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Helen Coates

Partner, Manchester

Helen is an insurance litigation specialist possessing extensive expertise in a broad spectrum of Commercial Insurance related matters.
Helen Coates | Partner | Manchester | DWF


Helen is regularly instructed by major insurer clients, particularly in relation to high value/complex disputes and matters involving both consumer and non-consumer insurance including in regards to policy coverage disputes, business interruption claims, vulnerable customers and complaints involving the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Specialising in commercial insurance claims and disputes, particularly those of a high value/complex nature, Helen has particular expertise in advising on policy coverage disputes and interpretation issues.

Helen is regularly instructed in relation to major property damage losses arising from various causes including for example substantial fires, explosions, floods and other adverse occurrences, most recently the COVID-19 global pandemic.   She advises in relation to both first and third party claims, business interruption losses, quantum disputes and complex fraudulent claims. 

Helen is experienced in advising on cases involving environmental aspects including for example pollution, nuisance and loss/damage to renewable energy facilities.   

She regularly acts on behalf of defendants in high value public and products liability claims and has extensive experience dealing with multi-party litigated disputes and matters involving international aspects and issues of jurisdiction and/or applicable law.   

In addition, Helen provides practical, commercial advice to clients in relation to matters involving issues of data protection, vulnerable customers, equality and discrimination.   

Helen has particular expertise in advising on and resolving insurance related complaints and claims (both consumer and non-consumer) against insurers including those escalated to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).  Helen leads a team of solicitors specialising in this area.

Recent Cases

Financial Conduct Authority v. Arch Insurance (UK) Ltd and others [2020] EWHC 2448 (Comm) and [2021] SCUK 1
Representing one of the insurers in the 2020/2021 FCA Business Interruption Test Case relating to policy coverage in respect of Business Interruption claims arising from the COVID-19 pandemic estimated to be relevant to c.370,000 small businesses with potential claims totalling c.£1.2 billion. 

In addition to dealing with the above litigation, Helen leads a team of solicitors acting for a major insurer client in respect of several hundred policy coverage disputes arising from non-FCA Test Case wordings, including assisting insurers with the drafting of submissions to the Financial Ombudsman Service in regard to COVID-19 Business Interruption claims.

Rushbond Plc v. JS Design Partnership LLP [2020] EWHC 1982 (TCC)
Acted for the successful Defendant in obtaining an order striking out and summary judgment in respect of a multi-million pound claim a claim against an architect based on pure omission in which it was held there was no assumption of responsibility to the Claimant property owner and no basis on which a duty of care might be owed. 

Laserpoint Ltd v. Prime Minister of Malta & Others [2016] EWHC 1820 (QB)
Acted for the successful appellant in an appeal against the enforcement in England of a multi-million pound judgment of the Civil Court in Malta against the appellant.  There had been a delay of nearly 26 years before judgment was issued which in all the circumstances was a breach of Article 34 of Regulation (EC) 44/2001 (Brussels 1).