Professional Services Disputes

Our Practice

Our professional services disputes team acts for leading actuarial, accountancy and consulting firms and is experienced in dealing with the full range of liability, risk and professional regulatory issues that such professional service firms face.

Our experience and expertise in this area means that we recognise the variety of risks and challenges faced by a professional service firm, especially in light of the ever-changing regulatory environment.

The great majority of the team’s work takes place "behind the scenes", dealing with risk issues as they arise, including by the disposal of claims at the pre-action protocol stage. Where proceedings do ensue, our track record of successfully defending our clients’ interests is excellent.

Our Experience

Selected highlights of our recent experience include the following:

  • acting for Grant Thornton UK LLP in the on-going defence of the claims brought against it by Vincent and Robert Tchenguiz and related parties, valued by the claimants at in excess of £2bn
  • defending Ernst & Young in third party (contribution) claims by a former director of Moulin Global Eyecare (in liquidation), arising out of claims by the liquidator for US$260m of damages
  • acting for a top 10 accounting firm on a £250m claim brought against it in its capacity as administrative receiver
  • defending the former Finance Director of CITIC Pacific against SFC allegations brought in the MMT of negligent disclosure of false or misleading information to the market
  • advising a Big Four accounting firm in three HKICPA disciplinary matters arising from an infamous listed company fraud, which had resulted in several directors being given long jail terms
  • defending a global professional services company on a £50m claim by a pension fund relating to advice on an investment which, through our work at the pre-action stage in particular, was subsequently not pursued by the claimant
  • acting for a professional trustee company in relation to on-going claims arising out of Principal Global’s US$42m investment in the Liongate investment management group
  • acting on behalf of a well-known firm and its professional indemnity insurers in relation to a significant claim arising out of the alleged mismanagement of a pension scheme by its trustees
  • advising a Big Four firm in respect of the discovery of audit irregularities during the annual audit of a HK-listed PRC company, which was forced to announce that its published financial statements and prospectus could not be relied on. The company is now in liquidation and writs have been issued
  • defending various firms from claims relating to Madoff and the AIG Premier Access Bond, including strategic advice regarding the approach to complaints considered by the Financial Ombudsman Service
  • defending firms, on instructions from their insurers, against claims relating to the Keydata life bonds and the Arch Cru funds, including negotiating with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme
  • acting for a global professional services firm, partners and employees in connection with a private criminal investigation and potential prosecution
  • advising a Big Four firm in respect of the impending insolvency of a large conglomerate dual-listed in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Specialist Expertise


The team regularly advise professional service firms on internal risk management procedures and guidance, including on topics such as the maintenance of privilege.

Moreover, Colin Passmore, our Senior Partner, is the author of "Passmore on Privilege", one of the leading textbooks on the subject of legal professional privilege.  Click here to read Colin’s blog on privilege.

eDiscovery and disclosure

Traditional approaches to disclosure and document management have become unduly burdensome for organisations involved in disputes.

As one of the first law firms to bring Relativity® (the document review platform) in-house and build an integrated team of technical and legal experts, we provide unparalleled understanding of the artificial intelligence/analytical functionality and how to use it to deliver increased quality and reduced costs for clients (including our professional services clients, for whom we have used this experience and expertise on a number of recent matters).

Our bespoke approach to each dispute ensures that the best workflow is adopted for the particular dataset, and the number of documents requiring human review is limited.

To find out more about our eDiscovery solution, click here.

Contentious regulatory

Our expertise in this area includes the conduct of disciplinary proceedings, internal investigations where we report on suspected irregularities and on regulatory investigations where we can advise and assist you on response strategies.