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James Maxwell-Scott QC

Call 1995 • QC 2016

"He's fantastically bright, has a great manner with his clients and has an excellent legal head on him."
(Chambers & Partners 2017)

Inquests & Public Inquiries

Inquests

His coronial law practice covers the full range of scenarios that give rise to complex contested inquests. He has represented clients at inquests into deaths arising out of the following:

  • Accidents in the workplace;
  • Allegedly substandard medical care in hospitals and in the community;
  • Incidents in care homes;
  • Homicides;
  • Explosions;
  • Incidents involving the Armed Forces;
  • Aviation accidents;
  • Police pursuits;
  • Deaths in custody.

Selected Cases

Inquests

  • Camber Sands drowning inquests (2017). Represented local authority in combined inquests into the deaths of 5 men who drowned at Camber Sands on the same day in August 2016 (June 2017).
  • Represented an NHS Trust in combined inquests into two separate fatal “never events” that occurred within hospitals operated by the Trust (November/December 2016).
  • Stephen Hunt Inquest – Represented leaseholder of premises in 6 week inquest into death of a firefighter at the premises (April/May 2016).
  • Junior Counsel representing Sheffield City Council in the Hillsborough Inquests (2014-2016).
  • Represented care home operator at an inquest into the death of a resident who died of hypothermia (November 2015).
  • R (Wilkinson) v HM Coroner for the Greater Manchester South District [2012] EWHC 2755 (Admin) – Test case on the use of unlawful killing verdicts in inquests following fatal road traffic accidents. Decided that the offences of causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving cannot constitute unlawful killing; only driving that constitutes gross negligence manslaughter can result in an unlawful killing verdict.
  • Represented Siemens at an inquest into the death of one of its employees who died when a wind turbine blade which was being lifted onto a vessel from the quayside fell and crushed him to death (November 2011).
  • Represented the German manufacturer and supplier of an industrial printing press at an inquest into the death of an employee of a printing company who was crushed to death whilst attempting to repair the press. Subsequently, the HSE took the decision to prosecute the printing company but not to prosecute the manufacturer (October 2010).
  • Represented the Prison Service at a 5 week inquest into the death of a young man who died following an acute asthma attack (April/May 2010).
  • Represented the Care Quality Commission at a 2 week inquest into the death of a man who died in a care home. Shortly after his death the home closed down and its owners, who were both GPs, were struck off by the GMC (March 2010).
  • Lakanal House Fire Inquest – Counsel to the Inquest (appointed by Her Honour Frances Kirkham CBE) into the fire in which 6 people died in a tower block in South London in July 2009.
  • HMS Tireless Inquest – Represented a chemicals company at a 6 week inquest into the death of two submariners. The chemicals company was the manufacturer of a self-contained oxygen generator which exploded on board the Royal Navy nuclear submarine, HMS Tireless (February/March 2009).
  • Represented a youth offending team at a 10 week inquest into the death of a 16 year old boy from the Irish Travelling community (November 2007 – February 2008).
  • Represented the Prison Service at a 5 week inquest into the murder of an Asian prisoner by his white cellmate (2007).

Public Inquiries

  • The Hutton Inquiry – First junior counsel representing a number of MoD witnesses, including the Secretary of State for Defence and the Permanent Secretary.
  • The Mubarek Inquiry – First junior counsel representing HM Prison Service and many individual members of the Prison Service including the Director General.
  • The Shipman Inquiry – He was the most senior barrister in the legal team representing the Home Office in Phase 2 Stage 2 (death and cremation certification) and Phase 2 Stage 3 (controlled drugs).
  • The BSE Inquiry – Worked for over 18 months with a team of other counsel and solicitors representing former Ministers, scientific advisers and senior civil servants from the Department of Health.
  • The Rosemary Nelson Inquiry – Represented the Ministry of Defence at this public inquiry in Northern Ireland.
  • The Billy Wright Inquiry – Represented a number of civil servants and soldiers at this public inquiry in Northern Ireland.
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News


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Events


Qualifications


  • BCL, Christ Church, Oxford
  • MA (First Class), Christ’s College, Cambridge
  • Accredited Advocacy Trainer (Gray’s Inn), 2017
  • Recorder of the Crown Court, 2018

Memberships


Health & Safety Lawyers Association
Personal Injury Bar Association
Professional Negligence Bar Association
London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association
Administrative Law Bar Association

Recommendations


“Excellent, informed and very helpful barrister.”

Chambers & Partners 2018

“An excellent trial tactician, who provides reasoned and committed advice”

Legal 500 2017

“He’s fantastically bright, has a great manner with his clients and has an excellent legal head on him.”

Chambers & Partners 2017

“He was very effective and is a good guy to work with; he really enters into the spirit of the case.”

Chambers & Partners 2016

“A level-headed advocate, combining intellectual ability with a lack of stuffiness.”

Legal 500 2016

“He is very good technically and on the detail.”

Chambers & Partners 2015

“He is very straightforward when explaining the issues.”

Chambers & Partners 2015

“A calming and authoritative presence.”

Legal 500 2015

“He is praised for his meticulous attention to detail and superb interpersonal skills.”

Chambers & Partners 2014

“Very precise, measured and professional.”

Chambers & Partners 2014

“Extremely user-friendly and open to suggestions.”

Chambers & Partners 2014

“Very level-headed, doesn’t flap when others would be flapping like crazy.”

Chambers & Partners 2013


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