After studying modern languages and architectural history at Cambridge, Justin Fenwick spent ten years in the British Army, in a number of roles including involvement for several years in gathering and assessing intelligence in Northern Ireland and on the Chinese and Soviet borders. He began practice at the Bar in 1981, initially specialising in crime and public law, but soon developing an extensive commercial practice. He became involved in the identification of fraud and the conduct of civil fraud cases as a result of the collapse in the property market in the early 1990s and has had extensive involvement in fraud cases ever since.
Justin set up the system for handling insurance claims against solicitors suspected of fraud in 1994 and has since conducted fraud interviews of well over 100 solicitors, often leading to contested trials. In UK he regularly defends the innocent partners of professionals suspected of dishonesty. He has conducted a number of large trials involving fraudulent share sales (notably Man AG v Freightliner) and fraudulent tax schemes (most recently a five month multi-party trial involving 500 investors suing over an allegedly fraudulent tax saving investment scheme). He has been regularly instructed in fraudulent insurance schemes, particularly relating to jewellery losses in UK, USA and the Far East. He has appeared in proceedings relating to collapsed offshore banks and hedge funds and the tracing of assets across the Caribbean which are the proceeds of fraud in the UK, South America, Russia and elsewhere. He recently appeared in the Cayman Islands in a case involving the Brazilian Bankruptcy Extension Law.
Justin Fenwick has been a Queens Counsel since 1993, a Deputy High Court Judge since 2003 and has been the Chairman of the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Ltd, the mutual insurer which insures all barristers in England and Wales, since 1999.
He has been consistently rated in both Chambers and the Legal 500 in the fields of Professional Negligence, Commercial Dispute Resolution, Commercial Fraud, Insurance, Product Liability and Construction. Recent comments include the following:
• ‘A masterly advocate who dominates the court.’ In addition to his profile as one of the leading professional negligence practitioners at the Bar, he also regularly handles commercial fraud, product liability and insurance disputes. Chambers 2012 in relation to Commercial Dispute Resolution.
• ‘Incredibly intelligent and commercially astute counsel, who is able to look at a massive amount of information, both legal and technical in nature, and still grasp the point of a case quickly’. He is presently acting for the claimant manufacturer in a case concerning defective resin used to manufacture oil storage tanks. Peers regard him as a ‘ferocious cross-examiner’ while clients aver that ‘he has the knack of always being a step ahead of the judge’. They further comment that ‘he knows when it's the right time to say less, and is an all-round fabulous tactician’. Chambers 2012 in relation to product liability.
• A ‘phenomenal big-case performer’ and ‘excellent on strategy and tactics’, he is a ‘masterly advocate who dominates the court’. Chambers 2011 in relation to commercial dispute resolution.
• ‘Excellent client skills’. Legal 500 2011 in relation to professional negligence.
• ‘Remains at the top of the professional liability tree’. He is a ‘top-class courtroom advocate’ but is also ‘exceptionally loyal and diligent’. He is often involved in leading cases, such as Levicom v Linklaters. Chambers 2011 in relation to professional negligence.
• ‘Superb, simply outstanding and a superstar’. Chambers 2011 in relation to professional negligence.
• ‘Highly recommended for any case which is likely to go to court – he is brilliant in trial’. Legal 500 2010 in relation to insurance.
• An ‘exceptional tactician and a persuasive advocate’. Adept at whatever he turns his hand to, his recent insurance work has seen him advising a bank in a high-profile negligence claim against brokers. Chambers 2011 in relation to insurance.
• A ‘heavyweight when it comes to professional negligence instructions’, Fenwick's strong standing within the domestic sphere is rapidly attracting instructions from solicitors with instructions relating to overseas projects, and he has been particularly active in Russia. Chambers 2011 in relation to construction.