Jo’s practice encompasses all areas of commercial law with a particular emphasis on insurance and reinsurance, professional negligence, civil fraud, conflict of laws and jurisdiction, international arbitration, and energy and natural resources.
Prior to taking silk in 2022, she was recommended in Chambers & Partners as a leading junior for insurance and commercial dispute resolution, in Legal 500 as a leading junior for commercial litigation, insurance and reinsurance and professional negligence and Who’s Who Legal as a leading junior for insurance, and has been described as “absolutely brilliant”, “very focused” and “ferociously hard-working”. In 2021, Jo won Insurance Junior of the Year at the Chambers Bar Awards.
She has been instructed in a broad spectrum of different cases in the High Court (Business and Property Courts and QBD), Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, and in numerous domestic and international arbitrations (including ICC, LCIA, ARIAS and Bermuda Form arbitrations). She regularly advises and acts in cases with an international flavour, often involving conflicts of laws and jurisdictional issues and matters of international commerce. Jo has extensive experience of large-scale, long-running, complex commercial disputes acting as part of a team of counsel and working closely with solicitors, clients, witnesses and experts. Her ability to work well with others is often cited by clients and solicitors as one of her particular strengths. At the other end of the scale, she has frequently appeared on her own in numerous smaller cases in the High Court and in arbitration, and in particular enjoys the advocacy opportunities such work offers. Before joining chambers in 2004, Jo worked for 2 years as an employed barrister during which time she gained invaluable experience of life at a leading solicitors’ firm. As a result, she is particularly well-placed to recognise and meet her professional and lay clients’ commercial needs.
Commercial disputes of all varieties, including multi-jurisdictional matters, form the backbone of Jo’s practice. She has been involved in a wide range of very high value commercial disputes, as illustrated by the selection below. She has recent experience of obtaining urgent relief from the Courts, including anti-suit injunctions and freezing injunctions.
Jo has extensive experience of civil fraud including, in particular, claims against company directors and trustees for breach of trust, breach of fiduciary, tortious and statutory duties, and accessory liability claims against those who have assisted or benefited from fraud, including banks and other financial institutions.
Many of the insurance cases in which Jo has acted have at their heart allegations of fraud, either in the underlying facts giving rise to the insurance claim, or in relation to the placement of the insurance contract or conduct of claims there under. Jo recently advised in relation to insurance issues arising out of the judgment in SPL Private Finance v Arch Financial Products LLP  EWHC 4268 (Comm), a successful claim brought by various offshore funds against their former fund manager for breach of fiduciary duty, contract and negligence, and against a director of the fund manager for dishonest assistance and inducing breach of contract. She has also recently advised the claimants in relation to a fraud by their accountants in a high profile case regarding their potential routes of recovery, including under insurance policies. She was instructed in Rathbone v Novae  Lloyd’s Rep IR 095, a substantial claim under a professional indemnity insurance policy, where the underlying claim was against a personal trustee for breach of trust and fiduciary duty in relation to his alleged mismanagement of trust funds over a long period of time. Jo has previously advised in relation to various claims under professional indemnity/D&O cover in respect of claims against directors (and trustees) for breach of fiduciary duty.
Jo has also advised and acted in various disputes in this area, including in relation to oil and gas supply contracts, and the construction and operation of off-shore and floating oil and gas platforms:
Insurance and reinsurance form the core of Jo’s practice, and she is recommended by the current editions of Chambers & Partners, Legal 500 and Who’s Who Legal as a leading junior in insurance and reinsurance. She acts on behalf of insurers and insureds, in litigation, and domestic and international arbitrations. Many of the cases in which Jo is retained are determined in arbitration or settled before trial. A selection of recent cases concerning insurance and reinsurance in which Jo has acted is set out below.
In 2021, Jo won Insurance Junior of the Year at the Chambers & Partners Bar Awards.
Current and recent cases include:
Much of Jo’s recent work has been in international arbitration, including LCIA, ICC and Bermuda Form arbitrations. She has settled and appeared in applications for permission to appeal from arbitration awards.
Current and recent arbitrations include:
Many of the commercial disputes in which Jo acts involve one or more parties from outside the jurisdiction, or insurance of liability, property or other risks located overseas, and potentially conflicting foreign laws. As a result, Jo has extensive experience of advising and appearing as an advocate in relation to difficult jurisdictional issues and conflicts of law. This ranges from providing advice at an early stage of a dispute as to choice of a forum in which to commence litigation or arbitration to advocacy in the Commercial Court on complex points of conflicts of law.
Jo has extensive experience of professional negligence disputes, particularly in the financial sector. She is recommended as a leading junior for professional negligence in the current edition of Legal 500. She has experience of claims against accountants and auditors, solicitors, insurance brokers, architects, surveyors and engineers.
Jo is recommended in Chambers & Partners as a leading junior for insurance and commercial dispute resolution, in Legal 500 as a leading junior for commercial litigation, insurance and reinsurance and professional negligence, and in Who’s Who Legal as a leading junior for insurance. Recent quotes include:
Josephine Higgs – New silk appointment
7 King’s Bench Walk celebrates success at the Chambers UK Bar Awards 2021
7KBW nominated for 8 awards at the Chambers Bar Awards 2021
FCA Business Interruption Insurance Test Case – Josephine Higgs
In the matter of Ardon Maroon Asia Master Fund
Jo is a member of the Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR), the Commercial Fraud Lawyers Association (CFLA), the London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association (LCLCBA), and the British Insurance Law Association (BILA).
Brasenose College, Oxford: BA in Classics and English, First Class (1998)
Jo achieved the highest 1st in finals, and was awarded an Oxford University Prize (Passmore Edwards Prize), and a Brasenose College Prize.
City University, London: CPE/Diploma in Law, Distinction (1999)
Inns of Court School of Law: Bar Vocational Course, Highly Commended (2000).
Jo was awarded a Queen Mother Scholarship and a Harmsworth Entrance Exhibition from Middle Temple.