"His attention to detail is second to none, and he is accessible, responsive and proactive. He is also extremely robust in joint settlement meetings and court hearings."

Chambers & Partners 2020
Stuart Stuart QC

Barrister: Stuart McKechnie QC

Call:
1997

Silk:
2018

Appointments:
Member of 5-person working party responsible for the Judicial College Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases. Appointed to the Technical Board responsible for reviewing the Law Society's Personal Injury Panel for solicitors nation wide.

Education:
Inner Temple Scholar; LLB Law, University of Nottingham

Overview

Stuart took silk in 2018, having established an exceptional junior practice over many years.

Stuart specialises in the highest value catastrophic injury claims involving complex issues and large numbers of experts. He works for many of the leading personal injury and clinical negligence solicitor firms in the country and almost all of his practice is at the High Court. He prides himself on bringing total commitment to every case and demonstrating outstanding attention to detail, sound judgment and excellent advocacy on behalf of all those he represents.

Stuart was awarded the title of ‘Personal Injury/Clinical Negligence Junior of the Year’ at the Chambers & Partners Bar Awards 2017 and was shortlisted for Personal Injury/Clinical Negligence Junior of the Year at the Legal 500 Bar Awards 2018. He is a previous winner of Personal Injury Barrister of the Year at the Eclipse Proclaim Personal Injury Awards.

In 2017-18 Stuart recovered damages with a combined capital value in excess of £110,000,000 (one hundred and ten million) on behalf of Claimants. In JDF (a Child) v Hampshire County Council, he settled what is thought to be the highest Personal Injury award ever made/approved by a Court in the UK, the equivalent of £28 million capitalised. This case was covered across the national media. Read more here.

Stuart is one of only three Barrister members of the working party responsible for the Judicial College Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases. He is the General Editor of the APIL Guide To Catastrophic Injury Claims (being the definitive practitioner guide to running high-value personal injury and clinical negligence actions - 3rd edition to be published in late 2019) and writes for 'Kemp: Practice and Procedure' on the subject of Periodical Payment Orders.

Stuart is the co-organiser of the Annual Cambridge Medico-Legal Conference at Peterhouse College, where he speaks / chairs on a regular basis. His technical knowledge of medical evidence and the experts practicing within medico-legal work is widely appreciated and has been integral to his success at the Bar.

Away from work, Stuart likes to spend time with his family and watch sport. He is trying, with increasing levels of success, to indoctrinate his 2 young sons in the ways of Norwich City Football Club.

What the directories say

For many years Stuart has been listed as a Leading Practitioner in the fields of Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence in the Chambers UK and Legal 500 Clients' Guides, where he has been variously described as:

"Incredibly thorough, detailed and excellent with clients." "His attention to detail is second to none, and he is accessible, responsive and proactive. He is also extremely robust in joint settlement meetings and court hearings. He's always sympathetic with clients while at the same time managing their expectations perfectly."

“He is a complete superstar, a true expert in catastrophic injury cases and the best quantum advocate in the country"

"Exceptionally bright, hard-working and tenacious; a true star of the Bar in every sense"

"Almost legendary in terms of maximising claims for his clients."

"Has an amazing knowledge of spinal injury cases, he really does add a lot of value to cases."

"He's incredibly hard-working and extraordinarily bright."."

"Admired for his amazing service."

"An amazing advocate, who is astonishingly efficient."

"Seriously talented."

"Masterful on very high-value claims."

"A real specialist in catastrophic injury cases."

"Without doubt the leading personal injury junior."

Client Testimonial 

Over a thirty-year career as a barrister and a judge, I had day-to-day experience of counsel. Over the last seven years, after a catastrophic brain injury caused by medical negligence, I needed my own barrister to fight for justice when I was too sick and disabled to be able to myself. I came across Stuart McKechnie as junior counsel, but watched him scale the heights of greatness to Queen’s Counsel. His pleadings; his advice, his absolute expertise in the area of catastrophic brain injury and clinical negligence, his masterly approach to calculating quantum, but most of all, his warm and caring support for a very damaged client, whilst still maintaining the highest standards of professional objectivity. In my experience, Stuart McKechnie QC is outstanding, and simply the best counsel in this field.

EXP (retired judge)

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Notable Cases:

  • S v. Kepak Group [2019]: £4.75 million settlement for 37 year old man who suffered extensive lower limb and abdominal injuries in a workplace accident resulting in a transfemoral amputation. Primary liability was admitted but allegations of contributory negligence were pursued and resisted. As a result of ongoing complications to the stump limiting prosthetic usage, the Claimant decided to undergo osseo-integration surgery under the care of Professor Al-Muderis in Sydney, Australia. An application for an interim payment to fund such surgery was made and conceded by the Defendant at the 11th hour before a contested hearing. The surgery was successful in improving the Claimant’s prosthetic tolerance and quality of life. The case settled approximately 3 months after a failed JSM where the Defendant’s final offer was £4.2 million. During the interim period the Claimant had rejected further improved offers from the Defendant before accepting £4.75 million. The settlement included provision for O-I surgery and future medical treatment / therapies, loss of earnings, care, prosthetics and adapted single level accommodation. Stuart was instructed by Rob Aylott at Osbornes solicitors.
  • Squires v. Chimba [2019]: £3.9 million settlement for a 53 year old lorry driver who suffered an above knee amputation in a motorcycle accident. The Claimant suffered from ongoing difficulties with conventional prosthetic usage leading him to undergo Osseointegration surgery in Holland. This led to a significant improvement in his condition / mobility. The case was settled after a failed JSM where the Claimant rejected the Defendant’s final offer of £3.4 million. The settlement included provision for adapted single level accommodation and future prosthetics including 2 Genium bionic limbs. Stuart was instructed by Barr Ellison solicitors.
  • ABC v. Epsom & St Hellier Hospital NHS Trust [2019]: £3.7 million lump sum and PPO award (£42,500 up to £128,000) for 19 year old young lady who suffered a period of severe asphyxiation at birth causing hypoxic brain injury and the development of a mild form of dystonic cerebral palsy. The Claimant continued to suffer from a variety of deficits and disabilities including developmental amnesia and visual processing difficulties. There were particular difficulties in this case as the Claimant’s motor skills were largely unaffected and her presentation was misleading in that her social skills, verbal intellectual ability and expressive language presented quite normally. As a result, her memory and executive difficulties were often underestimated or missed. The expert evidence obtained by both parties differed on the extent of support required post education and leaving the family home. The case was settled at a JSM and the settlement subsequently approved at the High Court by Martin Spencer J. Stuart was instructed by Deborah Blythe at Russell Cooke.
  • EXP v. Barker: multi-million pound settlement for member of the judiciary who suffered a catastrophic aneurysm bleed requiring lifesaving surgery and resulting in devastating neurological and neuropsychiatric injuries. The Claimant attempted to make a return to judicial work following the aneurysmal bleed but had subsequently been medically retired. The claim on quantum involved extensive expert evidence (with the Claimant instructing 14 expert witnesses) and included claims for loss of earnings (including loss of chance of judicial advancement), loss of judicial pension (incorporating the old and new judicial pension schemes), care, case management, medical expenses and accommodation. A JSM on 14th September 2018 was unsuccessful, promoting both parties to make written Part 36 offers in advance of a 10 day quantum trial commencing 14th November 2018. After its Part 36 offer was not accepted, the Defendant made a substantially increased time-limited offer in a final attempt to compromise the claim. This offer was accepted on Stuart’s advice, bringing to an end over 5 ½ years of litigation during which time the case became a leading authority on expert evidence and conflict of interest [see below for further details]. Stuart was instructed by Lucy Wilton (Partner) at Russell Cooke.
  • XXP v. Metodiev [2018]: £10,000,000 lump sum settlement for catastrophically brain damaged student. Liability previously agreed and approved at 95:5%. The settlement included provision for lifetime care, case management, equipment and accommodation needs. It also allowed for loss of earnings and pension in an assumed career within the police force. A lump sum settlement was required because there was no reasonable security for a PPO. The settlement allowed for a compromise on the discount rate to reflect a likely increase by the time of trial in 2020 and was approved by Mrs Justice Lambert, who complemented Stuart on “a job very well done”. Stuart was instructed by Slater & Gordon solicitors.
  • T v. D [2018]: £5,000,000 lump sum settlement for 54 year old man who sustained below knee amputation and brachial plexus injuries in a motorcycle accident. Allegations of contributory negligence pursued. The settlement, which was achieved  at a JSM, included provision for loss of earnings within the telecommunications industry (including a loss of chance claim), prosthetics (including the Empower limb), future care and accommodation. Stuart was instructed by Rob Aylott at Osbornes Solicitors.
  • JWF [A Protected Party] v YWC [2018]: Lump sum settlement of £1,850,000 plus a PPO of £90,000 pa rising to £127,500 pa at age 75 (for remainder of life) plus provisional damages. The claimant, a retired GP aged 65 at approval, had suffered catastrophic injuries in a RTA including a severe traumatic brain injury and multiple orthopaedic injuries. As a result of high quality rehabilitation and medical care the claimant had made a remarkable level of physical recovery, but been left with some significant neuropsychological deficits requiring supervision and support. The settlement included a very substantial award towards the cost of supported future holidays abroad and in the UK to put the claimant back in the same position that he would have been absent the accident – namely enjoying his retirement to the full. The settlement was approved without hesitation in the High Court on 21st June 2018. Stuart was instructed by Perry Redgrave at Stewarts Law.
  • T v X [2018]: £2.7 million lump sum settlement for 30 year old Polish factory worker who suffered a below knee amputation and comminuted femoral fracture on the same leg. The Claimant had made an excellent recovery and by the time of the JSM in June 2018 was mobilising very well with an Empower limb. As a result of his injuries the Claimant was unable to return to his pre-accident employment and planned to retrain in a driving role. The settlement included provision for an Empower microprocessor prosthesis and future adapted accommodation. Stuart was instructed by Kimberley Owen at Minster Law.
  • LWF v Balding [2017]: The Claimant (a protected party) sustained severe traumatic brain injury when she was struck by a vehicle being driven by a drunk driver. The defendant driver was subsequently convicted of Causing Serious Injury by Dangerous Driving and Drink Driving and sentenced to a substantial term of imprisonment. The Claimant has been left with a range of neurocognitive and neuropsychological problems, superimposed on a significant pre-existing history of learning difficulties. This gave rise to complex arguments on causation and quantum. Having made 2 substantial settlement offers in early-mid 2017 (offers that were rejected on Stuart’s advice) the Defendant subsequently made a final offer of £3.8 million and this was accepted on behalf of the Claimant. The settlement was approved at the RCJ on 29th November 2017 by Mr. Justice Martin Spencer, who commended Stuart on the quality of his advice and confirmed that he had no hesitation in approving the settlement and granting an anonymity order for the Claimant. Instructed by Stewarts.
  • M v X [2017]: £9 million settlement for motorcyclist who sustained severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury (ASIA grade C, at level T6). Unfortunately, the Claimant subsequently suffered from complications with a syrinx that extended to the body of C2 and required urgent neurosurgical treatment in the form of cervical laminectomy and the insertion of a shunt and drain into the spinal cord. This led to further neurological deterioration and pain, most importantly in the right arm/hand. The case involved complex issues of quantum, including the appropriate quantification of life expectancy of a paraplegic with a high level (controlled) syrinx. The claim for accommodation was compromised separately incorporating a conventional Roberts v Johnstone calculation (the settlement of this head of loss having been achieved before the reduction in the discount rate in 2017), with the remaining heads of loss compromised at a settlement meeting in November 2017 at £8.2 million lump sum. The Claimant is entitled to return to court for further damages in the event of further deterioration in his syrinx. Approval was obtained at the High Court to avoid any question marks over the validity of settlement in view of conflicting opinions on capacity. Stuart acted in conjunction with Rob Weir QC and was instructed by Minster Law.
  • Peters v MOD [2017]: Claim against MOD on behalf of a civilian forensic scientist who was injured in an explosion whilst working at a MOD laboratory in Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2011. At the time of the explosion the Claimant, Mr. Lee Peters, was examining an item that had been passed as safe to handle by MOD personnel. In fact, this item was an IED that exploded whilst being handled, causing very significant damage to his left hand and blast injuries to his eyes. Despite his injuries the Claimant had returned to work in Afghanistan. The claim was settled at a JSM for a high 6 figure sum comprising general damages, loss of earnings, prosthetics (cosmesis only - the claimant wasn’t a candidate for robotic technology) and some care needs. Stuart was instructed by Tracey Benson at Slater & Gordon Solicitors.
  • JDF v Hampshire County Council [2017]: Junior Counsel for catastrophically brain damaged child. Thought to be the highest ever damages award made or approved by a Court. Stuart was instructed on the case from the very outset and worked closely with Perry Redgrave of Stewarts Law over a period of 4 years leading up to a settlement meeting on 14th January 2017. At that meeting, at which Stuart was led by Frank Burton QC in his very last commitment at the Bar before retirement, the parties agreed a settlement based on a variable PPO covering future care and case management needs and a lump sum of £4.9 million. At the same time, in view of the impending announcement of the outcome of the discount rate review, the parties agreed a formula for recalculating the future recurring losses element of the lump sum damages in the event that the discount rate was reduced. As a result of the reduction in the discount rate to -0.75%, the parties agreed a revised lump sum figure of £9,113,074. When combined with the agreed PPOs for care & case management across the Claimant’s life expectancy, the settlement has a combined capitalised equivalent of£28 million. The settlement was approved at a hearing on 17th March 2017 before Mr. Justice Foskett at which Stuart represented the Claimant.
  • EXP v Barker [2015] EWHC 1289 (QB) & [2017] EWCA Civ 63: Junior Counsel for the Claimant (a member of the judiciary) in a successful catastrophic clinical negligence trial where the evidence of an eminent neuro-radiologist (instructed by the Defendant) was rejected on the issue of liability and judgment was entered for the Claimant. The Defendant’s appeal to the Court of Appeal was subsequently unanimously dismissed. Leading authority on conflict of interest. Case now proceeds on quantum and is likely to be worth into the multiple millions. Stuart was led by Grahame Aldous QC at the liability trial and in the Court of Appeal but is now dealing with quantum alone. Instructed by Russell Cooke.
  • F v M [2016]: Industrial accident resulting in traumatic amputation of right arm at the shoulder in a recycling machine. Primary liability admitted by Defendant. Allegations of contributory negligence made that were subsequently not pursued. The Claimant originated from East Timor and spoke very little English, meaning that all communications with him needed to be via an interpreter. The case was extremely complex on quantum, including issues on immigration status, earnings but for the accident and difficulties obtaining suitable prosthetics due to the nature of the amputation. The case eventually settled at a JSM in March 2016 for £1.75 million plus costs.
  • J v Y [2016]: 37 year old female sustained very severe traumatic brain injury arising out of a RTA. As a result of the injuries sustained in accident the Claimant requires 24/7 care, specialist accommodation and extensive therapeutic input. The claim settled at a JSM with a lump sum award of £2 million plus a base PPO of £220,500 combining with continuing healthcare funding to meet the Claimant’s full care and case management needs against a background of a 30% deduction for contributory negligence. Instructed by Stewarts Law. Led by Frank Burton QC.
  • C v F [2016]: 49 year old man sustained very severe traumatic brain injury arising out of RTA. Extensive care and therapeutic regime required on a lifetime basis. The Defendant refused to negotiate on a PPO basis at a failed JSM, resulting in the Claimant making an application to the High Court for an indication on the suitability of a PPO in this case. Shortly before the return date for the application the Defendant agreed to make a substantially inflated lump sum payment of £6.3 million to compromise the claim. Instructed by Stewarts Law. Led by Frank Burton QC.
  • T v Walsall Hospital NHS Trust [2015]: Catastrophic clinical negligence claim arising from negligent treatment of 7 year old boy at Walsall Manor Hospital leading to severe cerebral ischaemia. The Claimant lived with his family in the Channel Islands and the case therefore involved complex quantum issues involving care, loss of earnings, curatorship and indexation. The claim settled almost 9 years post incident for a combined lump sum and PPO package worth over £11.5 million capitalised (approved by Dingemans J in the Royal Courts of Justice). Stuart was led by John Foy QC and instructed by Bolt Burdon Kemp.
  • K v P [2015]: £4.7 million settlement for 22 year old female claimant who sustained a L1 spinal fracture and spinal cord injury at level T10 when a sizeable piece of masonry fell onto her back/shoulder. As a result of the accident the Claimant was rendered paraplegic with no sensation and no movement in her lower limbs up to the level of the umbilicus. Classified as T10 ASIA A, resulting in wheelchair dependence. Insurance indemnity issues required a lump sum settlement. Led by Frank Burton QC. Instructed by Stewarts Law.
  • Powell v North Bristol NHS Trust [2015]: Successful 5 day clinical negligence trial on behalf of Claimant. The Defendant’s case was reliant on the expert evidence of a world renowned shoulder expert. Following detailed cross examination by Stuart at trial, the judge (HHJ Denyer QC) rejected this evidence and accepted the evidence of the Claimant’s orthopaedic expert on liability / causation. As a result, judgment was entered for damages in a six figure sum representing general damages, loss of earnings and other miscellaneous special damages. Instructed by Barcan Kirby solicitors.
  • Sumner v Atkinson [2015]: Junior Counsel for the Claimant in a liability disputed claim involving allegations of ex turpi causa against the catastrophically brain damaged Claimant. Stuart represented the Claimant at the inquest held in relation to the death of the Defendant driver and another innocent driver. Following a settlement meeting in early 2015 (at which Stuart represented the Claimant along with Frank Burton QC), the case eventually settled for a seven figure sum that was subsequently approved at the High Court. Instructed by Stewarts Law.
  • A v B [2015]: Award of £250,000 net of contributory negligence and benefits for an assault leading to an orbital fracture, mild head injury and the development of a Conversion Disorder. Contentious issues on diagnosis, causation and quantum with the case viewed against the background of a significant pre-existing psychiatric history. Stuart was instructed for the first time in early 2014 at a stage where the Claimant had been advised by her previous legal team (including counsel at a leading Personal Injury Chambers) to accept a Part 36 offer of £80,000 net of contributory negligence and benefits. As a result of her refusal to do so, the Claimant’s previous solicitors came off the record and the Claimant instructed a new solicitor. Stuart accepted the case on a CFA and subsequently advised in conference, represented the Claimant at a fully contested interlocutory hearing and then at a JSM in January 2015 where the case settled for £250,000 net of contributory negligence and benefits. Instructed by Minster Law.
  • G v X [2014]: £1,000,000 lump sum plus £15,000 PPO for care and case management costs for a 23 year old man who sustained a serious brain injury in an accident causing ongoing cognitive and executive deficits. The Claimant was able to continue at work, albeit on a reduced basis, and required assistance with activities such as shopping and meal planning. Assuming the Claimant lives a normal life expectancy, the combined capital value of the award totals almost £2,000,000. The case settled at a JSM in May 2014. Notwithstanding the fact that the Claimant retained capacity, the settlement was approved by the High Court to avoid any uncertainty on its validity. Instructed by CTTS Solicitors.
  • W v Y [2014]: £600,000 lump sum settlement for a sole practitioner solicitor who sustained post-concussional syndrome causing significant disruption to her legal business. The case, which involved complex accountancy evidence, was settled at a JSM in June 2014. Instructed by Stewarts Law LLP.
  • Z v NHS Trust [2013]: £2.4 million lump sum settlement in Fatal Accident clinical negligence claim. Case subject to confidentiality agreement. Instructed by Russell Cooke LLP.
  • J v M [2013]: £1 million lump sum for subtle brain injuries giving rise to inability to continue working within personal injury firm of solicitors and consequential loss of earnings and loss of small equity share in business. The settlement, negotiated at a settlement meeting, involved complex calculations regarding the valuation of the business in the legal climate post Jackson reforms. Instructed by Shoosmiths Solicitors.
  • C v S [2013]: £1.6 million lump sum plus a graduated Periodical Payment Order for care, services and holidays rising to just under £30,000 per annum (indexed to ASHE 6115) for a 54 year old claimant who suffered multiple injuries in a Road Traffic Accident leading to transfemoral amputation of the right leg and a right sided brachial plexus injury causing loss of function in the right arm. The settlement was agreed 4 weeks before a 4 day trial in the High Court and 3 months after the defendant had made a "final offer" at a settlement meeting of £1,390,000 plus a lower PPO. Instructed by Ashton KCJ Solicitors.
  • O v J [2013]: £1 million lump sum settlement for a 48 year old female claimant who sustained multiple orthopaedic injuries as a result of a road traffic accident. The award included provision for future loss of earnings, care and accommodation. Instructed by Shoosmiths Solicitors.
  • A v B [2013]: £1.7 million provisional damages lump sum settlement for 25 year old male claimant who suffered catastrophic spinal injuries in a RTA leading to incomplete paraperesis. Despite being given a 1 in 10 chance of ever walking again, the claimant made a remarkable recovery, achieving a very good level of mobility and a return to employment. The spinal experts instructed by both parties disagreed as to the likely level of disability over the long term. The award, negotiated at a joint settlement meeting in advance of a 5-day High Court trial, was agreed at an inflated level to compensate the absence of a periodical payment order for care; assistance / equipment and allows the claimant to return to court for further damages in the event that he develops a clinically significant syrinx within his lifetime. Instructed by Barr Ellison Solicitors.
  • C v J [2012]: High Court claim involving pre-existing paraplegic Claimant who suffered further RTA leading to multiple injuries, cardiac arrest and then permanent 24 hour ventilator dependency. Claimant remained in intensive care at hospital for over 4 years post-accident. 16 experts involved in claim, described by respiratory experts as the most "unique case" they had ever been involved in and described by another 2 experienced experts as the most complex case they had ever seen. Ground breaking approach taken on behalf of the Claimant in relation to the claim for accommodation and settled on this basis. Case settled 3 days before 5-day High Court trial on 17 December 2012 with 33 page consent order drafted to finalise terms including £336,000 PPO for future care and case management. Capital value of settlement potentially worth over £6 million. Led by John Foy QC. Confidentiality clause in place. Instructed by Spencers Solicitors.
  • H v B [2012]: £650,000 award achieved for a 45 year old male who sustained multiple orthopaedic injuries as a result of a motorbike accident. The Claimant had been able to return to his pre-accident employment but his promotional prospects were now limited. Settlement was reached through negotiation following a failed Joint Settlement Meeting.
  • R v S [2012]: £600,000 lump sum settlement for a 24 year old male who sustained multiple orthopaedic injuries and a traumatic brain injury. The settlement included a sizeable award for loss of earnings to reflect the impact of the accident on the Claimant's intended career as a DJ / music producer. Instructed by Boyes Turner Solicitors.
  • Cooper v TPA Roadways [2012]: 2 day multi-track liability trial at Cambridge County Court involving 10 witnesses of fact. Successful outcome on behalf of the Claimant. Instructed by Fosters Solicitors.

 

 

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