John is a Partner in our London office. He specialises in the areas of construction and engineering, insurance/reinsurance, product liability, professional liability and media liability. He also sits on the firm’s Emerging Risks Group.

John acts for civil engineering contractors and consultants, engineering manufacturers, employers and public authorities, as well as some of the markets largest and international insurers and reinsurers.

He has particular experience in claims relating to contractors’ all risks (CAR) and significant expertise in alternative dispute resolution, including early neutral evaluation and mediation.

John has advised professional firms (including design and media consultants) and their insurers in relation to traditional claims and, more recently, in respect of claims arising from the ‘misuse’ of social media.

John advises on the consequences of cyber attacks in terms of loss of confidential data, potential reputational damage, increased scrutiny from regulators and associated financial penalties and the obligations of the GDPR. He is currently acting as notification counsel for an insured who was subject to a major hack of senior director’s email accounts. He has also advised high profile individuals regarding them exercising their right to be forgotten against well know search engines and ISP and submitting complaints on their behalf to the ICO.

Reported cases include Seele v Tokio Marine [2007], Holbeck Hall Hotel and another v Scarborough Borough Council [2000], Maclaughlin and others v London Borough of Lambeth [2011] and Saad Al Fagih v HH Saudi Research & Marketing (UK) Ltd [2001].

John is a member of the British Insurance Law Association, City of London Law Society working party on insurance law contract reform, Chartered Insurance Institute and Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL). He regularly contributes to Kennedys’ publications and to industry press, including Insurance Post and Insurance Day.


  • Qualified in England and Wales in 1993
John Farrell 'is an adept strategist who is particularly good in complex and hard-fought disputes’

Market recognition

  • “Technically excellent and very collaborative.”
    The Gracechurch London Market Insurance Law Report 2019
  • Recommended Lawyer for 'Construction (contentious) (London)'
    "John Farrell 'is an adept strategist who is particularly good in complex and hard-fought disputes’."
    The Legal 500 UK 2018/19

Work highlights

  • Acted for a consulting engineer in a £30 million dispute brought by the contractor in respect of the alleged defective design of the pavement of 34km of highway.
  • Acted for insurers on coverage following claim by subcontractor in relation to defective windows at an office development in Paternoster Square.
  • Acted for insurers and reinsurers in respect of damage to power and water plant in the Middle East.
  • Advised adjusters and insurers on the application of Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA) conditions in hired plant claims. Acted as adjudicator in respect of dispute between an owner and a hirer under the CPA conditions.
  • Acted for the project insurers in respect of defects of materials used in the construction of one of the City of London’s most distinctive buildings.
  • Acted for insurers on an owner-controlled insurance programme in relation to the largest infrastructure construction project in Europe and advising insurers with regard to complex construction claims by the insureds.
  • Advised in relation to insurance and reinsurance coverage and policy disputes (CAR, erection all risks, machinery breakdown, energy and professional indemnity).
  • Acted for insurers, public authorities and individuals in respect of defence of media liability claims and assisted clients to protect their reputation across various forms of traditional and social media.
  • In terms of cyber claims his work has included advising on reporting data breaches to the Information Commissioner's office; advising on cyber libel and takedown actions; and advising insurers on coverage issues for a first party policy in respect of cyber attacks on a global company's online network.