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Michael Ditchfield (Non Practising)

Called 1993

Michael practises exclusively in the fields of personal injury and clinical negligence and has now done so for more than twenty five years. He began life at the Bar as general circuiteer cutting his teeth in crime, family and of course personal injury. 

He is now one of the few juniors ranked on the North Eastern Circuit for his expertise in occupational disease cases but travels widely across the UK on behalf of his clients. 

Michael has a particular interest in dust based disease and has appeared in a number of the significant headline cases regarding low-level asbestos exposure. He has also conducted litigation in more uncommon and esoteric respiratory and neurological disease following upon toxic exposures: notable examples being Aspergillosis and MS, the latter said to have resulted from aerosol exposures. 

He has an acknowledged skill in the more technical aspects of NIHL claims, regularly appearing in litigated cases and providing seminars on topics such as de minimis loss, Note 11 CLB (2000) and the relevance of the 6kHz notch. 

WRULD is a developing facet of his work with particular focus on complex issues of foreseeability and causation viewed from an epidemiological perspective. 

In all of these areas Michael has developed good relations with many of the UK’s leading medical experts. 

He regards interlocutory procedural applications of a more technical nature an interesting dimension to his work and has a busy papers practice, aiming to return high quality advices and pleadings within 24-48 hours where possible. 

Michael was a member of the Attorney-General’s provincial panel of Counsel for more than 15 years, in which time he conducted long-running inquests concerning prison deaths, as well as specialised investigations into the failure of military equipment and clinical fault.

Appointed as a Deputy District Judge on the North Eastern Circuit in March 2019.

"Extremely responsive, and his pleadings are always very detailed and comprehensive." "Tenacious advocate who is very robust."

Chambers & Partners 2019
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Areas Of Expertise

Areas of Expertise
Industrial Disease
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Michael acts mainly for defendants and historically the NCB via the Secretary of State for industry. His experience covers all aspects of the work from procedure to limitation to litigation. He has been involved in low-level exposure cases, cases concerning fibre count evidence and where de minimis has been the issue. He is a regular before the High Court Masters on show cause applications. 

His practice covers NIHL to significant extent as well as HAVS & WRULD cases. He has experience of more exotic conditions such as Aspergillosis.


Significant Cases

Harrington v DECCHigh Court. Successful defence of low level exposure claim.

Strand v Darchem: County Court. Appropriate standard for measure of AAHL

Reynolds v DECC: High Court. Test for breach and causation in low level cases

Andrews v DECC:low-level exposure to colliery surface workers

Gallagher v Vinters: Use of JSB Guidelines in short-duration mesothelioma cases

Bell v DECC: Core values in JSC Guidelines and relevant factors in making award.

Mather –v MOD: MS resulting from exposure to toxic aerosol vapour

Bevan –v- Metro Diamond: Correct interpretation of “high frequency loss and N11”

Hackman –v- Havwood:Did keyboard work predispose to CTS?

Personal Injury
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Michael also undertakes general personal injury work where the opportunity arises. He has extensive experience of both County & High Court litigation. He worked recently with Michael Rawlinson QC on a complex occupier’s case concerning a child trespasser who had suffered brain injury & acted also with Michael Rawlinson QC for Durham County Council where a significant dispute arose as to the existence of a duty of care vis a vis worker, subject to a knife attack by a relative of a child in care.

Inquests & Inquiries
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Michael has appeared at numerous inquests. These have included:

An 8-week investigation into the death of a prisoner where issues arose as to the coroner’s entitlement to call and detain as witnesses released prisoners outwith her area of jurisdiction & to compel detained prisoners to give evidence:

An engineering modification to a tank where that modification was implicated in the death of a serving soldier;

Investigation into the death of several residents at a private nursing home.

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Chambers & Partners 2021 - Industrial Disease- Band 2

"He has a thorough eye for detail and a forensic approach at trial."

Chambers & Partners 2021 - Personal Injury - Band 2

"He is very pragmatic and turns things around very quickly.  He goes the extra mile for his clients." "He is very approachable, thorough and always happy to discuss any aspect of a claim as it progresses."

Legal 500 2021 - Personal Injury - Band 3

Very knowledgeable on disease cases, very pragmatic and willing to offer assistance with cases, articles and offers of asistance outside his involvement on specific cases.

Chambers and Partners 2020 - Industrial Disease (Spotlight table All Circuits)

An experienced personal injury junior noted for his expertise in a variety of industrial disease matters. He focuses his practice on claims involving dust-based diseases, and is instructed to act on behalf of both claimant and defendant clients.

Strengths: "He's thorough and has a lot of knowledge in this area."

Chambers and Partners 2020 - Personal Injury (Band 2)

A specialist in industrial disease, including claims concerning asbestos, hand-arm vibration and noise-induced hearing loss. He regularly acts for defendant parties in cases that involve complex questions of causation and liability. He also counts several claimant firms among his clients. He is adept at dealing with technical procedural issues.
Strengths: "Very thorough and a solid junior."

Chambers and Partners 2019

"Tenacious advocate who is very robust."

Chambers UK 2019

"Noted for his expertise in asbestos claims."

Legal 500 2019

"A top-court player." "Easy to get on with."

Chambers UK 2016

"He has a superb, second-to-none customer service ethic and he is extremely quick at turning papers around. From him we get a detailed and tightly argued document."




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Personal Injuries Bar Association (PIBA)

Articles & Publications
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The implications of s69 ERRA

The 6kHz notch in NIHL cases

Diseases in the Retail Sector

Mesothelioma after McGregor

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Appointed as a Deputy District Judge on the North Eastern Circuit in March 2019.

Personal Details

BA (Hons) & LLM

Professional Associations

Personal Injuries Bar Association (PIBA)

Michael's Latest News
Awards &

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