Fountain Court Chambers

London & Singapore

Timothy Dutton CBE QCCall Date: 1979 | Silk Date: 1998

The “very thorough lawyer” Timothy Dutton QC has a wide commercial practice; with experience in all areas of:

After completing his term as Chairman of the Bar Council in 2008 Timothy Dutton QC returned to full time practice, and was the Head of Chambers at Fountain Court from 2008-13. Timothy is currently ranked in both Chambers UK & Legal 500 as a leading Silk and a star individual in Professional Discipline.  He has undertaken a large number of high profile cases and is described as a “doyen of the bar when it comes to professional conduct.” Timothy Dutton QC also accepts appointments as an arbitrator and to chair inquiries.

Areas of Expertise

  • Commercial dispute resolution
  • Financial services
  • Fraud: civil
  • Insurance and reinsurance
  • International arbitration
  • Media, entertainment & sport
  • Offshore
  • Professional discipline
  • Professional negligence
  • Administrative & public law

Recent practice

Administrative & public law

Tim regularly appears in the Administrative Court and Court of Appeal instructed in administrative law cases which often overlap with his regulatory work.

  • Instructed in 2012 as lead Counsel with Marianne Butler by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in the landmark cases brought by two men suffering from locked-in syndrome who wanted to be assisted to die: R (on the application for AM) V DPP and SRA
  • In 2009 he conducted the inquiry into the World Class Payments Bureau on behalf of Sport England, dealing with the public law duties of the officials involved and the lawfulness of the arrangements under which approximately £20m was paid through the Bureau.  His 250 page report was published in December 2009.
  • He acted for the SRA in the several judicial review challenges to the Rules applied to the firms of solicitors who acted in Miners Compensation Scheme cases and against whom action was taken by the regulator.  In Wakefield v Channel Four, GMC and others 2007 94 BMLR Tim acted for the GMC in High Court proceedings brought by Dr Wakefield concerning the MMR Vaccine.
  • His opinion as to the powers of the Architects Registration Board under the Architects Registration Act has been published by the Regulator.
  • In Holder v the Law Society 2003 1 WLR 1059 Tim represented the Law Society in the various Human Rights Act challenges to the statutory powers of intervention, and likewise in Thompson v The Law Society 2004 1 WLR 2522

Commercial dispute resolution

  • Transport for London v Freshfields and Herbert Smith  Leading James McClelland in the defence of a very substantial claim  set for a 3 week trial in the Commercial Court October 2013.
  • JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov and others [2012] EWHC 1252 (Comm) The commercial court accepted Tim Dutton QC’s argument that the client’s right to legal advice overrode the interests of the claimant.
  • United Company Rusal Plc v HSBC Bank Plc, Citibank,  Debevoise and Plimpton LLP 2011 EWHC 404 Tim acted on behalf of the successful respondents (Debevoise and Plimpton) in the unprecedented Norwich Pharmacal claims brought by Rusal.
  • Chevron Corporation v Maria Aguinda Salazar et al Tim is providing expert evidence on English Law to the Court in New York in the dispute concerning the enforceability of the Ecuadorian judgment of US$18bn against Chevron.
  • Clydesdale Financial Services Ltd v Smailes, Jiva LLP and others 2009 EWHC 1745 (Ch) and 2009 EWHC 3190 (Ch) (leading Bridget Lucas) Tim led for the Defendant acquiring a business in a pre-pack company administration.  The case raised issues about the conduct of pre-pack administrations, SIP16, independence of administrators, whether creditors secured.
  • Quinn Direct Insurance v The Law Society 2010 EWCA Civ 805 (leading Marcus Smith QC) Tim acted for the Law Society in the Court of Appeal.
  • Inquam Telecom Holdings Limited v Primus Telecommunications Ltd 2007 EWCA Civ 1033 Tim appeared in the Commercial Court and in the Court of Appeal in a case concerning the calculation of royalties in telecoms connection services.


  • Instructed by the Association of British Insurers as lead counsel on Simmons v Castle where the court was asked to reconsider aspects of its decision to increase general damages in tort cases by 10 per cent. The Association of British Insurers was successful in their application, the court deciding that the increase in damages should only apply to cases where the claimant’s funding arrangements had been agreed after 1st April 2013.
  • Acting for a leading insurer in hundreds of claims arising out of the 2009 volcanic ash plume and European air space closure.
  • Acting for IOMA Insurance in its claims against numerous firms of solicitors who took out ATE policies to fund litigation claims and where the solicitors seek to recover under the ATE policies.
  • Has acted in many of the leading cases concerning insurance products used to fund litigation including  Callery v Gray Nos 1 and 2, the First Assist Test Cases 2006

Media, entertainment & sport

  • 2009 Conducted inquiry for Sport England into World Class Payments Bureau and reported on governance arrangements in National Governing Bodies of Sport.
  • 2010 Ongoing case acting for a manufacturer in a dispute concerning Formula 1
  • 2010 Chaired panel into alleged misconduct by athletes at the European Championships


Professional negligence and Professional discipline

‘The leading player in this area’ Timothy Dutton QC was voted Silk of the Year in 2010 and is recommended as a ‘star individual’ in both professional discipline and professional negligence in the directories. He is often brought in to lead teams in complex regulatory matters, and at the start of an investigation.  He acts for and advises regulators, firms and individuals on a regular basis dealing with regulatory and professional matters including. One directory described Tim as “The king of Law Society Regulatory Work”

Tim advises and acts in many of the most prominent and complex professional discipline cases across the whole range of professions for regulators and the regulated. He has unrivalled knowledge and experience in the field. He has conducted some of the largest multi-party cases. In 2018 he led the team for the Solicitors Regulation Authority dealing with the Al Sweady Iraqi cases against Public International Law / Phil Shiner and Leigh Day / Martyn Day, the latter becoming a 7 week trial at the SDT, and a 6 day appeal.  The SRA case against Leigh Day, the senior partner Martyn Day, Sapna Malik and Anna Crowther was the largest and longest of any SRA case and possibly any across all disciplines in recent times. Tim led Chloe Carpenter in the proceedings brought by IMUK and independent midwives (Beety and others v NMC, Judgment 12.12.17), acting successfully for the NMC in the midwives’ challenge to the registrar’s decision to remove them from the register for not having appropriate insurance unless they stopped using their insurer. He has led in the many cases involving the £100m Axiom Fund, bringing the cases against Paul Stott (Ashton Fox 2018), and Barnetts to a successful conclusion after a 2 week trial (2016). Tim also led Edward Levey in Ashton Fox which was decided in 2018 with a number of solicitors struck off.

Financial Services

Tim is ranked in the directories for Financial Services and is described in the directories as “A true leader in the field. He commands the confidence and respect of regulatory clients in all fields.”

Tim has advised and acted in some of the most serious and complex financial services cases whether that be for City clients or Regulators. Over recent years he has acted for the FRC in MG Rover against Deloitte (fined £14m reduced to £3m), Aero (Deloitte, fined £4m), and proceedings against Deloitte for the audit of Autonomy. He has also advised the accountancy sector widely and acted for Barclays in relation to mis-selling of insurance products involving potential claims of many hundreds of millions arising out of the fall-out from the Supreme Court judgment in Plevin. He regularly advises major financial service providers on their product design and regulatory compliance such as Aviva, Axa, LV. He acts on claims which arise under financial services products often involving the FCA or FOS: e.g. the financial services fallout from the Icebreaker Fund (a fund invested in by many high profile celebrities found to be a tax evasion scheme by the Upper Tribunal).

Accountants and auditors

  • Has acted in numerous JDS inquiries and currently involved in two AADB inquiries concerning auditors and accountants including those arising out of the collapse of Barings, Queen’s Moat Hotels, Resort Hotels, Trans Tec, Wiggin Group, Polly Peck.


Comments include:

  • “Outstandingly good and a lovely man.” Chambers and Partners 2019
  • “He has a fantastically sharp mind, cuts through to the core issues and is extremely pleasant to deal with.” “He is a very smooth operator and has the ear of the court.” Chambers and Partners 2019
  • “Incredibly bright and hard-working. He is a pleasure to work with and is counsel of choice for the most difficult and high-profile cases.” “He has tremendous authority in the courtroom, pays great attention to detail and is able to cut through complex issues in a pragmatic and insightful manner. He always makes himself available, despite his busy diary.” Chambers and Partners 2019
  • “He is brilliant in court, incredibly clever and client-friendly.”  “The advice he produced showed great appreciation of challenging issues.” Chambers and Partners 2019
  • ‘Instructed in big-ticket FRC and SRA cases.’ Legal 500 2016
  •  “An exceptional barrister who has very good judgement and is very well respected.” “He remains a class act.” Chambers 2016
  • “Has a very deep understanding of some fairly complex FS regulatory issues.” “He is an experienced delegator who knows when to operate at a high level and when to get down to the detail.”  Chambers 2016
  • “He is incredibly bright and hardworking, and to top it all an absolute pleasure to work with. He is the counsel of choice for the most difficult and high-profile cases.” “He is hugely knowledgeable, clear-sighted and unpretentious.” Chambers 2016 (Professional Discipline – Star Individual)
  • “Very experienced, very effective in court and very clear – he identifies the right issues.” “Has gravitas and great client manner.” Chambers 2016
  • “A true leader in the field. He commands the confidence and respect of regulatory clients in all fields.” Chambers 2014
  • “Extremely bright and with a deep appreciation of the needs and expectations of regulators.” Legal 500 2014
  • “He is a supremely competent and capable advocate who will adapt his style to suit the circumstances of every case.” Chambers 2014
  •  “He has a good manner with public law clients and a sharp understanding of the law.” Chambers 2014
  • “the “doyen of professional conduct” .. he is regularly instructed on solicitors’ negligence cases” Chambers 2014
  • a class act in this area”.  Professional discipline, Legal 500 UK 2013
  • “A doyen of the Bar when it comes to professional conduct, and also a delightful man.” Chambers UK 2012
  •  “A mellifluent quality to his address to the court that makes what he has to say simultaneously convincing and reassuring.” Chambers UK 2011
  •  “He has a scarily large brain and is prepared to work harder than anyone.”
  • brilliant analytical mind with immediate understanding of the issues
  • “No prima donna” and is viewed as a “team player who takes advice on board”
  • “Well equipped to deal with pretty much any negligence matter that lands on his desk.”
  • Timothy “is singled out for his FSA expertise in particular. He does, however, go well beyond practice & is a “safe bet” when it comes to anything related to professional negligence”

Appointments, memberships, prizes

  • Head of Fountain Court Chambers 2008 – 2013
  • Chairman Bar Council 2008.
  • Chairman Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers 2009
  • Deputy High Court Judge
  • Trustee and Governor of the Legal Education Foundation

Other experience

He has lectured widely and written many articles in his areas of expertise.


He is a Contributor to the Guide to the Legal Services Act 2007 (Butterworths).


Fluent in French, and basic knowledge of German.

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