Barrister Hugh Preston

Hugh Preston QC

Year of call: 1994  Silk: 2012

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“An excellent, absolutely outstanding silk.”

Chambers & Partners

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Overview


Hugh Preston QC is a leading silk in the fields of clinical negligence, personal injury and product liability. He was awarded the title “Barrister of the Year” at the PI Awards 2013 and was shortlisted for Barrister of the Year at The Lawyer awards in 2017. He is ranked as a leading silk in clinical negligence and product liability by Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500.

What the directories say

“Terrifically able” … “He’s a very compelling advocate. You don’t want to be against him because he makes everything sound as though it’s so reasonable” – Chambers and Partners 2019

“Very talented … leading claimant barrister… Very dynamic and a great advocate, he has a real flair for putting complex arguments across and is a really easy person to work with” – Chambers and Partners 2017

“He has the ability to get the ear of the court; judges always listen to him. It’s very impressive”. – Chambers and Partners 2016

“He is frighteningly intelligent and able to dig into anything complicated with ease” – Legal 500 2015

 

Hugh’s clinical negligence practice involves complex and maximum severity claims on behalf of Claimants. He is regularly instructed in complex birth injury claims involving all aspects of antenatal and neonatal care including failures to respond to CTG indications, excessive bilirubin levels leading to kernicterus, chronic partial and acute asphyxia cases and all aspects of obstetric, midwifery and neonatal management. He also has particular expertise in clinical negligence claims involving medical devices and is currently instructed in several groups of claims arising from allegations of inadequate advice when obtaining consent to vaginal mesh implantations.

Hugh has been instructed in the highest profile medical device group actions in recent years including the PIP Breast Implant litigation, the Pinnacle Metal Hip Implant litigation and several other metal hip group actions. He is currently instructed in the transvaginal POP Mesh group litigation.

He has longstanding wide experience of all aspects of personal injury litigation including historic sexual and physical abuse (particularly group actions involving child abuse and claims against religious and state institutions), claims arising from overseas accidents in the private security industry involved in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the full range of maximum severity claims.

Public Access:

Hugh has the right to conduct litigation and is authorised to accept instructions directly from the public in appropriate cases.

For further information please contact our Clerks.

Clinical Negligence

Clinical Negligence


Hugh is ranked as a leading silk in clinical negligence by Chambers and Partners 2019, where he is described as “terrifically able” and a “very compelling advocate … you don’t want to be against him”.

He is also ranked as a leading silk in clinical negligence in Legal 500 2019, where he is described as “very practical, pragmatic and hard working”.

He is regularly instructed in complex birth injury claims involving all aspects of antenatal and neonatal care including failures to respond to CTG indications, excessive bilirubin levels leading to kernicterus, chronic partial and acute asphyxia cases and all aspects of obstetric, midwifery and neonatal management.

He also instructed in cases involving novel legal and complex legal issues, e.g. in 2017 a ground-breaking HIV misdiagnosis claim involving an alleged duty of care to wider family members (F S & D v University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust [2017]).

He has particular expertise in clinical negligence claims involving medical devices and is currently instructed in several groups of claims arising from allegations of inadequate advice when obtaining consent to vaginal mesh implantations for treatment of stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

Hugh also receives instructions from overseas in clinical negligence claims including the Isle of Man and further afield.

He has a particular strength in putting clients at their ease, and explaining the issues arising throughout the case at a pace and in terms that are appropriate to the client.

Memberships


  • AvMA

Clinical Negligence Cases


  • ABC v Whipps Cross University Hospitals NHS Trust (2018): Neonatal injury as a result of elevated bilirubin levels left untreated leading to permanent severe brain damage. Trial 2018.
  • CCC v Wrightinton, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (2018): severe brain damage following failure to respond to CTG trace and excessive dosage of Syntocinon.
  • ABC v Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust (2017): Complex high value birth injury claim liability disputed. Settled in 2017 for lump sum equivalent of £12.8m.
  • Vaginal Mesh consent litigation: Large number of claims alleging failure to give appropriate advice as to risks of surgery for treatment of stress urinary incontinence / pelvic organ prolapse.
  • F, S & D v United Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (2017): Failure to screen pregnant mother for HIV, resulting in vertical transmission to child D during birth and delayed diagnosis for husband and son (both already HIV positive). Novel issue as to whether Trust owed duty of care to family members who were not its patients. Settlement in 2017.
  • Pace v Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Foundation Trust (ongoing): Unusual complex causation claim. Negligent treatment of neck fracture leaving claimant vulnerable to trauma in the neck, followed by road accident a year later in which claimant then suffered cord damage to neck leading to maximum severity injury injuries. Issue as to whether defendant liable for consequences of road accident.
  • Shearsby v Isle of Wight Primary Care Trust (on-going): Cauda Equina Syndrome as a result of negligent orthopaedic surgery. Top end bladder & bowel incontinence case.
  • Nash v Heatherwood & Wexham Parrk Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (2017): Settement, Nervous shock claim by widow witnessing horrific circumstances of her late husband’s death following clinical negligence in failing to diagnose and treat life threatening condition.
  • ABC v Basildon & Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (ongoing): Birth injury cerebral palsy claim, Claimant born severely acidotic. High value claim ongoing.
Personal Injury

Personal Injury


Hugh is ranked as a leading silk by Chambers and Partners 2019, where he is described as “terrifically able” and a “very compelling advocate … you don’t want to be against him”.

He is also ranked as a leading silk in Legal 500 2019, where he is described as “very practical, pragmatic and hard working”.

Hugh has longstanding wide experience of personal injury litigation involving maximum severity claims, head injuries, stroke victims and the full range of health and safety litigation.

He has particular expertise in historic child sexual and physical abuse litigation, and is currently instructed in two major group actions in this field against alleged abuse over many years at Roman Catholic affiliated educational institutions in the 1970s and 1980s. Hugh has particular strengths in handling the difficult issues that arise in such cases with sensitivity and tact, and is able to put clients at their ease.

Hugh also has a background in litigation resulting from accidents abroad in the private security industry operating in international conflict zones e.g. Iraq/Afghanistan.

Memberships


  • PIBA

Personal Injury Cases


  • St William’s Group Litigation (ongoing). Large group action involving c. 300 claims of serious sexual and physical abuse at a Catholic approved school in the 1960s – 1980s. Court of Appeal ruling on limitation (2018). Individual cases currently proceeding at the Leeds District Registry following the resolution of preliminary issues at the Supreme Court.
  • Kenyan Emergency Group Litigation: Instructed on behalf of a cohort of Kenyan Claimants in this ongoing GLO, claiming damages for personal injury suffered in Kenya in the 1950s.
  • Manchester Children’s Homes (ongoing). Application for third consecutive group action involving multiple claims of historic sexual abuse.
  • St. Anne’s Group Litigation (ongoing). Large group action involving allegations of historic child sexual abuse at Catholic primary school.
  • Baker v Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust (2016). Blindness claim following industrial accident at hospital involving hazardous substances.
  • Williamson v Armorgroup (2014): Claim against private security company following psychiatric injuries sustained during mortar attack in Iraq.
  • McKenna v Drayton Construction Ltd (2013): £1m+ eye injury industrial accident.
  • Ahmed v Ministry of Defence & Kellogg Brown & Root (2013): Claim against MOD and private security company involving allegation of injuries sustained in Afghanistan.
  • Cardy v Erinys (Iraq) Ltd (2012): £1.6m claim against private security company following injuries sustained on convoy protection work in Iraq.
  • O’Byrne v Aventis Pasteur C-358/08, [2010] UKSC 23: The only case under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 ever to have reached either the ECJ or Supreme Court. Landmark ruling on interpretation of the EC Directive / CPA / product liability limitation.
  • Smith v Northamptonshire County Council [2009] UKHL 27: Leading House of Lords case on PUWER 1998 and the EC Work Equipment Directive.
  • Hodges v Northamptonshire County Council [2004] EWCA Civ 526. Court of Appeal judgment concerning date of knowledge of injury for limitation purposes in historic sexual abuse claim.
Product Liability

Product Liability


Hugh is ranked as a tier 1 leading silk in product liability by Chambers and Partners 2019, where he is described as “terrifically able” and a “very compelling advocate … you don’t want to be against him”.

He is also ranked as a tier 1 leading silk in product liability in the Legal 500 2019, where he is described as “very practical, pragmatic and hard working”.

Hugh has longstanding expertise in product liability litigation having been involved in some of the highest profile group actions involving medical devices in recent years. He represented the claimants in the PIP Breast Implant Litigation, the DePuy Pinnacle Metal on Metal Hip Litigation (14 week trial in 2017-18) and several other metal hip groups including Adept, BHR Resurfacing and combination hip prostheses.

He is currently instructed in the transvaginal POP Mesh group litigation and in the continuing DePuy ASR hip litigation.

He has previously been instructed in the VW carbon emissions litigation and in numerous individual product liability claims. An example of his current work in a single product liability case is a continuing fatality claim arising from a helicopter crash in the North Sea, involving complex jurisdictional and applicable law issues. Hugh has a particular interest in cross-border product liability litigation having been involved in two recent landmark decisions in this field involving ASR hip claimants from New Zealand and South Africa bringing claims in England against an English defendant.

Before taking silk Hugh appeared in the ECJ in O’Byrne v Aventis Pasteur, a major product liability ruling, subsequently returning to the Supreme Court in 2010. This was the first product liability claim under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 ever to have reached this level.

Hugh is a former contributing editor to Miller’s Product Liability and Safety Encyclopaedia.

Product Liability Cases


  • Depuy Pinnacle Metal on Metal Hip Litigation (2018): Seminal product liability case before Andrews J. – 14-week trial involving comprehensive review of the law relating to defect and causation in claims under the Consumer Protection Act 1987. Instructed by GLO Lead Solicitor.
  • Finsbury Adept group litigation (2018): Instructed for the claimants in multiple claims alleging defective hip implants.
  • Birmingham Hip Resurfacing group litigation (2018). Instructed for the claimants in multiple claims alleging defective hip implants.
  • Combination Hip Prosthesis group litigation (2018). Instructed for the claimants in multiple claims in which unauthorised combinations of hip components were used. Issue as to whether NHS Trust in assembling hip prostheses in these circumstances was a producer of a product.
  • Transvaginal POP Mesh Litigation (ongoing): Instructed by large number of women in campaign group Sling the Mesh. Group litigation alleging defective/unfit for purpose vaginal mesh products used for treatment of pelvic organ prolapse.
  • PIP Breast Implant Litigation (ongoing). Major product liability group action concerning defective breast implants. Ongoing costs issues now before the Supreme Court following settlements/judgments in 2016 and Court of Appeal ruling in 2018. Instructed by GLO Lead Solicitor.
  • Cervarix vaccine damage claims (on-going).
  • DePuy ASR hip implant group litigation (ongoing). Instructed for the claimants in multiple claims from claimants in the UK and elsewhere in the EU, alleging defective hip implants under the Consumer Protection Act 1987.
  • Biomet AES ankle litigation (2016). Multiple claims alleging defective ankle prostheses.
  • Allen and others v Depuy International Ltd [2014] EWHC 753 (QB): Landmark ruling as to territorial scope of Consumer Protection Act 1987, and as to applicable law in cross border product liability claims. Further judgment in 2015 concerning effect of New Zealand law provisions in cross-border claims.
  • Allen and others v Depuy International Ltd (2013): Dismissal of defendant’s application to contest jurisdiction for ASR hip claims brought in England by overseas claimants.
  • O’Byrne v Aventis Pasteur C-358/08, [2010] UKSC 23: Landmark ruling at Supreme Court following ECJ reference as to interpretation of EC Directive & Consumer Protection Act 1987 / limitation.

How to get in touch


For more information please contact our clerks by calling +44 (0) 20 7242 3555 or by email.

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