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John Cooper KC

Call 1985 • KC 2014

"Tenacious and dynamic." "He is a total warrior: if you have to fight for a client, John is the man you want on your side" & “One of the best advocates in the business”
(Chambers & Partners 2020 & 2024)

Fire Safety

Fire Safety

John has represented a number of high profile companies including Shell International and New Look Retail in relation to enforcement action under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The New Look case was considered by the Court of Appeal and concerned an analysis of the principles behind the Order.  It is the leading authority in this area of law. New Look Retailers Limited v The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority [2010] EWCA CRIM 1268.

instructed in a prosecution relatating to the construction of a timber frame building at Cherry Orchard House, a residential home in Pershore, Worcestershire. The timber frame building was erected as an extension to the residential home and was being built adjacent to the existing occupied residential home. The HSE alleges generally that measures taken to mitigate the risks from fire from this timber frame building were inadequate. The HSE abandoned after a Legal Argument.

Instructed on behalf of Douglas Valley Breakers Limited (“the Company”) who face seven charges; three charges under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005 (“RRFSO”); two charges under the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (“DSEAR”); one charge under the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (“WAHR”) and one charge under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (“LOLER”).

  • John is instructed to defend a housing association in relation to a fatality in a fire in which a defendant has been convicted of manslaughter. (BBC News)
  • John is instructed to defend a company and individuals in relation to a fire at a converted church that has ten apartments on the ground floor and a 13 bed house of multiple occupation on the first floor. (Lancashire Post)
  • For Sartex Quilts in the fire related fatality in a factory in Rochdale.
  • Press link: Manchester Evening News
  • John is also representing one of the main Core Participants in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry

Selected Cases

Food Safety

Food Safety

John has represented a number of Food Business Operators in the past few years. In the All Bar One (Trial in July 2020), a number of fundamental issues as to the nature of the communication of ingredients on a cocktail list is to be determined. The three most recent cases are set out:

  • R v Poundworld – Croydon Crown Court – Company fined £1M for Food Safety and Health and Safety Offences.
  • Exeter City Council v Mitchells & Butler – An outbreak of norovirus led to a prosecution of Mitchells and Butler. The Prosecution abandoned the case listed for trial at the Crown Court after a lengthy abuse of process skeleton argument was received. An agreed statement was drafted to explain that the Prosecution were unable to prove the outbreak related to a breach of duty of the company and their management of the outbreak was compliant with their legal obligations.
  • Bath & North East Somerset Council v All Bar One – Bristol Crown Court – Abuse and preparatory hearing arguments were conducted over three days in 2019. The Defendant is charged on an indictment containing 6 Counts. Counts 1, 3 and 5 concern allegations of placing unsafe food on the market contrary to Article 14 (1) of EU Regulation 178/2002 and Regulation 19 (1) and schedule 2 of the Food Safety Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 and Counts 2, 4 and 6 allege offences of publishing an advertisement which was likely to mislead as to the substance of food contrary to Section 15 (2) of the Food Safety Act 1990. The scope of the allegations is wide and concern what an FBO’s obligations are when providing food (here cocktails) in terms of communicating the ingredients of each cocktail.

Selected Cases

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“One of the best advocates in the business – he’s got great trial skills and is impressive in front of a jury.”

Chambers & Partners, 2024

“Very thorough and a good technical and strategic operator.”

Chambers & Partners, 2022

“John is a superb trial lawyer – one of the very best in the health and safety world. Tenacious, energetic and entirely committed to his client’s cause.”

Legal 500, 2022

“John is a doughty fighter and a great choice in arduous proceedings. He is a superb trial lawyer. Excellent on strategy and tactics. Formidable in the courtroom. Great in front of a jury. Also fiercely on the client’s side and an absolute pleasure to work with.”

Legal 500, 2021

“He is no less than excellent. He is tenacious and exactly the sort of person you want to be instructing in a significant health and safety case.”

Chambers & Partners, 2021

“A superb trial lawyer, he is excellent on strategy and tactics, and fearless in the courtroom.”

Legal 500, 2021

“Tenacious and dynamic.”; “He is a total warrior: if you have to fight for a client, John is the man you want on your side. He is committed to seeking the right result for his clients and thinks outside the box in everything he does.”

Chambers & Partners, 2020

“…while John Cooper KC is also worthy of mention here for his meteoric rise through our health and safety rankings over three consecutive years.”

Chambers & Partners, 2018

“He is able to instil confidence in the client by drawing on his vast experience of cases. He puts the client at ease and then in court has a very good manner with the judge. His arguments are clear, lucid and succinct.”

Chambers & Partners, 2018

“An excellent advocate who commands respect.” “He is very good on environmental law, particularly major pollution incidents.”

Legal 500, 2017

“Great regulatory lawyer, who is a superb attack weapon. When you know you’re in a fight he’s your man”…..”He is an incredibly capable health and safety lawyer” who is “extremely tenacious and skilful.”

Chambers & Partners, 2017

“His elevation to KC status is much deserved. If you have a scrap on your hands, John Cooper is the man you’d want in your corner. He is also very commercial and good with clients.”

Chambers & Partners, 2016

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