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    Jerome O’Sullivan, Partner

    Jerome is partner and a member of the Commercial Dispute Resolution, Professional Negligence, Construction and Insurance Groups at Healys LLP.

    Headshot of Jerome O'Sullivan
    Contact Information
    Direct
    T: 020 7822 4144 E: jerome.osullivan@healys.com
    Office Atrium Court 15-17 Jockey’s Fields London WC1R 4QR
    T: 020 7822 4000 F: 020 7822 4100
    Services & Sectors
    Memberships

    Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England & Wales

    Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute

    Chartered Insurance Practitioner

    Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators

    Profile

    He acts for a wide range of commercial and high-net-worth clients in the spectrum of commercial disputes including construction, professional negligence, insurance, property, and director and shareholder disputes.

    Jerome advises on a wide range of construction disputes including; latent and apparent defects, delays, extensions of time, claims for loss and expense, prolongation and disruption; LADs, interim and final accounts, suspension of works, retentions, collateral warranties, NHBC type warranties and nuisance claims.

    Jerome’s client succeeded at trial in the Technology and Construction Court in the case of Freeborn v De Almeida Marcal (t/a Dan Marcal Architects) [2019] EWHC 454 (TCC), which was a case of wide-spread significance to those who commission construction professionals. Issues included; the scope of the architect’s retainer; whether the brief was properly prepared, documented and agreed; the scope of a project manager’s responsibilities including obtaining competitive tenders, timely ordering of components and construction defects; the extent to which the architect had delegated his obligations to specialist contractors; and interpretation of the Building Regulations in relation to means of escape from fire.

    He has conduct of a wide range of professional negligence disputes involving lawyers, valuers, construction, finance and insurance professionals.

    Jerome’s client was successful at trial and at the Court of Appeal in the ground breaking case of Dreamvar (UK) Limited v (1) Mishcon de Reya (2) Mary Monson Solicitors, which involved an ID fraud in a property transaction. Dreamvar clarified solicitors’ potential liabilities for breach of trust, breach of undertaking and breach of warranty of authority, to both the vendor and the purchaser. As a consequence Jerome’s comments on the case appeared in the Daily Telegraph, Times and Law Gazette.

    He has extensive experience of high value insurance disputes including contractors all risks, commercial property, business interruption, employers and public liability, directors and officer’s liability, new building warranties and pollution liability. His practice includes both advising in regard to the primary claim and any related third party subrogation claim.

    He is regularly involved in high-value property disputes including disputes over sale and purchase agreements, leases, dilapidations, forfeiture and defects in title.

    Jerome also advises in regard to a range of contractual disputes involving clients in the insurance, construction, infrastructure, information technology, healthcare, finance, recruitment and shipping sectors.

    Jerome’s practice also includes a range of insolvency matters including bankruptcy and winding up petitions, related injunctive relief, directors disqualification and other director liabilities on insolvency.

    Jerome represents his clients in the various divisions of the High Court including Chancery, Queens Bench, Commercial, Technology & Construction Courts and the Court of Appeal. He also advises in relation to mediation, arbitration and adjudication.

    Legal 500 Recommendations

    Jerome O’Sullivan is ‘tenacious and a strong negotiator’. – Legal 500 2017

    The ‘brilliant’ Jerome O’Sullivan is the leading advisor for the claimant in a £1.1m dispute against two firms of solicitors in relation to a fraudulent property transaction” – Legal 500 2018

    Client Testimonials

    “I am writing to express my appreciation for the quality of legal advice and assistance that we have received from Jerome O’Sullivan during the above complex litigation. Jerome was able to secure a success at trial in the High Court after two years of hard-fought litigation.I was particularly impressed by the thorough way in which he prepared for an intense three party mediation session and the robust way in which he represented our interests during the mediation.
    Jerome takes a proactive approach to litigation and he seeks to keep his opponents on the “back foot”. He is always punctual, making sure nothing is left out of consideration, gives utmost attention to detail and explains the issues very well. I received regular bills so there were no surprises in relation to charges. He issued regular estimates throughout the proceedings and his ultimate charges were within those estimates. I would have no hesitation in recommending Jerome to clients who find themselves involved in similar high-value and complex commercial disputes.”
    Mr Erman Vardar, Managing Director of Dreamvar UK Ltd
    “You’re a genius. Please bite their hand off!…… Very many thanks – a really good result! Thank you so much for all your hard work – I’m not embarrassed to say that we would never have achieved this result without your drive, professional knowledge and persistence.”
    Finance Director of a Principal Contractor
    "

    Jerome has always given us practical and accurate legal advice in regard to the legal and quantum aspects of disputes. He is very practical and commercial and has very good negotiating abilities. His strategic and tactical focus is on reaching an acceptable settlement as soon as reasonably possible, with a view to avoiding us suffering the costs and risks of a trial lasting several weeks.

    "
    John Keehan - Deputy Managing Director at Keltbray Group (Holdings) Ltd
    Experience

    Jerome has acted for clients in a wide range of complex and high-value disputes, a selection of which are set out below.

    Construction

    1. Defending a design and build main contractor with an annual turnover of £60 million in relation to a dispute with a pension fund and a global merchant bank (who purchased the development) in relation to alleged defects in the construction in a claim in excess of £1 million. The issues included whether third party rights have been effectively transferred to the bank, the scope of the remedial works required under the JCT contract, the liabilities of the novated structural engineers and architects and whether the main contractor was liable for any consequential losses.

    2. Jerome has advised a sub-contractor with an annual turnover of £130 million in their dispute with the main contractor in relation to tunnelling works in the Cross-Rail project in the approximate sum of £4 million. The issues include construction of a bespoke NEC3 Subcontract including the effect of pre-contractual representations, obligations in relation to the design of the permanent and temporary works, the effect of a step-down clause, the effect of an entire agreement clause and variations. Jerome negotiated a settlement of the dispute pre action after the exchange of Part 36 offers.

    3. Jerome has advised a design and build main contractor with an annual turnover of £60 million in relation to an £11 million commercial and residential development in south London. Once the development was practically completed, the developer entered into member’s voluntary liquidation. The issues included construction of a JCT Design and Build Contract 2011 with bespoke amendments, amounts outstanding in relation to interim and final accounts, Employers’ Agents’ Instructions, variations, liquidated damages, extensions of time, Pay Less Notices, alleged defects, failures to issue timely Notices of Completion of Making Good Defects, transactions at an undervalue, preferential payments, transactions defrauding creditors, the liquidators’ investigatory powers under the Insolvency Act. Jerome negotiated an advantageous settlement for his client shortly after the dispute was referred to arbitration.

    4. Advising a design and build main contractor with an annual turnover of £60 million in relation to a £500,000 dispute arising out of a bespoke residential property construction in Wimbledon involving the employers, the architects and the contract administrators. Issues included alleged premature issuing of the Certificate of Practical Completion, a negligent design and construction, defamation, failures to mitigate, allegedly nervous shock, loss of amenity, malicious prosecution and abuse of process, disputes over the final account.

    5. Acting for a group of lessees in relation to a claim under the Defective Premises Act 1972 and negligent misstatement to remedy latent structural defects valued at £750,000 involving the project architects and structural engineers.

    6. Advising a sub-contractor on the terms of their agreement with the main contractor in relation to the installation of specialist fire protection equipment in the Battersea Power Station project.

    7. Jerome represented a high-net-worth couple in an adjudication in relation to their dispute with a design and build contractor over a £4 million refurbishment of their property in Notting Hill. The issues included the construction of a JCT Standard Building Contract without quantities 2011, the scope of an adjudicator’s jurisdiction including considering a substantial counterclaim, delays caused by the contractors, poor administration and management of the project, substantial defective and non-compliant works, loss and expense and variation, setting out errors and liquidated damages.

    8. Jerome acted on behalf of a corporate purchaser, whose ultimate controlling shareholder appears in the Sunday Times Rich List, of two luxury detached properties located in the suburbs of Birmingham. The proceedings were issued in the Technology & Construction Court in the approximate sum of £1 million and involved serious structural defects throughout the properties, the developer’s failure to comply with its obligations under the Construction, Design and Management Regulations 2015 and defects in the planning permission. The issues included contractual interpretation, liabilities under the NHBC Buildmark Scheme, expert evidence in relation to effective remedial work to substantial waterproofing defects, defective planning consents, liabilities under the Defective Premises Act 1972, liabilities for loss of use and/or rental income and breaches of the Pre-Action Protocol for Construction & Engineering Disputes.

    9. Acting on behalf of a high net worth couple in relation to a £500,000 dispute with their main contractor and a firm of architects in relation to substantial extension and refurbishment works carried out to their Dulwich home. Issues included the main contractor’s obligations under the terms of the RIBA Domestic Building Contract, the extent to which these have been varied by the conduct of the parties, the architects and the main contractors’ liabilities for misrepresentations, the scope of the architect’s duties under the terms of their retainer and the clients’ additional rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

    10. Acting on behalf of a design and build main contractor with an annual turnover of £60 million in relation to a dispute with a specialist sub-contractor in relation to the design, supply and installation of gas services to a new commercial development in the sum of approximately £1 million pounds. The issues included construction of the express and implied terms of the contract between the parties, delay, loss and expense, incorporation and effect of the sub-contractor’s standard terms, the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and the extent to which overheads and profit are recoverable in breach of contract. Jerome secured a settlement advantageous to our clients at a without prejudice meeting before proceedings commenced.

    11. Acting on behalf of a senior manager of a national demolition and civil engineering contractor with a turnover of £400 million in regard to an NHBC building warranty dispute in relation to substantial structural defects to a new property in Gerrard’s Cross with remedial costs of approximately £500,000.

    12. Acting on behalf of a sub-contractor with an annual turnover of £130 million in its dispute with the main contractor in relation to infrastructure works carried out to a gyratory system in Rugby involving variations, extensions of time, the effect of a purported payless notice, defective works and the construction of the NEC3 form of contract.

    13. Acting on behalf of a high-net-worth couple in relation to a £1 million dispute with a main contractor in relation to substantive refurbishment works carried out to their Holland Park home. Issues included interpretation of the construction of the JCT Intermediate Building Contract with Contractors Design 2011, the scope of an adjudicator’s jurisdiction and power to deal with the Claimant’s counterclaim, obligations arising under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, substantial defects left outstanding by the main contractors, mismanagement of the project, the effect of Pay Less Notices and the validity of a completion certificate.

    14. Defending a national demolition and civil engineering contractor with a turnover of £400 million in regard to a £10 million nuisance claim arising out of a large demolition project in the City of London.

    Professional Negligence

    15. Acting on behalf of the Claimant developer purchaser against two firms of solicitors in relation to a fraudulent property transaction in the sum of £1.1 million. Dreamvar succeeded in obtaining a judgement against the First Defendant for breach of trust after a 6 day Trial. The First Defendant appealed, the Claimant cross-appealed and the Court of Appeal considered it together with a co-joined appeal for four days beginning on 26 February 2018.

    o The issues included both solicitors’ liabilities to the innocent purchaser in the event of a fraudulent property transaction in contract, negligence, trust, warranty of authority, SRA Code of Conduct, the Money Laundering Regulations and the Law Society Code for Completion by Post.

    o The Court of Appeal held that the Second Defendant was also in breach of trust and breach of undertaking to Dreamvar and were jointly liable with the First Defendant for Dreamvar’s losses. The Second Defendant was potentially found to be in breach of warranty of authority, save for the fact that Dreamvar was unable to establish reliance upon same.

    16. Jerome acted on behalf of a high net-couple in relation to an architect’s professional negligence claim in the sum of approximately £1 million in relation to the defective design and construction of a private cinema and other works to a mansion located in Totteridge, North London. The issues included; the scope of architect’s retainer; whether the brief was properly prepared, documented and agreed; the scope of a project manager’s responsibilities including obtaining competitive tenders, timely ordering of components and construction defects; the extent to which the architect had delegated his obligations to specialist contractors; and interpretation of the Building Regulations in relation to means of escape from fire. Jerome’s clients succeeded at trial in the Technology and Construction Court Freeborn v De Almeida Marcal (t/a Dan Marcal Architects) [2019] EWHC 454 (TCC) in a judgment of wide-spread significance to those who commission construction professionals.

    17. Acting on behalf of a high-net-worth client in relation to a dispute with his former solicitors, BL. BL had advised our client in relation to a professional negligence claim against a further firm of solicitors, M, who had negligently advised our client in relation to a property sale agreement with an overage clause. The overage clause proved entirely ineffective and BL commenced proceedings for a loss of chance claim against M for a sum of approximately £1.5 million. After pursuing the litigation for approximately 5 years at considerable expense, M’s insurers demonstrated that the claim against M had been issued three days outside the relevant limitation period, with the result that the claim was struck out and the client suffered an adverse cost award. The issues included quantification of the loss of chance, the client’s locus standii under the terms of his parents’ wills, both of whom had died between the date of M’s negligence and the proceedings against M having been issued, the client’s rights against his sister who had failed in her obligations as an executrix and trustee of her parent’s wills, the relevance of offers made in mediation to a loss of chance claim. While BL had acted for our client, it had split into two legal entities and the apportionment of responsibility to each entity was an issue.

    18. Acting for a property developer in regard to a professional negligence claim against a solicitor in regard to a missed deadline on a conditional contract resulting in a loss in the approximate sum of £2.3 million.

    Insurance

    19. Advising a national demolition and civil engineering contractor with a turnover of £400 million on a failure by the insurers to indemnify the client in regards to a building, plant and loss of rent claim in the approximate sum of £4 million arising from a catastrophic fire.

    20. Advising a national demolition and civil engineering contractor with a turnover of £400 million on a dispute with two insurance companies, both of which were seeking to avoid responsibility for an employer’s liability claim approaching £10 million.

    21. Acting for a high net worth couple in a multi-party dispute in regard to loss and damage in the approximate sum of £1.3 million caused by an accidental heating oil spillage.

    Commercial Dispute Resolution

    22. Advising a main contractor in relation to a dispute with Network Rail Infrastructure in relation to an outstanding debt and disputed variations in the approximate sum of £500,000 arising from railway works. A statutory demand was issued before Christmas 2017 and Network Rail paid the undisputed amount of the debt a few hours before the clients were entitled to seek petition for their winding-up. The disputed element of the debt was settled a few weeks later by negotiation.

    23. Advising a national demolition and civil engineering contractor with a turnover of £400 million in relation to their claim against a former director for breach of contract and breaches of fiduciary duty including misappropriation of funds and business opportunities.

    24. Acting on behalf of a high-net-worth client, a director of national demolition and civil engineering contractor with a turnover of £400 million, in relation to the sale of a classic car by an auctioneer in Holland and the auctioneer’s repeated unlawful refusal to release the sale proceeds to our client. Issues included the scope of the auctioneer’s obligations to the client as agents, negligence on the part of the auctioneers, the rights of an undisclosed principal and the relevant merits of the insolvency and litigation procedures

    25. Acting for a firm with an annual turnover of £12 million in a multi-party breach of contract and competition law claim for a sum in excess of £5 million arising out of an agreement to provide advertising on the London Underground.

    26. Acting for property developers in regard to a multi-party dispute arising out of the failure on the part of a number of leaseholders to complete purchases on two blocks of flats after the “credit crunch” involving claims for sums in excess of £2 million.

    Reported Cases

    Dreamvar UK Ltd v Mishcon de Reya & Mary Monson Solicitors [2016] EWHC 3316 Ch

    Freeborn & Anor v Marcal [2017] EWHC 3046 (TCC)

    P&P Property Limited v Owen White & Catlin LLP and Dreamvar (UK) Limited v Mishcon de Reya & Mary Monson Solicitors [2018] EWCA Civ. 1082

    Freeborn v De Almeida Marcal (t/a Dan Marcal Architects) [2019] EWHC 454 (TCC)

    Press Commentary – Dreamvar

    The Telegraph

    Hope for victims of “highjacked homes”

    Law Gazette

    Court of Appeal rules against seller’s solicitor in crucial Dreamvar liability case

    The Times

    Watch out for fraudsters selling homes they don’t own

    Today’s Conveyancer

    BREAKING NEWS: Court of Appeal rules on Dreamvar

    Q&A with Jerome O’Sullivan who acted for Dreamvar

    Legal Futures

    Court of Appeal find seller’s solicitor liable for impostor fraud

    Check your retainers – the lessons of Dreamvar

    Press Commentary – Freeborn

    The Times

    Banker sues over “horror” home cinema

    London Standard

    Financier suing architect over ugly home cinema

    Daily Mail

    Financier sues architect for nearly £1m over home cinema disaster

    The Architects Journal

    Home cinema court case warning to all architects

    Homeowners secure £500,000 judgment against negligent architect

    Scottish Construction Now

    Architect sued for not delivering wow factor

    Hidden Wires

    Financier wins £500,000 damages in ugly home cinema case