Robert Whitehead

Partner - Insurance, Commercial Dispute Resolution

Robert  Whitehead

Robert Whitehead

Partner - Insurance, Commercial Dispute Resolution

Robert has handled all manner of commercial disputes for clients, but his particular specialism is dealing with disputed insurance claims. He has acted for some of the UK's leading insurers and Lloyd’s Syndicates since 2001.

Robert is best known for representing insurers in respect of title indemnity claims relating to the commercial and residential development of land, including claims relating to restrictive covenants, access rights, rights of light, boundary issues and other title defects. He also deals with claims under Lenders’ Title Indemnity policies, arising in circumstances in which the lender’s security is compromised as a consequence of a title defect.

Within his insurance practice, Robert carries out overall claims-management, from the point of notification of circumstances through to settlement, adjudication, trial or other resolution. He also advises on policy coverage and policy wording issues, and re-drafts policy wordings where issues have been identified.

Robert also deals with general insurance disputes and claims (including acting against insurers), partnership disputes and B2B contract disputes.

Highlights:

  • Advising insurers regarding Lender’s Title policies in which the lenders appeared to have breached a condition precedent (specifically, an obligation on the lender to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations)
  • Advising on policy coverage and policy wordings in respect of a Defective Title policy
  • Drafting a new title indemnity policy wording for an insurer that had just entered that market
  • Advising insurers regarding a Business Interruption claim resulting from a total loss fire at a paper recycling facility and settling the claim for a nominal sum
  • Advising an insurer and applying to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) for modification of restrictive covenants in respect of residential development sites in Cheltenham
  • Advising insurers regarding claims on Lender’s Title policies arising from the fraudulent transfers of land (including cases in which the transfer was not registered and cases in which the title was challenged by the true owner after registration)
  • Advising an insurer regarding multiple claims by a single lender, in which there was a series of over-stated valuations of properties on successive remortgages and on which the lender has suffered loss. The claims initially appeared to be unconnected, although Robert subsequently established a link between them and eventually uncovered 14 linked fraudulent claims and a multi-party conspiracy
  • Advising an insurer on a proposed policy insuring both owners’ and lenders’ title risks on a series of connected UK power station acquisitions by a US corporation with a transaction value in excess of £600m. The transaction involved dealing with the US funders and US lawyers, and the redrafting of ALTA policy wordings (these are the standard form used for title insurance in the USA) to create an English Law policy that would still meet the US lawyers’ expectations.

 

Robert has an outstanding track record for claims settlement and is a vocal advocate for early mediation/ADR to avoid costs concerns overtaking the original claim issues. He has substantial mediation experience.

He has also worked in-house for a legaltech/fintech business, assisting with its engagement of external advisors and dealing with various drafting and advisory matters.

In the background, Robert has other business interests including WHD Broking Limited, which provides various support, advisory, lead-generation and introducer services across multiple sectors. This includes the development of a new insurance product which should launch during 2021, and which is expected to have a revolutionary impact on property transaction times and costs.

Interests outside work include all forms of Motorsport, fast cars, fast bikes and photography.



Specialisms

Insurance; title indemnity claims; policy coverage disputes and advisory; commercial dispute resolution

Qualifications

  • Solicitor, LLB (Hons)

Career

  • WHD Broking Limited (MD) – business introductions and lead generation
  • ME Group Holdings Limited (interim in-house Counsel)
  • Weightmans Solicitors (London and Leeds) – Partner
  • Shulmans Solicitors (Leeds and London) - Partner

Robert says...

As a litigator with more than 21 years’ experience I know that the litigation process can be time-consuming, expensive and in most cases ultimately disappointing for all concerned. Where possible (and it isn’t always), my aim is to assist clients to achieve the quickest and most cost-effective resolution of a dispute through mediation and/or without-prejudice meetings between the parties.