John Smith

Personal Injury Barristers

Personal Injury Team

Our team of personal injury barristers remain a market leader in the provision of advice and advocacy in all aspects of personal injury litigation. Listed as a 'Leading Set for Personal Injury' in Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500, these directories praise the teams "intellectually rigorous silks" and "truly dynamic juniors". The team frequently deal with cases of the highest value and of national importance, providing cutting-edge advice and nationwide representation in all civil courts, including the Supreme Court.

Predominantly, but not exclusively, acting on behalf of injured claimants, our focused but human approach to cases ensures that those we represent, whilst often going through one of the most stressful episodes in their lives, feel listened to and confident in their representation. This client care ethos extends to our solicitor clients with whom we engage in a team approach to ensure successful litigation, thereby maximising the claimant’s damages as expeditiously as possible. We promote this throughout the team and we are proud of our strength in depth, our team being as adept at providing advice for minor injuries as it is for catastrophic claims. Our areas of specialism include:

> Abuse Claims

Abuse can take many forms. This can be physical and/or sexual. The abuse can be with or without a breach of trust or the abuse of a position of responsibility. The abuse may be historical in the sense that it occurred many years ago or in the recent past, for instance within the last 5 years.

Those practising in this area need tact, understanding of the issues (from both sides of the argument) and most of all good judgement in relation to the appropriate issues to take and those to leave in abeyance.

Members of chambers both bring and defend these claims for and against religious and educational institutions, local authorities and government bodies. In addition, members are regularly instructed on claims arising from detention.

Practitioners are alive to arguments of limitation and new and developing causes of action such as those opened up by the recent decision of the Supreme Court in Rhodes v. OPO (By his Litigation Friend BHM) & Another [2015] UKSC 32 which developed the principle enunciated in Wilkinson v. Downton [1897] 2 QB 57.

Recent examples of work include the defence of a teacher in a position of trust who was accused of serious sexual assault by a pupil in his care. The settlement of a claim for substantial sums against the Church of England resulting from sexual abuse. Cases where siblings have been sexually abused by a parent where enormous psychological damage followed as a result of which the individuals were incapable of work and barely capable of independent living.

The effect of abuse on the individuals concerned cannot be understated.

These claims need to be prepared very carefully in all regards however particularly in relation to hotly contested areas such as future loss of earnings.

Members of chambers who cover this area are predominantly silks or senior juniors although more junior members have increasing exposure to this type of work and are well placed considering the breadth of experience in chambers and the internal training provided.

> Animals Act

9 Gough Square houses some of the most experienced practitioners in this tricky area of law. Member of Chambers are regularly involved in High Court and County Court matters dealing with claims under the Animals Act 1971 and at common law. Claims range from dog bites to catastrophic brain and spinal injuries sustained in falls from horses or road traffic collision cases with livestock loose on the highway. The depth of experience means that appropriate Counsel can be found for whatever the value of the claim.

Members of 9 Gough Square have been at the forefront of the development of the law in this field having been involved in the Court of Appeal cases of Clark v Bowlt [2006] EWCA Civ 978, Freeman v Higher Park Farm [2008] EWCA Civ 1185 and Whippey v Jones [2009] EWCA Civ 452.

Chambers work is a healthy Claimant/ Defendant split and individual members regularly lecture on this area of law.

Recent cases include:

  • Settlement for a paraplegic whose injuries were caused in her fall from a horse, damages agreed at €3.5 million.
  • Settlement of a brain injury case for a spectator injured at a riding event when a horse careered into him knocking him over and trampling on his head – damages of £500,000 agreed at JSM.
  • Settlement of subtle brain injury claim to woman kicked in the head by a horse whilst walking along a bridleway and linked Secondary Victim claim for her husband.
  • Defending claim brought by passenger in a car who sustained brain injuries when horses escaped onto the road from their field and collided with her car.
  • Defending claim valued well in excess of £1 million where rider fell from horse and later sustained a stroke and paralysis.

> Asbestos Disease Work

The occupational illness team at 9 Gough Square specialises in particular in asbestos disease work. The team have written and published their own book entitled Asbestos Claims, Practice and Procedure. It is in its second edition and third edition is due to be published in Autumn 2015.

The team have extensive experience of mesothelioma claims, being able to provide expert advice on the issues of breach of common law and statutory duty given their extensive knowledge of the history of the emerging knowledge of the dangers of asbestos in the last century. The team routinely appear before the specialist masters at the RCJ and also before judges in the major provincial centres for the purposes of case management, which is crucial in cases of terminal disease where life expectation is short.

Our experience and knowledge of both breach and medical causation in this field mean that the team is superbly placed to provide clear and comprehensive advice in asbestos induced lung cancer and asbestosis claims when these claims are frequently complicated and challenging. We pride ourselves on giving realistic advice but also on being proactive in giving guidance as to how the prospects of success can be improved for the client. We are also expert in handling a terminally ill client or a distraught widow with care and sensitivity.

Our unrivalled experience in personal injury and fatal accident claims means that we are also able to provide expert advice and drafting in respect of quantum. We have a real specialism in issues concerning the calculation of future loss including pension claims and tax and benefit implications.

Recent cases include:

  • HMRC employment schedules - interim procedure proposed and endorsed by the RCJ - Yates v HMRC [2014] EWHC 2311.
  • Can a widow dying of mesothelioma as a result of being exposed to asbestos brought home on her husband's clothes and who also died of mesothelioma bring a claim for the loss of the chance to bring a full dependency claim? - Haxton v Phillips International Plc [2014] EWHC 1034.
  • Hospice care found to be recoverable Drake v Foster Wheeler [2010] EWHC 2004.

> Catastrophic Injuries

By their very nature, catastrophic injury claims are both complex and demanding. They involve strategic management and expert input from the very outset of each case, including the consideration of care and rehabilitation, case management, lifelong medical / therapeutic treatment, the use of multiple experts in various disciplines and complicated financial settlement structures often with Court of Protection involvement. They also require very sensitive handling, with injured claimants and their families facing the most challenging period of their lives.

At 9 Gough Square we have some of the leading specialists in the field of catastrophic injury work, regularly representing those who have suffered catastrophic birth injury, traumatic and acquired brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation and serious orthopaedic or internal injuries. Our practitioners have been involved in many of the highest value and highest profile catastrophic injury cases before the courts, often attracting seven and eight figures awards of damages.

Our excellence in this area is consistently recognised and reflected in the Chambers and Partners and Legal 500 Guides. We are also responsible for a number of the leading publications in this field, including the APIL Guide to Catastrophic Injury Claims and relevant chapters in Kemp & Kemp and Butterworths Personal Injury Litigation Service.

Our members understand the importance of working as a team and never lose sight of the key requirement in all of these cases, namely to facilitate the best possible quality of life for those who have been grievously injured.

> CICA

We retain a very strong team of barristers conducting Criminal Injuries Compensation work from all levels of seniority. Our barristers have also written the major text book used by the CICA and the First Tier Tribunal in this area (‘Criminal Injuries Compensation Claims’ – new edition Autumn 2015). We have specialist knowledge of the application of all of the Criminal Injuries Schemes including the Pre-Tariff and all of the Tariff Schemes. We routinely advise and represent Applicants and Appellants in the full range of criminal injuries claims. Our barristers also undertake judicial review and appellate work arising from these cases and have appeared in the following recent noinlinetable cases : CP v CICA [2014] EWCA Civ 1554 (eligibility : foetal alcohol) RS v. CICA [2013] EWCA Civ 1040 (eligibility : secondary victims) and LHS (by his Litigation Friends and Deputies JBO & SJB) v FTT & CICA [2015] EWHC 1077 (Admin) (discount rate in pre-tariff cases to which the Damages Act 1996 does not apply).

We achieve the best possible results for clients in what is often a last resort forum to have their injuries recognised and compensated. We can assist at any stage of the process in all types of claims ranging from historical sexual and physical abuse to violent crime and occupation based and other exceptional risk claims including:

  • Whether the applicant is eligible for an award.
  • Evidence in relation to eligibility and quantum.
  • Reductions for conduct and convictions.
  • The interface between pending civil proceedings and CICA claims.
  • Whether to seek a review or an appeal of a CICA decision or award.
  • Drafting of skeleton arguments and schedules for the purpose of a review or appeal.
  • Advocacy at appeal hearings.
  • Procedural issues arising out of the Tribunal Procedure Rules and the interrelationship between them and the Schemes.
  • Advising in respect of the merits of judicial review proceedings of an appeal decision.
  • Re-opening of cases (all Schemes).

We represent clients throughout England and Wales. Our barristers treat the victims of violent crime and their families with courtesy, understanding and respect. Many of our members have expertise in managing traumatic brain injury cases and historical sex abuse claims. We understand the pressures involved in litigating criminal injuries claims, in particular the pressure to minimise costs and disbursements. Many of our cases are funded by Unions. However, we accept work on all funding bases including conditional fees and deferred fees in appropriate cases. Members of the team are happy to travel to solicitors' offices or clients’ home when appropriate. Chambers also offers video conferencing facilities.

> Court Of Protection

From silk to junior, the specialist Court of Protection Team at 9 Gough Square contains market leaders in Personal Injury, Clinical Negligence and Public/Family law. This allows our barristers to give clients and solicitors an unrivalled breadth of expertise in this dynamic and sensitive area of work. We have no less than 20 barristers listed in the legal directories.

Drawing on strengths and expertise from each individual practice area, the barristers in our Court of Protection Team provide a unique perspective to issues relating to the welfare and decision making for those that are incapable of doing so themselves. Most notably our team consists of barristers with vast experience in acting for those disabled and of reduced mental capacity arising out of injury and clinical negligence. With our Head of Chambers Andrew Ritchie QC chairing the predominant annual 'Deputy Day' Conference run by Frenkel Topping, Chambers' profile in this work continues to be high.

Our barristers pride themselves on offering incisive advice whilst retaining a human touch, accepting instruction from solicitors, Deputies and the Official Solicitor in all matters concerning the Court of Protection.

For more information on the team please visit their page here.

> Costs

The Costs Group has strength in depth, from the most senior to most junior Member of Chambers in respect of traditional retainers, the old CFA regimes and the post-1 April 2013 Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) changes to CFAs and the costs regime generally. Moreover, Members of Chambers have been involved in the negotiation and esinlinetablishment of the various CFA regimes that have existed and in the litigation that has arisen within the every changing costs landscape. John Foy QC is particularly renowned as a pioneer in the CFA sphere.

The Group has risen to the challenges presented by the LASPO/Jackson reforms and regularly undertake Costs and Case Management Hearings and advise in respect of costs, including the effect of the revisions to the detailed assessment procedure, various fixed costs regimes and the application of qualified one way costs shifting (QOCS) and their interplay with Part 36/settlement offers. Further, members of the team were involved in the only case to date dealing with the definition of Fundamental Dishonesty (Gosling v Screwfix Direct Ltd and Anor (29/04/14).

Members of the Group accept instructions across the range of civil costs work from advising on points of principle to attending detailed assessment hearings.

> Employers' Liability

The employers liability team is a core part of the personal injury team. We act on behalf of both employees and employers across the full spectrum of work-related claims, including: stress, dermatitis, asbestos-related conditions, construction accidents, manual handling, repetitive strain injury, assaults at work, defective work equipment, trips, slips and falls. We have huge experience and unrivalled expertise in this area, with a leading team of silks and juniors who are able to deal with all types of cases, from minor accidents at work to complex catastrophic injuries.

We pride ourselves on offering the highest standards of advocacy and advisory services, at all times. Members are extremely familiar with the regulatory framework which applies in this field, and frequently provide lectures and training to other legal professionals. We are also responsible for a multiple publications including the APIL Guide to Occupational Illness Claims, Manual Handling Claims, Work Equipment Claims, and Work Accidents at Sea, 9 Gough Square being the only set of Chambers who have published their own series of books on these topics.

Examples of noinlinetable cases include:

  • Zagdanski v City Scrap Ltd (2015) (the claimant, who was represented by Andrew Ritchie QC, suffered a traumatic amputation to his right arm at work – quantum was settled for £1.75M, including damages for a revolutionary new bionic arm).
  • Corr v IBC Vehicles Ltd [2008] House of Lords EWHL 13 (whether employer liable for suicide of employee who had been involved in a serious accident at work).
  • Allison v London Underground Ltd [2008] EWCA Civ 71 (duty to ensure adequate training for the use of work equipment).
  • Sowmez v Kebaberry Wholesale Ltd [2008] EWHC 3366 (employee sustained injury whilst operating a mixing machine, resulting in amputation at the shoulder).
  • Jones v Metal Box Ltd and another (2007) (factory worker died after exposure to asbestos dust at work).

> Industrial Disease

9 Gough Square has practitioners specialising in all areas of industrial disease and occupational illness claims. These claims are often complicated legally and frequently lack the quality of evidence available in other injury claims, particularly with the more historical and the post-death claims. We provide a practical and realistic approach to this litigation. We understand that a well presented claim is important if an early and satisfactory settlement is to be obtained. Our experience with experts, whose evidence is often crucial in such claims, enables us to ensure that the best evidence is available and also enables us to assess the likely strength of the expert evidence under challenge.

In addition to advising on the merits of a claim and its value, we have much experience in assisting in the identification of appropriate defendants and in resolving the insurance issues which arise in such claims.

For elderly and seriously ill clients a speedy resolution is often important and we will assist in fast-tracking appropriate claims.

Areas in which we regularly advise and represent clients include:

  • Asbestos related claims. Members specialising in this field have produced the leading practitioner handbook Asbestos Claims – Law Practice and Procedure (now in its third edition and published by 9 Gough Square (2015)).
  • Other respiratory diseases, such as occupationally caused and occupationally exacerbated asthma and adult respiratory distress syndrome.
  • Dermatitis.
  • Cancers resulting from work exposure to agents such as chromium and aromatic amines.
  • Noise induced hearing loss.
  • Hand arm vibration syndrome/Vibration white finger.
  • Work related upper limb disorders.
  • Occupational stress claims.

> Marine Accidents

9 Gough Square has a strong practice in shipping and maritime law. The team have particular expertise with marine accidents, including:

  • Passenger claims under the Athens Convention
  • Employer liability/Merchant Shipping regulations claims
  • Two-ship incidents
  • Offshore installations
  • Diving accidents
  • Pipelines

Our team is familiar with the often complex issues that can arise in such cases and regularly advise on matters relating to jurisdiction and limitation. Members regularly appear in the Admiralty Court and junior barristers are available to cover cases falling within the jurisdiction of the County Court.

Our barristers act for both claimants and defendants.  Some case examples include:

  • The cases arising from the 1989 Marchioness Disaster, including the Marchioness Steering Committee Costs Litigation
  • Braganza v BP Shipping Ltd & Anor [2015] UKSC 17)

The team has published a book on this niche area of law called “Work Accidents at Sea”, and this is being updated in 2015.

> MIB

The MIB make wily opponents and they revel in the intricacies of the Uninsured and Untraced Drivers’ agreements to catch the unwary. Fortunately, the team at 9 Gough Square have renowned experience in dealing with claims under both agreements. In fact, as well as advising on the workings of the schemes, they also advise on the often thorny initial question of whether a claim should include the MIB at all. This advice centres on whether an insurer is a contractual insurer, a RTA insurer pursuant to s.151; or an Article 75 insurer, in which case they act as agents for the MIB.

The team is led by Andrew Ritchie who wrote the APIL “Guide to MIB Claims” (Jordans, new edition in 2016) with other team members contributing to APIL’s Guide to RTA Liability (Jordans) as well as Butterworth’s Personal Injury litigation Service, both publications having dedicated sections on the MIB. Accordingly, it is clear that the team is well placed to advise on all aspects of road traffic insurance and the need to and practicalities of litigating against the MIB, including ultimately to arbitration, a very rare occurrence (see Andrews v MIB [2012], Lawtel).

Litigation against the MIB is a fertile and changing area of jurisprudence with the added complications of having European origins. Recent cases of VNUK and Delany v Secretary of State for Transport demonstrate that not only do practitioners need to know and understand how to apply the current MIB agreements, they also need to be cognoscente of the flaws in the current agreements that could be open to successful challenge. This is likely to remain the case despite the new Uninsured Drivers’ Agreement and the team here remain eager to assist in all stages of such litigation.

> Occupiers Liability

The team have vast experience and expertise in this fundamental area of personal injury law, providing representation for both Claimants and Defendants in cases that range in value and complexity. The team are also at the forefront of the continuing developments in occupiers' liability law. In the last two years alone, member of the team have appeared in the High Court in Driver v Painted House Trust and anor [2014] EWHC 1929 (QB) which crystallised many occupiers’ liability issues, and in the Court of Appeal in West Sussex Council v Master Lewis Pierce [2013] EWCA Civ 1230 (duty to safeguard children whilst at school).

There is no aspect of occupiers' liability upon which the team cannot provide their expert advice. Most commonly claims arise under the Occupiers' Liability Act 1957, with accidents occurring on the whole gamut of premises, ranging from private property and premises open to the public (supermarkets, parks, schools, restaurants &c). Although the fundamental consideration is the reasonableness of the state of the premises, it is necessary to carefully consider the specific duties owed to children and the impact of conduct of independent contractors.

More rarely claims require consideration of the more complex duties owed to trespassers arising from the Occupiers' Liability Act1984 or consideration of the interrelationship and applicability of these statutes and the statutory obligations owed by landlords to tenants for defective premises. A further area of expertise includes accidents on aircraft or ships which invoke the Montreal and Athens Conventions respectively.

The team's great experience in this area allows them to advise robustly and pragmatically on either side of an occupiers' argument at all stages of a litigation in order to secure the best outcome for a client.

> Product Liability

Members of 9 Gough Square appear in some of the most high profile, product liability group actions as well as being instructed in individual claims. From Silks to experienced Juniors, the team is able to offer expertise in all areas of Product Liability Litigation. Individual members are currently instructed in the PIP Breast Implant Litigation, DePuy Metal on Metal Hip Litigation, Biomet UK Metal on Metal Hip Litigation and Mix-Match Hip Implant Claims. Members are also instructed in claims arising from use of the Cervarix vaccine, vaginal meshes, vaginal slings, surgical meshes and transvaginal tapes.

9 Gough Square Barristers bring excellence from their collective clinical negligence experience to the Product Liability field. Regular in-house seminars are arranged to ensure more junior members of Chambers are familiar with the latest Product Liability developments and members of Chambers regularly provide training at firms of solicitors across England and Wales.

9 Gough Square's Product Liability team is also international in its focus. Recognising the multi-jurisdictional nature of Product Liability practice, members of Chambers regularly attend professional conferences in the United States and Europe.

Members of Chambers are available for instruction or informal contact at any stage of Product Liability litigation. Solicitors should not hesitate to contact Chambers at the infancy of potential actions in order to seek expert input.

> Public Liability

Members of the team have between them a wealth of experience in dealing with public liability claims. There is huge variety in the cases that members deal with in this area. Cases include:

  • Claims brought under the Highways Act 1980 for tripping and slipping accidents on the highway. Such accidents might be caused by poorly maintained footpaths or pavements or because of untreated ice and snow.
  • Claims arising from obstructions to the highways or pavements including for example: unlit skips or other items located on the highway at night or items left on the highway creating an obstruction or a tripping hazard.
  • Claims brought under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 or in negligence in respect of accidents at premises open to the public including parks, leisure centres, schools, supermarkets, shopping centres, restaurants, amusement parks etc.

Within this area cases range from the relatively straightforward to the extremely complex and high value. Members have experience of acting for both Claimants and Defendants in this area and bring to their cases a keen ability to see the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing case and are able to utilize this experience to great effect.

In all cases members are able to offer practical and pragmatic advice at all stages from pre-issue through to trial including advice on securing the requisite evidence, including disclosure from the opposing party, to allow claims to be brought to a successful conclusion.

> Road Traffic Accidents

The team have a vast range of experience in dealing with Road Traffic Accident claims acting for both Claimants and Defendants. We are regularly instructed by injured drivers, passengers, cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. As well as claims against individuals and insurers, the team have particular expertise in claims against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau for the negligent actions of uninsured or untraced drivers. The team are also instructed on more niche areas including road traffic accidents caused by animals, RTAs abroad and claims against public service vehicles. Given their expertise it is unsurprising that the team have contributed to a number of leading publications on RTA law, including the APIL 'Guide to RTA Liability' published by Jordans and the RTA section of 'Butterworths Personal Injury Litigation Service'.

Our barristers are often involved from an early stage advising on liability, evidence and quantum, right through to representing clients at trial and a search of Lawtel will reveal the many cases in which members of the team have provided representation, from County to Supreme Court level. In addition, the team are also able to advise on all other aspects of Road Traffic Accident claims, from issues such as credit-hire and recovery and repair through to LVI and fraud.

> Travel & Foreign Claims

The barristers at 9 Gough Square are well-versed in the complexities of personal injury claims involving accidents that occur out of the jurisdiction including those that happen at sea, on flights or on holidays. The team regularly advises and drafts pleadings in cases involving:

  • The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.
  • The Montreal Convention (applying to carriage of passengers by air).
  • The Athens convention (applying to carriage of passengers by sea).
  • Disputes as to jurisdiction (including Brussels Convention, Rome I and Rome II).

The breadth of the Personal Injury team’s expertise means that members of our Marine Accidents team are also able to assist in cases falling within the jurisdiction of the Admiralty Court.

Recent cases include probably one of the largest personal injury awards ever in the English courts for a severely brain injured teenager who was on struck by a motorcycle whilst holidaying in Monaco.

> Sports Law

Over the last decade sports law has developed rapidly into a discrete area of practice.

9 Gough Square provides expertise in disciplinary, commercial and employment disputes arising in a sports law context. In addition, members of chambers offer a wealth of experience in personal injury claims arising out of participation and contractual disputes with and on behalf of niche liability insurers in the professional game. The disputes which often arise are those in relation to indemnity for career-ending injury. These types of disputes often involve some form of ADR in which 9 Gough Square offers an extensive service which includes facilities for multi-party resolution.

Members of chambers regularly bring and defend these types of claims and have extensive experience of representing parties from international rugby players to the governing bodies such as UK Athletics and the British Cycling Federation both of whom they are regularly instructed on behalf of. Members of chambers are also instructed in litigation arising from London 2012.

In addition to injuries sustained whilst participating in sport, members of chambers are also instructed in proceedings arising from doping offences.

9 Gough Square has the strength and depth to be able to offer legal advice on civil, commercial and the criminal aspects of sports litigation. This gives chambers the edge over other purely civil practitioners.

We have a professional and friendly approach which is widely praised by solicitors and clients alike.

Our barristers are happy to provide training to solicitors on recent developments as well as specifically requested topics.

If you are interested in receiving training in this area please contact the clerks here 

9 Gough Square is accredited by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

Contact us

For more information please call our clerks on
020 7832 0500 or Email »

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