Andrew Smith Partner


Speaks:  English

Qualified: 1992 - Solicitor of England & Wales


Primary office:  Birmingham




Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith's 25 years as a litigator have taught him that what clients generally want and therefore what he provides is:

  • A balance between the best result, for the minimum cost, whilst protecting the reputation of our client. Only by seeing these three issues holistically does a firm add value in its services. Too often with law firms the merits take precedence without sufficient cognisance of the costs incurred. The constantly shifting balance between the above three principles are at the heart of the advice Andrew gives in disputes.
  • Understanding that trials are generally a sign of failure by one or both parties. Clients would rather retain control over the dispute, however unpalatable, than have an external force (the judge/arbitrator) decide on a win/lose basis. An advantageous settlement is most often the goal. There are always exceptions of course and in particular 'bet the company' issues and where it is important to send a warning message to a wider audience.
  • Recognition that legal cost is usually an important element in resolving a dispute. Each pound, dollar or euro expended on the dispute is worth more to the client than each pound, dollar or euro being fought over. One is actual, the other prospective.

Over the years Andrew has dealt with many cases of a hugely varied nature. The areas of legal expertise borne out of this varied case load include:

  • Contract termination
  • Economic torts
  • Legal professional privilege
  • Misfeasance
  • Guarantees/indemnities

The industry sectors in which he has done a great deal of work include automotive; food and drink; pharma; property development; telecoms and heavy industry.

Andrew's highlights

Normally success from his clients' perspective would be measured in part by how little publicity they achieved, but within the realms of what can be disclosed some of Andrew's career highlights include:

  • Acting for an Anglo/French contractor in a claim against the House of Commons – the first time in its history it had been sued. The judge found, in a landmark judgment, that the House of Commons had breached EU law (and statutes it had passed itself), as well as committing misfeasance in public office in attempting a cover-up.
  • Acting for CPC Group in its claim against Qatari Diar over breach of contract in relation to the Chelsea Barracks development. It was The Lawyer magazine's number one case of that year in the UK. The case achieved some profile in the press because it centred on whether HRH Prince of Wales had suggested to His Excellency the Emir of Qatar that a modernist architectural scheme was inappropriate for the development and then whether H.E. the Emir encouraged Qatari Diar to pull out of the scheme, creating a breach of contract. We successfully obtained a third party disclosure order against HRH Prince of Wales, and judgment was awarded in our client's favour. Andrew now conducts all of CPC Group's litigation matters.

Client testimonial

Christian Candy of CPC Group Limited says of Andrew:

"My comments are:

  1. Andrew is always highly responsive, and available to the Group’s demands.
  2. Andrew provides clarity of thought, a great legal brain, coupled with a strong sense of commerciality.
  3. A pleasure to work with.

He is my go to person when we want to litigate, or are being litigated against. I would not want to do battle without Andrew by my side."

Experience

Andrew has handled reported cases that have either made new law or furthered existing principles in respect of, among other things:

  • The measure of damages for breach of EU procurement law.
  • What constitutes taking a step in the action, waiving the right to seek a stay in court proceedings pending arbitration.
  • The meaning of all reasonable endeavours.
  • Dishonest assistance and knowing receipt (in the context of bribery).
  • The nature and extent of informed consent required from the principal in relation to what would otherwise be secret profits taken by an agent.
  • The sufficiency of ATE insurance in defeating a security for costs application.

Career & Recognition

Filter timeline:
  • 2016

    • Rankings & Awards
      2016
      Leading individual, Legal 500 - Commercial litigation
    • Career
      2016
      Gowling WLG (UK) LLP, partner
  • 2014

    • Career
      2014
      Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co, partner
  • 1999

    • Career
      1999
      Wragge & Co, partner
  • 1995

    • Career
      1995
      Wragge & Co, solicitor, associate
  • 1992

    • Qualifications (Year of Call/Admission, etc.)
      1992
      Qualified, Solicitor of England & Wales
    • Career
      1992
      DLA, solicitor