Chris Ritchie

  • Chris Ritchie
  • PARTNER, DISPUTE RESOLUTION
  • +44 28 9026 5542
  • Arthur Cox, Victoria House, Gloucester Street, Belfast BT1 4LS, Northern Ireland

Expertise

Chris Ritchie is a partner in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group in the Arthur Cox Belfast Office in Northern Ireland. Chris has represented insurers and large corporates in Northern Ireland over many years, building up a reputation for sound commercial advice on technical matters but always with the overall goal of problem resolution in mind. His opponents have identified him as an amiable but strategic practitioner and “a conscientious but unshowy lawyer who gets on with the job”. His practice in the insurance sphere includes EL/PL/EPL, Health and Safety, Motor, Occupational disease, Product liability and Professional indemnity.

Chris is also experienced in the fields of public procurement and judicial review. As far as the former is concerned he has advised household name pharmaceutical companies in relation to large-scale public competitions. In relation to judicial review, Chris acted in the highest profile case in Northern Ireland of recent times (the Buick challenge to the Energy for Waste project), the outcome of which led to a highly publicised appeal and ultimately the introduction of Westminster legislation permitting permanent secretaries in Northern Ireland to take executive decisions in certain circumstances.

He is a “Leading Individual in Dispute Resolution” (Chambers), whose experience covers:

  • Large loss liability claims of all descriptions
  • Professional indemnity/financial lines, including all construction related
  • Public procurement/judicial review matters
  • Defamation
  • Complex personal injury/fatal accidents/occupational disease (including HSE involvement)
  • Advice to public bodies/statutory agencies

Experience

Chris’s selected relevant personal experience includes:

  • Advises medical device manufacturers on handling of claims in Northern Ireland, co-ordinating with global defence strategies
  • Advised client in relation to judicial review of Energy for Waste project at both first instance and at Court of Appeal
  • Advising household name pharmaceutical companies on procurement challenges
  • Defending a number of hip implant manufacturers in relation to defective product liability claims.as part of global defence team
  • Defended TUV in NI in respect of a number of claimants alleging implantation of defective implants made by Poly Implant Prosthese.
  • Advises media companies on defamation claims in Northern Ireland
  • Defended insured coach company sued by over 50 claimants after driver suffered vaso vagal fit, rendering him (on our case) an automaton. Relying on strong medical evidence that the driver’s medical condition could not have been identified beforehand, we were able to negotiate a substantial discount on damages in each individual case.
  • Issued judicial review of public procurement tender in respect of Nutritional Supplements resulting in the tender being withdrawn.
  • Defended surveyor in respect of 47 claims brought by individuals as a result of property scam in Turkey.
  • Successful suit on behalf of consultant anaesthetist catastrophically injured whilst in ambulance – damages of £1.4m recovered after commencement of hearing.
  • Defended insured construction company in respect of fatal accident, providing advice from interview stage (over 20 witnesses) with police/HSE through criminal trial, inquest and ultimately personal injury claim, negotiating 50/50 outcome with co-defendant.
  • Defended insured wood chipping company in respect of traumatic amputation of leg. Claimant was a foreign worker and the case raised various issues regarding the company’s duties under the Health & Safety legislation.
  • Defended firm of architects in £multi-million claim in respect of allegedly defective works, compromising a prestige building development. A large part of the claim was based on alleged loss of profits premised on the Claimant Contractor being unable to sell the properties before the “credit crunch”. We set out our argument that this loss was bad in law and it was ultimately withdrawn, the case itself being resolved for a fraction of the amount sought. This case was also the first instance in Northern Ireland of using Early Neutral Evaluation (Judge-led).
  • Acted for firm of brokers in respect of £multi-million claim for professional negligence . We successfully instituted a causation argument, making the case that the vast bulk of the claim was not caused by the Insured’s negligence. The claim was settled for less than a tenth of the amount sought.
  • Acting for insurer in dispute with another insurance company regarding which was liable to indemnify. After giving early advice to our client, we guided them through an informal expert adjudication procedure, ultimately leading the other insurer to accept full liability for the putative loss.
Education
  • LLB (Hons); Certificate of Professional Legal Studies
Professional
  • Admitted as a solicitor in Northern Ireland, 1995
  • Admitted as a solicitor in England & Wales, 2002