About Richard Copnall
Richard is recognised in the guides to the legal profession as a leading junior in his field.
He continues to be listed in Chambers and Partners as one of the top 5, and in the Legal 500 as one of the “Leading” juniors, in the region. The guides describe him as: “confident assured and bright”; "very thorough in his approach and one of the best cross-examiners on circuit"; undertaking "erudite analysis of cases"; providing "a high-quality service” and "a no-nonsense barrister who gets on and does the job". They note that he: "takes the burden off the client, always choosing to run with a deal rather than constantly seeking the client's opinion"; "has flair in court" and that solicitors "feel confident on difficult cases when they know that he is on their side".
In the earlier part of his career, he was at the forefront of developments in the field of the 'six pack' regulations, where he appeared in a number of the leading cases, and was on the Attorney General’s panel for 10 years, often instructed in media sensitive inquests. He now specialises in: clinical negligence, serious and catastrophic personal injury, inquest and court of protection work. He has a particular niche in claims relating to public authorities (police, probation, prison service, local authorities, armed forces, the NHS etc.), often involving Human Rights and public policy issues and associated “Article 2” inquests. A significant part of his practice draws on his scientific background when dealing with medical, engineering and other technical issues. He continues to edit the APIL Guide to Personal Injury Applications and Pleadings (his 3rd edn to be published this year)
|Education:||BSc (Hons) Physics and Applied Physics, Nottingham University|
|Professional Associations:||Personal Injury Bar Association (PIBA) Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) Professional Negligence Bar Association (PNBA) Association of Victims of Medical Accidents (AVMA)|
|Appointments:||Attorney General's Junior Counsel to the Crown (Regional Panel) 2007-2012 and 2000-2007.|
Specialist Practice Areas
Chambers & Partners 2018 (Band 2) Clinical Negligence
Earns considerable praise for his work on clinical negligence inquests that lead to civil claims. His matters include cases concerning failures of medical care, as well as failures to properly monitor patients with mental health issues.
Strengths: "He is extremely experienced, bright and good technically but equally he's very approachable and good with clients." "Very reliable, never pulls out of commitments and clients always relate to him. He's good at telling them what they need to hear and ensures that there is objectivity and their expectations aren't raised too high."
Recent work: Acted in Todd v Barchester which involved shortcomings in medical care in a care home after a resident suffered a fractured hip which led to her death.
Chambers & Partners 2018 (Band 1) Personal Injury
Known for his commanding presence at trial and in negotiations, making him a powerful representative for clients. He principally acts in high-value catastrophic injury cases, though he also represents clients during inquests, and has additional experience in human rights issues.
Strengths: "You can see his scientific background in his analysis. He's an eminently reasonable chap. You are taken away by the flow of his logic." "Sharp, confident, clear and always well prepared. When he speaks you listen and take on board what he's saying."
Recent work: Acted for the claimant in a motor accident claim against the Secretary of State for Transport, which raised issues of the extent to which the defendant is required to gather and consider accident data in order to discharge its Article 2 duties to motorists.
Legal 500 2018 - Inquests & Inquiries
"Superb on his feet with a keen eye for detail."
Legal 500 2017 - Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence
"A very strong advocate and negotiator."
Chambers & Partners 2017 - Clinical Negligence
Earns considerable praise for his work on clinical negligence inquests that lead civil claims.
Strengths: "He is analytical, very sharp and really gets to the bottom of cases. He won't leave an issue alone until he can understand it and everyone else understands it." "He is a tough cross-examiner and a good person to get in when you have a difficult client."
Chambers & Partners 2017 - Personal Injury
Known for his commanding presence at trial and in negotiations, making him a powerful representative for clients. He principally acts in high-value catastrophic injury cases, though he also represents clients during inquests, and has additional experience in human right issues.
Strengths: "He's very assertive, very robust and straight to the point. He doesn't waste his words; he's the man you want on a difficult negotiation settlement. "Very authoritive. He's the person you want in court if you had a very intricate legal argument to be put before a judge."
Legal 500 2016-
"A man you want on your side in difficult cases."
Chambers & Partners 2016
Hugely well respected for his handling of high-value catastrophic injury cases on behalf of both claimants and defendants. Recognised expertise in cases with human rights aspects.
Strengths: "He is very well prepared and has a charming manner. He has always done an excellent job." "He has the ability to get to the heart of the matter, making him an effective negotiator. He is very empathetic with clients."
Legal 500 2015
"Calm, good attention to detail, and very sensible"
Chambers & Partners 2015
"Specialises in high-figure clinical negligence and personal injury cases. He is also heavily engaged in inquests with regard to human rights issues in custody."
Recent work: He acted in Iris Alison Pearson v South Tees Hospitals, a fatal claim arising from a post-operative overdose of anticoagulant that caused brain haemorrhage.
The Legal 500 2014
"Confident, assured and bright"
Chambers & Partners 2014
Handles high-value catastrophic claims, in addition to offering niche expertise in inquests and fatal claims, particularly in relation to deaths in hospital.
Expertise: "He's very clever and very dogged; he prepares very well. He's methodical and persistent, and he gets very good results."
Recent work: Copnall acted in the inquest into the death of Emma Stones, a 12-year-old with cerebral palsy who died from septicaemia while in hospital.
Chambers & Partners 2013
Richard focuses his practice on personal injury and clinical negligence work. He has an interesting niche in cases concerning the human rights issues raised by deaths in custody. He recently handled the case of Chan which concerned a catastrophic head injury caused by a failure to grit an icy road.
Chambers & Partners 2012
Richard is ranked under Band 1 making him one of the top 5 specialist Personal Injury practitioners on the North Eastern Circuit. Plaudits say he handles a steady stream of disease and accident work for such clients as the MOD and the Prison Service; he also undertakes inquiry work in the medical and mental areas.
Chambers & Partners 2011
A "very thorough in his approach and one of the best cross-examiners on circuit".
Chambers & Partners 2010
Richard Copnall's "erudite analysis of cases" was much commented upon. Solicitors "feel confident on difficult cases when they know that he is on their side."
Chambers & Partners 2009
Lauded for providing a high-quality service encompassing all areas of personal injury work, Richard Copnall "takes the burden off the client, always choosing to run with a deal rather than constantly seeking the client's opinion."
Legal 500 2007
'well known for his impressive court presence'.
Chambers & Partners 2007
a "sought-after advocate. Well versed in employers' liability and general personal injury matters, he has built a strong reputation for achieving best results in top-quality work."
Chambers & Partners 2006
"no-nonsense barrister who gets on and does the job."
Chambers & Partners 2005
Has 'flair in Court'
Whitehead v Trustees of the Chatsworth Settlement  EWCA Civ 263
Requirement to train employees in the light of dangerous traditions
Ping on 3 v Secretary of State fo the Home Department  EWHC 2196 (Admin)
Judicial review – border agency and work permits.
Field v British Coal  EWCA Civ 912
Date of knowledge in deafness claim.
Yorkshire Traction -v- Searby  EWCA Civ. 1856
What is the meaning of "suitable" (work equipment)
(Listed for hearing in the House of Lords: November 2005).
Craven v Riches  EWCA Civ 375
Duty of organisers of a track day
Swain -v- Denso Marston  PIQR 129
Manual handling: risk assessment and warnings.
King -v- R.C.O.  PIQR 15
What is a manual handling operation and what is "control" of a workplace.
Green -v- Yorkshire Traction  EWCA Civ. 1925
What is the meaning of "maintain in an efficient state" (work equipment).
Stark -v- Post Office  PIQR 105
Strict liability for defective work equipment.
Dunn v Bradford CA 13/1/99
Fall from trolley in A&E
Editor - APIL Guide to Personal Injury Applications and Pleadings (Jordans, 2005); Editor - APIL Model Pleadings and Applications (Jordans, 2012); contributor to APIL Personal Injury Law, Practice and Precedents.