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Duncan Crine

Duncan Crine


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"Duncan Crine is a wise head, able to use his experience to great effect in the trickier moments in a case."
(The Legal 500, 2020)

Duncan heads up the Dispute Management Department in our Oxford office. His sizeable team handles commercial disputes, property disputes, professional negligence claims, contentious trusts, probate and charities litigation. Duncan has over 25 years litigation experience, handling complex and high value disputes, mainly in the High Court in London. He is also a keen advocate of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), including mediation and arbitration. Duncan is highly regarded for his mediation expertise, having represented clients at mediations for well over 20 years, and is an Accredited Civil and Commercial Mediator.

His own practice focuses mainly on commercial litigation and professional negligence matters – contract and warranty disputes, shareholder conflicts (s994 Petitions) and claims against professional advisors. He acts for clients ranging from individuals, to SMEs, to large multinational companies and insurance companies. He provides professional indemnity insurance policy coverage advice and has acted for clients in connection with arbitrations relating to policy response. Duncan is appreciated for his user-friendly manner, his clear legal advice and his pragmatic, commercial approach.

Duncan is listed as a Leading Individual in both the Chambers (2020 edition) and Legal 500 (2020 edition).

Legal Services

Shareholder Disputes

Duncan handles disputes among company shareholders and directors, including cases of alleged “unfair prejudice” under the s994 Companies Act 2006. Section 994 enables a minority shareholder to petition the court for relief, where the majority has conducted the company’s affairs in a manner which is unfairly prejudicial to the minority.

Recent Work

  • Acting for a shareholder of a national retail SME business, in connection with allegations of unfair prejudice which were the subject of a Mediation and High Court proceedings.

Commercial Dispute Management

Duncan frequently advises corporate/company clients on disputes with customers or suppliers, regarding their rights and obligations under contracts. Duncan also acts on disputes relating to the sale and purchase of businesses and companies, including disputes concerning warranties, non-compete and other restrictive covenants, protection of intellectual property rights etc.

Recent Work

  • Defending a multinational client in the technology sector, against a high value claim (over one million pounds) for a payment allegedly due under a supplier contract.
  • Pursuing claims on behalf of a company which manufactures specialist construction materials, against suppliers who delivered sub-standard materials.
  • Recent commercial dispute involving High Court litigation in connection with the multi-million pound sale of a business – which gave rise to numerous issues, including alleged breach of warranty and “loss of chance”. The case was successfully resolved at a multi-party mediation.
  • Recent property disputes range from arguments over title, tenure and other property rights, through to high-value and complex claims for multi-million pound losses on commercial property transactions.

Claims against Professionals

Duncan is recognised as a leading practitioner in the field of professional negligence. He acts for claimants and defendants in claims for negligence against legal, financial and property professionals. His cases include claims against solicitors, barristers, surveyors, architects, accountants, financial advisors, brokers and other professions. He also has particular expertise on insurance policy coverage issues.

Recent Work

  • Acting for individuals in a claim against their former solicitors arising from inadequate legal advice resulting in substantial loss.
  • Defending a professional and their insurer, against multiple very high value and complex claims.
  • Recent professional negligence cases include dealing with claims against solicitors, barristers, surveyors, architects, accountants and others. Allegations include breach of contract, negligence, breach of trust and breach of fiduciary duty.


Duncan is highly regarded for his expertise in the professional indemnity insurance (PII) sector. As well as handling claims, Duncan has provided PII insurance policy advice for many years. He has advised both insurers and insured individuals/firms on insurance policy wording issues such as notification, scope of cover, conditions, exclusions, succession, aggregation, declinature and dishonesty. Duncan has also acted in the arbitration of insurance policy disputes.

Recent Work

  • Advising on insurance policy response under a PII policy in circumstances where individuals in the insured business were suspected of dishonesty.

IT & Data

Duncan has considerable experience of disputes involving the IT and technology sector.

Recent Work

> Representing a multinational telematics company engaged in substantial and complex High Court litigation with a technology supplier, successfully resolved before trial.

> Advising a business on contractual matters arising out of the unsatisfactory performance of an IT package.

> Acting in a multi-party dispute involving the alleged theft and misuse of confidential information and designs, entailing the need for imaging of computer hard drives to secure evidence ahead of litigation


Duncan is acknowledged in legal directories for his extensive experience and expertise at mediation over many years.

Recent Work

> Mediation of a high value technology dispute.

> Multiparty mediation of a dispute concerning alleged unfair prejudice within a substantial family company.

> Mediation of a very high value multiparty dispute involving alleged solicitors’ negligence and complex insurance policy issues.



Transport & Logistics

Duncan acts for a number of large corporates in the logistics sector. He has acted for an international company in the automotive sector and a multinational telematics company.


  • Handling supplier disputes on behalf of a large international logistics company in the automotive sector.
  • Acting for a multinational telematics company on a high value dispute with a technology company.


To contact Duncan or for more information…

Call: 01865 781 054
Or email: Send an email


  • Law Society
  • Property Litigation Association
  • Professional Negligence Lawyers Association

“Very bright and tactically first-class.”

(Chambers & Partners, 2017)

“Very strong in mediation and negotiation, and gives consistently clear advice.”

(The Legal 500, 2016)

“A very pragmatic, down-to-earth chap” who “can spot the points that are going to play strongly with clients when looking at strategy and tactics.”

(Chambers & Partners, 2018)

“One of the most tenacious litigators around – a formidable opponent.”

(The Legal 500, 2016)

“He likes to find a solution and works intellectually as well as practically.”

(Chambers & Partners, 2018)

“Immensely experienced and practical.”

(The Legal 500, 2016)

“Very strong in mediation and negotiation, and gives consistently clear advice.”

(The Legal 500, 2017)

The Legal 500, 2020 state that “Duncan Crine is very good at dealing with complex disputes and delivering practical, commercially focused advice, and is very client friendly”. One client commented that Duncan “Clearly knows his stuff in this field; he is attentive to time pressures and deals with matters promptly and effectively.”

(The Legal 500, 2019)

Duncan Crine handles high-value claims and offers insurance coverage advice to clients in addition to his suite of cases acting for claimants and defendants. A source notes: “He can always navigate tricky issues and he did that very effectively. He can understand particularly complex work.”

(Chambers & Partners, 2019)

Client service

‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.

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Freeths are a leading national law firm with 13 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?

Contact: 03301 001 014

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