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A. John Williams

Call 1983

"He is extremely approachable, highly intelligent and a ferocious cross-examiner."
(Chambers & Partners 2016)

Personal Injury

John undertakes a wide range of personal injury work including claims for catastrophic injuries; serious head injuries; psychiatric injuries and chronic pain/somatoform conditions. John also specialises in defending claims for injuries sustained by employees subjected to violent assault in the course of employment.

These cases commonly include questions relating to provisional damages; periodic payments; recoverability of losses in fatal accident claims and evaluation of complex medical and forensic accounting expert evidence. Claims for chronic pain and psychiatric injuries commonly involve issues as to causation and John works closely with the chosen experts to ensure that all matters relevant to causation are fully explored.

Recent claims include the following:

Liability Disputes

  • Cassley v GMP Securities (Europe) Limited & Another [2015] EWHC 722 (QB, Coulson J): Successful defence of a £7m fatal accident claim arising from the death of an investment banker in a plane crash in the Republic of Congo. The High Court dismissed the widow’s claim of alleged negligence on the part of the Australian mining company that chartered the plane
  • B v K [2014, Manchester County Court]: John acted for the Defendant in a claim for psychiatric injuries brought by a former employee who worked as a logistical support electrician alongside the British Army in Basra in 2006.The claim was compromised at trial
  • Goldventure Lodges v Land Rover [2012, High Court]: Led by William Norris QC, John acted for the Defendant in a high value product liability claim arising from a road accident in Namibia. Following service of expert evidence and joint statements, the claim was discontinued
  • Riddy v NHL Solicitors [2012, Brighton County Court]: The Claimant claimed substantial damages for aggravation of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hypermobility) and psychiatric injuries (somatoform disorder) following a simple tripping accident at work. The claim was discontinued after service of medical evidence
  • Doyle v Mitie Group plc [2012, Central London County Court]: The Claimant claimed damages for total blindness caused by Conversion Disorder which he developed following a slipping accident in toilets at Heathrow Terminal 5. Following a trial on the issue of liability only, HHJ Saggerson dismissed the claim

Violence at Work

  • Callaghan v Lloyds TSB [2010, Cardiff CC}: Successful defence of a claim for psychiatric injuries following an alleged workplace assault
  • G V L (ongoing): claim for psychiatric injuries following a serious incident at work when a senior manager was kidnapped & assaulted by a mentally disturbed employee

LIMITATION

John has extensive experience of acting for Defendants in limitation hearings & is fully familiar with the relevant legislation & case law.

OTHER INFORMATION

John is a member of PIBA and the Health & Safety Lawyers Association. He is a regular contributor to seminar programmes run by Crown Office Chambers.

John is an accredited lead advocacy tutor for Lincoln’s Inn and is a Trustee and Vice Chair of SOS!SEN – a charity that provides helpline advice and workshops for parents of children with special educational needs.

Selected Cases

  • Cassley v (1) GMP Securities Europe LLP & (2) Sundance Resources Limited [2015] EWHC 722 (QB) – A claim dismissed under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 arising out of a plane crash in the People’s Republic of Congo in June 2010
  • The Employers’ Liability “Trigger” Litigation [2012] UKSC 14 (Supreme Court) – Construction of EL policies – response to mesothelioma liabilities – the rule in Fairchild and Barker “Asbestos: Supreme Court Rejects Insurers’ Arguments in the EL Trigger Litigation”
  • Goldventure Lodges v Land Rover (2012) (High Court) – Led by William Norris QC, John acted for the Defendant in a high value product liability claim arising from a road accident in Namibia. Following service of expert evidence and joint statements, the claim was discontinued
  • Riddy v NHL Solicitors (2012) (Brighton County Court) – The Claimant claimed substantial damages for aggravation of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hypermobility) and psychiatric injuries (somatoform disorder) following a simple tripping accident at work. The claim was discontinued after service of medical evidence
  • Doyle v Mitie Group PLC (2012) (Central London County Court) – The Claimant claimed damages for total blindness caused by Conversion Disorder which he developed following a slipping accident in toilets at Heathrow Terminal 5. Following a trial on the issue of liability only, HHJ Saggerson dismissed the claim
  • Riddle v Carillion Construction (2012) – Claim by plasterer for fibrosis and lung cancer allegedly due to the asbestos content of dry wall jointing compound. Claim discontinued shortly before trial
  • Tighe v MP Bioscience Limited (2012) (Manchester County Court) – Successful defence of NIHL on both breach of duty and diagnosis / causation
  • B v OU (2012) – High value mesothelioma claim concluded by negotiated settlement at a round table meeting (confidential settlement in April)
  • S v D (2012) – policy response in a high value PL mesothelioma claim
  • Baker v Quantum Clothing Group Ltd [2011] UKSC 17; [2011] 1 WLR 1003 – In this important civil case the Supreme Court held that foreseeability has a part to play in determining whether a place of work is “safe” within the meaning of section 29(1) of the Factories Act 1961. “Safety” is a relative rather than an unchanging concept and should be judged by reference to the general knowledge and standards of the time. In R v Tangerine Confectionery Ltd; R v Veolia ES (UK) Ltd [2011] EWCA Crim 2015 the Court of Appeal confirmed that Baker applies to the duties under the HSWA. A John Williams appeared on behalf of the Intervener, Guy Warwick Limited
  • Howson v Swann (2011) Mackay J – John acted for the Defendant in a high value quantum only claim for very serious orthopaedic injuries and head injury following a motorcycle accident
  • Stevens v Poeton Industries Limited (2011) – Lung cancer claim by widow of process worker employed in the electroplating industry. Claim discontinued following service of expert evidence
  • The Employers’ Liability “Trigger” Litigation [2010] EWCA Civ 1096; [2009] 2 All ER 26 – Major multi-party asbestos/insurance litigation
  • Fifield v Denton Hall Legal Services [2006] EWCA Civ 169 – Health & Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, medical causation of upper limb disorder and the evidential status of a claimant’s medical records
  • Hotchkiss v Channel Islands Knitwear Limited [2003] JLR 163 – (Privy Council on appeal from the Court of Appeal of Jersey) successful appeal for Defendants on factual causation issues
  • Spencer v Boots the Chemist Ltd [2002] EWCA Civ 1691 – Risk assessment under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992 in relation to work related upper limb disorder
  • Bourlet v Stagecoach East Kent Company Ltd [1999] PIQR P43 – Renewing process after expiry of the time for service
  • M v BN Limited – Claim for aggravation of pre-existing tinnitus allegedly caused by burglar alarm
  • O & Others v PB – Multiple claims by employees allegedly exposed to asbestos whilst clearing out work premises. Issues as to recoverability (claims for anxiety based upon breach of contract) and policy response (no “bodily injury”)
  • M v RO – Claim for peritoneal mesothelioma which raises an issue as to the application of Fairchild due to an alternative possible cause i.e. radiation therapy
  • B v K – John acts for the Defendant in a claim for psychiatric injuries brought by a former employee who worked as a logistical support electrician alongside the British Army in Basra in 2006.The Claimant alleges he suffered PTSD when he was exposed to rocket attacks on the base launched by insurgents
  • B v J – The Claimant (through his litigation friend) claims substantial damages for burns and psychiatric injuries when his petrol soaked trousers ignited whilst he was siphoning petrol from old cars at work
  • L v O – Claims for bladder cancer by persons employed in the printing industry
  • M v BJ – Claim for nasal cancer allegedly caused by exposure to wood dust
  • C v A – Claims for oesophageal cancer allegedly caused by exposure to mineral oil mist
View full profile »

Recommendations


“Always calm and level-headed under pressure, and inspires complete confidence in his ability to master fact-heavy and complex scenarios. Very good with clients and witnesses.” “A brilliant trial advocate who is superb at cross-examination.” “Incredibly persuasive and makes clients quickly feel comfortable.”

Chambers & Partners 2018

“He has a wonderful ability to reduce complex law into easy-to-understand bite-sized pieces.” “A formidable trial advocate and ruthless in cross-examination.”

Legal 500 2017

“He’s excellent, a formidable opponent” “He is extremely robust; as a trial advocate he can really go for the jugular when called for”

Chambers & Partners 2017

“He is extremely approachable, highly intelligent and a ferocious cross-examiner.”

Chambers & Partners 2016

“An outstanding advocate, who is also client-focussed and a joy to work with.”

Legal 500 2016

“He’s very bright, misses nothing, and is very easy to work with and approachable.”

Chambers & Partners 2015

“An experienced health and safety barrister….An extremely robust cross-examiner.”

Legal 500 2015

“He is very analytical in his approach and also communicates effectively to juries.”

Chambers & Partners 2014

“He considers everything in detail.”

Legal 500 2014

“A preferred counsel on all asbestos-related matters.”

Legal 500 2014

“A brilliant and very thorough lawyer who has an understated style.”

Chambers & Partners 2013

Has “an exceptional eye for detail.”

Legal 500 2013


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