Who is Richard Coleman QC?
A member of Fountain Court Chambers,Richard Coleman QC is a leading barrister practising in commercial dispute resolution, banking, financial services and professional discipline.
His practice has ranged across banking and regulatory disputes incuding Bank Charges litigation, the PPI judicial review, the FCA’s investigation into LIBOR manipulation, the misselling of interest rate hedging products, the collapses of the Arch-Cru and Keydata funds, litigation arising from the writing of gross loss-making insurance business and the PA LMX spiral, and disputes over tax avoidance among others.
The key points:
>>Dame Sian should have declared her interests in IAG and disqualified herself
>>that “professional indemnity insurers may well view a restrictive approach to commercial litigation funding as being in their commercial interests”;
“In my opinion, on these facts, the fair-minded and informed observer would conclude that there was a real possibility that the Chief Justice was biased,”
>> the question of the legality of the litigation funding agreement would have been of interest to all the defendants in the original case, not just PwC;
>>the chief justice should have known when she gave her judgment that IAG might have been one of the insurer of one of the defendants;
>> the size of Chief Justice’s family interests in IAG (approximately $500,000) were significant enough to have potentially affected her decision.
>>Under the law, apparent bias is all about what a “fair-minded and informed observer” might think. Apparently this fictional, gender-neutral person is someone who is informed (but not an expert) and takes a balanced approach to information.
“I have reached this conclusion principally because such an observer would likely consider that the possible financial interest of the Chief Justice and her family in the outcome of PwC’s application, and the wider interests of the Chief Justice’s husband and of the two insurance companies in which he is involved, were all matters that might have impinged subconsciously on the ability of the Chief Justice to determine PwC’s application impartially.”