Chris is Head of the Clinical Negligence Group at No5 and is consistently recommended by the legal directories as a leading Silk who is highly experienced and expert in conducting the highest level of cerebral palsy/neonatal and adult brain injury claims. He is known by solicitors for his approachability in informally screening cases at an early stage and providing constructive advice upon tactics and the instruction of recommended experts. At any one time Chris is involved in multiple ongoing cerebral palsy/neonatal claims, particularly those involving historical CP, complex causation and quantum issues and issues relating to CCG/Local Authority statutory funding and PPOs. He regularly lectures (and can offer training) upon litigating CP claims, including early/CTG screening, all aspects of quantum and statutory funding.
As well as the usual issues in relation to the mismanagement of labour and delays in recognising acute and chronic partial hypoxia and fetal distress, Chris has successfully conducted claims involving the mismanagement of twin births, pneumococcal meningitis, neonatal hypoglycaemia and autism/severe behavioural difficulties (see below).
Examples of notable cases are:
Failure promptly to diagnose/treat pneumococcal meningitis in an 8-month child, now 19 years of age, causing severe frontal/parietal brain damage and learning difficulties, autism and epilepsy. Claimant (from a high-achieving professional family) will never live independently or pursue gainful employment, will always lack capacity and be dependent on others. Settlement agreed 3 weeks before trial for a lump sum of GBP 5.4m with a lifetime PPO of GBP 228,000 which, given the claimant’s residual life expectancy of over 60 years, amounted to a settlement of GBP 19.15m, if capitalised.
Lump sum of GBP 4.237m (including provision for a home swimming pool), and a PPO for care/case management of GBP 285,000 per annum. Cerebral palsy claim at the most severe end of the spectrum of physical and mental deficits, i.e. with very significant cognitive, behavioural and motor disabilities together with epilepsy. Given the 24-year-old Claimant’s life expectancy of a further 50 years, settlement would otherwise represent a lump sum settlement significantly in excess of GBP 12m.
Discounted litigation risk/lump sum settlement of GBP 5m with no restrictions on statutory funding in a fiercely disputed claim for a child with severe acquired brain injury, visual impairment and Autism as a result of a delayed diagnosis of Group B streptococcal infection (‘GBS’) and meningitis. Due for trial at the RCJ on all issues of factual evidence and factual and clinical causation with family and clinical witnesses and expert midwifery, paediatric, neonatal and infectious diseases evidence.
Discounted litigation risk/lump sum settlement of GBP 4.75 m in a historical CP claim for a now 26-year-old Claimant against hospital midwifery and clinical staff for the alleged mismanagement of labour during a twin birth. Interesting and complex clinical issues in that the Claimant’s twin sister was born in a healthy condition whilst he now suffers from spastic tetraplegic cerebral palsy. Keenly disputed midwifery, obstetric, neonatology and orthopaedic expert evidence.
Lump sum of GBP 2.38m with a stepped PPO of GBP 50,000 (age 31-32 years), GBP 75,000 (age 32-35 years), GBP 90,000 (age 35-38 years), and GBP 165,000 (from age 38 years for life). Complex historic dyskinetic CP claim involving a Claimant, now 31 years old. Breach of duty/causation disputed on contentious factual and expert evidence (midwifery, obstetric, neurological and neuroradiological). Settlement of 75% of damages to be assessed and subsequently quantum settlement achieved/approved. No Peters undertaking/reverse indemnity re statutory funding.
Lump sum of GBP 1.75m and stepped PPO of GBP GBP 73,000, GBP 118,250, GBP 140,250, GBP 182,750 and GBP 160,750 pa from ages 11, 19, 21, 40 and 65 respectively. Birth injury case resulting in dyskinetic CP with mild spasticity and cognitive impairment to the Claimant, now 11 years of age. Issues of unusual deterioration in mobility with advancing age. Seven pairs of experts (neurology, educational psychology, care, OT, physiotherapy, assistive technology, accommodation), plus individual orthopaedic, specialist gait, speech and language therapy and Deputyship/Court of Protection experts. Unusually, annual sums for therapies, holidays and loss of earnings were agreed within the various PPOs on different indices of annual indexation.
3m and a staged PPO of GBP 45,000 rising to GBP 127,500 pa (Cerebral sinovenous thrombosis leading to spastic diplegic CP with complex issues upon factual events, causation and care/case management needs. Settlement approved).
Discounted litigation risk/lump sum settlement of GBP 4.2m (60%+ of full recovery) with preservation of existing statutory funding. Neonatal brain injury claim against a GP for failing to refer the now 15 years old Claimant when 5 months of age resulting in pneumococcal septicaemia, meningitis and endocarditis leading to asymmetrical quadriplegic CP. Liability and causation keenly disputed through factual witnesses and GP and paediatric experts. Complex issues upon the causal pathway of the pneumococcal septicaemia, namely bacteraemic via the CSF or embolic/endocarditic via the heart via 5 expert disciplines (paediatrics, infectious diseases/microbiology, paediatric neurology, neuroradiology and paediatric cardiology).
Lump sum of GBP 4.55m (Trial award - failure to diagnose meningitis in six-week-old child)
Lump sum of GBP 3.4m (Cerebral palsy award).
“He has a brain the size of a planet.” “He is very thorough and very technically accurate.” “Tactically astute and a poised advocate.”
Chambers UK 2020
“Always extremely well-prepared and on top of all the issues.”
Legal 500 2020
“He’s calm and considered and puts one at ease. He has a great ability to process a lot of information quickly and explain it in a straightforward and effective manner.” “His advice was clear and he was very good in managing client expectations whilst maintaining their trust.”
Chambers UK 2019
“He combines a logical approach with excellent client care skills.”
Legal 500 2019
“He is an excellent negotiator and is particularly good in settlement discussions.” “He has excellent attention to detail and is highly experienced in brain injury cases.”
Chambers UK 2018
“His attention to detail is exemplary.”
Legal 500 2017
“Very knowledgeable, communicative and client-facing.” “He really drills into every case to make sure we’ve got every detail.”
Chambers UK 2017
Recorder - Crown and County Courts
Bencher of Gray’s Inn
BA (Hons) Law/Politics (Durham)