Bernard Thorogood practises in the most serious categories of Health and Safety and other Regulatory cases and this often involves him in the build-up to and conduct of substantial Inquests. Has been Counsel to the Inquest. Acted for the Fire Service in the Hillsborough Inquests. Instructed in the Red Arrows ejection seat Inquest and many other high profile cases.
Usually instructed from an early stage. He represents and advises individuals, as well as organisations large and small, including major businesses, Fire and Rescue Services, Police Forces, the Parole Board and charitable and public bodies, in relation to Inquests and associated Regulatory matters. He advises in respect of potential gross negligence manslaughter charges arising from a wide range of activities. He has advised, prosecuted and defended in many manslaughter cases arising from health and safety backgrounds, and conducted a very large number of Regulatory cases featuring fatalities.
Subject matter includes all aspects of manufacturing, construction (including adequacy of materials/systems), the health and social care sectors, both charitable and publicly funded, local government, transport, pressure vessels, logistics, permits to work, asbestos, confined spaces, farming accidents, cases of “domestic” and commercial fatal gassing, and including the widespread release of toxic fumes affecting scores of people (non-fatal). Extensive experience of mining cases, including falls of ground, ventilation and operation of heavy equipment and fire safety issues across the UK.
His trademarks include thorough attention to detail and getting to grips with complex and technical evidence. Works throughout the country. Travels wherever required, particularly in order to get to grips with the finer details of such processes, technicalities or environments, as might be relevant to the case in hand.
His previous work with Directors and Companies, in relation to financial and Company law, facilitates additional insight into the workings of large organisations. His year on a production shop floor in industry helps keep focus on the reality of industrial practices.
He has appeared for/advised many prominent national organisations/businesses/charitable bodies, including several NHS Trusts and Universities, residential and other care providers, several national construction Companies, British Sugar, Robert Wiseman Dairies, Scottish and Southern Power, Four Seasons Healthcare, The Building Research Establishment, Several Fire and Rescue Services, Dunlop, Aggregate Industries (UK) Limited, Lifeways, Noble Foods Limited, Cemex and many others Has also been involved with very many like businesses for the Regulators.
Member of Health and Safety Lawyers Association, Forensic Science Society, Criminal Bar Association. HSE Specialist Panel of Advocates – List ‘A
“Bernard is an exceptional barrister. He is a great operator and a tremendous individual to have on your side. He has strong human qualities and he is highly capable of dealing with a High Court judge.”
Chambers UK 2021
“Combines deep subject matter expertise and excellent drafting skills with first-class advocacy.”
Legal 500 2021
“A first-class advocate with excellent client care skills.”
Legal 500 2020
“He is immensely thorough and very persuasive. A fantastic barrister.” “His attention to detail is just incredible; he has a stupendous work ethic and is always looking to get the best out of a case.”
Chambers UK 2020
Leicester Coroner’s Court – March 2019
Instructed for the Local Authority – death of vulnerable older person in public place – the Council involved as Interested Persons because their structural alterations thought to be connected to the fatality. Careful investigation demonstrated that enforcement action was inappropriate – none taken. Significant interplay between and analysis of British Standards required, both for technical equipment and building works.
Birmingham Coroner’s Court – November 2018
Instructed for HSE – death of 5 agency workers as a result of falling wall in metal recycling centre. Relatively complex arrangements between different companies required careful examination. Complex engineering evidence to master and navigate. Proceedings simultaneously translated into 3 languages, requiring careful questioning by the advocates.
Avon Coroner’s Court – October 2018
Instructed for the Local Authority – death of older and infirm customer in connection with mobile banking unit – significant legal questions concerning whether jury required in the circumstances. Careful examination of the issues demonstrated that no enforcement action called for.
South Wales Coroner’s Court – June 2018
Acting for the employer - issues of adequacy of risk assessment and working procedures, including lone working, explored in the context of a fatality caused when a dumper overturned during weekend working. Influence of use of cannabis upon the issue of causation examined.
Coventry Coroner’s Court – April 2018
Acted for the Local Authority – stock topple/collapse in warehouse (major national employer) - causing death and other serious injuries – substantial questions of law and complex factual history to unravel and present in evidence.
South London Coroner’s Court – January 2018
Acting for national employer – issues surrounding supply of medical gases – complex history to unravel in order to demonstrate that client company had performed in accordance with national standards.
Wolverhampton Coroner’s Court – October 2017
Acting for the regulator – the Borough Council - tragic inquiry into death of a young woman during Storm Doris in February 2017 – flying debris from shopping centre – lack of maintenance the shopping centre roof.
South Wales Coroner’s Court – February 2017
Acting for the School Governors - death of student at school – complex history to master – relationship between Local Authority and its School to be navigated with care. Case highlighted significant design issues and need for stakeholders to be more involved throughout design and construction, so that school transport arrangements were fit for purpose. No enforcement action taken against the Governors.
North Lincolnshire Coroner’s Court – February 2017
Acting for St John Ambulance – drug related death at a large music festival – very complex issues involving competing expert analyses – very substantial factual and legal issues to address – conclusions supported St John Ambulance position.
Loughborough Coroners Court – January 2017
Acting for the Local Authority - death of security operative at large music festival – consideration of extent of employer’s duties – nature of operative’s engagement dictated extent of employer’s duties.
Cannock Coroner's Court - April 2016
Acting for the family after their student daughter appeared to have taken her own life -substantial and important disclosure obtained – of considerable significance at Inquest. Sensitive proceedings, given the circumstances and associated possible criminal proceedings against an individual.
Nottingham Coroner’s Court – October 2015
For the Local Authority – vulnerable service-user died whilst the subject of one-to-one supervision in Council’s care. Issues of the adequacy of (the Local Authority’s) training, systems and management examined. Court shown that the Council had done a good job, and had not contributed to the death.
Bedfordshire Coroner’s Court – February 2015
Representing NHSLA on behalf of now dissolved Primary Care Trust – fatal fall from window by confused elderly patient. After Inquest and representations HSE decided, contrary to initial indications, not to charge.
Cornwall Coroner’s Court – January 2015
Representing a school after pupil’s death, following overdose of prescription drugs. Coroner found school’s support for troubled pupil to be “exemplary”, contrary to certain suggestions made by another IP.
Represented the Fire and Rescue Service. No enforcement action subsequently taken against the Service.
Counsel to Inquest – Gloucestershire – February 2014
In sensitive case (prisoner took his own life). Issues of adequacy of prison monitoring and care. A high profile and difficult inquiry.
R (On the Application of the Worcestershire Coroner) v Worcester Safeguarding Children Board 2013 EWHC 1711- May 2014
Extent of proper disclosure of sensitive material. Looked–after young person took her own life – a very sensitive case for several reasons. Case made the subject of Chief Coroner’s Note “The Worcestershire Case: Disclosure to the Coroner, not to the Public.” Inquest concluded in early 2014.
Lincolnshire Coroner’s Court – January 2014
Death of a Red Arrows pilot following operation of the ejection seat whilst still on the runway. Hugely technical issues of engineering and project management considered over a number of weeks.
Nottinghamshire Coroner’s Court – November 2013
Representing a Local Authority (as Regulator) in a matter concerning the conduct of a well known national employer. Findings of considerable importance to subsequent prosecution for fatal health and safety breaches.
Trafford Coroner’s Court – November 2013
Acting for charitable care provider in relation to fatality which occurred in respite (care) home. Choking – questions of suitability of care plans, training and feeding regime. Careful re-examination of evidence founded argument (later accepted) that any breach had not caused the death.
Warwickshire Coroner’s Court – May 2013
For a leading cement manufacturer, following fatal fall on its site – substantial and important disclosure obtained – of considerable significance at Inquest.
Gloucester Coroner’s Court – February 2013
For a specialist road surfacing manufacturer and contractor, following a death on a road it had recently laid. Highly technical materials considered, concerning materials performance and project management. No charges laid following Inquest.
Gloucester Coroner’s Court – December 2012
Representing a County Fire and Rescue Service throughout several days of Inquest, with a view to demonstrating that the failures associated with a fire suppression system cylinder were not those of the Fire and Rescue Service. No subsequent charges against the FARS – though others were charged.
Southend Coroner’s Court – September 2012
Fall from hospital window – acting for NHS Trust –careful analysis of complex web of regulation concerning security of windows in healthcare sector. Evidence obtained founded basis for successful resolution of subsequent case.
Lincoln Coroner’s Court – December 2011
Acting for national employer - careful examination of lighting levels and adequacy of working platform. Open verdict secured. As a result of matters developed in evidence, the fact that there was no prosecution was made plain very shortly after the Inquest.
Essex Coroner’s Court – November 2011
Multi-handed inquiry into complex lifting operation. Contractor control examined. As a result of matters developed in evidence, there was no prosecution of Mr Thorogood’s client, though others were.
Stourport Coroner’s Court – November 2011
Acting for farmers - case requiring substantial and searching questioning to demonstrate that clients were not responsible for the accident which lead to death (fall from height during construction of new farm building). Farmers not prosecuted – the man that accused them of being responsible was.
Manchester Coroner’s Court – November 2009
Evidence from client’s own expert of great influence to enquiry – intense and complex examination arising from failure of temporary (steel) works during very substantial project. The client’s own expert was adopted by the Coroner and called to give evidence. Role of Structural Engineer. Role of CDM. Significance of Temporary Works. Client not thereafter, prosecuted.
Dudley Coroner’s Court – July 2009
Evidence from client’s own expert disclosed to Inquest – of great significance to outcome - Legionella could not (as a result) be connected to the workplace under scrutiny. Inquest foreshortened by several witnesses and a day and a half as a result. Client not, thereafter, prosecuted.
Shropshire Coroner’s Court – April 2008
For major national manufacturer – death from boiler explosion– adequacy of expert examination prior to explosion. Client’s own expert called by Coroner. Findings of importance to successful resolution of subsequent prosecution (client acquitted).
Health and Safety Lawyers Association
Forensic Science Society
Criminal Bar Association