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Chambers and PartnersLegal 500
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Leeds 0113 228 5000
Newcastle 0191 221 2121

James Murphy

Called 1993

James is Deputy Head of Chambers and Head of the PLP Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Team.

He leads a specialist team of 60 barristers with responsibility for team development, standards and client relations. 

James has practiced exclusively in damages and disease litigation for 25 years and is identified by his peers and the major legal publications as a leading practitioner noted for his client care, negotiation and advocacy skills.

He has substantial experience acting on behalf of Claimants and Defendants in claims of maximum severity, having a particular interest in brain, spinal and psychiatric injuries.

James was appointed a part-time Judge in 2008 (Recorder-civil).

"A well-respected junior and head of the personal injury team at Parklane Plowden. He handles both industrial disease and catastrophic injury claims, and also has a specialist focus on employer's liability. He represents claimants and defendants, both at first instance and on appeal. He is praised for his creative drafting and down-to-earth manner."

Chambers & Partners 2018
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Areas Of Expertise

Areas of Expertise
Personal Injury
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James is routinely engaged in cases of maximum severity and fatal accidents due to trauma and disease.

He provides advice in cases with issues of capacity, complex care & aid packages, rehabilitation planning and with financial complications. Much of his time is spent providing case progression advice about the selection of experts, settlement strategies and helping aid the swift resolution of a case.

James is recommended by clients for his strong advocacy and analytical skills both at trial and at appellate court level.

He is an effective communicator, very experienced negotiator and many of his claims compromise at mediation or settlement meetings.

Occupational disease

James has a strong following in occupation disease litigation. Especially but not limited to asbestos related injury, occupational cancers, WRULD, HAVS & NIHL. Complex causation, actionability of injury and epidemiology are areas of particular interest.

In the past 12 months James has been involved in contested trials including; a sample group HAVS action with 23 Claimants, with Prof. Lutman analysing the 2000 & 2015 Coles guidelines and in a silicosis case with disputed radiological evidence.

Limitation is a staple of James’s occupational disease trial work. James has great experience of this since appeared in Cressy (Brian) v (1) E Timms & Sons Ltd (2) E Timms & Sons Holdings Ltd [2005] EWCA.

Psychiatric injury, abuse, harassment & occupational stress

Psychiatric injury and illness is encountered as a direct or secondary consequence of many claims. James is sensitive to the difficulties experienced by many and is especially aware in the interplay between head injury, psychological illness and pain conditions.

James has been involved in many sexual and physical abuse claims involving religious orders, children’s groups, local authorities and claims arising from positions of trust. He appeared it what was thought to be the first claim for damages for rape within marriage attracting national media attention.

Employers liability

James was in the vanguard of the development of the ‘6’ pack health & safety regulations appearing in Home Office v Lowles [2004] EWCA (Civ) 985, Jakto Transport Ltd v Derek Hall [2005] EWCA civ 243 and Taylor v. Wincanton Group Limited [2009] EWCA Civ 348. There are few workplace accident scenarios he has not contested at trial.

He has particular expertise in mining, construction, falls from height and engineering claims and enjoys cases involving specialist liability expert evidence.

Multiparty litigation, issues of contribution and contractual indemnity are the staples of this work.

Inquests & Fatal Accidents
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James appears at inquests for deaths arising from industrial disease, road traffic, work and medical accidents.

Costs & Litigation
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Industrial Disease
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Chambers & Partners 2019 - Band 1

"Extremely personable, very easy to work with and down-to-earth. He is highly experienced and very impressive." "Very intelligent - he never misses a point and is incredibly thorough."

Legal 500 2018/2019

"He inspires confidence in clients and immediately puts them at ease."

Chambers & Partners 2018 - Band 1

A well-respected junior and head of the personal injury team at Parklane Plowden. He handles both industrial disease and catastrophic injury claims, and also has a specialist focus on employer's liability. He represents claimants and defendants, both at first instance and on appeal. He is praised for his creative drafting and down-to-earth manner.

Strengths: "He gives clients confidence and presents things in a way that the client can understand. He's not put off by paperwork and goes through everything with a fine-tooth comb." "He has a pleasant personality that immediately puts clients at ease. He is extremely thorough and everything you want in an advocate."

Recent work: Represented one of the defendants in a claim for £4 million relating to a rope access accident in which the claimant was rendered partially tetraplegic.

Legal 500 2017

"He has an impressive skill for revealing pertinent facts by shrewd questioning."

Chambers & Partners 2017

A well-respected junior and head of the personal injury team at Parklane Plowden. He is equally capable of handling both industrial disease and catastrophic injury claims, and also has a specilaist focus on employer's liability. He represents claimants and defendants, both at first instance and on appeal.

Strengths: "He's very knowledgeable and robust. He has a very positive approach towards litigation: he always sees the solution and works towards it."

Recent work: Acted in Hall v CPL Ltd, a claim arising out of a sidewall mining accident where liability was disputed.

Legal 500 2016

 "He is always in control of a case and has excellent decision- making abilities"

Chambers & Partners 2016

Instructed by national law firms and insurers on personal injury and industrial disease claims. Cases related to mining are a specialism of his. Instructing solicitors value his manner with clients, outstanding advocacy and availability. 

Strengths: "He is extremely thorough with a great eye for detail. He takes a pragmatic approach and has good negotiating skills." "He is an affable and ferocious opponent. I was impressed with his cross-examination of experts."

The Legal 500 2015

"He is experienced in a wide range of catastrophic injury cases and asbestos-related matters."

Chambers & Partners 2015 

Advises predominantly on personal injury and disease work on behalf of trade unions and insurers nationwide. He is an expert on asbestos injuries, with particular knowledge of mesothelioma. 

Expertise: “He is very persuasive and can extract exactly what we want the witness to say in cross-examinations.” “His client care skills are exceptional.”

Recent work: He acted in Russell Moulton v Midlands Co-Op & Others in relation to mesothelioma and issues of breach of duty.

The Legal 500 2014 

"His advice and advocacy is of a high quality"

Chambers & Partners 2014

Acts primarily in cases relating to industrial disease and asbestos exposure, and is known for the breadth of his specialist expertise in the field. He also has significant experience with complex catastrophic injury claims. 

Expertise: "His court skills are second to none - his ability to think on his feet is quite remarkable. His demeanour with clients is excellent; he's always well prepared and he puts clients at ease."

Recent work: He represented the victim of a building site accident whose leg was amputated after a dumper truck overturned. The case was settled after liability was denied by the construction company.

Legal 500 2013

"James is recommended, and has a strong following among insurers."

Chambers & Partners 2013

'James Murphy has focused his personal injury practice on disease and multiple injury claims. He "is extremely customer-focused," according to those instructing him, who include a number of trade unions and insurers. He acted in the case of Littledyke, a claim regarding a worker whose legs were crushed by an unbanked excavator.'

Legal 500 2012 

James Murphy's ‘ability to think on his feet is second to none’

Chambers & Partners 2012

The "outstanding" James Murphy wins the respect of insurance companies and trade unions for his serious injury, amputation and liability work.

Legal 500 2011

"Excellent on his feet".

Chambers & Partners 2011

He is noted for his skilful approach to high-value employers' liability claims, rated as a "particulary intelligent trial advocate." who is "excellent at explaining the position to clients in a language they can understand."

Chambers & Partners 2010

He is the "epitome of the modern silk." "Up on current trends, a real team player and always willing to muck in, he is as far away from the old-style, distant barrister as you can get."

Notable Cases
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Recently concluded cases- 2017/18

  • J, B, B & G v. Cleveland Potash Ltd- sample group HAVS claims secondary to a mining HAVS scheme -breach & medical causation (Middlesbrough CC)
  • M v. One Call Hire-HAVS claim with issues of low vibration exposure & medical causation (Birmingham High Court)
  • C. v. L.C.C.- claim involving a teacher seriously injured by a pupil in a special school (Leeds C.C.)
  • D. v. T, E & W NHS Trust-clinical negligence claim arising from lithium poisoning (Leeds CC)
  • B v. Asda Stores Limited-chronic pain condition
  • J v. Woodkirk Quarry & others-silicosis claim by a stone mason
  • J v. Enserve Group Ltd-partial amputation of a young Claimant’s hand
  • A v. S-severe head injury for company director. Complex Neurological /Neuropsychological issues
  • S v. L.C.C.-severe wrist/ hand injury for lift engineer. Permanent restrictions and reduced employment capacity
  • H v. Boden & Davies Ltd- severe head injury with capacity issues, life long complex care & therapeutic need

Examples of Judical Decisions

  • H v. Humber NHS Trust-clinical negligence-treatment of small cell lung cancer
  • B v. Chesterfield NHS Trust-clinical negligence-delay in referral for Oncology review
  • Waring v. Longfellow, Longley & Haggas-restraint of trade/ breach of contract
  • J-R v. Burton Hospitals NHS Trust-clinical negligence-obstetric brachial plexus injury
  • T. v. R-order for sale of a house to enforce an historical abuse damages claim

Examples of Current Caseload

Examples of current caseload- 2018.

  • M v. Rayden Engineering- construction site accident. Claimant trapped by a JCB suffering severe leg injury
  • L. v. Lowry & Sons-fatal mesothelioma. Deceased a Director of the Defendant
  • R v. Martin Heart Shop Fitting-penetrating eye injury including a claim for provisional damages
  • D v. Selvic Shipping Limited-multiple injury claim with 5 experts. Complex neuropsychological issues
  • W. v. B-severe head injury with lasting cognitive impairment for business entrepreneur
  • S v. RSA-fatal RTA arising from a motorbike accident
  • N v. Lostock Spinning Ltd-fatal mesothelioma (RCJ)
  • D v. Blakeley, Tongue & Partners- fatal nasopharyngeal cancer for woodworker
  • KB & DW v. Yorks NHS Trust-consolidated occupational stress claims
  • H v. Ceva Logistics Ltd-lower leg amputation

Reported Cases

Home Office v Lowles [2004] EWCA (Civ) 985

Leading authority on regulation 12 (3) Workplace Health Safety and Welfare - Regulations 1992

Cressy (Brian) v (1) E Timms & Sons Ltd (2) E Timms & Sons Holdings Ltd [2005] EWCA Civ 763 Definition of 'identity of the Defendant' pursuant to s.14(1) c of the Limitation Act 1980

Jakto Transport Ltd v Derek Hall [2005] EWCA civ 243

The correct approach to the credibility of a witness. In particular when there is expert engineering evidence.

Taylor v. Wincanton Group Limited [2009] EWCA Civ 348

Consideration of 'suitability' pursuant to reg. 12(1) of the Workplace Regulations.

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2008 - Recorder (Civil) sits as a Judge in the County Court

2012 - Appointed Counsel to the T&N compensation scheme for victims of asbestos exposure

2015- Head of PICN Team 2016- Deputy Head of Chambers Accredited Pupil Supervisor & NE Circuit Advocacy Trainer

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  • Minor brain injury
  • Psychological Injuries
  • Pain conditions/ fibromyalgia
  • Ogden 7 – future loss
  • Fatal accidents
  • Mesothelioma /asbestos injury
Personal Details

BA (Hons) Political Theory and Institutions, Liverpool University CPE, University of Huddersfield

Professional Associations

Personal Injury Bar Association (PIBA) Association for Victims of Medical Accidents (AVMA)

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Awards &

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