A master tactician and strategic thinker who is always on his game. The depth and breadth of his knowledge across a wide range of issues is second to none.”
Catastrophic Injury Claims
Derek’s practice concentrates on cases where claimants have been catastrophically injured. He is regularly instructed in cases involving spinal injury, traumatic brain injury (including subtle brain injury cases) and amputation. Derek is familiar with all elements of catastrophic injury cases and is used to leading a team (including extensive medical expert evidence) defending very high value claims.
Occupier’s Liability Claims
Derek has acted in a very considerable number of occupier’s liability claims with the cases dealt with including:-
- Liability of the occupiers of woodlands, nature reserves and holiday parks
- Liability of domestic householders in relation to both the 1957 and 1984 Acts
- Liability of the occupiers of commercial premises (both to visitors and persons attending in the course of their employment)
Road Traffic Accidents
Derek has conducted many cases arising from road traffic accidents and it not practicable to give any particular details (save to say that he has particular experience of motorcycle cases).
Employer’s Liability Claims
Derek has extensive experience of acting for defendants in EL claims; in particular he has extensive experience of acting in multi-defendant cases involving accidents on construction sites.
For many years Derek has acted for rail companies in relation to claims by passengers, trespassers and claims by injured employees. He is familiar with the issues in rail claims (including CAHA) and has a good knowledge of the relevant Master Rule books and Railway Standards. Derek recently acted for a train operating company being sued by a passenger after an accident in which the passenger suffered a bilateral amputation after falling between a platform and a moving train: Robinson v Greater Anglian Railways (2018) QBD. This was an important decision as the claimant sought (unsuccessfully) to argue that the overall safety of train despatch systems on the rail network was unacceptable.
Derek has a growing practice being instructed in relation to personal injury claims arising from accidents aboard aircraft (both fixed wing and helicopters). Derek has dealt with Montreal convention cases together with non-Convention cases where liability for the accident is in dispute; Derek was instructed by aviation insurers for the aircraft owner in the case of Day v Tasker et al (2009) QBD, Leeds DR.
Derek has also acted for aviation companies and airports in relation to “airside” issues; e.g. he was previously a London airport in relation to an industrial illness claim (by an airside worker) involving alleged breaches of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations.
Accidents at Sea
Employer’s Liability Claims involving accidents at sea or on-board ships; Derek has wide experiences in this niche area and has experience of cases involving the following:-
- The Shipbuilding and Ship-Repairing Regulations 1960
- The Docks Regulations 1988
- The Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Health Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1997
- Liability generally where UK regulations do not apply
Conflicts of Laws/Accidents abroad
For many years Derek has acted for insurers in relation to claims arising from personal injury accidents abroad and so conflicts of laws/Rome II issues are frequent in Derek’s practice. He was previously Junior Counsel in a cross border case (involving catastrophic injury) where the damages claim was pleaded at over £40m. Currently he is Leading Counsel for one of the parties in a cross border claim (resulting from an accident in France) where the damages are pleaded at an even higher figure. Derek has experience of foreign law claims involving: French, Spanish, German, Italian, Norwegian, Belgian, Serbian, Kuwaiti and Brazilian law.
Derek is involved with all quantum issues generally encountered by personal injury practitioners dealing with catastrophic injury cases. Issues which he is currently dealing with include: severe brain injury; tetraplegia and paraplegia; claimants in states of minimal consciousness; so-called subtle brain injury cases; major psychiatric decompensation consequential on severe brain injury; capacity (litigation, management of affairs and deprivation of liberty) and all issues relating to statutory funding and settlements.
Derek has drafted a considerable number of Periodical Payment Orders and has been involved in a number of cases involving PPOs for care as well as PPOs for other heads of loss. He has also been involved in (and drafted PPOs) cases where claimants have provided reverse indemnities.
Fraud/Fundamental Dishonesty in Personal Injury Claims
Derek has a particular interest in fraud in personal injury cases and is instructed in cases with a (potentially) high value but where insurers consider it likely that the claim is fraudulent or fundamentally dishonest. The advent and consequences (in relation to QWOCS) of fundamental dishonesty under s. 57 Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 has changed the landscape in relation to how insurers deal with potential fraud in claims and Derek is regularly instructed in cases involving consideration of fundamental dishonesty.
- Personal Injury Bar Association
Qualifications & awards:
- BA (Dunelm)