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David Platt KC

Call 1987 • KC 2011

"One of the best KCs of his generation."
(Chambers & Partners)

Industrial Disease

David specialises in all forms of industrial and occupational disease, in particular: all types of asbestos cases (described as “brilliant on asbestos claims” in the Legal 500), stress and harassment at work, abuse cases, NIHL and cancer claims, upper limb disorder litigation, asthma, dermatitis, VWF, and COSHH claims. He undertakes discrimination related claims, and associated disputes involving the Employment Tribunal.

He has been involved in emerging litigation areas such as aircrew and pilot “aerotoxicity” claims, Covid-19 claims, passive smoking, DVT, concussive sports claims and toxic mould litigation.  He has had wide involvement in technical and complex medical matters, including the use and analysis of epidemiology.

His abuse work involves claims against local authorities and individual private sector organisations.

He is highly experienced in group litigation and is currently instructed in the Military Deafness Litigation, the Aerotoxicity Litigation and the British Steel Coke Oven Workers Litigation (GLO). He is rated in Chambers & Partners as an expert in this area.

He undertakes all aspects of personal injury work and acts for both claimants and defendants. This often involves injuries of utmost severity and other catastrophic claims (please see the section on personal injury for more information).

As a former broadcaster for the BBC, he has undertaken litigation work for both ITN and the BBC in several high profile media injury claims.

He is frequently consulted in personal injury and other common law claims in the Channel Islands and has very considerable experience of Jersey and Guernsey procedure and litigation. This has frequently involved issues related to discount rates for future loss. He often travels to the Islands for conferences and mediations. He has also been instructed on claims in the Isle of Man.

He also specialises in associated Health & Safety work, and acts in both the crown and magistrates courts and at major inquests. He has undertaken a number of major inquests arising from disease claims (e.g. asbestos, aerotoxicity and other forms of toxic fatalities) and a large number of other cases in a variety of contexts. He regularly appears in linked environmental prosecutions and pollution claims and in both the civil and criminal aspects of such cases. As a strong forensic performer, he is a natural jury advocate.

He is rated in all the major Directories as a leading silk in this field. He was nominated for the 2020 Personal Injury Silk of the Year award by The Legal 500.

Selected Cases

  • White v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care [2024] EWCA Civ 244. Test case appeals in conjoined claims of White and Cuthbert in which the Court of Appeal has set out definitive guidelines for historic asbestos exposure cases prior to 1965 [leave to appeal currently being sought from Supreme Court].
  • Cavanaugh v Folsana Pressed Section Limited [2024] EWHC 1381 (KB).  Major stress at work claim involving the application of Hatton guidelines in a disciplinary context.  For a synopsis of the claim see here.
  • The Military Deafness Litigation: Turner/Abbott & Others v Ministry of Defence [2019-2024].  Instructed by MoD in ongoing group NIHL claims brought by some 10,000+ former and current service personnel against the MoD. The claims are for alleged noise damage whilst in training and on active service in a variety of theatres over several decades. The claims led to important decisions on the issue of individual claim forms in group litigation set out in Abbott v MoD [2022] EWHC 1807 (QB) and then by the Divisional Court at [2023] 1 WLR 4002.  In addition, the recent decision on the qualifying grounds for a GLO were considered in Abbott v MoD [2023] EWHC 2839 (KB).
  • Collective Aerotoxicity Litigation [2024, ongoing]– Instructed by BA and other airlines in leading claims by air crew in group litigation for “aerotoxic” or neurological injury caused by organophosphates in cabin air. See also decision at [2020] EWHC 543 (QB).
  • C. v Richmond Borough Council [2022] 5 WLUK 99 (6.5.22, Dexter Dias KC, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge).  Important case on the test for setting aside judgment in default (mesothelioma claim).  See case summary here.
  • Bannister v Freemans Plc [2020] EWHC 1256 (QB).  Landmark judgment on low exposure claims, de minimis concepts and materiality in asbestos litigation. Judgment here. The Claimant’s application for permission to appeal was refused by the trial judge [2020] EWHC 1625 (QB)–  judgment here. The application before the Court of Appeal was likewise refused.
  • British Steel Coke Oven Workers GLO (Hutson v TATA Steel) [2016-2024] EWHC 1608; [2018] EWHC 107; [2017] EWHC 2647; [2016] EWHC 3031-Major group litigation involving large numbers of cancer and respiratory claims against the former British Steel.
  • Goldscheider v Royal Opera House [2019] EWCA Civ 711; [2018] EWHC 687:High profile noise claim against the Royal Opera involving an allegation of “acoustic shock” by an orchestra member. Appeal to Court of Appeal succeeded in part.
  • Clements Smith v Berrymans Lace Mawer [2019] EWHC 1904 (QB). Precedent judgment on the entry of judgment in default of defence (on appeal).
  • X Children v Minister for Health and Social Services [2016-2018]Royal Court of Jersey.  Major child abuse litigation involving a consideration of very substantial future care losses on an enhanced Helmot v Simon discount rate.  Largest PI claim ever to be heard in a Court in British Isles.
  • McGowan v AMEC [2017] WL 02212899,Manchester High Court, Andrews J – Mesothelioma and evidential inferences.
  • Heneghan v Manchester Dry Docks & Others [2016] 1 W.L.R. 2036– Court of Appeal affirmed the first instance judgment of Jay J. on causation and damages in asbestos-induced lung cancer claims and gave definitive guidance in this area.
  • Humphrey v Aegis Defence Services [2017] 1 W.L.R. 2937– Claim arising from activities in Iraq and the application of a “desirable activity” defence under the Compensation Act 2006.
  • Ross v Lyjon [2016]– Leading first instance claim on latency and causation in Noise Induced Hearing Loss claims.
  • Sloper v Lloyds Bank [2016]EWHC 483 (Spencer J) – A complex mesothelioma claim where Lloyds Bank were successful in defending allegations of asbestos exposure at their branches.
  • Yapp v Foreign Office [2015] I.R.L.R. 112(Contract, Employment & Personal Injury) – In overturning an award of damages for psychiatric injury, the Court of Appeal gave detailed advice on claims for breach of contract and personal injury.
  • Yoxall v Moore [2015]– Discount rate and catastrophic personal injury.  Instructed as advisory counsel to Isle of Man advocates for the Defendant on the appropriate discount rate to be applied on the Island.  The Defendant was successful in resisting a move to a negative common law rate.
  • Siddiqui v University of Oxford & Balliol College (2015-17)– A highly unusual claim by a former undergraduate for personal injury following allegedly deficient tuition.
  • Lloyd v Humphries & Glasgow [2015] EWHC 525 (QB)– Abuse of process litigation involving successive disease claims against different defendants in different actions.
  • Collins v Secretary of State for Business and Stena Lane Ferries [2014] P.I.Q.R. P19; [2014] EWCA Civ 717(Limitation) – The leading Court of Appeal decision on the assessment of prejudice in long-tail disease claims.
  • Davidson v Aegis Defence Services (BVI) Ltd [2014] 2 All E.R. 216; [2013] EWCA Civ 1586 (Limitation) – An important appellate authority on Section 33 of the Limitation Act 1980 and its application to a personal injury claim arising from the conflict in Iraq.
  • Longthorn v NPower [2013]– HHJ Richardson (Harassment, discrimination and stress at work). A major claim for allegedly discriminatory behaviour at work failed on the facts applied to decided case law.
  • Matthew v Collins et al [2013] EWHC 2952 (QB)– Precedent judgment on tissue samples in asbestos claims.
  • Sayers v Chelwood [2013] 1 WLR 1695; [2012] EWCA Civ 1715;(Limitation & NIHL) – Leading appellate authority on burden of proof in S33 applications under Limitation Act 1980.
  • The Employers’ Liability “Trigger” Litigation [2012] 1 WLR 867; [2011] 1 PIQR P2 & [2009] Lloyd’s Rep IR 295– The major multi-party asbestos / insurance litigation. He acted at first instance before Burton J, in the Court of Appeal and in the lengthy hearing before the Supreme Court in December 2011.
  • MacLennan v Hartford Europe [2012] EWHC 346– Stress at work and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
  • Bristow v Barts & London NHS Trust [2010] EWHC 1969 (QB)– A substantial claim by a Consultant for serious personal injury in his own operating theatre.
  • Darg v Metropolitan Police & Venson Plc [2009] EWHC 684 (QB)– Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and credibility.
  • Williams v Jervis [2008] EWHC 2346– Subtle brain injury.
  • Majrowski v Guys & St. Thomas’ NHS Trust [2006] UKHL 34– The leading case on statutory harassment under the 1997 Harassment Act. Majrowski also dealt with important issues of vicarious liability); House of Lords [2007] 1 AC 224; Court of Appeal reported at [2005] QB 848; [2005] 2 WLR 1503.
  • Hartman v South Essex Mental Health Trust et al[2005] ICR 782 (group stress at work litigation).
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“He is the stand-out silk in disease litigation and the one to go to for complex or leading issues.”….. “He has a huge capacity to absorb details of a case and a proper academic understanding of quite difficult issues that arise.”

Chambers & Partners, 2024

“One of the best disease silks in the country. Provides clear and analytical advice. He understands the broader commercial realities.”

Chambers & Partners, 2024

‘David is a Rolls Royce of a silk. Excellent robust and no-nonsense advice.’

Legal 500, 2024

“He is an incredibly intelligent person who offers logical advice. He is pragmatic, down to earth and very effective.”

Chambers & Partners, 2022

“David is without doubt the finest silk in practice in respect of his asbestos work.”

Legal 500, 2022

“Superb to work with – the advice he provides is clear, commercially sensible and tactically astute.”

Chambers & Partners, 2022

“He is a very good advocate who is always on top of his game and is well respected by both clients and opponents.” “He is bright, enthusiastic and extremely experienced in high-level disease cases.”

Chambers & Partners, 2021

“A real expert when it comes to dealing with complex medical and scientific issues and handling multiple experts on these issues.”

Legal 500, 2021

“A top-quality barrister who really knows his area.”; “He’s a very impressive advocate and has a good head for complex issues.”

Chambers & Partners, 2020

“Always immaculately prepared, demonstrating mastery of the papers. He has a prodigious intellect and is also highly personable and approachable. He understands the value of relationships.”

Chambers & Partners, 2018

“His courtroom manner is confident. He presents the arguments in a clear and logical fashion.”

Chambers & Partners, 2018

“He never wastes a word and just instinctively knows what the pressure points are for a judge.”

Chambers & Partners, 2016

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