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Catherine Foster

Call 1986

“An incredible advocate with an innate ability to construct a logical and persuasive legal argument.”
(Legal 500)

Personal Injury

Occupational Stress/Psychiatric Injury

Catherine attends Court on a regular basis to pursue / defend claims for occupational stress and harassment and has a particular interest in causation issues involving the interplay of psychiatric injury with stressful work/environmental situations and accident circumstances. She has a particular interest in the connection between physical and psychiatric injury and has working knowledge of a range of conditions including fibromyalgia, complex regional pain syndrome, movement disorders, ME, chronic depression and anxiety disorders. She is regularly instructed by Claimants and Defendant Employers, PLCs, Local Authorities and other corporate entities to advise and attend joint settlement meetings and mediations in this area of litigation and by its nature, much of her work is highly confidential.

General Personal Injury and Catastrophic Injuries

Catherine has considerable experience of fatal accident claims and of catastrophic spinal and brain injury litigation encompassing severe cognitive conditions and amputations arising in the context of aviation accidents, road traffic accidents and employers’ liability claims; and in the analysis of high value complex claims and is regularly instructed to attend round table settlement meetings and mediations in this context. She has a particular interest in cycle accident claims and as a keen cyclist around London herself, understands the issues at stake.

Catherine also has a developing interest in the law around the use of drones and driverless cars. She is making good preparations to be involved in any litigation that will inevitably follow.

Personal Injury and Human Rights

Catherine is instructed in claims for personal injury involving human trafficking and human rights, many of which need to remain anonymous due to anonymity orders being in place or client confidentiality. She has acted for Local Authorities facing claims for failing to remove children who were trafficked and held captive for sexual and modern slavery purposes and has acted for PLCs facing Group litigation where rogue employees have taken advantage of children in third world countries and perpetrated abuse, thereby raising complex issues of vicarious liability.

At the other end of the spectrum she is instructed by many organisations facing claims from employees or members who are simply disgruntled and raise claims for breaches of human rights and injury to feelings, often under the guise of claims for personal injury.

Selected Cases

Occupational Stress/Psychiatric Injury

  • Yates v Oldham College: 2023 Manchester County Court, Mr Recorder Hinchliffe KC. Claim by a male lecturer for alleged bullying, sex discrimination and occupational stress in the course of his employment as a lecturer at Oldham College was dismissed after cross examination at trial
  • Mawgoud v Your Healthcare Community Interest Company (High Court): claim by a Consultant Psychiatrist in respect of injury arising from occupational stress: resolved mid-trial
  • Nicholls v Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming Limited [2013] EWCA Civ 1963: addressing issues of breach of duty and causation in a claim for psychiatric injury following a robbery
  • Packenham-Walsh v Connells Estate Agency [2006] EWCA Civ 90: addresses the legal principles relevant to occupational stress
  • Harding v The Pub Estate Company Ltd [2005] EWCA Civ 553: occupational stress causing myocardial infarction
  • Bonser v UK Coal Mining Limited [2004] IRLR 164 (Court of Appeal): addresses the legal principles relevant to occupational stress
  • Martin Humphrey v Tote Bookmakers [2003] EWHC 217: claim for psychiatric injury arising from an armed robbery in a betting shop: involving complex causation issues.

General Personal Injury and Catastrophic Injuries

  • Juj v John Lewis Partnership PLC [2022] EWHC 2418 (KB): this case raises an important point of principle in the context of the standards to be expected of “occupiers” where visitors are disabled and/or otherwise vulnerable. Permission has now been granted to appeal to the Court of Appeal
  • Wright v Satellite Information Services Ltd [2018] EWHC 812 (QB), [2018] All ER (D) 57 (Apr): a judgment on appeal in respect of fundamental dishonesty
  • Shoreham Air Crash litigation; instructed by the Insurer in its management of claims by the estates and dependents of 11 men who were killed when a vintage Hawker Hunter aircraft crashed at the Shoreham Air Show in 2011
  • Hussein v Happy Badge Projects Limited t/a Ronnie Scott’s [2017] Her Honour Judge Baucher: involving a tripping accident on a staircase at the famous jazz club
  • Peakstone Ltd v Joddrell [2012] EWCA Civ 1035: on the interpretation of section 1032(1) of the Companies Act 2006 in the context of issuing claims for personal injury
  • Pinchbeck v Craggy Island Ltd [2012] EWHC 2745 (QB) HHJ Judge Curran KC: represented the Claimant in a climbing wall accident in which the Court considered a number of issues including the nature and scope of the Defendant’s duties and the doctrine volenti non fit injuria
  • Jade Spillman v Bradfield Riding Centre [2007] EWHC 89 (QB): on the principles relating to interim payments


Sexual Abuse/Child Sexual Exploitation and Failure to Protect

Catherine has been instructed in claims involving the Catholic Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, various other religious organisations, the Scout Association, Schools, Children’s Homes, Care Homes, Local Authorities and foreign Governments over a wide range of issues including complex vicarious liability arguments, allegations of failure to intervene to prevent abuse by parents / foster carers / employees, failure to prevent damage (rape and criminal damage) caused by abused perpetrators and duty of care issues.

She is experienced in the forensic analysis of documentation spanning long periods of time and also in the quantification of damages both in the context of civil claims and applications to the CICA. She is regularly instructed to advise pre litigation and to advise upon and participate in the resolution of CSE and other abuse claims by ADR. She has a good working knowledge of safeguarding issues / procedures, local authority/social work practices and childcare legislation and has a particular interest in the historical development of social work practice.

Selected Cases

Sexual Abuse/Child Sexual Exploitation and Failure to Protect

  • GHI v TRC: Claim No: F00CL474 judgment of HHJ Saunders 3 July 2023. Successful defence of a claim for child sexual abuse against the trustees of a Chapel founded on vicarious liability
  • JXH v The Vicar, Parochial Church Council and Churchwardens of the Parish Church of Holcombe Rogus, trial June 2023 Master Dagnall, judgment awaited
  • BXB v Trustees of the Barry Congregation and others [2023] UKSC 15 and [2021] EWCA Civ 356, in which the Supreme Court overturned the findings of the Court of Appeal and High Court and dismissed findings of vicarious liability against a religious organisation for rape where the victim and perpetrator were both adult members of the congregation
  • Rainford v 6 others v Lambeth Borough Council, in which HHJ Walden-Smith siting as a Judge of the High Court on 2 November 2022 dismissed the applications of 8 claimants for judicial review of the Lambeth Children’s Homes Redress Scheme
  • FZO v Andrew Adams (1) & London Borough of Haringey (2) [2018] EWHC 3584 (QB), in which the Court awarded damages in excess of £1m to the victim of sexual abuse and considered complex psychiatric issues
  • Rowe v Sheffield City Council (17.05.17): instructed by the Defendant at a trial before HHJ Robinson (judgment available) involving allegations of conspiracy and misfeasance in public office
  • Max Clifford: instructed by the well-known publicist in respect of civil claims arising from his convictions for sexual assault
  • X PL (2015): represented a major PLC in addressing a cohort of claims by male Claimants who were sexually abused as children by an employee during his work based visits to international destinations over a period of 20 years
  • Various Claimants v The Oaks Partnership and Dr Bernard Delaport: instructed by a partnership of GPs in their action to recover an indemnity from a fellow GP partner for damages paid to patients who were sexually abused by him during consultations
  • JGE v The English Province of Our Lady of Charity and The Trustees of the Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust [2012]: sexual abuse of children in a care home: instructed by the ‘Sisters of Mercy’ who were not directly concerned with the issue of the vicarious liability of a Catholic priest, which issue was subsequently determined by the Court of Appeal
  • ‘Haute de la Garenne’ care home abuse claims: instructed by the States of Jersey and advised upon and participated in the drafting of a compensation scheme to compensate the victims of this long standing abuse
  • And see:
  • Jake Pierce v Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council [2008] EWCA Civ 1416: in which the Court of Appeal considered whether an adult Claimant should have been removed from his family as a child in order to prevent neglect and abuse at their hands
  • X v XYinstructed by the Claimant who was raped by a carer whilst an inpatient at a psychiatric unit for children and who went on to be convicted and imprisoned for sexual offences committed by himself many years later
  • X v Hillgreen Care Limited: instructed by the severely autistic Claimant who was raped by a fellow inpatient at a care home: the incident was then covered up by staff at the home and the Quality Care Commission

Examples of non-litigated cases:

  • Is regularly instructed by Claimants and Defendants to advise on claims for sexual abuse perpetrated by teachers, priests, medical professionals, parents / step parents, foster parents, carers, youth workers and others in positions of trust and authority
  • Is regularly instructed to advise pre-litigation and to advise upon and participate in the resolution of CSE and other abuse claims by ADR
  • Has acted for the families of survivors who committed suicide as a result of their experiences of abuse
  • Has acted for Claimants who have been abused in the context of attending ‘gay conversion’ therapy
  • Is regularly instructed by Executors of the estates of deceased persons accused of sexual abuse in the management of claims from a liability and probate point of view
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“Catherine Foster is an extremely thorough operator, a terrifically tenacious advocate who is extremely hard-working and a pleasure to deal with.”… “She’s extremely good at dealing with live evidence whether that’s expert or lay witnesses. She’s a very effective cross-examiner.”

Chambers & Partners, 2024

“Catherine’s advocacy is outstanding. She has an ability to secure results that surpass all reasonable expectation.”

Legal 500, 2024

“Catherine is a formidable, tenacious advocate. She impresses clients and delivers commercially successful results without fail.” “She has excellent attention to detail and appreciates the commercial reality of dealing with claims.”

Chambers & Partners, 2023

‘Catherine is an outstanding advocate with a superior ability to analyse the key issues; the results from hearings that Catherine deals with often exceed expectations.’

Legal 500, 2023

“Her advocacy is robust, clinical and to the point. She is sensitive to the specific goals and ethos of the client as well as having a solid understanding of legal and commercial risk.”

Chambers & Partners, 2023

“Absolutely superb in her field. She is a sophisticated, tough and clever negotiator with excellent client care skills. She is also a collaborative and thoughtful team player.”

Chambers & Partners, 2022

“An incredible advocate with an innate ability to construct a logical and persuasive legal argument.”

Legal 500, 2022

“Someone you want fighting your corner. Faultless expertise, practical, analytical style and great responsiveness and ability to adapt to client needs.”

Legal 500, 2021

“A formidable tactician and a real team player who really knows her stuff.” “She is excellent in cross-examinations.”

Chambers & Partners, 2021

“A tenacious and very clever advocate; she knows when to take points and when to leave them.”; “One of the best trial advocates in the market. She won’t let go of a witness once she has hold of them and has a very strong grasp of the evidence.”

Chambers & Partners, 2020

“She has a wealth of experience and very good attention to detail.”

Chambers & Partners, 2019

“An erudite advocate who cross-examines with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel. Very good on cases where there are credibility issues.”

Chambers & Partners, 2018

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