Recipient of Lifetime Achievement Award at Chambers UK Bar Awards 2023.
Listed on The Legal 500 Private Practice Powerlist 2023 for Arbitration.
Colin accepts appointments as both an arbitrator and mediator in matters involving high value complex commercial disputes with an emphasis on insurance, reinsurance, professional indemnity, and energy.
Chambers & Partners rank Colin as one of only four ‘Star Individual’ arbitrators at the London Bar.
Colin has been and continues to be appointed in arbitral disputes under a variety of different rules, including LCIA, DIFC, ICC, ARIAS, UNCITRAL as well as numerous ad hoc references.
Additionally, Colin has acted as a neutral evaluator and provided written determinations.
During his distinguished career as counsel, from which he retired at the end of 2022, Colin has been involved in a significant number of high-profile matters affecting the London and international insurance markets, including major natural disasters and other catastrophic losses and successfully representing the FCA in the Covid-19 Business Interruption Insurance Test Case in the High Court and Supreme Court. Colin has also written and lectured extensively on issues affecting the insurance and reinsurance market.
He previously sat as Deputy High Court Judge (Queen’s Bench Division) and as Deputy High Court Judge in the Commercial Court.
Colin was appointed a Director of Bar Mutual in 2007, was appointed a Deputy Chair in 2009 and then served as Chair of the Board of Directors of Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Ltd from 2013 to 2022 (the end of his 15-year tenure as a director).
Colin was voted the Chambers UK 'Insurance Silk of the Year' in 2007, 2010, 2015 and 2017 and was frequently shortlisted in other years. He was voted the Chambers UK 'Professional Negligence Silk of the Year' in 2014 and was shortlisted for Barrister of the Year at The Lawyer Awards in 2021. Furthermore, several of Colin’s cases have been listed by The Lawyer as Top Cases of the Year.
‘Colin is very clever, analytical and creative. He is courteous and fair as an arbitrator and deservedly very busy.’ - International Arbitration: Arbitrators, Legal 500 2024
Ranked as a Leading Silk - Insurance, Legal 500 2023
Ranked as a Leading Silk - International Arbitration: Arbitrators, Legal 500 2023
Ranked as a Leading Silk - Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2023
'Remains the outstanding insurance and reinsurance silk' - International Arbitration: Counsel, Legal 500 2023
‘An excellent silk in commercial litigation.’ - Commercial Litigation, Legal 500 2023
An 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. "Colin is widely regarded as the pre-eminent insurance silk. The role he took in the COVID-19 business interruption test case has confirmed his prominence in this field." "He knows the industry better than anybody. He is absolutely outstanding. He is always on top of every single document and is very bright and extremely compelling." - Star Individual, Insurance, Chambers UK Bar 2022.
Highly regarded for his work in international disputes as counsel and as an arbitrator. He has particular knowledge in relation to insurance, reinsurance, pharmaceutical and energy matters. He regularly acts as sole arbitrator under the rules of leading institutions and has handled hearings taking place across the globe. "He is very clear, very concise and very experienced. He's just outstanding." - Star Individual, International Arbitration: Arbitrators, Chambers UK Bar 2022.
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. He receives notable acclaim for his arbitration work, and additionally chairs the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund. "He is absolutely fantastic. His advice is clear, concise, and always well structured and detailed. He is very robust in his views but makes sure that the client is on board with every step." "Simply superb, he is a first port of call on technical insurance-related matters." - Professional Negligence, Chambers UK Bar 2022.
Sought after for his expertise in representing clients in high-value international arbitrations in connection with matters of insurance and reinsurance, addressing D&O policy, anti-suit injunctions and asbestos claims. 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 absolutely fantastic. His advice is always well structured and well detailed. He has a fantastic bedside manner with clients." "He is well respected and thorough." - International Arbitration: General Commercial & Insurance, Chambers UK Bar 2022.
"It is hard to know where to start with the superlatives. The star player at the Bar for insurance and reinsurance cases. He is clear in his guidance, willing to make time to explain difficult issues to clients, doesn’t sit on the fence, and is a brilliant advocate. Clients love him." - Insurance and Reinsurance, Legal 500 2022.
"He is simply exceptional. Phenomenally bright, very quick, very commercial. And a thoroughly nice person to deal with." - International Arbitration: Arbitrators, Legal 500 2022.
"A go to QC for complex insurance coverage advice." - International Arbitration: Counsel, Legal 500 2022.
Ranked as a Leading Silk - Professional Negligence, Legal 500
"He is clear in his guidance and willing to make time to explain difficult issues to clients." "He's the best practitioner at the Bar in this area. He regularly appears in the Supreme Court and more importantly wins." Acted for Travelers, the insurer of the core defendant in the PIP breast implant litigation, in the Supreme Court. The case concerned whether Travelers was liable to pay uninsured claimants' costs. - Star Individual, Insurance, Chambers UK Bar 2021.
"A first choice arbitrator for any complex insurance case. He really gets to grips with the matters he works on." "An absolutely outstanding arbitrator; he's responsive, bright and always bang on the money."- Star Individual, International Arbitration: Arbitrators, Chambers UK Bar 2021.
"Absolutely outstanding. His advice is clear and accessible." - International Arbitration - The English Bar - Global Market Leaders, Chambers Global 2021 & International Arbitration: General Commercial & Insurance, Chambers UK Bar 2021.
"An outstandingly experienced advocate." " He is absolutely exceptional and the advice you get from him is excellent." Represented Lakehouse/Cambridge Polymer Roofing in a claim brought by Haberdashers' Aske's after a fire destroyed a school in south-east London while the defendant was carrying out renovation works. - Professional Negligence, Chambers UK Bar 2021.
‘A great brain, with excellent presentational skills - he is the insurance/reinsurance barrister of the moment and a go-to QC for complex coverage advice.’ - Insurance and Reinsurance, Legal 500 2021
‘Simply exceptional, in both his written work and in advocacy - he is a dream to watch on his feet.’ - Commercial Litigation, Legal 500 2021
‘In a nutshell, he's absolutely outstanding - he's phenomenally bright, very quick and very fair but at the same time tough.’ - International Arbitration (Arbitrators), Legal 500 2021
‘Great brain, excellent presentational skills and knowledge on reinsurance matters above all else.’ - International Arbitration (Counsel), Legal 500 2021
‘He has an extremely sharp legal mind.’ - Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2021
"He is the greatest barrister at the insurance Bar." - Insurance and reinsurance, Legal 500 2020
"If you have a case going to the Supreme Court, you get Colin in." "There's nobody near him." "He is unrivalled in his knowledge and experience." Acted for R&S Pilling, trading as Phoenix Engineering, in a Supreme Court appeal concerning the liability of motor insurers for damage to the property of third parties because of fire caused by repair works to an immobilised vehicle. - Star Individual, Insurance, Chambers UK Bar 2020
"Fantastically knowledgeable; he's really outstandingly brilliant." Defended Lakehouse Contracts and Cambridge Polymer Roofing in negligence claims for around £13 million in respect of a fire which destroyed a school in London. The case was due to be heard in the Court of Appeal but settled the day before. - Professional Negligence, Chambers UK Bar 2020
"Phenomenally bright and quick off the mark with correspondence." "A fantastic arbitrator." - Star Individual, International Arbitration Arbitrators, Chambers UK Bar 2020
"Very innovative and is really willing to make a bold call." "His advocacy is immense." - International Arbitration: General Commercial & Insurance, Chambers UK Bar 2020
"Utterly brilliant." "The leading insurance and reinsurance silk." "Very easy to work with." Acted for AIG in a dispute over the interpretation of the aggregation clause in a professional indemnity insurance policy. - Star individual, Insurance, Chambers UK Bar 2019
"Outstandingly bright and effective. In a class of his own." - International Arbitration (Arbitrators), Chambers UK Bar 2019
"Outstandingly bright and effective." "He's super-smart, charming and keenly picks out the strengths and weaknesses in arguments." - International Arbitration (General Commercial & Insurance), Chambers UK Bar 2019
"Excellent - no hesitation in recommending him. He is a very intelligent man, and he combines intellect with a charming and approachable style." "He provides extremely clear and thorough advice." Defended Lakehouse Contracts and Cambridge Polymer Roofing in negligence claims for around £13 million in respect of a fire which destroyed a school in London. - Professional Negligence, Chambers UK Bar 2019
"He has an extraordinary ability present easy to understand solutions to complex problems." - Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2020
"Top choice for major insurance disputes." - Leading Individual, International Arbitration (Arbitrators), Legal 500 2020
"A leading barrister in the arbitration field." - International Arbitration (Counsel), Legal 500 2020
"Well known across the insurance market." - Commercial Litigation, Legal 500 2020
‘Highly skilled.’ - Professional Negligence, Legal 500 2019
‘Highly recommended for major insurance arbitrations.’ - Leading Individual, International Arbitration (Arbitrators), Legal 500 2019
‘Fights tooth and nail for the client, even when the odds are stacked against him.’ - International Arbitration (Counsel), Legal 500 2019
‘A commanding and an effective advocate.’ - Insurance and reinsurance, Legal 500 2019
‘A brilliant cross-examiner.’ - Commercial Litigation, Legal 500 2019
"A consistently excellent." "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
"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
"He is consistently excellent." "He is a frighteningly good silk." - International Arbitration (General Commercial and Insurance), Chambers UK 2018
"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
"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
"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
"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
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.
"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
Colin’s appointments encompass domestic and international arbitrations, including many appointments under Bermuda Form insurance policies.
Notable appointments include:
Colin brings to his role as arbitrator his extensive prior experience in acting as an advocate in arbitrations.
Notable instructions in period immediately prior to his retirement from practice as an advocate included:
Colin was recognised as a leader in the field of insurance, as counsel, for over four decades. He was identified in Chambers UK as the ‘Star Individual’ at the Bar in insurance for a number of years, right up to his retirement as counsel.
He appeared in the Supreme Court on insurance cases on numerous occasions. In recent years, a substantial proportion of Mr Edelman’s Insurance & Reinsurance practice has been in arbitration.
Colin’s more recent Supreme Court appearances prior to his retirement as an advocate included:
appearing for the FCA in an expedited appeal on a test case brought by the FCA against a number of insurers to resolve coverage issues relating to COVID-19 business interruption losses.
an appeal about whether an insurer was liable under section 51 of the Senior Courts Act to pay the legal costs of 426 claimants who successfully sued a medical group for the supply of defective silicone breast implants in circumstances where the insurer had funded the common costs of the defence of both those uninsured claims and other insured claims;
an appeal concerning the interpretation of a policy of motor insurance, which raised questions about the meaning of the phrase, “damage … caused by, or arising out of, the use of the vehicle on a road or other public place” in section 145 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, which defines the compulsory insurance requirements for the use of vehicles in such places.
an appeal concerning whether the detention of a vessel by Venezuelan authorities was covered by an insurance policy incorporating the terms of the Institute War Strikes Clauses Hulls-Time.
Other significant insurance and reinsurance matters in the more recent years leading up to his retirement included acting in disputes arising out of wildfire losses, hurricane losses, US pharmaceutical and chemical industry product liability claims, US petroleum product additive pollution liabilities, the allocation of insurance losses for employers' liability for asbestos related disease and aggregation disputes in relation to solicitors’ liability.
Notable reported cases in which Colin acted as an advocate in the more recent years leading up to his retirement included:
Colin was recognised as a leading professional negligence silk by both Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 throughout his 45-year counsel practice. He specialised in claims concerning insurance and reinsurance brokers’ negligence and has extensive experience acting in negligence claims concerning the financial services, real estate, construction, engineering, and legal sectors.
Significant cases in which Colin acted as an advocate in the years leading up to his retirement include:
Colin has acted as a mediator in insurance and professional negligence disputes with a successful record of achieving settlements between parties with an innovative approach towards the mediation process.
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
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