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.

Areas of Expertise

Contact David Wilby QC


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.

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:

  • Powell v. Whitman Breed Abbott & Morgan (2005) PNLR 1
    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.

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."

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

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.

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.

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.

BA (Hons), MA Cantab

Year of Silk: 2006