Neil Chawla was educated at King Henry VIII School, Coventry and read Law at Nottingham University where (apart from captaining the team on BBC2’s University Challenge) he won the Nottingham Graduates Mooting Prize. Neil’s working background started as an Independent Financial Advisor before being called to the Bar, by Lincoln’s Inn, in July 2000 aged 22.
His initial training was in London in the Chambers of Richard Ferguson QC during which time he regularly appeared in Crown Courts throughout London and the South East dealing with criminal matters, at various levels of complexity, for both defence and prosecution, together with Immigration matters.
In 2002, he moved to No5 in Birmingham and, as well as his criminal practice, Neil also attended inquests where he appeared frequently before the Coroner’s Court on behalf of witnesses who were summoned, the Police, Probation Officers and also nursing/medical staff. Such cases regularly involved lengthy and complicated trials concerning deaths in custody or deaths in hospital and required consideration of complex medical and expert evidence both in respect of advising and for the purposes of cross-examination.
From 2007 Neil switched his practice to Chancery/Commercial and Personal Injury work, acting mainly (although not exclusively) for Defendants and Insurance Companies. Whilst practising he also completed exams as a Mediator with the London School of Mediation in 2011 and, after undergoing practical experience in 2012, he became qualified as an Accredited Mediator.
Currently his areas of specialism include Commercial and Personal Injury acting for both Claimants and Defendants in all areas of work ranging from fast track trials, disposal hearings to multi-track hearings, credit hire (for many years on behalf of the Claimant but in recent years on behalf of the Defendant), insurance fraud (his criminal background assisting him in areas of alleged fraud, “staged” accidents, phantom passengers and exaggerated claims), possession hearings (in relation to mortgage disputes, applications to suspend warrants, forfeiture, charging orders and orders for sale), contractual and property disputes (in particular matters arising under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954).
In the past Neil’s practice covered a broad range of Commercial matters which included experience of Inheritance Act claims, challenges to Wills and advising on the construction of Wills together with advising as to the appropriate settlement of Estates. Having previously spent many years on the Attorney General List advising the BIS (former DBERR) on insolvency matters and matters relating to criminal prosecutions under the Insolvency Act he used this experience in the commercial context appearing in winding up proceedings before the Companies Court, appearing on behalf of both petitioning / substituted creditors and supporting creditors.
Neil strives to deliver both to his professional and lay clients and prides himself on his ability to build a good rapport with those whom he represents. He has had exposure to a wide variety of court and tribunal work, which has provided him with a strong practical base and substantial advocacy experience as well as a wealth of financial and commercial experience. He uses the variety of skills he has acquired to identify and focus on key issues in order to provide realistic, objective and “commercially-sensitive” advice across a wide spectrum of cases.
Adopting a no-nonsense, common sense approach Neil is a firm believer in a professional, clear and practical approach and getting direct to the heart of the matter, both in conferences and at Court. Thus, he likes to adopt a proactive approach to cases both pre and post-issue by arranging conferences with clients (both professional and lay) early to discuss matters such as the merits of the case, to assess the credibility of witnesses and to offer practical advice on how the case should progress.
Although the majority of his practice now relates to commercial disputes and advising insurance companies, he is happy to accept instructions whether for litigation or to mediate across a wide range of matters.
Neil is also fully qualified in obtaining instructions, providing advice and going to court on a Direct Access basis.
As well as practice he has become a senior lead advocacy trainer for Lincoln’s Inn, taking part in courses for students, Pupils’, New Practitioners’, Experts, Vulnerable Witnesses and as a Tutor Trainer having been involved in the Education Faculty of Lincoln’s Inn since 2007. He is also a member of the Faculty for the International Advocacy Course at Keble College, Oxford and has trained advocates internationally on behalf of the Inn/ICCA in Dublin, Belfast, Guernsey, the Hague, Cyprus and Ukraine.
Outside of the law, Neil has a keen interest in sport and in particular skiing, cricket and hockey having previously played at representative level. He is currently a Level 3 England hockey coach and also a qualified umpire.
Miss. M H-K v Mr. A (2020)
Successfully represented the Defendant in a trial where a finding of Fundamental Dishonesty was made against the Claimant resulting in the Defendant obtaining costs.
Mr. U, Mr. K, Mr. R, Mr. K v Mr. T and Enterprise Insurance (2019)
Successfully represented the Insurance Defendant in a multi-day trial arguing that the absent driver was not at fault for any accident resulting in the Claimants having no claim against the insurance company.
Mr. A v Pizza Hut (2019)
Successfully represented the Defendant at a trial which resulted in part of its costs of the action had to be paid by a third party.
Mr. D v Sabre Insurance (2018)
Appeal representing the Appellant relating to the correct calculation of Basic Hire Rates in Credit hire cases.
Miss. F v N I Estate (2018)
Successfully represented the Defendant in arguing the Claimant had exaggerated her injuries.
Mr. RL and Mr. AC v Mr. MO (2017)
Multi-track trial representing the Defendant on liability and quantum arising out of the Claimant driving on the wrong side of the road.
Mr. PF v CICA (2017)
Instructed by solicitors in Ireland representing Mr. Finglas in his appeal before the Criminal Injury Appeal Tribunal, appealing a decision from the First Tier Tribunal – Criminal Injuries Compensation, for injuries sustained in an assault.
Mr. KR v Slater Gordons (2016)
Successfully representing the Defendants in a claim regarding an unpaid debt.
Mr. NH (Executor and Administrator of Estate of A) v Mr. PH (2016)
Involved, via public access, in the Defence of PH suggesting he had exerted undue influence to change the will of Margaret Allen.
Mr. JD v The Practice Ltd (2016)
Successfully representing the Defendant against a claim for misrepresentation.
Mr. NR v Mr. MR (2016)
Successfully representing the Claimant at trial for breach of contract relating to rough uncut diamond investments.
Mr, MT and Mrs. JT v Persons Unknown (2015)
Representing the Claimants and obtained a Vesting Order against an absent/unknown Landlord.
Leicester: Inquest into LS (2015)
Representing Prison Officers of HMP Leicester relating to the death of a mentally ill prisoner.
Mr. and Mrs T v Mrs. and Mr. N (2015)
Multi-track trial representing the Defendants instructing by direct access, defending against his Uncle and Aunt over a transfer of property which was argued as having been provided as a gift by the Claimant’s father.
Mr. MR v Mr. FR (2015)
Successfully representing the Applicant on a trial before the Property Tribunal for rectification of Land Registry for property obtained through fraud by the Respondent.
Mr. DP v J and A (2015)
Successfully representing the Claimant on a trial setting aside a Statutory Demand.
F Ltd v A Television Company (2015)
Trial representing the Claimant for breach of contract arising out of advertising and marketing successfully resolved by way of a Tomlin Order.
BW Services v LM (2015)
Successful appeal on behalf of BW for unpaid rates.
Tunbridge Wells: Inquest into death of FC (2014)
Instructed on a direct access basis by a Dr involved in consideration of a patient who died under anaesthetic.
Morgan v WFS (2014)
Represented the Claimant in a trial relating to alleged mis-selling of PPI.
CS v Project K (2013)
Represented the Defendant in trial regarding the sale of a modified Range Rover.
Sutton Coldfield: Inquest into death of NS (2013)
death of elderly resident involving consideration of causation of death. Initially, briefed to represent four parties in this case, but resulted in the representation of three parties due to a conflict of interest.
Smethwick: Inquest into death of WG (2011)
death due to drug overdose – representing nurse
Southwark: Inquest into death of SK (2011)
death of baby moments after being born – representing midwife
Manchester: Inquest into death of TY (2010)
death of baby moments after being born – representing midwife
Loughborough: Inquest into death of VJ (2010)
death of prisoner in prison – representing prison officers
Shrewsbury: Inquest into death of JK (2010)
death from an RTA – representing family
Whitehaven: Inquest into death of RS (2010)
Incorrect insertion of NG Tube - representing nursing staff.
Secondment at Birmingham Civil and Family Justice Centre 2022
Secondment at Walsall County and Family Court 2021
Deputy District Judge 2020
Master of the Midland Circuit of Lincoln’s Inn 2019
Bencher of The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn 2019
Member of The Personal Finance Society and The Chartered Insurance Institute