds
- Clinical Negligence: settled pleadings in an unusual personal injury claim against a plastic surgeon
- Professional discipline: instructed to represent a medical practitioner at a fitness to practise hearing before the General Medical Council