"masterful at strategy, brilliant in meetings and a provider of extremely clear advice, when Colin speaks, the court listens"

Chambers UK

Colin Edelman QC

Year of Call: 1977 Silk: 1995

"masterful at strategy, brilliant in meetings and a provider of extremely clear advice, when Colin speaks, the court listens"

Chambers UK

Colin Edelman QC

Year of Call: 1977 Silk: 1995

"masterful at strategy, brilliant in meetings and a provider of extremely clear advice, when Colin speaks, the court listens"

Chambers UK

Colin Edelman QC

Year of Call: 1977 Silk: 1995

Colin Edelman

"masterful at strategy, brilliant in meetings and a provider of extremely clear advice, when Colin speaks, the court listens"

Chambers UK

Colin Edelman QC

Year of Call: 1977 Silk: 1995

Insurance Silk of the Year - 2017 Chambers UK Bar Awards

Colin Edelman QC specialises in high value complex commercial disputes with an emphasis on insurance, reinsurance, professional indemnity and energy. He has been involved in a number of high profile matters affecting the London and international insurance markets, including disputes arising out of most of the major natural disasters and financial collapses of the last decade. Colin has written and lectured extensively on issues affecting the insurance and reinsurance market. In 2008 he was authorised to sit as Deputy High Court Judge (Queen’s Bench Division) and in 2012 he was authorised to sit as Deputy High Court Judge in the Commercial Court.

Colin was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Ltd as of 1 April 2013. Colin has been a Director of Bar Mutual since 2007 and a Deputy Chairman since 2009. 

Colin was voted the Chambers UK 'Insurance Silk of the Year' in 2007, 2010, 2015 and 2017, as well as being regularly shortlisted as 'Professional Negligence Silk of the Year', winning the award at the 2014 Chambers UK Bar Awards.  A number of Colin’s cases have consistently been listed by The Lawyer as Top Cases of the Year.

  • Recommendations

    "A consistently excellent" insurance specialist, who wins praise for his strength both as an advocate and an arbitrator. He continues to be involved in insurance and reinsurance disputes of the highest order, and is noted for handling matters which are international in nature. "Incredibly sharp and has an excellent bedside manner. He could not be recommended more highly." "Absolutely brilliant and quite clearly Mr Insurance." "An exceedingly nice guy to work with, he's a fantastic advocate with a great air of authority that makes judges just wait on his every word." Acted for an insurer in a Court of Appeal dispute which considered whether smuggling should be included under a war risk policy. - Star individual, Insurance & Reinsurance, Chambers UK 2018

    An esteemed silk who is an expert in insurance and reinsurance brokers' negligence claims. He also takes on extensive work relating to other kinds of professional negligence, including acting for and against lawyers, architects and financial advisers, to name a few. He chairs the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund. "Charming and thorough." "A very pragmatic advocate and adviser who is also very easy to deal with." Acted for AIG, the insurer of ILP, a solicitors' firm that faces £10 million in claims brought against it by over 214 investors. - Professional Negligence, Chambers UK 2018

    Sought after for his expertise in representing clients in high-value international arbitrations in connection with matters of insurance and reinsurance, energy and life sciences. He has experience of appearing before tribunals around the world including Bermuda, the Far East, Africa and the USA. He also takes appointments as an arbitrator. "He is consistently excellent." "He is a frighteningly good silk." - International Arbitration (General Commercial and Insurance), Chambers UK 2018

    Highly regarded for his work in international disputes as counsel and as an arbitrator. He has particular knowledge in relation to insurance, reinsurance, energy and professional indemnity matters. He regularly acts as sole arbitrator under the rules of leading institutions and has handled hearings taking place across the globe. "Possesses a well-earned reputation for chairing insurance arbitrations." - International Arbitration (arbitrators), Chambers UK 2018

    "Charming, thorough and able to advise with a full grip of the details." - Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2017

    "A top-class insurance lawyer." - International Arbitration (counsel), Legal 500 2017

    "He has great attention to detail and excellent knowledge of the law." - International Arbitration (arbitrators), Legal 500 2017

    "A class act, who commands authority in court." - Insurance and Reinsurance, Legal 500 2017

    "A strongly rated commercial and insurance litigator." - Commercial Litigation, Legal 500 2017

    Sought after for his expertise in representing clients in high-value international arbitrations in connection with matters of insurance and reinsurance, energy and life sciences. He has experience of appearing before tribunals around the world including Bermuda, the Far East, Africa and the USA. "He is one of the smartest people I have come across." "He is hugely experienced, user-friendly and tenacious." -International Arbitration (counsel), Chambers UK 2017 and International Arbitration, Chambers Global 2017

    An esteemed silk who is an expert in insurance and reinsurance brokers' negligence claims. He also takes on extensive work relating to other kinds of professional negligence, including acting for and against lawyers, architects and financial advisers, to name a few. "He's a prodigious and astonishing individual whose knowledge of the law is phenomenal, as is his ability to grasp the facts of a case." "He provides extremely clear and thorough advice." - Professional Negligence, Chambers UK 2017

    Renowned in the field of international arbitration for his wealth of expertise in the full range of arbitral disputes, he specialises in commercial matters, especially insurance and reinsurance claims. He regularly acts as sole arbitrator under the rules of leading institutions and has handled hearings taking place across the globe. 
    "Second to none in the insurance sector." "An excellent arbitrator who is responsive and pragmatic. He conducts himself in an extremely professional fashion." - International Arbitration (arbitrators), Chambers UK 2017

    Renowned leader at the Insurance Bar, described by one source as "the best barrister in the market by far" and by another as a "star performer, who raises the game for the entire set." He wins praise both for his strength as an advocate and as an arbitrator, and continues to be involved in insurance and reinsurance disputes of the highest order.
    "The doyen of the insurance and reinsurance world, he has such excellent judgement and a real presence." "The biggest insurance brain at the Bar, but also such a kind and generous advocate." Instructed in a dispute between shipowners and the underwriters of a hull and machinery insurance policy after the flooding of a vessel. The case involved the affirmation of the principle that otherwise valid insurance claims may be rendered void by the use of a 'fraudulent device' in the making of the claim. - Insurance, Chambers UK 2017

    Listed in the 'International arbitrators - leading individuals' list. "He has a first-class reputation for chairing insurance arbitrations" - Legal 500 2016

    "Hugely experienced, user-friendly and tenacious." - Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2016

    "An intellectual powerhouse; unbelievably quick and smart on his feet." - International Arbitration, Legal 500 2016

    "The leading silk in insurance law" - Insurance and Reinsurance, Legal 500 2016

    "The top man to go to for insurance coverage work"- Commercial Litigation, Legal 500 2016

    The Chambers UK Bar Awards selected Colin as 'Professional Negligence Silk of the Year' in 2014 and 'Insurance Silk of the Year' in 2007, 2010 and 2015, recognising his continued accomplishments in the insurance field.

    Recent recommendations include:

    "Obviously a standout performer" whose practice extends across all aspects of insurance and reinsurance matters. He is regarded as "a tower of the Insurance Bar" and is hailed for his performances in cases ranging from claims arising out of major disasters to international industrial product liability suits. "Probably now the leading silk. He gets straight to the heart of the matter, gives you very clear and candid advice, and is very good on his feet. He's very well respected by judges and equally good in arbitration." Represented the insurer against an insured's entitlement to full indemnity in a mesothelioma claim. - Insurance, Chambers UK 2016

    Has a wealth of experience handling multimillion-dollar commercial disputes, regularly sitting as sole arbitrator, co-arbitrator and chair in complex international arbitral proceedings. He is singled out for his significant insurance expertise, with market sources deeming him a go-to arbitrator for disputes in this area. "He is just incredibly knowledgeable in the insurance arena and has a very detailed eye for the issues." - International Arbitration: Arbitrators, Chambers UK 2016

    A heavyweight insurance silk who acts as both counsel and as arbitrator in disputes involving insurers, reinsurers and businesses in the life sciences sector. His expertise in this area sees him practise internationally, with mandates emanating from Africa, Asia and the USA. "He is a consummate professional who thinks around the issues in the wider context. He never loses sight of the bigger picture and he brings things back to what works and what is commercial." "Colin is a fantastic advocate. He has an amazing ability to get straight to the heart of the issues. He is very good at what he does and good at being put on the spot." - International Arbitration: General Commercial & Insurance, Chambers UK 2016 and Chambers Global 2016

    Frequently retained by professionals in the financial services and construction industries to act in high-end negligence actions. Sits as a Deputy High Court Judge in the Queen's Bench Division and the Commercial Court. "Firmly established as a leading silk in all insurance and reinsurance-related matters. He is hugely experienced, user-friendly and tenacious." "He is terrific on his feet - very incisive and always has the ear of the court." - Professional Negligence, Chambers UK 2016

    "Hugely impressive – he gives commercial advice and never sits on the fence." - Commercial Litigation, Legal 500 2015

    "An excellent advocate and the top person in the field of liability insurance coverage." - Insurance and Reinsurance, Legal 500 2015

    "One of the best, both as counsel and as arbitrator." - International Arbitration: Arbitrators, Legal 500 2015

    "An outstanding advocate and lawyer; very clear and concise in his advice." - International Arbitration: Counsel, Legal 500 2015

    "He is astoundingly clever and presents complex issues in a palatable form." - Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2015

    Universally seen as the leading silk for insurance and reinsurance matters, he has appeared in a whole host of leading cases, and has also handled a number of arbitrations and mediations. He takes on the very largest and most high-profile matters that come before the English courts. Expertise: "Incredibly sharp and someone with an excellent bedside manner." "At the top of his game; he is one of the very best." Recent work: Succeeded in the Supreme Court in Teal v W R Berkley. - Insurance, Chambers UK 2015

    Has a broad commercial practice and a particularly strong reputation for insurance-related matters. He has been appointed as arbitrator for matters concerning the pharmaceuticals industry, and has handled cases arising from natural disasters, as well as disputes relating to questions of professional liability. Expertise: "He is incredibly good. He has fantastic insurance credentials, and is very straightforward as an arbitrator." "He is the kingpin of the insurance and reinsurance arbitration world." - International Arbitration: Arbitrators, Chambers UK 2015

    Handles international arbitration as both counsel and arbitrator. His expertise in insurance-related matters has earned him engagements on major disputes, including those concerning claims brought against reinsurers and issues arising from natural disasters. Expertise: "He really is a very, very well-established person in the field as both counsel and arbitrator." "He is absolutely fantastic. It is great to work with him." - International Arbitration: General Commercial & Insurance, Chambers UK 2015 and Chambers Global 2015

    Has a significant professional negligence practice, and demonstrates expertise in sensitive solicitors' negligence cases and insurance coverage disputes. Expertise: "He is the first person we go to with tricky points because of the depth of his expertise. He's very good at distilling information and getting to the crux of the matter." "He is very down to earth and straightforward and firm in his advice." - Professional Negligence, Chambers UK 2015

    "A hugely impressive advocate and lawyer" - Commercial Litigation, Legal 500 2014

    "A top insurance Silk" - Insurance and Reinsurance, Legal 500 2014

    "An outstanding authority on insurance issues" and is "the best at what he does and always the first choice to lead any arbitration." - International Arbitration, Legal 500 2014

    "Cuts through to the core of the problem and explains things clearly to the lay client" - Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2014

    Receives compliments from all quarters for his "clear and cogent advocacy style." One source states: "He is in a class of his own, as he is technically excellent, and has a sharp mind and a down-to-earth manner." Edelman is to be seen in the vast majority of the major insurance cases. He had roles in both the EL Trigger litigation and the Rolls-Royce case mentioned above. - Chambers UK 2013

    A highly regarded arbitrator and advocate at Devereux Chambers, and is considered a standout member of the International Arbitration Bar. His particular focus is on reinsurance and insurance disputes. - Chambers UK 2013

    "One of the leading counsel and arbitrators in insurance-related work," and is highly valued by instructing solicitors as a "terrific advocate." Sources note his "great knowledge of insurance law," and the past year has seen him act in a range of related arbitrations. - Chambers UK 2013

    An outstanding reputation as "the number one insurance coverage specialist at the Bar." He displays real depth of knowledge and is a "very distinguished, highly sought-after barrister." His recent cases include those involving Chubb and Ernst & Young. - Chambers UK 2013

    "Highly regarded Colin Edelman QC acted for the lead insurers, Excess Insurance in the EL Trigger litigation." - Legal 500 2012

  • Insurance & Reinsurance

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    Colin is recognised as a leading silk in insurance and reinsurance, his principal area of practice. He has won the Chambers UK ‘Silk of the Year’ award four times since 2007, most recently in 2017. His insurance and reinsurance cases continue to include substantial disputes.

    Away from Court and Arbitration; One of Colin's undoubted highlights for 2015 was his part in an unprecedented alliance of key players in the UK insurance industry (including Mactavish, Lloyd’s, Lloyd’s Market Association (LMA), International Underwriting Association (IUA), the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and Airmic).

    The Enterprise Bill includes, at clauses 20 and 21, provisions for the introduction into insurance law of a contractual obligation on insurers to pay claims within a reasonable time, for breach of which compensation to policyholders may be payable. The key players wrote to Business Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe expressing support for the inclusion of this clause in the Enterprise Bill, subject to certain recommended amendments. The bid to form a consensus across the insurance market was orchestrated and driven by Mactavish.

    The support from both sides of the insurance industry and the recommended amendments were based on an Opinion provided by Colin (assisted by Richard Harrison, also of Devereux Chambers) on the instructions of Mactavish.

    The ground-breaking Opinions were published and debated in the House of Lords. This led to the Government adopting amendments proposed by Colin and Richard to the Insurance Act 2015 and Limitation Act 1980 and if (as is likely) the new laws are passed in 2016, the Opinions will have been instrumental to the introduction of key features of the first statutory changes in commercial insurance law in over 100 years.

    Other significant matters Colin has recently acted in include disputes arising out of the 2007 Californian Wildfire losses, Hurricane Ike losses, US pharmaceutical and chemical industry product liability claims, US petroleum product additive pollution liabilities, losses resulting from political disturbances in Bangkok (reinsurance), employers' liability for asbestos related disease (reinsurance) and solicitors’ liability for mortgage fraud losses. Highlights include the EL Trigger test case litigation, Teal v WR Berkley, Zurich v IEGL and Versloot Dredging v HDI Gerling all of which have proceeded to the Supreme Court.

    Recent significant cases include:

  • Professional Negligence

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    Colin has also been involved in important professional negligence cases and some of these cases are described below. Perhaps one example of his market leadership is his role in Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Ltd - in 2007 he was appointed a director, in 2009 he was made a Deputy Chairman and in 2013 he became the Chairman, demonstrating the regard in which his peers hold him. He has provided advice to a captive insurer of a leading professional group.

    Significant cases include:

    • Lyons v Fox Williams LLP [2017] EWHC 532 (currently on appeal to the Court of Appeal);
    • AIG Europe Ltd v Woodman & Ors [2017] UKSC 18, [2017] 1 WLR 1168, [2017] Lloyd's Rep IR 209;
    • Axa Corporate Solutions SA v National Westminster Bank Plc & Marsh Ltd [2011] Lloyd’s Rep IR 438 (2011);
    • Southern Rock v Endsleigh;
    • Chubb Insurance Company Of Europe S.A. v iSoft Group plc.
  • Arbitration & Mediation

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    As well as acting as an advocate in arbitrations, Colin now also regularly sits as an arbitrator in international and domestic insurance, reinsurance and other commercial arbitrations. By July 2016, he had been appointed either as a party-appointed arbitrator or as a sole arbitrator or tribunal chairman on about 150 occasions. His appointments encompass domestic and international arbitrations, including many appointments under Bermuda Form insurance policies. Colin has acted as a mediator in insurance and professional negligence disputes with a good record of achieving a settlement between the parties through the use of innovative approaches to the mediation process and he has advised and assisted solicitors in the mediation of cases. He has also acted as a neutral evaluator.


2013 - Appointed as Chairman of Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Ltd

2012 - Authorised to sit as Deputy High Court Judge (Commercial Court)

2011 - Appointed to the insurance panel of the Centre for Justice

2009 - Appointed as a Deputy Chairman of Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Ltd

2008 - Authorised to sit as Deputy High Court Judge (QBD)

2007 - Re-elected as Head of Chambers

2007 - Appointed as a Director of Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Ltd

2003 - Elected as a Bencher of Middle Temple

2002 - Elected as Head of Chambers

1996 - Appointed as a Recorder

1995 - Appointed as Queen's Counsel

1993 - Appointed as an Assistant Recorder

1979 - Tenant of Devereux Chambers

1977 - Called to the Bar

Memberships and Associations

COMBAR, London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association, Midland Circuit and Middle Temple, ARIAS (UK) Panel Arbitrator

For Middle Temple, has engaged in Advocacy Training programmes which have encompassed training students, pupils, new practitioners and new trainers during residential and non-residential weekend programmes and evening workshops


1973-1976 Clare College, Cambridge. Law Tripos 1 - 2:1, Law Tripos 2 - First