The FOIL Structure

Lawrence Besemer

Laurence Besemer FCII

CEO

Bio

Laurence Besemer FCII

CEO

Direct dial: 07921 491426

Laurence is the CEO of FOIL a position he has held since 2009.

Working alongside the President and the Executive Committee, he is responsible for long term strategy and the infra structure of the organisation.

Laurence comments:

"With nearly 40 years' insurance claims experience, in the UK and overseas, I understand the industry and the pressures that claims managers and handlers face. I am a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute, Managing Director of C-Mas (Claims Management Advisory Services), non-executive Director of SX3 and of TopQuotes Insurance Brokers. I am a life-long Manchester United fan and am working hard to get my three young daughters versed in the benefits of being a red.”

Stuart Hardy (BLM)

President

Bio

Stuart Hardy (BLM)

President

Stuart specialises in defending major loss and catastrophic bodily injury claims with a particular expertise of claims involving policy coverage and arising out of the Uninsured and Untraced Drivers’ Agreement and those claims involving the charity and education sectors. Stuart works with a team of dedicated lawyers to deliver optimum outcomes, compromising claims promptly and economically where appropriate whilst having the ability to maintain a firm line where necessary. He has extensive experience of taking a lead role in strategic decisions and conducting JSMs and other forms of settlement negotiations. Stuart is one of BLM’s Lead Catastrophic Injury Lawyers, responsible with his other key stakeholder partners for the development of BLM’s national catastrophic team, and is a lead member of the Financial and Socio-Economic strategy group. He is also sits on the FOIL National Executive and is an editor of Binghams and Berrymans. As well as handling a full portfolio of large loss injury claims, Stuart is also responsible for the management and development of BLM key client relationships.

Nicola Critchley (DWF)

Vice President

Bio

Nicola Critchley (DWF)

Vice President

Nicola is a Partner and sits on the board at DWF. She has extensive litigation experience and heads up the costs team. The department deals with the full spectrum of costs litigation and has saved clients more than £3billion.

Nicola deals with high value costs litigation matters, costs budgeting appeals, fraud, technical challenges, QOCS, fixed costs issues and test litigation.

She chaired a Working Group which supported reform in the holiday sickness claims and is currently involved with the whiplash reforms on the whiplash sub-committee of the CPRC.

She also sits on the CJC and is a member of the FOIL Costs Special Interest Group and treasurer of the National Committee.

Jennette Newman (Clyde & Co)

Immediate Past President

Bio

Jennette Newman (Clyde & Co)

Immediate Past President

Jennette joined Clyde & Co in May 2018. Prior to this she was the head of the London office and the head of the Lloyd’s and London market sector for BLM. She has over 20 years legal experience in international and UK casualty claims and coverage advice, defence litigation, policy advice and advisory support arising out of a broad range of circumstances, industry sectors, policyholders and risk carriers.

As well as overseeing the service delivery to many major insurers and corporates during her career she has specialised in dealing with high value sensitive, complex and multiparty bodily injury litigation and coverage disputes for insurers, reinsurers and risk carriers together with health and safety regulatory investigations and prosecutions against local authorities, housing associations, construction companies, retailers, leisure services providers, the care sector and other corporate bodies including with the directors.

She is chair of the CII Professional Standards Committee and a non-executive director on the CII board.

She is listed in Legal 500 and Chambers directories, with clients noting she "Goes above and beyond to deal with her client's issues in accordance with their wishes" (Chambers 2017).

Stratos Gatzouris (Consultant - DWF)

Secretary

Bio

Stratos Gatzouris (Consultant - DWF)

Secretary

I have striven throughout my career to act in the best interests of my clients but also believe that I have a duty to work with colleagues and competitors to achieve a common goal for my specialised area, hence my role within FOIL. I am known for getting the job done and for going the extra mile. I strongly believe in showing professional courtesy to all including litigation opponents. I am a strong communicator and mentor.

I have also worked extensively with insurer clients to help develop counter-fraud strategies and continue to strive to maintain thought leadership in this area.

I have offered and provided consultancy services to insurers and law firms in a number of areas including insurance fraud, litigation, training, auditing and regulation.

I am presently working with the DWF Cat PI team on larger value claims and also advise on Section 57 fundamentally dishonest claims.

Pete Allchorne (DAC Beachcroft)

Treasurer

Bio

Pete Allchorne (DAC Beachcroft)

Treasurer

Pete has over 20 years’ experience advising a broad range of insurance clients in respect of motor, employers’ liability and public liability claims, with a particular interest in the transport and logistics sector. He is responsible for managing the relationship with one of firm’s key insurance clients, and also works closely with the firm’s Gibraltar regulated clients.

Working with the firm’s Strategic Litigation Unit, Pete is a regular commentator and panellist on issues impacting the motor insurance market, including civil justice reform, the development of automated vehicle technologies and their impact on motor insurers. Pete leads the firm’s specialist interest group looking at the legal and insurance implications for connected and automated vehicles, and the wider Internet of Things, working closely with other members of the firm’s Legalign Global alliance.

Within the firm’s Claims Solutions Group, Pete is head of ‘Innovations Lab’, the research and development hub responsible for developing new innovative claims solutions to benefit our clients, where he works closely with the firm’s technology law team. He is also a member of the firm’s Business Improvement & Change function, which scrutinises and prioritises strategic projects and investment in digital solutions.

Pete has previously chaired FOIL’s Motor Sector Focus Team, during which time he was co-opted as a member of the Expert Audit and Peer Review sub-committee of MedCo.

Shirley Denyer

Shirley Denyer (Shirley Denyer LLP)

Technical Director

Bio

Shirley Denyer (Shirley Denyer LLP)

Technical Director

A qualified solicitor with over 30 years’ experience working in London and the North West, Shirley has experience of handling a wide range of disputes, from Public Liability to Clinical Negligence, Commercial Litigation and Costs.

Through Shirley Denyer LLP, Shirley has been involved in FOIL since 2007, as a non-practising solicitor. She was appointed to the newly created position of Technical Director in 2016, taking on a role in developing FOIL’s strategy and focus. She has responsibility for all of FOIL’s technical publications and the work of the eighteen Sector Focus Teams. Working with the SFTs and the National Committee she also handles FOIL’s consultation responses.

Shirley is based in Manchester. Outside work, despite the weather, she gets outdoors as much as possible, playing tennis and cycling.

Sarah Higgs

Management Services Consultant

Geoff Owen

Technical Author

Bio

Geoff Owen

Technical Author

Geoff Owen qualified as a solicitor in 1978. During his career he was a partner in a number of national firms, acting exclusively for insurers in high value motor, employers’ liability and public liability claims. In 2005, Geoff semi-retired, gradually reducing his case load and moving into training and writing in-house publications for a number of firms with which he was a consultant. In April 2019 Geoff was appointed to the new role of FOIL’s Technical Author.

Since 2006, Geoff has lived and worked from home on the Costa Blanca in Spain.

Bruce Goodbrand (Clyde & Co)

Chair of FOIL Scotland

Bio

Bruce Goodbrand (Clyde & Co)

Chair of FOIL Scotland

Bruce is a partner in Clyde & Co's Edinburgh office. Originally he studied law in Edinburgh and then trained as a solicitor in Dundee from 1996 to 1998. Upon qualifying he started work with the then Simpson & Marwick Dundee office, before transferring to their Edinburgh office in 2001. He became a partner in Simpson & Marwick in 2009, prior to the firm joining forces with Clyde & Co in 2015.

Bruce has over 20 years of experience in general insurance work, specialising in complex personal injury claims. He deals with all aspects of EL, PL and motor cases. He also has an extensive background in regulatory work, having advised on numerous Fatal Accident Inquiries and Health & Safety prosecutions over the years. He presents frequently both within his own firm and externally on topics of professional interest. He is a well known and trusted figure in the Scottish market.

Michelle McCullough (BLM)

Chair of FOIL Northern Ireland

Bio

Michelle McCullough (BLM)

Chair of FOIL Northern Ireland

Michelle is a Partner in BLM’s Belfast Office. Michelle specialises in defending insurance litigation handling claims for a number of major insurers. Her work involves motor claims with a focus on credit hire as well as complex employer and public liability claims.

Michelle was a member of the Law Society of Northern Ireland 2021 Credit Hire Working Group.
With a keen eye for detail Michelle also advises insurance clients on complex policy indemnity issues specialising in fire and property damage claims. Following completion of the Law Society (NI) Certificate in Advanced Advocacy in 2017 Michelle regularly conducts her own advocacy.

Michelle has previously sat on the FOIL Costs’ Sector Focus team and is currently an active member of the FOIL Protocols Sector Focus Team.

Michael Corrigan

FOIL Ireland President

Gavin Coull (Birketts EC3 Legal)

London FOIL President

Rachel Farnworth (Clyde & Co)

Tomorrow's FOIL President

Bio

Rachel Farnworth (Clyde & Co)

Tomorrow's FOIL President

Rachel is an experienced Solicitor having commenced her legal career over 8 years ago as a paralegal. Rachel is an associate at Clyde & Co specialising in the defence of employers and public liability claims for insurers and self-insured corporates, specific sectors include leisure and retail, manufacture, transport and logistics.

Rachel is also a social mobility mentor and a dementia friends champion.

David Mayor (Forbes)

Lobby Officer

Bio

David Mayor (Forbes)

Lobby Officer

As a Partner in Forbes Solicitors’ Large Loss Insurance team, David deals with all types of high-value Civil disputes, specialising in complex construction and sports claims.
He has particular expertise and experience in all aspects of Personal Injury law, including Catastrophic Injury and Multi-Party Construction claims. David has a vast array of experience in Public Liability and Employer's Liability (accidents at work), and regularly advises Local Authorities in more unusual or specialist cases, such as those involving fraud, complex indemnity issues, and quasi-criminal actions.

David also has a keen interest in defending sports and leisure claims, particularly those arising out of activities that he is personally involved in, such as martial arts, contact sports, and fitness activities. He provides training within his own firm and is a regular speaker at industry events.

Bridget Tatham (Browne Jacobson)

Lobby Officer

Bio

Bridget Tatham (Browne Jacobson)

Lobby Officer

Bridget is an EL/PL defence specialist of more than 25 years’ experience supporting clients on complex claims ranging from occupational disease to life changing brain and spinal injuries.
She leads the firm’s Birmingham casualty team which provides advice from policy coverage to claims handling for a broad client base; local authorities, health, corporates and insurers, which lends itself to developing best practice.

Co-Chair of the firm’s D&I Committee and recent appointment as Executive Sponsor for Race, Bridget sees her role as creating access to opportunities for those who are marginalised in society.

Nichola Evans (Ward Hadaway)

Law Society Representative

Bio

Nichola Evans (Ward Hadaway)

Law Society Representative

Nichola qualified as a solicitor in 1993 and is a partner at Browne Jacobson LLP in its Manchester office.

Nichola is a well-respected practitioner in Commercial litigation and heads up Browne Jacobson’s public sector and healthcare commercial disputes offering. Over the past five years Nichola has dealt with a number of Commercial Court trials together with four Court of Appeal matters and one case in the Supreme Court.

Nichola is FOIL’s representative on the Law Society Council and has been a Council Member for six years. She also sits on the Law Society Civil Litigation Committee. In both capacities Nichola is able to put FOIL’s views and ensure that their voice is heard when the Law Society prepares its responses to consultations.

Howard Dean (Keoghs)

Co-Opted Member

Bio

Howard Dean (Keoghs)

Co-Opted Member

Howard was admitted as a solicitor in 1994 and advises a wide range of clients including major insurers, the ABI, NHS Resolution and Government Departments.

He leads Keoghs National Costs Team and is recognised as a ranked individual for costs litigation by Chambers UK in 2021 with commentary, "He has an excellent strategic and tactical sense and a very good grasp of the relevant law”. He has successfully represented parties in many notable appeals including two in the Court of Appeal, the latest being Seabrook v Adam [2021] EWCA Civ 382.

He is a client account manager for a major compensator and is a member of Keoghs Strategic Advice and Marker Affairs Team. Throughout his career, he has been heavily involved in civil justice reform, having advised as a member of the CJC Jackson working group on QOCS, Part 36, Proportionality and Litigation Funding. He sat on the CJC legal working group on Whiplash Reforms and was co-opted onto the CPRC electronic bill of costs working group..

Howard is a member of the FOIL Costs Sector Focus Group and a co-opted member of the FOIL National Executive.

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