Richard Stead


Richard Stead

Call 1979 (Middle Temple)
Qualifications MA (Cantab), ACI Arb
Professional Memberships Personal Injury Bar Association, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and Technology and Construction Bar Association
Judicial Office Recorder 1996
Mediation Richard is also a trained mediator

Expertise


Richard has long experience of working on cases of property damage, defective equipment, accidents on farm land and farm facilities. Property damage may arise from flooding, landslip and subsidence amongst other causes.  Defective buildings, equipment or plant are often encountered on farms.  The impact of such defects on farming operations needs to be understood.  For example, the consequences of a defective milking parlour upon milk production, the incidence of mastitis, fertility and culling all need to be recognised and understood.  Richard has undertaken many such cases.  He has also acted in numerous cases concerning accidents on farms involving animals, farm equipment and working practices.  He has particular experience of accidents arising from falling trees and from cattle handling.

Examples of cases undertaken:

  • Reeve v Cornwall Council – flooding of farmland due to escape of water from the highway.
  • Phillips v Wiltshire Council – claim by a farmer against the highway authority for flooding and consequential reduced crop yield.
  • Vernon Wight Assoc v Cornwall Council – claim by a landowner against the highway authority for flooding of holiday site (Court of Appeal).
  • Looe Group v Cornwall Council – advising on defence to claims arising from landslip which caused one death and property damage.
  • Poll v Asquith – tree falling from farmland onto the highway causing serious injury to a motorcyclist.
  • Stagecoach Ltd v Hind – tree falling onto a railway line causing collision with a passing train.
  • Denton v TH White – defective milking parlour with losses arising from reduced milk yield, increased culling, and loss of fertility in the herd.
  • Lister & Pyecroft Ltd v Cotswold Dairy Equipment Co Ltd – defective teat spray system causing high incidence of mastitis in a herd and consequential loss of milk yield.
  • Claim against an engineer involving the construction of silage clamps which were located on unsuitable ground.
  • Inturf v Millenium Stadium – claim against a supplier of grass for the Millennium Stadium on the grounds the grass was not satisfactory.
  • Richards v Richards (2015) – defending a claim by a widow following the death of her husband who was kicked by a bullock: sections 2(2), 5(1) and (2) of the Animals Act 1971.
  • Bianca / Nance v Widdicombe – defending claims by walkers injured during alleged attacks by cattle.
  • Coles v Cooper & Tanner – claim in respect of the sale of a herd containing some cows infected by Johnes disease.
  • Goldsmith v Patchcott [2012] EWCA Civ 183 – representing the claimant at first instance and in the Court of Appeal – she suffered a severe head injury when kicked and trampled on by a horse. Issues arising as to construction of s2(2) and 5(2) Animals Act 1971.
  • Welsh v Stokes [2007] EWCA Civ 796 – representing the claimant at first instance and in the Court of Appeal in a successful claim arising out of an accident in which the claimant fell from a horse sustaining severe injury – s2(2) Animals Act 1971.
  • Mirvahedy v Henley [2003] UKHL 16 – representing the claimant at first instance through to the House of Lords at which the claimant’s argument prevailed – the claimant was severely injured when his car collided with a horse that had escaped from a field.  The case has become the leading case in respect of s2(2)(b) of the Animals Act 1971.

 

Throughout Richard’s time at the Bar, he has undertaken civil jury trials, and trials before a single judge, where fraud is alleged.  Fraudulent claims relate particularly to fire, flooding, and other forms of property damage, burglary and motor-car theft / damage.

Richard has extensive experience in high value claims in clinical negligence and personal injury.  Most recently he represented the claimant in a successful claim arising out of the treatment of mental illness.

Richard has considerable experience in the fields of construction, professional negligence and property insurance litigation. For further details of his expertise in these areas please see above.

Recommendations

  • “Richard is well known for professional negligence cases in the construction industry.” Legal 500, Commercial, banking, insolvency and Chancery law (2016)
  • ” ‘Richard is very good; extremely easy to work with and very experienced.’ ‘He is a very calm and collected advocate; always in control.’ ” Chambers UK, Commercial Dispute Resolution (2016)
  • “Head of chambers and one of the set’s most experienced commercial litigators. Richard has particular experience in commercial agency, product liability, sale of goods, insurance and property damage. ‘You get exactly what you expect – he’s a mature, experienced, calm, heavyweight counsel. And he’s extremely efficient as well.’ ‘He is very approachable, intelligent and good at getting to the issues quickly.’ ” Chambers UK, Commercial Dispute Resolution (2015)
  • “Richard is a safe pair of hands.” Legal 500, Commercial, Banking and Insolvency (2015)

Richard has experience and expertise in a large variety of construction and engineering matters. Examples of his experience in specialist issues and subject matter are as follows:

  • Commercial property and residential developments
  • Condensation and thermal insulation
  • Curtain walling
  • Defective works and other contractual disputes
  • Final account, extension of time and defect claims
  • Mundic Block and pre-fabricated concrete construction in residential buildings
  • Product liability with particular reference to building materials
  • Roads, bridges, drains and waterways
  • Sports stadia and leisure facilities

Recent cases include:

  • Burges Salmon LLP v Temple Quay 20 Ltd – acting for the tenant claiming damages from a developer / landlord for late completion of the development prior to occupation by the tenant.
  • Al Khalaf v Brill & Owen – defending a claim against architects for the design and supervision of building works, with a claim in respect of delay in the completion of the building works.
  • Taylor Wimpey v HGH Groundworks Ltd – defending claim in respect of defective foundations on an estate of dwelling houses.
  • Castle Building & Construction Ltd v Brake – representing the employer in a construction case.  Sued by the contractor and counterclaiming in respect of defective works and the final account in respect of a holiday development.  2 week trial in TCC.
  • Croydon Hotels v Ardmore Construction Ltd – acting for the claimant in a claim arising out of the defective installation of cladding and roofing materials and a claim for liquidated damages.
  • Denton v TH White Ltd / Delaval  – acting for claimant farmers in a claim in respect of the defective installation / supply of a milking parlour leading to significant loss of profits – compromised following lengthy litigation including a Court of Appeal decision on relief from sanction [2014] EWCA Civ 906.
  • Leumi ABL Ltd v Tinnelly Construction Ltd  – acting for the defendant contractor in respect of a claim by debt factors acting on behalf of a building cladding material supplier suing for £500k.

Recommendations

  • “Richard specialises in professional negligence cases concerning architects, engineers and surveyors.” Legal 500, Construction, planning and environment (2016)
  • ” ‘Richard’s very good with clients; he puts them at ease and gets the information he needs.’ ‘He is very down to earth, very sensible and hugely helpful.’ ” Chambers UK, Construction (2016)
  • “Richard has a well-regarded construction practice, often focusing on cases with a professional negligence strand. Property damage and insurance-related cases also feature in his workload. ‘He’s very approachable, firm in his views, certainly user-friendly, and provides clear, succinct advice. He is very easy to work with.'” Chambers UK, Construction (2015)
  • “Richard is always clear on what he can provide for clients in terms of advice and drafting.’” Legal 500, Construction, Planning and Environment (2015)

Richard is one of the leading practitioners on the Western circuit handling claims of catastrophic injury. He is highly regarded for his expertise in a wide array of complex and specialist liability claims including agriculture, animals, trees and construction. He has considerable experience in employer’s liability, sports injury and RTA claims, and regularly handles extremely high-value claims for claimant and defendant solicitors, particularly those involving brain injury.

Recent and reported cases include:

  • Wells v Halifax (2016) – acting for the claimant who was rendered paraplegic when a tree fell on him whilst visiting a house – issues of liability and quantum.  Liability is denied.  The claimant requires suitable accommodation and a 24-hour care package.
  • Kye Thomas (deceased) (2016) – representing the wife and dependants of a lorry driver killed in the M5 crash allegedly caused by smoke from a firework display.  Richard represented the family at the Inquest and subsequently in civil proceedings, claiming under the Fatal Accidents Act.
  • Gardiner v Tatman (2016) –  the claimant suffered brain and physical injuries in an RTA – change in character and left-sided spasticity, reduced mobility with likely reliance on wheelchair – claim in excess of £6m.
  • Simones-Hibberd v Ageas Insurance (2015) – the claimant was injured in an RTA with catastrophic head and facial injuries, leaving him with brain damage and total blindness.  He is particularly incapacitated by reason of his inability to remember routes.  Now unemployable and requiring 24-hour care/assistance.  Case finally settled prior to trial at a value in excess of £3m.
  • Richards v Richards (2015) – acting for the defendant (instructed by insurer) in a claim by a widow in respect of the death of her husband caused by a bullock owned by her husband’s company – issue as to whether the company was liable for the death when the accident was due to the husband’s own fault. The defendant succeeded in the trial at first instance.
  • Kent v Leech (2014)  – the claimant suffered brain and physical injuries – unable to carry on with ice cream selling business and building business..
  • Cligg v Miller (2014) – quantum only dispute.  Acting for the claimant who suffered extreme post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, together with bipolar disorder.  He could not work again and could not leave the house for periods due to agoraphobia.  The case was compromised at a Joint Settlement Meeting.
  • Ingram v First Devon & Cornwall (2014)  – the claimant was involved in an RTA in which she and her two children were injured.  The husband also suffered psychological injuries when he appeared on the scene.  The claimant developed long-term pain in her spine, PTSD and depression which affected her ability to work as a teacher.
  • Clack v Horlock (2014) – the claimant suffered shoulder / back injuries and developing chronic pain – claiming in excess of £2m for loss of earnings in the light of the claimant’s lost opportunity to develop his manufacturing business.
  • Hughes v Bell (2013) – representing the defendant in a claim by the claimant who was a visitor to the defendant’s holiday let accommodation – she fell down the stairs in the night and suffered severe brain damage. A claim was brought under the Occupier’s Liability Act 1957 and in negligence.  Claim dismissed after trial.
  • Fletcher v Watson (2013) – representing the claimant who was a highly successful professional musician – loss of a chance of a career as a stellar professional musician.
  • Goldsmith v Patchcott [2012] EWCA Civ 183 – representing the claimant at first instance and in the Court of Appeal – she suffered a severe head injury when kicked and trampled on by a horse. Issues arising as to construction of s2(2) and 5(2) Animals Act 1971.
  • Gidley (2012) – representing the claimant in a claim before the CICA. Brain injury as a child causing cerebral palsy – confined to wheelchair, unable to speak or communicate incontinent, requiring 24 hour care for life – value in excess of £4 million.
  • Williams (2012) – CICA – representing the claimant who suffered brain injury as a child. Value in excess of £2 million.
  • Welsh v Stokes [2007] EWCA Civ 796 – representing the claimant at first instance and in the Court of Appeal in a successful claim arising out of an accident in which the claimant fell from a horse sustaining severe injury – s. 2(2) Animals Act 1971.
  • Mirvahedy v Henley [2003] UKHL 16 – representing the claimant at first instance through to the House of Lords at which the claimant’s argument prevailed – the Claimant was severely injured when his car collided with a horse that had escaped from a field.  The case has become the leading case in respect of s2(2)(b) of the Animals Act 1971.

Recommendations

  • “Richard has an intuitive grasp of the key elements in a case with an excellent awareness of strategy.” Legal 500, Personal injury and clinical negligence (2016)
  • “Richard is consistently excellent, he cuts straight to the issues quickly and is very able in handling complex cases and negotiations.” Chambers UK, Personal Injury (2016)
  • “Richard acts for both claimants and defendants on catastrophic injury claims. He is also recognised for his expertise in cases relating to the Animals Act. ‘He is fabulous to deal with.’ ‘He is very thorough and has good cross-examination skills.’ ” Chambers UK, Personal Injury (2015)
  • “Richard is experienced in cases of the utmost gravity, including claims involving brain/spinal damage and psychiatric disorders.” Legal 500, Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence (2015)

 

Richard acts for claimants, defendants and their insurers and has strong expertise in negligence claims against:

  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Quantity and Building Surveyors
  • Project Mangers
  • Solicitors (in respect of claims arising out of litigation involving construction / personal injury disputes)

Recent cases include:

  • Rickman v Relph Ross Partnership – acting for the defendant architect in a £1m-plus claim brought by the owner of a refurbished mansion following flooding of the property due to the escape of water from the fire suppression system.
  • Norris v David Richards Design Partnership – defending the architect in respect of a claim for alleged negligence in the design and inspection of works to a dwelling house.
  • Rowe v Lake – acting for the claimant in a claim against a quantity surveyor for negligent mismanagement of a construction contract of approx. £1m and negligent advice.
  • Acting for the claimant in a claim against his ex-solicitor for damages due to settling liability at too high an element of contributory negligence following a failure to obtain the Police Accident Reconstruction Report.
  • Advising the estate of a claimant in respect of an alleged failure by his ex-solicitor to obtain representation by the Official Solicitor for the deceased who was being sued in the High Court for child abuse and was, at the time, psychologically unwell.  Issues of breach of duty and causation.
  • Advising ATE insurers as to the prospects of success of claims by 51 claimants against a solicitor acting for the claimants in the purchase of shares in a hotel and its business.
  • Advising ATE insurers as to the prospects of success of a claim by a claimant against his ex-solicitor and QC for under-settling a personal injury claim for damages for brain injury.
  • Advising ATE insurers as to the prospects of success of a claim by the West London Synagogue against accountants following losses caused by a fraudulent employee.

Recommendations

  • “Richard is well known for professional negligence cases in the construction industry.” Legal 500, Commercial, banking, insolvency and Chancery law (2016)

Richard specialises in property damage cases arising from fire, flooding, tree root induced subsidence, land slip etc, and in insurance coverage matters.

Throughout Richard’s time at the Bar, he has undertaken civil jury trials and trials before a single judge where fraud is alleged.  Fraudulent claims related particularly to fire, flooding and other forms of property damage, burglary and motor-car theft / damage.

Recent cases include:

  • Acting for claimants in a case concerning insurance coverage of a claim for landslip / erosion.
  • Browne v Swindon Borough Council (2015) – acting for the local authority in a claim for tree root damage in TCC – two separate causes of movement found – complex expert engineering evidence – trial of liability and quantum – issues on costs due to alleged failure to engage in ADR.
  • Looe Group v Cornwall Council (2015) – acting for the defendant council in a claim by local residents in respect of flooding and land slip which led to the death of a local resident when a landslip demolished her house.
  • Phillips v Wiltshire Council (2015) – a claim by a farmer against the highway authority for flooding and consequential reduced crop yield.
  • Bull on Bell Street v Space Catering (2015) – acting for the claimant in a subrogated claim against a company which negligently installed catering equipment thereby causing a fire in newly refurbished premises with damage in excess of £500,000.
  • Hallett v Sneezum (2015) – acting for the claimants under a subrogated claim. Fire damage caused by roofing hot works. Value over £1m.
  • Stagecoach South West Trains v Hind (2014) – acting for the defendant landowner whose tree fell onto a railway line causing damage to a train which collided with the tree.  Successfully defended the claim in a trial in the High Court before Coulson J.
  • Jones v Dilton Marsh Parish Council (2014) – acting for claimants in a case involving flooding of the claimants’ home on a repeated basis over a number of years.  The flooding was caused by reprofiling of the defendant’s public recreation ground.  Injunction for flood prevention works and damages sought.  The claim was compromised in mediation.
  • Grand Pier Limited v System 2 Security Ltd (2013) – acting for the defendant installer and operator of the fire alarm response in a £30m-plus claim arising out of the fire on the Grand Pier, Weston-super-Mare.
  • Clark v Swindon Borough Council (2013) – acting for the defendant in a claim arising out of the subsidence of a row of 9 garages due to tree root activity.
  • Tyrimos v Modebest Builders Ltd (2013) – defending a £1m-plus claim in the TCC for damage to properties in London caused by alleged negligence in the execution of underpinning / support works.
  • Vernon Knight Associates v Cornwall Council (2013) – defending a claim by a holiday park owner in respect of damage caused by flooding of run-off water from the highway and higher adjoining land.
  •  Rickman v Relph Ross (2012) – acting for the defendant architect in a £1m-plus claim brought by the owner of a refurbished mansion following flooding of the property due to the escape of water from the fire suppression system.
  • Reeve v Cornwall Council (2012) – flooding of farmland due to escape of water from the highway.

Practice Overview

One of Chambers’ most senior practitioners, Richard Stead has an extensive practice which encompasses personal injury, clinical negligence, professional negligence claims and property damage matters, including a number of high profile cases. Richard’s practice is also complemented by his highly sought-after expertise in construction disputes.

Renowned for his skills as an excellent advocate, Richard always commands respect and attention in Court. His reputation means he is regularly called to represent clients at joint settlement meetings and mediations in negotiating resolutions in high-value cases.

Richard also acts as a mediator.

Richard shares his experience and expertise through lectures given to legal professionals and organisations across the country.  He is willing to tailor seminars to suit individual requirements.

Richard is qualified to undertake public access work in appropriate cases, for further information, please visit our Public Access page.