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Jack Murphy

Call 2013

"Very experienced, much beyond his years. Very legally and tactically astute, good eye for detail, understands strategy, and is very well prepared. Highly recommend."
(Legal 500)

Criminal Regulatory & Environmental

‘Jack is extremely diligent, thorough, well prepared, and has good commercial awareness.‘  (Legal 500, 2023)

Jack is an established member of Crown Office Chambers’ market-leading health & safety team. He represents a range of corporate clients, including large multi-nationals; regularly advises companies and individuals regarding prosecutions under the HSWA 1974; has been instructed in manslaughter cases; and is familiar with niche areas of the field, including product liability, wilful neglect prosecutions, and fire safety offences.

He is regularly instructed and led by some of the leading practitioners in the field. He has considerable Crown Court trial experience as a junior and, rare for his level of call, he has successfully acted as sole counsel in a Crown Court health and safety jury trial.

Health and Safety

His health & safety work covers a broad range of industries and issues. He has represented a range of corporate clients, from micro companies up to very large organisations with turnovers in excess of £1 billion; regularly advises companies and individuals regarding prosecutions under the 1974 Act; has been instructed in manslaughter cases; and is familiar with niche areas of the field, including wilful neglect and fire safety offences.

Selected health and safety cases include the following:

  • R (HSE) v McFarlane Telfer Ltd & Others (Southwark Crown Court) – Jack was led by Ben Compton KC (Outer Temple Chambers) in this 7 week trial focusing on electrical safety, product liability duties under EU Machinery Directives, and the scope of a catering equipment installer’s duty of care in circumstances where the equipment purchased from a third party supplier was inherently but unforeseeably dangerous.
  • R (HSE) v McLaren Technology Group & Others (Reading Crown Court, February 2023)Led by John Cooper KC, Jack represented the Formula 1 racing team McLaren in this HSE prosecution concerning the death of a specialist engineering inspector (employed by the co-defendant, Zurich) following a fall at McLaren’s premises. Whilst the company was found guilty at trial, on sentence the judge accepted the defence argument (drafted by Jack) that significant safety systems had been in place, that only a small number of individuals had been exposed to risk, and (crucially) that the company’s breach was not a significant cause of the death.
  • Inquest into the death of IM (Birmingham Coroner’s Court, September 2022) – A two-week jury inquest into a work at height fatality, involving a collision between an overhead crane and an elevated work platform during the construction of a testing facility at the University of Birmingham. Jack acted for the Principal Contractor, a national construction and engineering company.
  • R v Alutrade Limited & Others (Wolverhampton Crown Court, March 2022) – One of the major manslaughter cases of 2022, Jack was led by Mark Balysz KC for a large metal recycling company charged with corporate manslaughter relating to a death due to unguarded machinery. The Crown accepted the company’s guilty plea to corporate manslaughter, alongside pleas to non-causative HSWA offences from three co-defendant managers originally charged with gross negligence manslaughter. This plea deal, coupled with the Company’s sentence (£2m, with four years to pay) was a favourable outcome.
  • R (HSE) v Douglas (Reading Crown Court, December 2021) – Jack was instructed as sole counsel to represent a high-performance boat builder charged with a breach of regulation 11 of PUWER regarding the use of an unguarded table saw. Jack secured an acquittal following a week-long trial. The case was challenging, and the outcome exceptional given the strict nature of the duty under regulation 11 and the absence of a reasonableness defence.
  • R (Thanet DC) v S (Folkestone Magistrates’ Court, April 2022) – Jack represented a multi-national building materials company (with a turnover in excess of £1 billion). The case concerned alleged inadequate training in regards to the movement of heavy steel mesh products using fork-lift trucks, and a consequent serious accident involving 3 employees. A significant aspect of the case was the comprehensive fort-lift truck training provided to all employees involved, and the enforcement of exclusion zones. The prosecution contended for a fine of between £1.5 to £3 million. The Judge accepted Jack’s arguments and imposed a fine of £400,000 only.
  • R (HSE) R&J Ltd and Others (Swansea Magistrates’ Court, September 2021) – Jack represented one of two directors of a specialist roofing firm charged with s.37 HSWA offences regarding a serious work at height accident. On sentence, the prosecution’s argument that a custodial sentence and a directors’ disqualification order should be imposed were rejected, and a community order only imposed.
  • R (HSE) v S Ltd and Others (Grimsby Magistrates’ Court, September 2020) – Acting as sole counsel at sentence for a company with turnover in excess of £300 million, in relation to a workplace accident caused by inadequate isolation and lock-off procedures. A favourable fine of £200,000 was obtained.
  • R v E (Leicester Crown Court, July 2017) – Led in a s.47 wilful neglect Crown Court trial involving the near-fatal drowning of a vulnerable pupil at a specialist school, in which a conditional discharge was obtained on the basis of unused material Jack identified.
  • Being led in a prosecution of an Approved Inspector under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, in which the prosecution offered no evidence following legal submissions on the applicability of the Order.


Environmental Law

Jack is developing an environmental law practice, and he has particular experience of prosecutions under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Recent work in this area includes successfully defending Waitrose (instructed by Eversheds Sutherland) and a large national housebuilder (instructed by Gowling) in respective statutory nuisance prosecutions.


Motoring Offences

Jack’s motor offences work includes regular trials and sentencing hearings for a range of motoring offences, from careless driving up to fatal offences, as well as s.170 Road Traffic Act failure to report / failure to stop offences.

Recent highlights include:

  • Securing non-custodial sentences in both a death by careless driving case and a serious injury by dangerous driving case,
  • Securing two acquittals at trial in respective careless driving cases involving collisions with cyclists
  • Securing a discontinuance by means of a bad character application, which demonstrated that the complainant and key prosecution witness was routinely involved in illegal road racing and other reprehensible behaviour.
  • Successfully applying to withdraw a guilty plea, and securing a discontinuance in a careless driving case on medical grounds.

Selected Cases

View full profile »


“He’s a really technical barrister who gets into the detail of the case really quickly.”

Chambers & Partners, 2024

“Jack is very quick and has an eye for detail. He is very much a specialist health and safety lawyer. Highly recommended.”

Legal 500, 2024

“Jack has a very astute tactical approach, and a cogent and determined advocacy style.”

Legal 500, 2024

“Jack is extremely diligent, thorough, well prepared, and has good commercial awareness.”

Legal 500, 2023

“Jack is a really thoughtful barrister and knows how to behave with various witnesses.”

Chambers & Partners, 2023

“He’s meticulous in his approach and has a lovely manner about him with clients and the courts.”

Chambers & Partners, 2022

“Very experienced, much beyond his years. Very legally and tactically astute, good eye for detail, understands strategy, and is very well prepared. Highly recommend.”

Legal 500, 2022

“He is on top of the detail, he gets the issues and he works extremely hard.”

Chambers & Partners, 2022

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