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 ranked as a leading silk by Chambers & Partners and Legal 500, in the fields of clinical negligence and product liability (in which he is currently ranked as one of the top three Claimant silks). 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.

His clinical negligence practice involves complex and maximum severity claims. He is regularly instructed on behalf of Claimants in birth injury claims of very high value (£5m+). He is currently instructed in several major group actions for Claimants including the Pinnacle metal on metal hip litigation (ground-breaking 14 week trial finishing January 2018), the PIP breast implant GLO (ongoing, Court of Appeal 2018), Vaginal Mesh litigation (ongoing) and several historic sexual and physical abuse group actions against religious entities and local authorities. See individual specialist menus below for further examples and details.

Since taking silk in 2012 at 18 years’ call, the directories have referred to him as follows: “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” “He is quite innovative but not frightened to take on novel points”. “He has the ear of the court and is intellectually very able” (C&P 2017) “He is absolutely fantastic. He has the ability to get the ear of the court; judges always listen to him. It’s very impressive… He is innovative in the approach he takes to cases. He is an excellent advocate with a sharp eye for bad points. A lateral thinker.” (C&P 2016), as “He is frighteningly intelligent and able to dig into anything complicated with ease” (Legal 500 2015), “insightful, adventurous and daring” (Legal 500 2013), “an outstanding advocate” (Legal 500 2012), “a massive presence in the product liability field” (C&P 2013), “an excellent, absolutely outstanding silk” (C&P 2014), “one of the best claimant barristers for product liability issues currently practising… a smooth, understated performer” (C&P 2015), “a fantastic advocate with great attention to detail … approachable, kind and genuinely concerned about his clients’ predicament” (C&P 2015).

Public Access:

Hugh is qualified to accept instructions direct from clients under the Bar Council’s Public Access Scheme, and he also has the “Right to Conduct Litigation”.  This means that members of the public who seek specialist advice can come direct to him in respect of all issues arising in any civil dispute. In addition, he welcomes instructions from solicitors, in-house law departments, qualified foreign lawyers, and clients licensed by the Bar Council to give instructions direct to barristers under the Bar Council’s Licensed Access Scheme.

For further information please contact our Clerks.

Clinical Negligence

Clinical Negligence


Ranked as a leading silk for clinical negligence by Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500, Hugh is regularly instructed on behalf of Claimants in highly complex and very high value birth injury claims.

He has numerous very high value birth injury claims ongoing, ranging in value from around £2m to £15m+. He also has wide experience of the full range of clinical negligence claims including abdominal surgery, cauda equina syndrome cases, cancer cases, consent issues, general orthopaedic surgery etc. He has a reputation for taking on difficult cases.

He is heavily involved presently in negligent consent claims arising from the use of vaginal mesh products for treatment of stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, instructed on behalf of a large number of women in the Sling the Mesh campaign group.

In conjunction with his product liability practice Hugh has particular expertise in clinical negligence claims involving medical devices generally, and is well placed to advise as to the overlap between this and potential product liability claims.

He also has an international reputation, advising in overseas common law jurisdictions on clinical negligence cases proceeding abroad.

Memberships


  • AvMA

Clinical Negligence Cases


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Commercial

Commercial


Ranked as a leading silk by Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 for product liability claims, Hugh also has specialist expertise in commercial litigation.

He is instructed in a wide range of commercial matters including construction / TCC work, complex partnership disputes, civil fraud / misrepresentation and sale of goods.He also acts in a wide range of general chancery matters and employment disputes, having recently concluded a seven-year cross-border partnership dispute involving three preliminary issue trials and an appeal to the Court of Appeal, and is currently instructed in several very large group equal pay claims.

Commercial Cases


  • Polypearl Ltd v E.ON Energy Solutions Ltd [2014] – £9m commercial dispute.
  • Willmott Dixon Housing Ltd v RPS Services Ltd and others (2013): £2m construction dispute.
  • Polypearl Ltd v BRE Scotland (on-going): Very high value (£5m+) contract / breach of confidence dispute.
  • Muthana v Yafai [2012] EWCA Civ 289: Instructed on behalf of Yemeni client in very high value (several £million) partnership dispute involving allegations of dishonesty. Long running case, litigated for several years.
  • PC Harrington v Tyroddy Construction Limited [2011] EWHC 813 (TCC): Landmark ruling as to validity of adjudicator’s decision.
  • Baybut & 73 ors v Eccles Rigg Country Park Ltd [2006] All ER (D) 161. Group litigation, applicability of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.
  • Atkinson & Ors v Redcar BC & Ors (2007): Equal pay group litigation, major group action against local authorities in the North East of England.
  • Adams v Durham County Council (on-going): Equal pay group litigation.
Offshore & International

Offshore & International


Ranked as a leading silk by Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500 in product liability, Hugh has expertise in relation to cross border litigation involving complex applicable law and jurisdictional issues.

Hugh is also retained to provide advice to overseas attorneys in relation to clinical negligence and product liability matters proceeding abroad in other common law jurisdictions, in particular South Africa.

Private International Law Cross Border Product Liability Litigation Advice & Consultancy To Overseas Attorneys In Clinical Negligence

Private International Law


Hugh has expertise in private international law matters, and is currently involved in a large number of cross border product liability claims on behalf of several hundred overseas Claimants bringing personal injury claims in England against English tortfeasors, in particular relating to defective orthopaedic devices. These are ground breaking cross border claims that have given rise to disputes as to jurisdiction and applicable law, and complex issues as to the interpretation of the Rome II Regulation, the Brussels I Regulation, and the Private International Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995.

Hugh is also retained to provide advice to overseas attorneys in relation to clinical negligence and product liability matters proceeding abroad in other common law jurisdictions, in particular South Africa.

Cross Border Product Liability Litigation


Hugh has expertise in private international law matters, and is currently involved in a large number of cross border product liability claims on behalf of several hundred overseas Claimants bringing personal injury claims in England against English tortfeasors, in particular relating to defective orthopaedic devices. These are ground breaking cross border claims that have given rise to disputes as to jurisdiction and applicable law, and complex issues as to the interpretation of the Rome II Regulation, the Brussels I Regulation, and the Private International Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995.

Advice & Consultancy To Overseas Attorneys In Clinical Negligence


Hugh is regularly retained to provide advice to overseas attorneys in relation to clinical negligence matters proceeding abroad in other common law jurisdictions, in particular South Africa. In this respect he works closely with overseas attorneys and/or local junior counsel in respect of local matters of law and procedure, but is able to draw on his clinical negligence expertise in UK litigation to advise and assist in relation to complex clinical negligence matters proceeding overseas.

Offshore & International Cases


  • Allen & Others v Depuy International Ltd [2015] EWHC 926 (QB): Simler J. Whether New Zealand law bar on bringing personal injury claims was an issue of substantive law that the English court was required to apply when dealing with claims governed by New Zealand law, or an issue of procedural law that should be ignored (in claims pre-dating the Rome II Regulation). Trial before Simler J involving expert oral evidence from leading counsel from New Zealand.
  • Allen & Others v Depuy International Ltd [2014] EWHC 753 (QB): Stewart J. Leading case on the temporal scope of the Rome II Regulation (event giving rise to damage clarified), and the applicable law in cross-border product liability claims under the Private International Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995.
  • 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.
  • Allen & Others v Depuy International Ltd (2013): Dismissal of Defendant’s challenge to jurisdiction for product liability claims brought in England by overseas Claimants.
Personal Injury

Personal Injury


Ranked as a leading silk by Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500, Hugh has practised in personal injury litigation throughout his career for both Claimants and Defendants. He is best known for product liability, clinical negligence and claimant abuse claims.

See specialist menus below for further details

In addition to his claimant work forming the bulk of his practice, in recent years he has developed a niche specialism in acting for global private security companies defending claims arising from head injuries and other combat injuries by security operatives working in Iraq, Afghanistan and other conflict zones. He has appeared in some of the leading cases in this field.

Hugh has a growing international reputation, and advises overseas instructing attorneys throughout the common law jurisdictions.

Memberships


  • PIBA

Claimant Abuse Claims Involving The Military

Claimant Abuse


Hugh has been instructed in historic sexual and physical abuse cases for many years and has appeared in some of the leading cases in this field.

He is currently representing the Claimants in the St. William’s group litigation, a long running high profile group action against various Catholic entities involving multiple victims of historic sexual and physical abuse at an approved school in the 1970s. These claims are currently being tried in small groups on an ongoing basis at the Leeds District Registry, and there are two appeals due to be heard at the Court of Appeal in 2018 raising issues of significance in this field concerning limitation and the correct approach to costs orders following the trial of lead claims.

See list of personal injury cases for further details of example abuse cases.

Claims Involving The Military


Hugh has developed a niche specialism in acting for global private security companies defending claims arising from head injuries and other combat injuries by security operatives working in Iraq, Afghanistan and other conflict zones. He has appeared in some of the leading cases in this field including Newton-Sealey v Armorgroup in which the Court considered the extent of a UK based parent company’s duty of care in respect of the acts/omissions of subsidiary companies operating overseas.

In recent years Hugh has advised government agencies and industry associations both in the UK and overseas as to the developing international oversight mechanisms that have been developed concerning this industry.

Personal Injury Cases


  • St William’s Group Litigation (GLO) (ongoing). Large group action involving c. 300 claims of serious sexual and physical abuse at a Catholic approved school in the 1960s – 1980s. Currently at the Court of Appeal on limitation and costs issues (two separate appeals listed in 2018), and at the Leeds District Registry where cases are being tried in small groups on an ongoing basis following the resolution of preliminary issues at the Supreme Court.
  • Kenyan Emergency Group Litigation (GLO) (ongoing): Instructed on behalf of a cohort of Kenyan Claimants in this ongoing GLO, claiming damages for personal injury suffered in Kenya in the 1950s.
  • 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.
  • Manchester Children’s Homes (GLO) (ongoing). Application for third consecutive group action involving multiple claims of historic sexual abuse.
  • Smith v Northamptonshire County Council [2009] UKHL 27: Leading House of Lords case on PUWER 1998 and the EC Work Equipment Directive.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Williamson v Armorgroup (2014): Claim against private security company following psychiatric injuries sustained during mortar attack in Iraq.
  • Newton-Sealey v Armorgroup [2008] EWHC 233 (QB): £2m claim against private security company following serious head injuries sustained during convoy protection work in Iraq.
  • McKenna v Drayton Construction Ltd (2013): £1m+ eye injury industrial accident.
  • Taylor v Dawson & others (on-going): Fatal industrial accident.
Product Liability

Product Liability


Hugh is ranked as a tier 1 leading silk in Product Liability by Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500. He has an international reputation having been instructed by attorneys in recent years in South Africa, New Zealand and the Netherlands.

He is instructed for the claimants in several major group actions including the Depuy Pinnacle Metal on Metal Hip Litigation (ground breaking 14 week trial in 2017-18, reserved judgment awaited), and several other metal on metal hip implant group actions including Depuy ASR claims, Finsbury Adept, Birmingham Hip Resurfacing, and combination hip prostheses (unauthorised mixing of components by NHS Trusts).

He is also instructed in the PIP breast implant GLO (in which ongoing costs issues remain to be resolved by the Court of Appeal in May 2018), Cervarix/Gardasil vaccine damage claims and by a large group of claimants in the Sling the Mesh campaign group in the Vaginal Mesh group litigation. In 2017 he was instructed to advise claimants in the VW carbon emissions litigation.

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 also has expertise in the complex jurisdictional and private international law issues arising in cross border and international product liability claims. In 2012-15 he represented several hundred overseas Claimants in cross border group litigation in respect of the ASR hip implants.

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

Group Litigation Medical Device Failures Cross Border Product Liability Sale Of Goods

Group Litigation


Hugh is instructed for the claimants in several major product liability group actions and has extensive experience of group litigation in this field.

He is currently retained in the PIP breast implant GLO, the Depuy ASR hip implant group litigation, and several other metal on metal hip implant claims including Pinnacle, Finsbury Adept, Mitch THR, Zimmer Durom and the Birmingham Hip Replacement. He is also instructed in Cervarix vaccine damage claims and several other emerging group actions including Biomet AES ankle replacements.

Medical Device Failures


Hugh is instructed for the claimants in several major product liability group actions involving medical device failures, as well as complex singleton medical device failure claims. Many of these claims involve metal on metal hip implant failures, but also include one-off manufacturing defect claims leading to sudden catastrophic device failure. These claims typically involve complex bioengineering and/or metallurgy expert evidence.

He is currently retained in the Depuy ASR hip implant group litigation, and several other metal on metal hip implant claims including Pinnacle, Finsbury Adept, Mitch THR, Zimmer Durom and the Birmingham Hip Replacement.

Cross Border Product Liability


Hugh has expertise in private international law matters, and is currently involved in a large number of cross border product liability claims on behalf of several hundred overseas Claimants bringing personal injury claims in England against English tortfeasors, in particular relating to defective orthopaedic devices. These are ground breaking cross border claims that have given rise to disputes as to jurisdiction and applicable law, and complex issues as to the interpretation of the Rome II Regulation, the Brussels I Regulation, and the Private International Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995.

Hugh is also retained to provide advice to overseas attorneys in relation to clinical negligence and product liability matters proceeding abroad in other common law jurisdictions, in particular South Africa.

Sale Of Goods


Hugh is regularly involved in product liability claims in cases involving the provision of products to the Claimant pursuant to a contract. In such cases claims are typically brought in breach of contract under the Sale of Goods legislation, and Hugh is well placed to advised as to the overlap between these contractual claims and more traditional product liability claims under the Consumer Protection Act 1987.

Hugh is retained in the PIP Breast Implant Ligation, in which 1000+ Claimants are bringing claims against private clinics in breach of contract under this legislation.

Product Liability Cases


  • Depuy Pinnacle Metal on Metal Hip Litigation (2018): Seminal product liability case following 14-week trial involving comprehensive review of the law relating to defect and causation in claims under the Consumer Protection Act 1987. Reserved judgment awaited. Instructed by GLO Lead Solicitor.
  • Vaginal Mesh Litigation: 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. Litigation ongoing.
  • PIP Breast Implant GLO: Major product liability group action concerning defective breast implants. Ongoing costs issues at the Court of Appeal following settlements/judgments in 2016, appeal hearing May 2018. Instructed by GLO Lead Solicitor.
  • DePuy ASR hip implant group litigation: 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. Claims currently stayed pending outcome of Pinnacle GLO.
  • Finsbury Adept group litigation: Instructed for the claimants in multiple claims alleging defective hip implants. Claims currently stayed pending outcome of Pinnacle GLO.
  • Birmingham Hip Resurfacing group litigation. Instructed for the claimants in multiple claims alleging defective hip implants. Claims currently stayed pending outcome of Pinnacle GLO.
  • Combination Hip Prosthesis group litigation. 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 is a producer of a product. Claims currently stayed pending outcome of Pinnacle GLO.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Biomet AES ankle litigation (2016). Multiple claims alleging defective ankle prostheses.
  • 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.
  • Cervarix vaccine damage claims (on-going).

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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