strong in his advocacy, yet an approachable figure to the client
Chambers UK

Colin Wynter QC
Year of Call 1984 Silk 2006

Colin won the award for Insurance Silk of the Year by the 2012 Chambers Bar Awards. The Awards are based upon independent research conducted for the 2013 edition of Chambers UK.

Colin's principal areas of practice are Insurance and Reinsurance Litigation and Arbitration; Conflicts of Law; General Commercial; some areas of Employment Law.

He has most recently featured in two of the most significant insurance cases of the recent past:

  • Employers’ Liability Policy “Trigger” Litigation (Durham & Others v BAI & Others)  - see below
  • Brown-Quinn v Equity Syndicate - see below

He appeared in the Supreme Court in the culmination of the long-running  Employers’ Liability Trigger (EL Trigger) litigation, in which he was leading counsel for three of the insured parties, leading a team of three senior juniors, and in which he was successful in resisting the two appeals made against his clients and winning the appeal of his other client.

Before that, leading Thomas Cordrey of Devereux Chambers, he succeeded, in Brown-Quinn v Equity Syndicate, in establishing for the first time in this jurisdiction, the right of an insured under a contract of legal expenses insurance to choose his or her own lawyer, in place of the lawyer chosen or nominated by the insurer, pursuant to EC Directive and corresponding UK Regulations.

In November 2013, Colin spoke at the Insuralex Global Insurance Lawyers Group Conference in Bermuda. The topics were "the Insurability of Fines and Penalities" and "Aggregation in the Reinsurance Context". The details may be viewed here.

  • RECOMMENDATIONS

    A proficient advocate with a track record of winning difficult insurance cases for both insurers and the insured. Sources praise his "knowledge and good judgement." Expertise: "He is very approachable and very bright, and has a work ethic that’s second to none. He is always going the extra mile for clients." Recent work: Brought a test case to establish the extent of an insured's freedom of choice of lawyer under contracts of legal expenses insurance. The case was heard successfully in front of the Court of Appeal. - Insurance, Chambers UK 2015  

    Noted as "he has a work ethic that is second to none." - Insurance, Legal 500 2014

    Held in high regard for his insurance practice. He has acted on some of the most high-profile cases in the market in recent years. "A great strategist, who is a real pleasure to work with. He holds true to his convictions." "Very approachable and very bright .... He has a work ethic that's second to none." - Chambers UK 2014

    "Unrivalled knowledge of property insurance issues." He is "bright, accessible and amenable," according to observers. Such is his reputation in the market, he was retained by five different parties to take on three different insurers in the EL Trigger litigation. - Chambers UK 2013

    Described in legal directories as "a fine advocate", “strong in his advocacy, yet an approachable figure to the client”, with a “strong presence in court”. “Quick and responsive”, he is "not easily rattled", possessing a "really safe pair of hands”, being  a “really good team player” and having a "fantastic bedside manner with clients”.  He commands respect for his "commercial awareness" and, as may be needed, delivers advice with a "down-to-earth style".

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  • Commercial Litigation

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    • Currently acting in venture capital litigation regarding petition under Companies Act, re prejudice to shareholders in management of electronic information joint venture
    • Also currently acting in mortgage fraud and large scale pension litigation, involving thousands of employees (test case), to be heard in 2013
    • Willis Management (Isle of Man) Ltd v Cable & Wireless Plc [2005] EWCA Civ 806; commercial; whether compromise agreement concluded in contract, as a matter of law;  offer and acceptance
    • Cicatiello v. Anglo European [1994] 1 LLR 678 (International Carriage of Goods; CMR defence on grounds of unavoidable circumstances)
    • Lambert v. West Devon Borough Council, [1997] JPL 735, 27/3/97 TLR (Hedley Byrne "exceptional circumstances" giving rise to duty of care by local planning authority to member of public)
    • Stephenson v. Rogers (CA) [1999] 2 WLR 1064, [1999] 1 All ER 613 (leading case, giving definitive interpretation to words "in the course of a business" in Sale of Goods Act 1979)
    • Barnard Marcus v. Ashraf (CA) [1988] 1 EGLR 7 (estate agents' right to commission on sale, even if not introduced purchaser)
    • Governor of Bank of Scotland v. Butcher (CA) (1998) (conflict of law; Rome Convention; relevant law applicable to contract of guarantee)
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  • Insurance & Reinsurance

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    Colin’s standing is clearly demonstrated by his successful appearance, on behalf of three separate parties, in the Supreme Court in the Employer's Liability Trigger (EL Trigger) litigation [2012] UKSC 14. He succeeded on every point before the Supreme Court which, in its landmark judgment, found for the insured against insurers on each of the separate insuring clauses under consideration. Colin had worked, predominantly on a conditional fee basis, throughout the 6 year period during which the cases made their way to the Supreme Court.

    The matter at issue was whether references in insurance policies to “injury sustained or disease contracted” related to the date when an individual breathed in asbestos fibres, or to the moment when that same individual developed a tumour and thus an “injury”. A literal interpretation would incline to the latter. Colin persuaded the court to look to the “raison d’etre” of employers’ liability insurance, and to the very different meaning which the words, when first used in EL insurances, had at the time when they were first used. Thus, he successfully argued, the words “injuries sustained” and “disease contracted” were to be construed as being referable to the causative moment of an injury or disease.

    Other notable cases include:

    • Aspen Insurance UK Ltd v Adana Construction Ltd [2013] Lloyd's Rep IR 656 - claim involving construction of public liability and product liability wordings and their inter-relationship in a combined contractors' liability policy.
    • Brown-Quinn v Equity Syndicate [2013] 1 WLR 1740, CA; test case concerning an insured's right to choose his/her own lawyer under legal expenses insurance contracts.
    • Synergy v CGU & Ors [2011] Lloyd's Rep IR 500; insurance; avoidance for non-disclosure, broker’s alleged negligence
    • Flexsys Americ LP v XL Insurance Company Ltd [2009] EWHC 1115 Comm; insurance; appropriate trigger for effecting of “drop down” cover in upper layer of umbrella policy
    • Brit Syndicate v Italaudit Spa [2008] UKHL; insurance; avoidance in reltion to auditors of failed Italian conglomerate, Parmalat
    • Aegis Electrical and Gas International Services Co Ltd v Continental Casualty Co [2007] EWHC 1762 (Comm); insurance; explosion at refinery; incorporation of insurer’s standard terms into insurance
    • Re New Cap Re [2006]; New South Wales Supreme Court, Sydney, Australia; reinsurance; two weeks in Sydney for examination of underwriter, on behalf of liquidators of insurance company, with regard to underwriting by particular underwriter of certain categories of business by underwriter
    • Rendall v Combined Insurance [2005] EWHC 678 Comm; insurance; avoidance in relation to fatalities suffered in World Trade Centre attacks; claims by US insurers under “business travel” section of insurance; whether London reinsurers required to indemnify
    • ERC Frankona Reinsurance v American National Insurance Co [2005] EWHC 1381 (Comm); insurance; avoidance; knowledge by insured of criminal conviction of CEO of putative insured
    • Willis Management (Isle of Man) Ltd v Cable & Wireless Plc [2005] EWCA Civ 806; commercial; whether compromise agreement concluded in contract, as a matter of law;  offer and acceptance.
    • Mabey v. Johnson v Ecclesiastical & Ors (No 2) [2004] Lloyd's Rep IR, 10; insurance; how many claims would have been made against the insured by the various foreign governments/government ministries to which it supplied its modular bridges.
    • Turner and Newall v. Royal Sun Alliance & Ors [2003] (Chancery & Court of Appeal) [2004] Lloyd's Law Reports 336; insurance coverage for asbestos related injuries; whether as matter of construction, mesothelioma included within description, "pneumoconiosis" in exclusion, and whether undertaking by the insured to pay claims was effectively an exclusion
    • R (Geologistics Limited) v. Financial Services Compensation Scheme [2003] 1 WLR 1696; insurance test case as to entitlement of corporate compulsory insureds to recover own defence costs from the FSCS following liquidation of insurer
    • Frans Maas v. Sun Alliance (Commercial Court) [2003];insurance; whether freight forwarder/warehouser insured acted recklessly in permitting goods to be released to consignee without corresponding provision of original bills of lading; also, whether was custom and practice that industry standard contractual liability insuring provision be taken also to include cover for tortuous liability to third parties
    • New Hampshire v. Oil Refineries Ltd [2003] Lloyd's Rep IR, 386; insurance; avoidance; whether non-disclosure of 6th year of loss history in a five year loss history (a) material, and (b) induced underwriter; will be reported)
    • Scott & Ors v. Copenhagen Re and Ors [2002] Lloyd's Rep IR 775 and (Court of Appeal) [2003] Lloyd's Rep IR 696; reinsurance; market supported test action as to whether loss of 15 Kuwait Airways and 1 British Airways aircraft arose out of single event (invasion of Kuwait/capture of airport), or whether arose out of several events
    • Gan Insurance Co. Ltd v. Tai Ping Insurance Co Ltd [1999] Lloyd's Rep IR 229, and (CA) [1999] Lloyd's Rep. IR 472 (conflict of laws; Rome Convention; proper law of reinsurance contract; whether words, "as original" in reinsurance slip effective to incorporate into reinsurance contract express choice of foreign law in underlying contract of insurance)
    • Gan Insurance Co. Ltd v. Tai Ping Insurance Co Ltd (No.2) [2001] Lloyd's Rep IR 291 and (CA) [2001] Lloyd's Rep IR 667 (reinsurance; construction of revised SCOR claims co-operation, follow settlements, condition precedent)
    • Gan Insurance Co. Ltd v. Tai Ping Insurance Co Ltd (No.3) [2001] Lloyd's Rep IR 670, and (CA) [2001] Lloyd's Rep IR 682 (reinsurance; construction of settlement agreement; whether settlement an "admission of liability" within meaning of claims co-operation clause; whether evidence of co-reinsurers admissible as to whether settlement "proper and businesslike")
    • Baker & Ors v. McCall International [2001] Lloyd's Rep IR 149 (insurance; conflict of law; effect on extant English proceedings of procedural barring order in California)
    • Mabey v Johnson v. Ecclesiastical & Ors (No 1) [2001] Lloyd's Rep IR 369 (insurance; implication of aggregation of claims provision, to form single "claim", in professional indemnity contracts of insurance)
    • Colonial v. Chung (2000, Privy Council, on appeal from Trinidad and Tobago Court of Appeal) (insurance; standard of proof required to establish arson, and construction of policy wording; whether breach of condition precedent bars recovery of all claims under insurance or only those heads of loss to which breach relates)
    • Trygg Hansa v. Equitas [1998] 2 LLR 439 (effect of words "as original" on incorporation of arbitration clauses in contracts of reinsurance)
    • Pacific & General Insurance v. Baltica Insurance [1996] LRLR, 8 (availability of summary judgment where claims co-operation clause present in reinsurance contract)
    • Home Insurance Co. v. M. E. Rutty [1996] LRLR 415 (property in/ right to possession of reinsurance pool records)
    • Pride Valley v. The Independent Insurance Co. (1997) and (CA) (1999) (non-disclosure by insured/broker; "inducement" of underwriter);
    • Equitas v. Sirius (1999, Commercial Court) (waiver of legal professional privilege by foreign reinsurer, on asserted claim, by reinsurer, in response to allegation of waiver/affirmation of reinsurance, that was ignorant of English law principles of avoidance for material misrepresentation/non-disclosure)
    • Stockwell v. Outhwaite (1991-1992, Commercial Court) (Lloyd's Names insurance litigation; professional negligence of underwriter, obligations of underwriters, members' agents and syndicate auditors at "reinsurance to close" of relevant syndicate years of account)
    • Agnew - Somerville v. Wellington ("Outhwaite") (1994 - 1996, Commercial Court) (as above)
    • Caudle v. Sharp (1993, arbitration) (meaning of "one event" in insurance contracts)
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Appointments

Colin Wynter QC has sat as Chairman of Enquiry (25 days), writing up 200 page report and recommendations

Memberships & Associations

COMBAR

ARIAS (UK) Panel Arbitrator

Education

LSE LLB (1st Class)

MPhil (Canatab)

Languages

Fluent in French

Personal interests

Lover of all "real" sports. (i.e. not golf and nothing on snow or ice, and nothing involving any element of “artistic merit”)