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Hendersons - Barristers' Chambers

Peter Susman KC

'Exceptionally good at seeing the nub of a case right from the beginning. His drafting is economical and always flawless. His advocacy is urbane, eloquent and persuasive.'

Legal 500 2023


Peter Susman KC is an advocate and adviser with wide experience, who now specialises in contract litigation, particularly concerning complex commercial or high technology areas, including construction and engineering, information technology, the regulation of business and of professionals, and other disputes involving foreign and domestic parties, more than one area of law (he also has a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School, and at one time worked as a corporate lawyer in New York City), complicated issues or facts, or other difficulties.

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Peter has extensive experience of advising and acting for businesses, insurers, and individuals in commercial litigation in both the King’s Bench and Chancery Divisions of the High Court, including interim and final remedies for breach of contract; the interpretation and drafting of commercial contracts, drafting of commercial contracts; the financing of national and international trade; insurance; company law; employment; and other issues arising in relation to commercial transactions and disputes.”

Representative cases

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  • J v D Ltd (2023 Arbitration)

    Successful defence of claims for some US$85 million commission or damages in an international arbitration where an agent engaged to secure financing for a mining project in Africa had not only failed to secure the required financing but had acted contrary to the interests of his principal in breach of his fiduciary duty of loyalty.

  • Contract Natural Gas (Marketing) Ltd v Contract Natural Gas Ltd (2023 Business Ch)

    Advising and acting for a commercial agent suing its principal (now in administration) for an account of commissions due pursuant to the Commercial Agents Regulations 1993.

  • Cole v Premiere Care Holdings Ltd [2021] EWHC 1595 (Ch)

     Successfully resisting interim application by a father for Court-ordered takeover of a residential care home business run by his son and daughter-in-law.


  • Proposed agency contract between T Ltd and U Ltd (2020)

    Reviewing on behalf of a proposed sub-agent the terms of a contract for selling a new type of marine fuel

  • Aggreko International Properties Ltd v Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe Ltd (2020 Business QB Comm Ct)

    Acting for and advising the third defendant provider of electricity in Yemen in disputes to do with bank performance guarantees

  • N v C Pharmaceuticals (2019)

    Advising a claimant who alleged contractual appointment as distributor in India of a drug manufactured in England for sufferers from Parkinson’s disease

Information Technology

Peter is described in the 2022 edition of Chambers and Partners as “a real pioneer of the IT bar”. He appeared in his first contested IT case as long ago as 1984 (defending a software house against a claim in the QB for damages brought by its motor dealer customer), and for very many years has specialised in and been recommended in the directories for litigation over alleged defects in bespoke and customised software. He advises and represents central and local government, other UK or overseas users, or software houses, in disputes relating to the supply of computer software and related intellectual property and other issues, in the UK and Hong Kong. He innovated the use of the form of order known in some quarters as a ‘Susman Order’, which avoids some of the expense and difficulty of a search and seizure order by requiring the defendant to lodge with its own solicitor mirror images of all its computer software pending an application for disclosure of this material to the claimant’s expert.

He has been ranked in the Legal Directories as a ‘Leading Silk in IT’, and has been shortlisted for IT Silk of the Year for the Chambers UK Bar Awards.

From 2006 to 2010 he chaired the Bar’s IT Panel, which gives advice to the Bar on IT matters and represents the Bar in liaising with government and other professions on IT matters. He has lectured and written on IT and the law (e.g. ‘What tends to go wrong in IT contracts’). He is a member of the Society for Computers and Law.

Representative cases

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  • W and others v J Ltd (2021)

    Advising issuers of crypto-tokens defending claims by subscribers in various jurisdictions.

  • X Software Ltd v Y District Council (2019)

    Advising a local authority that its contract with its financial software supplier did not oblige it to pay additional licence fees for alleged ‘extra copies’ of that software produced by the integrated backup system forming part of that software as supplied

  • Re A and B (2019)

    Acting on behalf of British employees working from home in England for an overseas foreign crypto-currency exchange suspected of participation in illegal activities by its local regulator

  • Re IC Ltd (2018)

    Advising promoters of an Initial Coin Offering of cryptotokens whether the ICO risked infringing statutory regulation.

  • Re The V Organisation (2016)

    Advising on data protection in relation to its computerised database of members to take account of the EU Regulation, UK legislation and the effect of Brexit

  • LFF v Persons Unknown (2015 TCC)

    Seeking orders for disclosure of computer systems overseas with the aim of discovering the identity of malicious hackers.

Finance & Consumer Credit

Peter has been active in consumer credit law since the 1970s, when he conducted a series of conferences to inform and warn lending institutions and others on the implications of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 as it was about to come into force.

A few years later he was engaged to draft documentation for second mortgage lenders, and has since extensively advised upon and has been engaged in drafting documentation to meet the changing requirements of the secondary legislation in this field. His article attacking the poor drafting of one round of secondary legislation, entitled “Another Fine Mess” appeared in [2005] NLJ 770 (20 May 2005).

He now advises and acts for institutions whose business is lending, other institutions who arrange or extend credit, and business and individuals to whom credit has been extended, in relation to failures to comply with legislative requirements, and related and other problems. In particular, he has appeared in a number of county court cases on behalf of a credit hire company, particularly in the important case of Orley v Viewpoint Housing Association.

He has been ranked in the Legal Directories as a “Leading Silk in Consumer Credit.”

Representative cases

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  • Four Marketing Ltd v Bradshaw [2016] EWHC 3292 (QB)

    Successfully arguing against a surety’s claim to have been released by an agreement between the creditor and the debtor company to capitalize the debt by replacing it with shares in the company, the successful counter argument being that the surety was not released so long as the agreement was subject to a condition that had not been satisfied.

  • C v C Bank Plc (2015)

    Advising a company on its prospective claim for losses of up to £3 million suffered as a result of the mis-selling by a bank of an interest-rate swap.

  • Re U Ltd (2014)

    Advising whether a financial services product presents regulatory problems where the finance company requires remote access to the details of the customer’s account for the purpose of advancing and recouping loans.

  • M v J Ltd (2014)

    Advising corporate lender on the individual borrower’s contention that repayment of a multi-million pound loan advanced for a residential redevelopment is precluded by failure to comply with the statutory requirements for regulated credit agreements.

  • Re D Pty Ltd (2013)

    Advising an overseas company intending to trade in carbon credits on the risk under English law of its business model being viewed as involving a fraudulent Ponzi scheme, unlawful pyramid selling, unlawful dealing in securities, or unlawful consumer credit transactions.

  • Britannia Car Hire Services Ltd v State Securities Plc (2010 Ch)

    Seeking relief against forfeiture on behalf of an insolvent car hire company whose stock of cars for hire was held on a series of lease-purchase agreement.

Public Procurement

Peter has both lectured and advised on public procurement law, and has advised, for example, on relation to a tender competition between 5-a-side football promoters each seeking the right to use an education authority’s school pitches.

Representative cases

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  • Re R Local Authority (2015)

    Advising the local authority whether the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, reg 72, permits extension of the operative period of its outsourcing agreement without the need for a fresh public procurement tendering exercise.

  • Lift and Engineering Services Ltd v S Ltd (2011 TCC)

    Acting for the incumbent lift company when its rival was about to be awarded a local authority contract to maintain the lifts in blocks of flats, after apparently concealing previous involvement with failed enterprises and when the tender documents failed to warn of the TUPE implications of a successful bid.

  • Re E (2011)

    Advising a charity which contracted with a local authority to care for drug addicts, but was replaced by another body following a public procurement tendering exercise.


Peter has long and extensive experience in property disputes, particularly those involving the use of freehold or leasehold land and rights of way in a commercial context.

Representative cases

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  • Re F Estates Ltd (2021)

    Advising developers on the validity and scope of insurance cover against claims by neighbours for infringement of rights of light.

  • U v U (2019 Business List Ch)

    Acting for a party who was managing a city centre redevelopment financed by his cousins, in the circumstances that  those cousins wished to terminate the project.

  • Williams v WM Ewington & Co Ltd (2019)

    Advising landowner on prospects of appealing against a County Court decision that rights to park on its land included the parking of large commercial vehicles, justifying the grant of an injunction require removal by the landowner of narrow gates that prevented such parking.

  • Hathaway v J. Club Holdings Ltd (2018 County Court)

    Acting for the owner of a silica sand quarry offering a neighbour a substitute right of way in order to continue quarrying in the public interest what is a scarce resource.

  • Camps v Bolland (2017)

    Acting for landowner in arguing that unauthorised and excessive user by a neighbour of a right of way was a good defence to the neighbour’s application for an interim injunction to prevent interference with the right of way pending trial.

  • Re I Ltd v W Ltd (2015)

    Advising residential developer on the implications of the discovery on other land nearby of an unexploded naval shell and empty steel cases.

Professional Negligence

Peter advises and acts (usually but by no means exclusively on behalf of the claimants) in professional negligence claims, including those against accountants, architects, solicitors, surgeons and surveyors.

Representative cases

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  • S Ltd v B Ltd (2018)

    Acting for developer of brownfield site in claim for damages against soil engineers for negligent design of site drainage and road layout.

  • N v M LLP (2014)

    Advising a property developer, gazumped over purchase of a development site, on its prospects of success in suing its solicitors for professional negligence in failing to exchange contracts promptly and before it was gazumped.

  • X LLP v D Ltd (2014)

    Advising the vendor of an industrial site whether its solicitors were professionally negligent in answering enquiries before contract to the effect that the land was not polluted, rather than to the effect that it was believed not to be polluted but that the purchaser must rely on its own enquiries.

  • Elvanite Full Circle Ltd v. AMEC Earth & Environmental (UK) Ltd (2013) 148 Con LR 127, [2013] EWHC 1191 (TCC)

    Acting for a claimant suing its planning consultant for negligent failure to progress its application for planning permission for an industrial redevelopment.

  • Trustees of the B Settlement v H Plc (2011 Ch)

    Advising Trustees in relation to a proposed action against investment advisors for negligence in cashing in investments in a particular way, without regard to the loss of the tax advantages of doing it as those investment advisors had originally advised

Professional Discipline & Regulation

Peter advises and represents both professionals faced with disciplinary or regulatory proceedings, and professional bodies faced with regulatory issues.

From 2006 to 2015 he was Vice-Chairman of the Appeal Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales, in which capacity he chaired panels hearing appeals from that body’s Disciplinary Committee. He is a former member of the Bar Council’s Professional Conduct Committee.

Representative cases

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  • ACCA v X (2015 appeal tribunal)

    Acting for an accountant on his appeal against a disciplinary tribunal finding on the ground that the tribunal wrongly applied the test for dishonesty.

  • Baxendale-Walker v Middleton [2011] All ER (D) 242 (Apr), [2011] EWHC 998 (QB)

    Acting for struck off solicitor in seeking to resist the striking out of his claims against The Law Society and a firm of accountants for conspiracy and against the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal for misfeasance in public office.

  • LSC v Loomba [2012] 2 AER 977 (Admin)

    Acting for solicitors sued to recoup old legal aid payments on account.

Broadcasting & Telecoms

Peter was standing counsel to Ofcom in its start-up period from 2003 to 2005, and has knowledge and insight in the area of broadcasting, telecommunications, and related reputational issues.

Representative cases

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  • Re X Ltd (2011)

    Advising the owner of a television channel on the scope and implications of the statutory requirement that a licence holder be a ‘fit and proper person’.

  • Re T (2007)

    Acting for a religious group that claimed that its character and activities had been seriously misrepresented in a television documentary.

  • Re I Management Ltd v U Plc (2006)

    Acting for a building owner in its claim that on the proper interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Electronic Communications Code, it was entitled to require a telecommunications company to remove its mobile phone mast from the roof of the building.

Construction & Engineering

As well as sitting as a Recorder in the Technology and Construction Court to hear construction and engineering disputes (for example, Tunnel Refineries Ltd v Bryan Donkin Co Ltd and Alsthom SA (1998) CILL 1392), Peter has over 35 years’ experience of advising and acting in court and arbitrations for and against builders, engineers, their employers, and the architects, quantity surveyors and other professionals they engage, including advising a number of hoteliers on allegedly defective newly built swimming pools and extensions, and more recently acting for employers suing builders and architects over faults in a newly built large house in North Yorkshire, and acting for an American in a dispute over the multi-million pound restoration she commissioned of a 17th century house in Mayfair. Peter is often asked to advise on problems arising in the course of building or engineering work that are outside the usual allegations of defects and delay.

Representative cases

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  • Summerthorne Estates Ltd v BdR (Civil and Structural Engineering) Ltd (2020 TCC)

    Acting for commercial developer of brownfield site in its claim for damages for increased cost of infrastructure and drainage against soil engineers alleged to have failed to appreciate or design for the fact that the site was largely waterlogged

  • T Estates Ltd v CCC Engineers Ltd (2017)

    Advising developers on a claim for £1 million damages for their consulting engineer’s inadequate investigation for and consequent faulty design of site drainage and roadworks.

  • Ltd v Housing and Communities Agency (2015)

    Advising redeveloper what expenditure could be properly offset against the Agency’s claim to clawback part of a redevelopment grant.

  • Re B Ltd (2014)

    Advising a company on terms of proposed contracts to provide heating systems using renewable sources of energy that will entitle the other party to Government grants.

  • E Ltd v B Ltd (2013)

    Advising a company that had expended considerable resources in the hope and expectation of participating profitably with another company in a successful tender to a government department for the supply of metering technology, on the prospects of recovering compensation when ultimately excluded from participation.

  • Y Ltd v R Ltd (2010)

    Advising an architect, when the developer by whom he had been engaged required warranties on the quality of his work beyond what he was already obliged to give, how to persuade his professional indemnity insurers to extend cover accordingly.

Arbitration, Mediation & Early Neutral Evaluation

Peter is an experienced arbitrator, mediator and early neutral evaluator, is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and is listed by the Technology and Construction Bar Association (TECBAR) as an approved arbitrator, and by the Society for Computers and Law as an approved adjudicator. Between 1987 and 2016 he sat as a Recorder (deputy judge) in the specialist jurisdiction of the Technology and Construction Court (a division of the High Court in London), and in civil and criminal cases. Between 2006 and 2015 he sat as vice-Chairman of the Appeal Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (chairing panels which hear appeals from the Institute’s Disciplinary Committee). His role in ADR is informed by his private practice expertise in commercial, IT and other high tech areas, as illustrated by his appointment to chair an arbitral panel to determine a dispute over responsibility for failure of a project to provide fibre optic broadband.


Peter has advised on a number of environmental issues, most recently in relation to oxo-biodegradable plastic.

Representative cases

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  • Opinion on Oxo-biodegradable plastic technology (2019)

    Opinion setting out an independent review, in the light of the available scientific evidence, of the effectiveness and utility of Oxo‑biodegradable plastic technology in facilitating the speedier final degradation of certain plastics, and thus reducing for the future the scourge of pollution of land and sea by waste plastic.


What the directories say

"He is very approachable and accessible, and understanding of the technical jargon which plays well with clients - and with the gravitas to back it up."
Legal 500 2024

"Peter must be one of the most experienced IT silks in England, his expertise in drafting, advocacy and advising clients in conference is second-to-none. When assessing a case, he is able to get to the heart of a matter quickly and is able to put clients at their ease, and is always supportive."
Legal 500 2024

"One of the most experienced silks still practising in London. Very comfortable with technical matters. Advocacy second to none. Great interpersonal skills with clients."
Legal 500 2024

"Peter gives clear advice on very complicated, high-value claims. He covers all the issues amazingly quickly and is a pleasure to work with."
Chambers UK 2024

"Peter is still a safe and most experienced pair of hands for IT and wider commercial disputes. He effortlessly reduces the most complex matters into simple constituent parts, and provides peerless advocacy and drafting. All of this he does in an immensely affable way."
Chambers UK 2024

Instructing Peter Susman KC

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  • King’s Counsel (QC 1997)
  • Bencher, Middle Temple; Master of the Library 2013-2019 and autumn 2022; Lent Master Reader 2023
  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Legal Chair, Tribunal and Appeal Panel of the Financial Reporting Counsel
  • Member, Disciplinary and Appeals Committee of the Insolvency Practitioner’s Association
  • Recorder (1987-2016 Technology and Construction Court, County and Crown Courts)
  • Vice-Chairman, Appeal Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales (2006-2015)
  • Chairman, Bar Council’s IT Panel (2006-2010)
  • Standing Counsel to Ofcom (2003-2005)
  • Honorary Member of the E. Robert Williams American Inn of Court, Jacksonville, Florida, USA
  • Honorary Member of the Tampa Bay American Inn of Court, Tampa, Florida, USA
  • Society for Computers and Law
  • Technology and Construction Bar Association
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association
  • London Common Law Bar Association
  • Commercial Bar Association
  • University of Chicago Law School (British Commonwealth Fellow and Fulbright Scholar, JD)
  • Lincoln College, Oxford (Oldfield Open Law Scholar, BA (Hons) Jurisprudence, MA)
  • Dulwich College, London
Regulatory Information

All members of Chambers are registered with the Bar Standards Board of England and Wales. For our standard contractual terms click here.

For more information about the way barristers at Henderson Chambers work, including our fee transparency statement and our complaints process, please click here.

Bar Council Number: 17489

VAT Registration Number: 243977430

Legal Status: King’s Counsel

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Regulated by the Bar Standards Board.

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