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Alexander Antelme KC

Call 1993 • KC 2014

"Alexander is probably the most incisive barrister I have ever worked with. He brings a clarity that is helpful from the outset."
(Chambers UK, 2023)

Product Liability

Alex is ranked as a first-tier silk in both Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 for Product Liability and for Group Litigation. He is listed in the International Who’s Who of Product Liability Defence lawyers.

Alex acts for claimant and defendants. His corporate clients include major pharmaceutical and medical product manufacturers as well as insurers and medical bodies such as the NHS. The nature of his cases inevitably involves international issues and Alex enjoys working in close partnership with attorneys in Europe and in the US.

Examples of products in current and recent cases include breast implants, diesel engines, metal-on-metal prosthetic hips, supercars, PEEK prosthetic shoulders, blood products, surgical mesh, radiological dyes, domestic appliances, tyres and various industrial machines. Cases involve product recalls, property damage, catastrophic personal injuries and death and significant loss of profit / business interruption. Alex advises on insurance issues arising out of product liability claims being brought nationally and internationally.

In 2022, Alex appeared in Hastings v Finsbury Orthopaedics which was the Supreme Court’s first review of the Consumer Protection Act 1987. The Court endorsed the Defendant’s approach in the DePuy Pinnacle Group Litigation (Gee v DePuy International Limited) in which Alex led a team of five counsel from Crown Office Chambers. Gee was the most comprehensive and detailed analysis of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 in the last decade and was reported to be the largest contested product liability action in the UK.

Selected Cases

  • Hastings v Finsbury Orthopaedics and another (2022) – Alex assisted the Scottish legal team in the initial stages of this case involving metal-on-metal hip prostheses before appearing in the Supreme Court. The case was the first review of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 by the Supreme Court.
  • Diesel Emissions (2022) – Alex is retained by a French car manufacturer in the diesel emissions litigation.
  • Allergan Breast Implants (2022) – Alex is retained by the manufacturer of textured breast It is alleged that some patients developed a rare cancer as a result of these products.
  • Italian Supercar (2022) – Alex advised regarding the alleged failure of brakes on a supercar causing a fatal accident in Hong Kong. As well as the substantive issues of defect, Alex dealt with jurisdictional, applicable law and duties of care.
  • Metal-on-Metal Hips (2022) – Alex continues to act for several manufacturers in respect of claims in relation to metal-on-metal hips both in the UK and
  • Standard medicine (2022) – Alex represented a pharmaceutical company sued by a child alleging a life-changing reaction to one of its standard medicines.
  • Infected bloods (2022) – Alex advised on issues arising from the infected blood scandal.
  • Primodos (2021) – Alex was retained by the Claimants bringing a group action in respect of historic injuries sustained after taking this hormone pregnancy test.
  • Talcum Powder (2021) – Alex advised on tactics and evidential matters in a US claim against the manufacturer of a talcum powder.
  • AA v Groupama (2019) – The Claimant advanced a claim for 200 million euros in this fatal road traffic accident The accident occurred in France when a tyre on a lorry failed. The matter was compromised.
  • Lewin v Glaxo (2019) – Alex acted for Glaxo in relation to a radiological contrast medium, Myodil, which the Claimant alleged caused significant injuries decades after its use. Alex led a team from Crown Office The Claimant discontinued shortly before trial.
  • The Pinnacle Metal-on-Metal hip litigation: Gee v DePuy International Limited (2018) – Alex led the counsel team for DePuy International Limited in the Pinnacle litigation. DePuy succeeded at first instance on a trial of a preliminary issue relating to ‘defect’ under the Consumer Protection Act 1987. The Claimants did not seek permission to appeal. The issues were revisited in Hastings (see above).
  • The Thalidomide Litigation (2017) – Alex acted, in a team of counsel, for victims of the drug thalidomide in recent claims against the manufacturers and distributors. The claims were compromised.
  • Howmet Limited v Economy Devices Limited & Others (2016) – A catastrophic fire destroyed factory premises. Alex acted for the manufacturer of a liquid level-sensing device in successfully defeating the claim at trial and then in the Court of Appeal.
  • Argos Limited v Leather Trade House Limited (2012) – Alex acted for the Defendant in this action in which the Claimant sought an indemnity in respect of payments made in the toxic sofa litigation. The Defendant had provided advice in respect of the toxicity of the chemicals involved in treating the leather sofas. The Claimant was successful at trial.
  • The Haemophiliac/Blood Litigation – Alex acted for a US Pharmaceutical company in respect of the second-generation haemophiliac / infected blood litigation.
  • The Northwick Park Hospital / Paraxel Clinical Trials – Alex acted for five of the Claimants in respect of severe injuries arising from a drug trial. The catastrophic outcome of the clinical trial was widely publicised.
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“Alexander is highly sophisticated, extremely easy to work with and exceptionally thorough in his analysis”…. “Alexander is incredibly efficient. He brings an energy to cases which others don’t, and he is results-driven.”

Chambers & Partners, 2024

“Alex Antelme is brilliant – elegant and not a word wasted”…. “He has excellent control of the evidence.”

Chambers & Partners, 2024

“Super responsive, utterly charming to work with, a sentiment shared by the clients. He is incisive, a font of wisdom and a great strategist. He is absolutely the counsel you want on any case, the tougher the case – the greater the need for his involvement.”

Legal 500, 2024

“He is incisive, a font of wisdom and a great strategist. He is absolutely the counsel you want on any case, the tougher the case – the greater the need for his involvement.”

Legal 500, 2024

“Alexander is a master of detail. He is very charming and easy to work with on high-value claims.” “He is very strong on technical issues whilst at the same time being able to explain the legal issues in a clear and concise fashion, which makes him very strong on his feet and in conference.” “Alexander is an excellent barrister. He is very commercial and takes a very client-friendly approach.”

Chambers & Partners, 2023

‘Super responsive, utterly charming to work with, a sentiment shared by the clients ‘ ‘An extremely skillful, powerful and impressive advocate. Goes above and beyond to get to grips with complexities of a case.’ ‘Alex has impressive advocacy skills and is extremely talented. He is very clever and makes a complex issue sound very simple.’ ‘Real attention-to-detail, excellent pleadings and written advice. A polished advocate with an ample charm which hides a tough negotiator.’

Legal 500, 2023

“A fantastic advocate – he is really amazing, very slick, sharp and has the ear of the court.” “He has an absolute eye for detail, is extremely no-nonsense and gets very good results. His opinion is very much respected.”

Chambers & Partners, 2022

“A living legend of product liability practice; extremely sharp, sees bigger picture, speaks with authority and technical brilliance.”

Legal 500, 2022

“A very affable silk with a rapier-like intelligence and the willingness to fight points other QCs might not want to take on.”

Legal 500, 2021

“Detailed and thorough analysis of complex legal and factual issues. Tremendous knowledge of personal injury and product liability issues.”

Legal 500, 2021

“A remarkably astute, highly-experienced and technically brilliant QC whose dedication, focus and legal precision is exemplary.”

Legal 500, 2021

“A very measured, sensible and effective advocate who inspires confidence.”; “A very persuasive advocate with great tactical acumen.”; “His cross-examination of experts is very good indeed.”

Chambers & Partners, 2021

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