Henry Pitchers QC

Viewing: Personal Injury for Henry Pitchers QC

Henry took silk on 21st March 2020.
Henry’s practice is predominantly comprised of high value and/or complex personal injury. He is routinely instructed in cases in which multi-million pound claims are advanced for future care and case management. Several of his claims have resulted in orders for periodical payments well in excess of 200k per annum. Claimants in Henry’s practice commonly lack capacity, with the Court of Protection being involved for adults. Henry also takes a particular interest in accommodation and complex future loss of earnings claims, especially projecting career paths for young claimants, including potentially highly paid professionals.
Henry is a regular speaker on matters concerning catastrophic and serious injuries. He is also a contributing editor to Butterworth’s Personal Injury Litigation Service.
Liability
Road traffic incidents
For his entire career, Henry has been instructed to advise and argue over liability in motor accidents and he has huge trial experience of the same. These now give rise to some of the highest value claims, involving complex brain and spinal injuries, as well as polytrauma and death.
Henry often works closely with reconstruction, CCTV and other experts as to liability.
He has a substantial number of ongoing and recent cases involving pedestrians, many of them children.
Employer’s liability
Since his arrival at No5, Henry has been regularly instructed in matters relating to injuries sustained in the course of employment. Such cases are wide-ranging, but often arise from:
- Work equipment;
- The adequacy of personal protective equipment;
- The condition of the workplace;
- Work at height;
- Construction sites and works;
- Manual handling;
- Off shore work in oil and gas; and,
- Assaults by third parties.
Henry takes an interest in the more complex cases, particularly those involving multiple parties and arguments of contribution, indemnities and non-delegable duties.
Public liability
Henry has significant experience of claims arising out of the condition of the highway and spent many years acting for local authorities. In addition to the usual “wear and tear” cases, Henry has advised in matters concerning snow and ice, dangerous spillages, utilities, street works and arguments as to inherent dangerousness in the design and/or construction of the road.
Aside from local authority claims, Henry has regularly acted in cases involving occupier’s liability and defective premises claims.
Accidents abroad
Most of the “foreign” cases in which Henry is instructed, involve significant injuries sustained in accidents and incidents outside of the jurisdiction, commonly elsewhere in Europe. These are usually serious road traffic accidents, but also public liability claims.
Henry has experience of working with lawyers from other countries, particularly regarding the presentation of their expert opinion as to substantive law of foreign jurisdictions.
Group litigation
Henry has worked in cases where multiple, related claims are brought. Most notably, he was part of the claimant team in the “sofa dermatitis” litigation, in which several thousand claimants successfully brought claims for compensation.
He also is instructed in less formal group litigation, where a GLO is not required. For example, Henry acted for over 30 police officers who developed very severe gastric problems due to poor hygiene standards by an external caterer.
Fraud
Henry has for years been instructed by insurers in relation to fraudulent claims, usually brought by the victims or alleged victims of road traffic accidents. These matters cover the usual range of:
- Bogus accidents;
- Staged accident;
- Bogus passenger claims;
- Exaggerated or false injury claims; and,
- Bogus credit hire claims.
Presently, Henry is generally instructed in cases of unusual complexity or value, where a fraud ring is suspected or where committal for contempt of court is considered.
Quantum
Brain injuries
Henry’s current caseload includes a wide range of brain injuries, ranging from those involving skull fractures and significant structural brain damage to more subtle brain injuries and post-concussional syndrome. Recent or ongoing claims in which Henry is instructed include:
- Road traffic accidents involving toddlers and children;
- Several young adults with subtle, but significant cognitive or behavioural difficulties as a result of head injuries (some lacking capacity, but others not);
- A middle-aged man with some capacity to return to work, but only with extensive support, missed promotions and substantial lost earnings;
- A number of claims involving important head injuries for the elderly, often with a complex interrelationship with dementia.
Spinal injuries
Many of these cases arise from road traffic accidents or significant falls. Recent or ongoing cases include:
- Tetraplegia and paraplegia;
- Fractures to the cervical spine causing incomplete spinal cord injury;
- A spinal fracture and SCI sustained when a claimant was dropped by her partner with whom she was dancing in her living room; and,
- Fractures of the spine giving rise to permanent symptoms, without frank spinal cord injury
Henry is very familiar with the particular accommodation and occupational therapy needs of claimants with significant spinal cord injuries.
Amputation cases
Henry has a wide experience of cases involving amputation. The following are recent examples:
- Bilateral above-knee amputations as a result of a deliberate attack with a car;
- Many below-knee amputations, often required as a result of road traffic accidents;
- Forequarter (i.e. complete removal of the arm and shoulder joint) amputation;
- Amputation of hands, feet and toes, commonly as a result of industrial accidents.
The role of prosthetics and technology is central to the preparation of these claims. Henry was also instructed in a complex causation case in which a pre-existing amputee suffered a severe injury to his foot, giving rise to substantial claims for care, accommodation and prosthetics.
Fatal accidents
The particular challenges of representing parties associated with fatal accidents are well known to Henry. He is regularly instructed to prepare complex schedules of loss or counter-schedules in such matters.
Whilst many fatal accidents involve motor vehicle, Henry has also worked on several cases arising out of industrial accidents and industrial disease (particularly mesothelioma)
In recent years, Henry has acted for a significant number of families where young children are left without a parent.
Henry has appeared in many inquests.
Complex orthopaedic
High velocity road traffic accidents or those involving pedestrians, can give rise to very severe polytrauma. Henry has much experience of this, helping to co-ordinate the necessary range of specialist medical and other experts.
In recent years, Henry acted for a claimant who negotiated c. 1.2M in relation to a hip injury and recently concluded at a round table meeting a settlement of c. 1.3M for a claimant with nasty bilateral lower limb injuries.
Psychiatric
Whilst there is regularly an important psychiatric or neuropsychiatric element to cases involving major physical injury, Henry has also acted in a number of cases where the predominant injury is psychiatric.
These have included:
- A case of extremely severe PTSD following a road traffic accident, which manifested as debilitating obsessive compulsive disorder;
- “Nervous shock” cases in which claimants have witnessed the death or severe injury of loved-ones; and,
- Somatic pain disorders.
Recommendations
“A dream when dealing with clients and a great technician and advocate.”
Chambers UK 2022
“Henry is dependable, conscientious, a dream with the clients, and a tough negotiator. He goes the extra mile.”
Legal 500 2022 (Midlands)
“He has a naturally calm and quietly confident manner about him, which makes him a natural leader who is reassuring to all others in the room.”
Legal 500 2022 (London)
“A very likeable barrister - clients adore him.” “He is consistently excellent and I have 100% confidence in his abilities and his drive to get the best possible result for his clients.”
Chambers UK 2021
“A straight-forward negotiator who is well liked by the court and advises with clarity and confidence.”
Legal 500 2021
“He is very adaptable, very personable and puts clients at ease. He thinks quickly on his feet in court and is a very good team player.” “Excellent with clients, a great strategist and excellent on paper. He’s also extremely reliable and down to earth.”
Chambers UK 2020
“Adept at putting clients at ease and managing their expectations.”
Legal 500 2020
“Henry is thorough and approachable. He has an excellent grasp of complex medical and legal issues.” “Very good in sensitive situations and excellent with clients.” “He produces excellent pleadings and is very good in conference and great at questioning experts.”
Chambers UK 2019
“Enthusiastic, passionate and excellent on his feet.”
Legal 500 2019
“He is very personable and gives clear advice. He has an excellent client manner and is prepared for a fight.” “He shows massive empathy to seriously injured clients and is a confident advocate.”
Chambers UK 2018
Notable Cases
Polmear v Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust [2021] EWHC 196 (QB)
Decision of Master Cook on the test of proximity for secondary victims in clinical negligence claims; permission to appeal has been granted and the appeal transferred directly to the Court of Appeal.
Memberships
Personal Injuries Bar Association
Professional Negligence Bar Association
AvMA
Qualifications
BA (Hons) Jurisprudence, Worcester College, Oxford University

Latest News & Publications

The former Chief Coroner, and Recorder of London, HHJ Lucraft QC has released a ‘Prevention of Future Deaths’ report following the inquest into deaths during terror attacks at the Fishmongers’ Hall in 2019...

Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2021
Henry Pitchers QC, Philip Rule and Ramya Nagesh, instructed by Hodge Jones & Allen solicitors, have presented to the Coroner the family of Saskia Jones’s submissions aimed at exposing the dangers for the future from the failings seen in this case....

Date: Fri, 02 Jul 2021
The jury has delivered its conclusions following the 7-week inquest investigating the death of Saskia Jones, and Jack Merritt, who were killed by a terrorist attacker in November 2019 when attending an event at the Fishmongers’ Hall at London Bridge. The jury have recorded a verdict of unlawful killing, and concluded that failings by a number of agencies probably contributed to the deaths of Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt....

Date: Fri, 28 May 2021