Robin's commercial background before qualifying as a lawyer makes him a barrister with a difference.
Prior to becoming a barrister he was a money market trader in the City of London before he set up, grew and successfully sold three technology start-ups. As well as practising law, Robin has been the Chair of one board and a non-exec for a number of others. For over 13 years he was an equity holding director of the UK’s leading online price comparison sites.
His background has given Robin particular expertise in general commercial and insolvency, technology, professional and general regulation, employment, road traffic and aviation. Robin assists by advising and representing parties, helping them settle their differences consensually or by deciding the outcome for them. As a barrister, arbitrator, mediator, ombudsman, investigator, regulatory panel chair and tribunal panel member of various kinds he has been involved in over 1,000 cases spanning more than 19 years.
Robin's inclusive professional style focuses on problem solving, finding solutions to issues and disputes by consensus wherever possible to avoid court-based determination unless no practical alternative remains to enforce parties' rights.
Robin is at his best at times of crisis and change where clients benefit from his judgement, strategic and analytical focus and calm approach.
General commercial, shareholder, board and contract disputes
As described above, Robin has extensive experience of coal face commercial experience of running a range of businesses over 15 years. He was also involved with his third-generation family construction business that entered voluntary administration in the 2009 financial crisis. He is therefore in a unique position at the Bar to understand the coal face causes, effects and considerations of insolvency and to offer practical and effective strategic and legal advice both to those in financial difficulty and also to creditors. This commercial experience meant extensive resolution and negotiation of shareholder, board, contract and commercial disputes and balancing competing interests and can advise in:
• Commercial/economic torts, including conspiracy and misfeasance
• Company disputes, shareholder rights and remedies
• Contract disputes
• Corporate and organisational insolvency, receivership and administration
• Debt and disputed debt claims and counterclaims
• Defrauding creditors and shareholders
• Derivative actions against directors
• Directors' duties, misfeasance and disqualification
• Injunctions and other interim relief
• Restitution/unjust enrichment
• Sale and supply of goods and services
• Transactions at under or over value
• Winding up petitions
• Wrongful and fraudulent trading
Robin can be instructed by businesses, shareholders and individuals direct under the public access scheme, or via a solicitor.
Robin's commercial technology experience centres around his three start-ups. The first was an internet solution provider specialising in online content management systems, the second a specialist on/offline distributor and the third an online price comparison site and sales aggregator which generated annual sales and leads of over £50m for a network of 50 nationwide partners. Robin was an equity holding non-exec director for a UK's leading property sector aggregator for over 13 years.
Robin is a specialist Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) consultant for Mishcon de Reya. He has given presentations on ODR and Online Courts to the Law Society of Scotland LegalTech conference, to BACFI and the Arbitration Club, IT branch. Professor Richard Susskind said that Robin has “a remarkable set of experiences ... all leading up to ODR, in my view!”. Robin was invited to participate in the International Online Courts Forum. Robin is an Adjudicator for the Society of Computers and Law, mediator and arbitrator for World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) for technology and domain name disputes and a was a Chartered IT Professional of the British Computer Society (2014-17).
Robin is able to advise customers, suppliers and sub-contractors involved in online, IT or telecoms projects in distress or those that have ended in dispute. He is also able to advise on dispute resolution systems architecture and strategic considerations and non-contentious planning.
Robin can be instructed by businesses and organisations direct under the public access scheme, or via a solicitor.
Professional Regulation, Conduct and Discipline
Robin leads Clerksroom's Professional Regulation Practise Group. He has represented professionals facing allegations of sexual misconduct, dishonesty, clinical and language competency before tribunals of first instance, appeals and at the High Court.
He has over 13 years experience having chaired, sat on or case presented fitness to practice hearings for regulators including the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, Construction Industry Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council, Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (General Medical Council) and others. One decision Robin was involved in was unsuccessfully judicially reviewed and subsequently unsuccessfully appealed to the Court of Appeal before the Master of the Rolls who delivered favourable comments. Written appraisal includes “exceeds competency… across all competency areas", “Outstanding” and “…exemplary."
Robin runs the regulatory community resource website www.fitnesstopractise.net and has produced a professional regulatory ‘Periodic Table’.
Robin has delivered board and panel training to a number of leading regulators and regulated commercial organisations in the UK and abroad and has re-written of a number of codes of conduct including for statutory regimes requiring approval by the relevant Secretary of State.
Robin is available to advise or represent registrants, act as case presenter or legal assessor in respect of any of the following:
• Response to investigations
• Interim orders hearings
• Substantive misconduct, conviction and health cases
• Substantive order reviews
• Registration appeals
• Appeals against panel findings
Robin is a member of the Association for Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers. He can be instructed by professionals and regulators direct under the public access scheme, or via a solicitor.
Robin has over 16 years experience in being involved with general regulatory hearings (in addition to professional regulatory work). He is available to act for local authorities, specialist prosecuting agencies and for businesses and individuals facing allegations in respect of:
• Trading standards
• Planning enforcement
• Health and Safety
• Street trading
• Housing breaches such as houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)
• Fly tipping
• Blue badge fraud
Robin can be instructed by business owners, individuals, organisations and local authorities direct under the public access scheme, or via a solicitor.
As well as being an advocate and sitting on disciplinary panels and appeals, Robin has conducted complex, challenging and sensitive workplace investigations. These have included allegations of exposing an organisation to multimillion pound litigation risk, risking the loss of 25% of business unit income, sexual misconduct, obscene imagery of sexual violence, witchcraft, putting curses on colleagues, whistle blowing, refusal to comply with reasonable requests, running a business from employer's premises, mental health, addictions, race discrimination, inappropriate social media posts and unauthorised leaks to the press.
Robin is able to act for employers and employees either on a direct access basis or through solicitors before Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal. He has also experience of assisting clients negotiate settlement agreements and of acting as a mediator for ongoing relationships.
Robin is a RoSPA (Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents) Gold advanced driver and volunteer instructor and a member of IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists). He is also a Venue Controller for the Under 17 Car Club. He has been involved in cases relating to motoring offences for over 16 years.
Robin is able to act for drivers facing prosecution at Magistrates and Crown Courts for offences including:
• Careless and dangerous driving
• Driving with excess alcohol or drugs
• No Insurance
• Licence offences
• Driving whilst disqualified
• Use of a mobile phone while driving
• "Totting" where drivers are at risk of being disqualified by having accumulated 12 or more points over time through a number of separate speeding or other offences
Robin also represents claimants, defendants and insurers after road traffic incidents including disputes in respect of 'credit hire' agreements.
Robin can be instructed by drivers direct under the public access scheme, or via a solicitor.
Robin is a current holder of a private pilot's licence. He also went on to gain both night and IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions) ratings. He has flown a wider range of types including complex and retractable SEPs.
During his legal training, Robin researched aviation law, including the Air Navigation Order 2016 and the Rules of the Air Regulations 2016. He has since conducted analysis on Civil Aviation Authority prosecutions.
Robin can advise and provide representation to pilots, airfields, air operators and aircraft owners in respect of prosecutions, investigations and operational matters before the CAA, Airprox Board, Air Accidents Investigation Branch and in respect of general commercial, operations and disputes:
• Airfield operations
• Airspace infringements
• Air accidents and AAIB investigations
• Air worthiness offences
• Causing dangerous goods to be delivered for carriage
• Drone and unmanned operations
• Flying passengers without commercial or air travel organisers licences
• Flying without insurance
• Group disputes
• Licence offences including flying without a valid licence
• Low flying
• Medical offences including false declarations
• Negligently causing an aircraft to endanger a person
• Personal injury and insurance claims as a result of aircraft incidents
• Using a false instrument
Robin can be instructed by pilots and operators direct under the public access scheme, or via a solicitor.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Robin is an accredited mediator and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He has a Masters in Law (LLM) in Dispute Resolution from Queen Mary University of London. He is an active Arbitrator and has previously acted as an Ombudsman for the Financial Ombudsman Service and as an Adjudicator for other organisations.
“After full 3 days of hearings, the impression I had from Mr. Somerville’s performance, is that... my case was his. The efforts he puts in the case and the dedications were out of this world. Kind of performance that make you feel “WOW”... Mr. Somerville was calmly passionate and super skilled to take a step back and sees the case from far, which enabled him to spot holes and angles to support or defend whatever thrown at him... I would have never dreamed of a better way to put my case in front of a court. Based on my experience, I can confidently say this: If you hired Mr. Somerville, he will demolish and devastate your opponent.”
Abu Eltaib Direct Access
“As an experienced knowledgeable barrister, Robin provided excellent & efficient service, and helped to achieve the desired result. He went beyond the call of duty by offering valuable personal advice from an alternative viewpoint. Robin is indeed "a barrister with a difference". Highly recommended.”
Alexander Peschkoff Stealth Startup
“Robin was recommended by a colleague to deal with what was likely to be a difficult mediation, and one which was thought to have little prospect of success. It was to begin life as a workplace mediation and if that was not successful move to a civil mediation. Robin worked tirelessly throughout the day and night with both parties, helping them to resolve and move through entrenched views and positions, to reach an agreement that avoided what would have been lengthy, costly and unproductive litigation. Having reached agreement Robin stayed with the parties whilst the lawyers drafted and negotiated the precise terms. His assistance throughout this phase was invaluable and the agreement was finally documented and signed off shortly after midnight.”
Barry Stanton Boyes Turner LLP
“Robin was extremely professional and maintained his independent input throughout the day. He also focussed in on the problems and managed both sides aspirations and came up with a very simple way to bring the deal to a conclusion. I was very pleased to have him involved in this dispute and I think he certainly helped us to agree a settlement in one day that could have run for much longer.”
Craig Beresford - COO/Managing Director Waterman Group plc
“All done and dusted at last and a very satisfactory outcome. Thank you very much indeed for all your help and advice, tempered with a healthy dose of realism, which enabled me to reach a deal and put an end to the stress of the last 10 months. I hope I don’t have to call on you again but will not hesitate to do so if necessary. Thank you again.”
Dr John Humprhies Direct Access
“"Robin helped me through a situation with a client who was refusing to pay for work completed in good faith. Robin helped me understand the options available, was always timely in his responses and guided myself and customer to resolve the situation to my satisfaction. Robin is someone who clearly is expert in understanding both the legal and technical side of a dispute." Near Shore IT development and support Direct Access - Contract/Debt dispute Direct Access client - contract/debt dispute”
Edmund Jones SBD Partners Ltd
“I am heading towards a dispute for sure. Where do you go? Who do you ask? Robin Somerville put me in the picture and gave me options. I am now prepared and pleased that I have Robin with me. - £2m+ Shareholder Dispute - Residential Property Development”
FC. Company director and shareholder. Midlands Direct Access
““I am heading towards a dispute for sure. Where do you go? Who do you ask? Robin Somerville put me in the picture and gave me options. I am now prepared and pleased that I have Robin with me.””
FC. Company director and shareholder. Midlands. Direct Access Shareholder Dispute – £2m+ Residential Property Development Company
“Both myself and my client are very happy with the outcome you have achieved. I will be recommending your services to my colleagues and our firm looks forward to working with you again in the future.”
Guyth Jaber AI Solicitors
“Thank you for all your assistance on this matter. Really pleased with the outcome of both the application hearing and the Trial, excellent work! The lay client also had the following feedback: ‘I would highly recommend Mr. Somerville as your representative. He proved to be very professional with attention to detail and I would not make it without his help and his faith in me.’”
Hayley Fairhurst Minster Law
““I came across Robin from an online search rather than a recommendation, which is rare approach for me especially for legal matters, however his experience and background felt very relevant. Our case was relatively very small but we needed someone with clout and knowhow to make sure that we get the right legal advice without eating up the potential gains with legal fees. Robin was brilliant in giving us clear expectations and guidance and I know he went above and beyond what would normally be expected as a way of staying true to his promise to get us a good settlement we can all walk away from happy. His dedicated and reassuring one on one approach is highly recommended. With legal matters, you always hope you do not need to use again, but if the need arrises I would contact him without a second thought.””
Louca Efthemi Veema
“Robin helped bridge the gap in expectations between myself and my employer and was commercial and fair throughout. Would highly recommmend him to others in a similar situation.”
Mario Vella Employee
“I instructed Robin to advise and manage the pursuit of a commercial outstanding payment from a former customer. The matter was both technically complex and somewhat commercially challenging. Robin, is a no nonsense Direct access Barrister who will tell you what your options are, what the chances of success are, and will guide you through the minefield of legal choices facing you. Ultra-smart, he supported a very successful claim for us that delivered a significant upside multiple on his fees. I would have no hesitation in recommending Robin, particularly where matters involve technology or technology related disputes.”
Mike Washburn Hyper Law - Axiom TDM
“Thank you for yesterday, great result. I can confirm that Mr [Client] is delighted, he emailed me last night to say so. I can also confirm I am delighted with the result. The Client's email said: 'Robin was so supportive and informative during the hearing today. He made me feel very at ease at all times. Please could you pass on my gratitude to him.'”
Peter Bull Plexus Law
“Your service and care throughout has been exceptional and value for money and I would highly recommend you. Not only did you deliver your expertise at the hearing you guided me through one of the most difficult times of my life over the last 14 months from when I initially made contact with your offices. I cannot thank you enough you have been fantastic and I could not have asked for a better result! Thank you.”
Tanisha Brown Direct Access Client
“Robin’s work is exceptional. He has a keen eye for detail and a passion for bringing matters to a rapid close. I will never use another lawyer again. Robin’s knowledge both in terms of points of law and his ability to quote case law is remarkable. Truly one of a kind. He is a wonderful example of calm preparedness during what was a bitter business dispute for us. I so appreciated his calming presence, and his polite and respectful attitude. Honest, trustworthy and very straight forward, Robin will tell you exactly where you stand. He never loses sight of the end goal, which is to protect, defend and have the best outcome for his client. Underpinning all of this is his strong business nous and an appreciation of the real-life commercial context.”
Tara Lyons - Managing Director Indiefield
“I would like to thank you for your help in this matter and I can only imagine where matters may have ended if I had taken the Tribunal path and called Mr X as a witness. You have been calm and taken a route that has avoided conflict with (my professional) regulations and it is the best outcome I believe that I could have achieved. There was a time when we first spoke, where I felt that the only option I had was to accept being struck off. I feel as though I am able to move forward a bit now. I genuinely hope that I never find myself in these circumstances again, but if I did, you would surely be my first point of contact. Once again thank and I wish you all the best for the future.”
Mr W Lay Client
“Robin helped me through a situation with a client who was refusing to pay for work completed in good faith. Robin helped me understand the options available, was always timely in his responses and guided myself and customer to resolve the situation to my satisfaction. Robin is someone who clearly is expert in understanding both the legal and technical side of a dispute.”
Edmund Jones SBD Partners Ltd
“All done and dusted at last and a very satisfactory outcome. Thank you very much indeed for all your help and advice, tempered with a healthy dose of realism, which enabled me to reach a deal and put an end to the stress of the last 10 months. I hope I don’t have to call on you again but will not hesitate to do so if necessary. Thank you again. ”
Dr J.H Direct Access, Negotiation of sale of shares
““I would personally like to thank you so much for the professional way you handled the proceedings. You recognised all key points and thoroughly brought forward a fair, clearly stepped and smooth hearing. You were understanding of my plight and remained neutral and objective throughout. I was really impressed with your knowledge of the case and the key issues that needed to be resolved, coupled with your passion and dedication to ensure a fair and just hearing. I am gratefully indebted to you, I can now move forward with positivity and hope. Thank you again it has been truly humbling to have met such a talented, dedicated and compassionate person. I am happy for you to share any contents of my email for a testimony to your amazing professional skills” ”
Lay Client Disciplinary Hearing
““I wanted to leave a testimonial as I was very impressed with how well you handled the case yesterday. It’s always a challenge to deal with more complex matters and emotional issues when people have got a bit stuck in their outlook. You were clear, focused and patient as a fact-finder dealing with a wide range of evidence. I feel the participants trusted that you were fair and open. In the later discussions you helped people to reach a clear understanding of the issues involved. That led to a resolution of issues that worked for all parties. Not always the easiest thing to achieve. It was a masterclass in advocacy and I learned so much“”
A.C Lay Client- Disciplinary Hearing
“"Thank you for all your kind assistance in this matter which we very much appreciate especially as this case was foisted upon you and us by the client on the eleventh hour."”
P Chauhan Solomons Legal
“"I can’t thank you enough. Your arguments in the skeleton have made us win the case, so many thanks Robin. This is a massive relief for me. I’m over the moon." ”
Safia Khan Direct Access
“I had been involved in a commercial dispute for several years and had consulted with many legal professionals at considerable cost. Within days of first talking to Robin, with great skill and precision, he started taking me through a mediation process and the whole matter was resolved within the month for a fraction of the legal fees I was anticipating having to spend. He is the first legal professional I have worked with who puts wanting to find a solution to the clients problem before anything else, I wish I had met him four years ago. I would recommend him without hesitation.”
Andrew Carmichael Creative Process (A company)
“I briefed Robin on a small claims hearing in a matter where the other side was a difficult litigant in person with an axe to grind. He was clearly on top of the substantial amount of documentation in the bundle, and had obviously grasped the key facts and issues. Although the judge’s decision was only a partial victory (through no fault of Robin’s), the client was very happy with Robin’s preparation and advocacy, which he described as being “extremely impressive”. I would have no hesitation in briefing Robin again.”
Mark Turner Tinsdills Solicitors
“Fabulous result and thanks for all your sterling efforts on this one, sounds like it could not have gone much more favourably. I'm sure the client will be over the moon.”
Stephen Ball Zest Legal
“You are in our favoured barrister list. Rest assured, we will look to instruct you in the very near future. ”
Meltem Kelmoumin Advantage Solicitors Ltd
“I met with Robin Summerville yesterday. I thought he was excellent. ”
Theo Soutzos Public Access Client
“A fantastic result, I look forward to instructing you in the future.”
Miss Devon Cartwright Bott & Co
“Shareholders Agreement - Robin is a true professional and understood the brief immediately. He provided pertinent advice on the contract that I needed and was very patient. He kept me updated at every stage and delivered extremely quickly. Highly skilled, insightful and thorough, I would not hesitate to work with him again. Truly, he provided excellent value and service. ”
Zak Desai Public Access Client
“Robin was efficient, approachable and handled an unusual trial situation with professionalism securing a very favourable Judgment for the client.”
Tariq Khan Burton & Burton Solicitors
“Thank you and wow what a result!”
Philip Watson Minster Law
“The attention to detail and responsiveness is what makes a service priceless and you have been exceptional with your support so far to me in this matter.”
Client Public Access Client
“Robin stepped in with an 11th hour request and provided attention to detail whilst delivering in time, my review is not just a casual testimony but a recommendation of the highest order.”
Stuart Saunders Public Access Client