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David Wilby QC

Called 1974

David Wilby QC's main areas of practice are clinical negligence and personal injury, in particular cases involving birth related injuries, catastrophic injury, severe brain injury, health and safety, industrial disease and associated limitation issues. He has considerable expertise in high value claims, particularly involving periodic payments and indexation. He is recognised by a number of directories including the Bar as a leading Silk in clinical negligence. He is recognised by Legal 500 2015  and Chambers & Partners 2014 as a leading Silk in Clinical Negligence.

The only personal injury Barrister to be listed in The Lawyer Hot 100, 2010, Mr Wilby QC won Outstanding Case of the Year at The Personal Injury Awards 2009 for his work on the landmark birth defects case, Corby. Mr Wilby has had numerous appearances in the National Press and on Television due to the success of the Corby Litigation. Personal accolades identify that it was "his supreme understanding of the expert evidence that was responsible for the Claimants' success". The Lawyer described David Wilby QC as one of the most sought after Silks at the Bar - renowned in the profession for his efficiency, reliability, conscientiousness and unrivalled grasp of complex expert evidence.

He was Runner-up at the Barrister of the Year Lawyer Awards 2010. He was 1 of 3 finalists for Personal Injury Barrister of the Year at the 2009 and 2010 awards.

"Demonstrates particular expertise in complex cerebral palsy cases, as well as brain and spinal injury claims."

Chambers & Partners 2016
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Simply click 'Add +' on an area of expertise to add it to collate in your downloadable brochure.

Areas Of Expertise

Areas of Expertise
Personal Injury
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David has considerable experience in catastrophic injury claims and those involving psychiatric disability. He has particular expertise in workplace accidents. He is acknowledged as an expert in claims involving school and outward bound accidents. He was one of the main Counsel in the claims arising out of the Bradford City Football fire, represented families in the Sowerby Bridge lorry disaster and was Counsel for the defence of the Travellers Coach Co I the M2 motorway crash.

He has chaired conferences on the 1992 Regulations and Work Related Upper Limb Disorder claims. He spoke at the JPIL Conference 2002 on Teachers' Responsibility beyond the Classroom and at the 2004 CTL Conference on Sports Injuries.

Significant Personal Injury Cases include:

  • Cleightonhills v. Bembridge Marine - High Court RCJ, 14th January 2011. Award £7.5 million. Severe traumatic brain injury. Claimant required 24 hour care. Defendant’s indemnity restricted to £10m. Therefore PPO not practical. Conventional award with future care awarded above £4.5m. David Wilby QC praised by HHJ Burrell QC when approving award.
  • Hopkins v. Simmons - High Court, RCJ, February 2009, CA January 2010. Award £2.85 million. Claimant seriously brain damaged. March 2009 judgment for £2.85m on conventional basis. Future care and case management award discounted for future eventualities and award split into part PPO and part conventional award. This meant that a PPO could not properly be made and the claimant was granted permission to appeal on the quantum of this award, the appropriateness of discounting and the principles of making a PPO in such circumstances. Appeal heard by Court of Appeal including Waller LJ 17th December 2009. Decision appeal dismissed. Facts of case widely reported in Kemp & Kemp and other specialist practitioner texts.
  • Claimants on the Register v. Corby Borough Council - High Court TCC and Court of Appeal, July 2009 and May 2010. Preliminary issue decided in favour of 16 claimants where mothers were exposed to teratogenic chemicals because of inhalation of toxic materials negligently and in breach of duty allowed into the atmosphere of Corby by works undertaken by the defendants. First case since thalidomide where this type of birth injury probably caused by tortious exposure of mothers. Probably the first case in the world in which airborne pollution found to be capable of causing birth disabilities. Called by the press and TV "Case of the Decade". Defendant granted leave to appeal on basis of case of "public importance". After five day mediation before Sir Henry Brooke settlement for total of 18 claimants for £multi-million.
  • Susan Margaret Shackleton v. Strode College & Theatre - High Court Bristol, February 2009. Quantum - Middle-aged teacher, severe labyrinthine disability affecting ability to stand, walk, work and causing regular falls and serious injury. Involved complex medical issues and issues of causation of disability and loss. Settled 2 days before trial on terms favourable to claimant. Very favourable comments by solicitor and Junior on David Wilby QC's preparation of the expert evidence resulting in very favourable outcome.
  • Leroy Graham v. Livingston and MIB - High Court Bristol, 2009. Paraplegic in twenties. PPO for future care and case management. Conventional award value £2.75m. Future care by PPO. Involved form of PPO in MIB cases and terms of reverse indemnity.
  • Sansom v. Howlat - September 2007 HHJ Griggs QB Exeter. Severe brain injury to claimant, 54 at quantification. Issue of approach to extensive state funding of care as per Crofton -v- NHSLA as to quantification of future care claim. Award approaching £2m (at 100% liability).
  • Tallack v. Forder, July 2006, QB. Issue in respect of public funding. "No loss" defence. Compromised for £2.9 million.
  • Boreham v. O2 UK Ltd, Westbourne Design and Build Ltd and Others, November 2005, QB, RCJ, Sir M Turner. This was a severe head injury at place of work leading to frontal lobe syndrome, inability to work and necessity for supervisory care. No loss defence issues. Full liability award of £1.425 million.
  • Pike v. Vine, April 2004, QBD, RCJ, MacKay J. Claimant now aged forty. Very severe brain injury resulting in dysexecutive syndrome and being inert. Award £2.5 million.
  • Tammy Evans v. Estate of Daniel Riley, February 2004, Sheffield QBD - Personal injuries. Very severe brain injury resulting in lack of independence, inability to work and requirements for specialist accommodation and transport. Award £2.75 million. First case involving detailed consideration of the Canada Life Structured Settlement Flexible Annuity.
  • King v. DOETR [2003] EWCA Civ 730, [2003] JPIL C141 - No liability on government department for design of motorway roundabout where motorcyclist had accident resulting in serious disability.
  • Cumming v. Chief Constable of Northumbrian Police [2003] EWCA Civ 1184 - The South Shields Five. Court of Appeal consideration of the discretion to arrest post-HRA changing the Wednesbury approach to exercise of discretion.
  • Chittock v. Woodbridge School [2002] - Auld LJ, CA, [2002] EWCA Civ 915 [2003] PIQR P31 CA - Principal decision on the nature and extent of school and school teachers' obligations and supervisory duties in respect of out of school activities.
  • R v. Gill and Smurthwaite [1998] Cr App R 437 CA - Guideline case agent provocateur - incitement to murder - judgment Taylor LCJ.
  • Ransden v. Lee (1992) 2 All ER 205, CA.
Professional Negligence
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Specialist Practice Areas

· Professional negligence involving lawyers, surveyors, engineers, architects and accountants including solicitors' disciplinary proceedings
· Environmental law, particularly involving the water and chemical industries.
· Civil fraud and related commercial litigation.

David has extensive and lengthy experience in advising in actions against all the major professions. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Professional Negligence Bar Association and an editor of the Professional Negligence and Liability Reports. He lectures regularly on the assessment of damages in professional negligence claims.
David is recognised as a leading silk in the area of Environment law by Legal 500 and they recognise that "At Old Square Chambers, David Wilby QC’s strengths include his 'meticulous preparation' and 'outstanding tactical advice'."
He acted succesfully for the claimants in the high profile case of The Claimants appearing on the register of the Corby group litigation v. Corby District Council [2009] EWHC 1944 (TCC). For more information please click here.
David advises and appears regularly in cases involving particularly the chemical and waste industries and waste disposal. He appeared in a series of cases involving water waste in the textile industry and in the Crown Court defending companies alleged to have illegally discharged dangerous chemicals.
David represented the Wainwrights in Wainwright v. Home Office in the Court of Appeal and House of Lords, the leading case on privacy in English law. He has represented police authorities and claimants in police actions and is increasingly sought after to appear in the administrative court in actions involving human rights and immigration, notably recently successfully in Guru Nanak Satsang Sabha v. Home Office (Article 9) and Odedra v. Home Office (Article 6 and British Nationality Act).

Leading Cases include:

    • McLoughlin v. Grovers (a firm) - Brooke and Hale LJJ and Steele J, CA [2002] PNLR 21, 2002 QB 1312, 2002 2 WLR 1279 - 2001 EWCA Civ, 1743.
  • Landell v. Dennis Faulkener and Alsop, Maskerey and Scott-Ferguson [1994] 4 Med LR 268.
  • Odedra v. Home Office - February 2006, Admin Court - Permission for judicial review granted and Home Office subsequently agreed to grant applicant full British citizenship. Issue of whether grant of British Overseas Citizenship pursuant to S.2 Nationality Act 1981 rendered claimant stateless and engaged his Human Rights under Articles 3 and 8 ECHR.
  • Wainwright v. Home Office [2004] 2 AC 406, [2003] 3 WLR 1137, [2003] 4 All ER 969, [2004] UKHRR 154. CA - Wolff LCJ, Mummery and Buxton LJJ - House of Lords, 16th October 2003, [2003] UK HL 53 - Tort of privacy, Wilkinson -v- Downton, ss.3 and 6, Human Rights Act, Article 8 ECHR, the principal authorities on whether there is a tort of privacy in English law
  • Cumming v. Chief Constable of Northumbrian Police [2003] EWCA Civ 1184. Conduct of arrest by police where 5 of the 6 suspects arrested must be innocent and are of good character - 5 members of Unison employed in local authority CCTV duties. Effect of Human Rights Act on exercise of discretion of police when deciding to arrest.
  • McQuade v. Chief Constable of Humberside Police [2001] EWCA, Civ 1300, [2002] 1 WLR 1347 - Not a necessary ingredient of breach of the peace at common law in private premises that there be some disturbance to members of the public off the premises.
Clinical Negligence
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David's main area of practice is Clinical Negligence, particularly involving cerebral palsy, birth injury, ophthalmic diseases and psychiatric hospitals. He has considerable expertise in high value claims, particularly involving periodic payments and indexation.

He is recognised by all the major directories to the Bar as a leading Silk in Clinical Negligence. He was core Counsel in the Opren and Steroid litigations.

He writes and lectures regularly in the field of clinical negligence and particularly limitation. He has lectured to the Senior Solicitors' Groups of various Law Societies, the BMA and as part of an organised lecture group to clinical negligence franchisees throughout England. In February 2007 he spoke on cerebral palsy claims at the Medical Legal Conference. In January 2006 he chaired the 2006 Butterworth's Personal Injuries Catastrophic Injury Conference and in 2005 he spoke on periodic payment provision in high value claims with the Nestor Partnership.

Significant Clinical Negligence Cases include:

  • X - Settlement £6.1 million part PPO part capital with a Provisional Damages and Variation of PPO provision       - approved Leeds 
  • Matkin v. East Midlands Strategic HA - High Court, RCJ, April 2009. Cerebral palsy - Claimant now in her thirties. Liability admitted and negotiated settlement of quantum. Value on conventional basis £4.25m. All future care and case management by PPO. Approval judge commented favourably on David Wilby's conduct of a very difficult and unusual case.

  • Georgina Cottingham v. Avon Gloucestershire & Wiltshire Strategic HA - 15th May 2008, Bristol High Court. An award was approved in favour of the claimant at a conventional value of £5.6 million. This included an award by periodical payments of £140,000 per annum to provide for her future care and case management needs. Case demonstrates Mr Wilby QC's cutting edge involvement in cases involving indexation of periodical payments.

  • Woollett v. West Midlands Strategic HA - High Court, January 2007 and July 2007. Cerebral palsy claimant now in his twenties - PPO postponement order July 2007, King J - the Woollett Order copied in other cases postponed to await the decision in Thompstone -v- Tameside. PPO finalised January 2009 after detailed revisions of order made by David Wilby QC.

  • Walker v. Milton Keynes General Hospital Trust - January 2007, Grigson J, June 2005, QB RCJ, HHJ Kirkham. Liability. Brain injury and cerebral palsy claim - conventional award of £5.25 million (after compromise regarding periodic payments). Very complex causation issues. Featured on BBC National News - one of largest cerebral palsy awards "ever made".
  • A and B v. X Health Authority, March 2007. Settlement of personal injuries claim by Asian natural parents of the babies in the "black parent white baby" case.

  • Gardner v. Yorkshire and Humber Strategic HA - November 2006, Leeds High Court, Keith J. Cerebral palsy at birth case - teenage girl. Previously approved 50/50 liability. Conventional award approved of £1.9 million (£3.8 million full liability) - no cross-undertaking as to publicly funded care.

  • Pattison v. North Tyneside NHS Trust [2006] QB - Cerebral palsy claim - conventional value £4.5 million. Issue of security of periodic payments pursuant to Section 2(4) and (5) of the Damages Act 1996.

  • Fudge v. West Yorkshire strategic HA, February 2006 Leeds QB HHJ Grenfell. Issues relating to vaccination in smallpox epidemic. Settlement of liability and quantum approved.

  • French v. The Thames Valley strategic HA, March 2005. Liability for decision to deliver a baby Prematurely by caesarean section leading to cerebral palsy and learning difficulties. Issues as to contemporaneous clinical practice re 30 week babies and causation of disabilities.
  • Withycombe v. Bedford General Hospital NHS Trust, February 2005, QB, RCJ, HHJ Hughes QC. Acquired brain damage and quadriplegia caused by clinical negligence. Award - £3.6 million. Periodic payments representing half the award provided by NHS on a non-discounted basis.

  • Blainey v. East and North Herts NHS Trust, October 2004, QB, RCJ, Dobbs J. Cerebral palsy child. £3.3 million on a conventional basis.

  • Baker v. Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, June 2004, MacKay J. Cerebral palsy boy. Severe physical and cognitive disability. Award £3.5 million. Periodic payments at full value backed by NHS.

  • Dunn v. South Tyneside Healthcare NHS Trust [2004] PIQR P12 CA, judgment Philips MR - Principal judgment in clinical liability for failure of detention of Section 3 Mental Health Act patient.

  • Donald v. County Durham and Tees Valley Strategic HA and Northumberland Tyne and Wear Strategic HA, January 2004, Newcastle QBD. Failure to diagnose and treat operative surgical deterioration resulting in progressive quadriparesis. Award - £2.25 million.

  • M v. Leeds HA [2002] PIQR Q4 21 - Sullivan J, QB Leeds, May 2001 - Latest case on interpretation of Roberts v. Johnstone in respect of accommodation claims.

  • Scott v. Wakefield HA [1997] 8 Med LR 341 CA - Medical negligence - blindness - issue of tertiary referral.

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Legal 500 2018/2019 

"Highly recommended for the full spectrum of personal injury and clinical negligence matters."

Chambers & Partners 2016 (Clinical Negligence)

"Demonstrates particular expertise in complex cerebral palsy cases, as well as brain and spinal injury claims."

Strengths: "His strengths are thoroughness, intellect and tenacity. He doesn't give up, even on the most difficult of cases."

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Deputy High Court Judge; 2008,

Chairman, Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel; 2007,

Member, Judicial Studies Board Civil Committee; 2005,

Bencher, Inner Temple; 2002,

Chairman, Millennium Bar Conference; 2000,

Executive Committee Member, North Eastern Circuit; 1998-2002,

Chairman, North America Committee, International Relations Committee of the Bar Council; 1998-2001,

Vice-Chairman, Elias Committee - BVC Bar Council; 2000,

Member, Bar IT Committee; 1998-2000,

Member, Collyer Committee, Bar Council; 1998-1999,

Executive Committee Member, Professional Negligence Bar Association; 1997- ,

Former lecturer in law at Huddersfield University;

Visiting teaching in advocacy, NITA training - Nottingham Law School

Door Tenant at Parklane Plowden Chambers.

Articles & Publications
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Contributor to Monkman on Employer's Liability, 14th and 15th editions, 2006 and 2009.

Editor of Health and Safety at Work Volume 20 Atkins Court Forms, 2002, 2006 and 2010.

Co-author of The Law of Damages, Butterworth Common Law Series, 2008 and 2010.

Editor of Professional Negligence and Liability Law Reports, Sweet & Maxwell, 1996 - present.

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David has extensive experience of organising and co-ordinating lectures and professional education in the United Kingdom and North America including presentations for the English Bar at ABA national conventions. Lectures examples, include:

  • Speaker at National Obstetric Conference, London (23 May 2008)
  • Periodical Payment Orders: Where Next After Thompstone? (Parklane Plowden seminar, 22 May 2008)
  • Legal and Medical Conference 2007, Speaker on cerebral palsy claims
  • Chairman and Speaker at the January 2006 Butterworth's Catastrophic Injury Claims Conference
  • June 2005 presented in conjunction with the Nestor Partnership on periodical payments in high value claims
  • Speaker at the 2004 CTL Conference on Sports Injuries
  • Speaker at JPIL Conference 2002 on Teachers' Responsibility beyond the Classroom
  • Has chaired meetings on the 1992 HSE Regulations and upper arm disability for CLT.
Personal Details

BA (Hons), MA Cantab

Professional Associations

Bar Council, 1997-1999; PNBA, PIBA, FBA, AvMA, UKELA; Associate Member of American Bar Association and of the Tort & Insurance Section and Litigation Section; International Association of Defense Counsel - IADC (USA) - by election Commonwealth Lawyers Association; North Eastern Circuit

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