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Peter Houghton

Call 2005

Industrial Disease

Peter specialises in industrial disease work, especially asbestos-related claims, NIHL, HAVS, occupational cancers, and WRULDs and other cumulative injuries. His disease work is predominantly for Defendants (although he does act for Claimants also). Peter is regularly instructed by leading Defendant firms and works for many of the foremost insurers.

Peter has considerable experience in the field of asbestos litigation. He prides himself on thorough preparation, detailed advice, confident advocacy and sound tactics. He has appeared in major test litigation, but in addition a large part of his practice consists of appearing at ‘show cause’ and assessment of damages hearings. He understands the importance of swift counter-schedules and advices on quantum/settlement that are often needed in this type of litigation.

Recent interesting cases in which he has been involved include:

  • The Employers’ Liability Policy Trigger Litigation. Peter acted for Excess Insurance Co. Ltd, appearing at the trial before Burton J, Durham v. BAI (Run Off) Ltd [2009] 2 All ER 26 (QBD). He also appeared in Excess’s successful appeal to the Court of Appeal, [2011] 1 All ER 605 (CA). Peter was instructed on the appeal to the Supreme Court in December 2011, [2012] UKSC 14.He was second junior for Excess (with Colin Edelman QC and David Platt QC).
  • Heneghan v. Manchester Dry Docks and ors: junior counsel (led by David Platt QC) for the defendants in this leading lung cancer case. The claimant’s appeal was successfully resisted in the Court of Appeal.
  • Two cases where mesothelioma victims from the medical profession bring claims based on ‘passing’ exposure to asbestos from lagged pipework in the 1970s in underground tunnels beneath NHS Hospitals. The claims are being defended and are ongoing.
  • A claim arising from alleged exposure in a power station in the 1950s, following the Supreme Court’s decision in McDonald. The ‘show cause’ hearing was successfully defended, McDonald being distinguished.
  • Acting for a medium-sized building firm in its defence of a mesothelioma claim by a former employee exposed to modest amounts of asbestos from sawing asbestos-cement products in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The claim is ongoing.
  • Acting in a ‘contaminated overalls’ living mesothelioma case. The case involved the issue of the extent to which unearned income from assets that would subsist after death could be included in a ‘lost years’ claim. The matter settled for £90,000, against a schedule of over £300,000.
  • Appearing in a mesothelioma case concerning the scope of the 1969 Asbestos Regulations given that the claimant was (arguably) an independent contractor rather than an employee. The ‘show cause’ hearing was defended successfully and the claim is ongoing.
  • Advising in a case concerning the circumstances in which a Court can make a ‘Haxton award’.
  • Advising on a living mesothelioma claimant’s attempt to recover the cost of private medical treatment funded by a health insurer where the claimant himself was not party to the contract of insurance. Case settled.
  • Assisting leading UK companies to prepare generic materials to assist in the defence of future asbestos-related disease claims.
  • Acting in various insurance disputes stemming from asbestos-related disease claims (see the ‘Insurance’ section of Peter’s profile.

Other cases of interest or which are representative of Peter’s practice include:

  • Dryden v. Johnson Matthey – junior counsel to Michael Kent QC for the defendant employer in the claimants’ appeal to the Supreme Court in the Platinum Salts litigation.
  • An NIHL claim for the defendant in which the claimant alleged deafness as a result of the barking of dogs in kennels in which he worked. Breach of duty and causation were in dispute. The claim was discontinued soon before trial.
  • Acting for a defendant sued by a former employee who alleges that he has developed Parkinson’s Disease as a result of using solvents in the 1970s-1980s.
  • Numerous limitation trials in HAVS and NIHL matters.

Selected Cases

  • Durham v. BAI (Run Off) Ltd (the Employers’ Liability Policy Trigger Litigation):
    • [2008] EWHC 2692 (QB)
    • [2010] EWCA Civ 1096
    • [2012] UKSC 14
  • Heneghan v. Manchester Dry Docks Ltd and ors [2016] EWCA Civ 86



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  • MA (Hons) (Cantab) (Double First Class)
  • MPhil (Cantab) (Distinction)
  • CPE (City) (Distinction)
  • BVC (ICSL) (Outstanding)
  • Lord Brougham and Lord Denning Scholarships (Lincoln’s)


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