Barrister James Macdonald

James Macdonald

Year of call: 2010  

Overview


James specialises in inquests, clinical negligence and personal injury litigation, crime, and public law.

He is frequently instructed in all aspects of injury-related civil litigation. James specialises in claimant clinical negligence and product liability work, but also represents defendants in personal injury claims. He has a particular interest in negligence-related inquests and Fatal Accidents Act claims and regularly represents bereaved families in the coroners’ courts.

James has an established practice in criminal law. He has appeared at all levels from the magistrates’ court to the Court of Appeal and both defends and prosecutes in the Crown Court on the midland and south-eastern circuits. In recent years, James’ practice has become increasingly focused on international and financial crime and he has a particular interest in civil and criminal fraud in the context of offshore jurisdictions. James is qualified as a Level 2 CPS panel prosecutor and is also presently instructed by the Attorney General of Jersey in a long-running fraud prosecution.

In 2017, James was appointed to the team of junior counsel to the Undercover Policing (Pitchford/Mitting) Inquiry: a major, statutory, public inquiry into undercover policing in England and Wales from 1968 to 2008. He continues to combine his work on the Inquiry with his own private practice.

 

Clinical Negligence

Clinical Negligence


James’ advisory work spans the breadth of a clinical negligence case, from pre-action disputes and analysis of initial expert evidence, through to trial preparation and complex quantum assessments. He is regularly instructed to settle complicated statements of case and advise on settlement negotiations and tactics.

He frequently appears in the County Court and High Court for applications and hearings around the country. He is willing to accept instructions on a CFA basis.

James has a particular interest in inquests arising out of instances of alleged clinical negligence. He has both advised on, and appeared at, numerous inquests representing the families of the deceased, including Article 2 inquests. He is known for his compassionate approach to client care in this context.

Memberships


  • AvMA (Action Against Medical Accidents)

Clinical Negligence Cases


  • XY v GPs: complex, delayed diagnosis of bladder cancer case in which the expert evidence pointed either to successful medical treatment but for the negligence identified, or a cystectomy in any event, depending on the factual evidence about the date of breach. Advised on prospects of success, quantum and eventual settlement.
  • Re: MM (deceased): case involving the allegedly negligent decision to allow unescorted leave to an informally detained psychiatric patient at a private mental health institution. The patient committed suicide whilst on leave. Represented the patient’s family at the Article 2, jury inquest into her death, and then advised on civil proceedings in clinical negligence, and under the Human Rights Act 1998, the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 and the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934. Oversaw court approval of a six-figure settlement for the deceased patient’s dependants.
  • CH v YTH: sports injury case involving a failure to diagnose a pectoral muscle tear sustained by a high-level amateur rugby player. Advised on expert evidence and drafted pleadings and expert agendas in the light of conflicting medical literature on the subject.
  • Advising on the successful settlement of a claim involving an allegedly negligent, failed pregnancy termination procedure, on the basis that the defendant’s position was not Bolitho-compliant.
  • Advising and settling Particulars of Claim in a failure-to-diagnose case involving various limitation arguments, including one premised on a discrepancy between the date of issue and the date that proceedings were actually sent to the court.
  • Advising and representing the family of a young child born with pulmonary atresia and a ventricular septal defect at the inquest touching his death following a cardiac catheterization procedure.
Financial Crime

Financial Crime


James has a rapidly expanding practice in complex fraud. He has particular experience in the area of criminal fraud, especially where linked to overseas jurisdictions.

James is currently instructed by the Attorney General of Jersey as junior counsel in a multi-million pound complex fraud case.

His areas of expertise include, in particular, liaising with police and prosecution authorities, working closely with forensic accountants and dealing with issues of disclosure and admissibility. James’ work has also involved consideration of jurisdictional disputes, non-UK law and co-operation between national criminal investigatory authorities.

Memberships


  • YFLA (Young Fraud Lawyers’ Association)
  • IBA (International Bar Association)
Crime

Crime


James regularly appears in the Crown Court throughout the south-eastern and midland circuits. He has extensive trial experience as well as frequently appearing for prosecution and defence at plea and trial preparation hearings, bail applications and sentencing hearings. James has a particular interest in fraud and the litigation arising out of confiscation proceedings.

Recent work includes being instructed as junior counsel in the successful prosecution of a 17-defendant national drug-supply conspiracy at Lincoln Crown Court, and dealing with the subsequent confiscation proceedings without a leader. James is currently instructed by the Attorney General of Jersey as junior counsel in a multi-million pound complex fraud case.

James is qualified as a Level 2 CPS panel prosecutor. He has also been appointed a member of the team of junior counsel to the Undercover Policing (Pitchford/Mitting) Inquiry: a major, statutory, public inquiry into undercover policing in England and Wales from 1968 to 2008.

Memberships


  • CBA (Criminal Bar Association)
  • YFLA (Young Fraud Lawyers’ Association)
  • South Eastern Circuit
  • Midland Circuit

Crime Cases


  • R v PB & Others: junior counsel in the successful prosecution of a 17-defendant national drug-supply conspiracy at Lincoln Crown Court. Dealt with all subsequent confiscation proceedings without a leader.
  • R v SB: represented defendant care worker charged with offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 arising out of the death of a patient with multiple sclerosis. Defendant acquitted at half-time following successful submission of no case to answer.
  • R v GO: secured a non-custodial sentence for a defendant implicated in a major bribery and corruption scandal involving maintenance contracts within the Royal Household. The prosecution agreed not to pursue confiscation proceedings.
  • R v T & T: successful prosecution at Nottingham Crown Court of an insider fraud and money-laundering scam involving a local clothing business.
  • R v LK: Ensuring a non-custodial sentence for a Defendant of good character charged on a multi-handed money laundering indictment worth in excess of £100,000.
  • R v BM: Securing an acquittal for a defendant running a defence of necessity in a trial for dangerous driving

Court of Appeal

  • R v CP: successful appeal against the terms of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order prohibiting unsupervised contact with any person under the age of 16 and lasting indefinitely.
  • R v Upton [2015] EWCA Crim 2113: secured reduction of a 25-month period of driving disqualification to 15 months on the basis of the defendant’s personal mitigation.
  • R v Daffern [2014] EWCA Crim 461: case before the Lord Chief Justice concerning the proper approach to sentencing defendants already serving a period of imprisonment.
Personal Injury

Personal Injury


James’ work covers a broad spectrum of personal injury litigation. He acts for claimants and defendants in employers’ liability, public liability and general breach of duty disputes, including high value road traffic claims.

As well as regularly appearing in fast track and multi-track trials, James is frequently instructed to settle statements of case and advise on liability and quantum. He has particular expertise in complex future loss claims and claims under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.

Memberships


  • PIBA (Personal Injuries Bar Association)

Personal Injury Cases


  • ME v SCC: representing Suffolk County Council in a three-day multi-track trial arising out of a claim brought by a former employee.
  • Re LJ (deceased): advising on the most appropriate approach to a Fatal Accidents Act claim involving the death of an elderly, but still very active, entrepreneur and businessman.
  • AA v Tesco: successfully representing Tesco in a trial involving an alleged slip and fall by a customer in one of its stores.
  • Re JE: advising and settling a Schedule of Loss in a complex road traffic claim involving post-traumatic stress disorder, pre-existing underlying conditions and alleged permanent disability requiring an Ogden VII-style future loss of earnings analysis.
  • GS v MOD: settling Particulars of Claim and advising on jurisdiction, liability and quantum in a case involving a soldier injured during a military training session undertaken at a UK Army barracks abroad, and representing the claimant at his trial against the Ministry of Defence.
  • JB v BA: instructed as junior counsel by British Airways in a stress at work claim brought by a former pilot.
Product Liability

Product Liability


James has a particular interest in personal injury and Fatal Accidents Act claims involving product liability and sale of goods legislation. His recent work has centred on issues arising out of the PIP breast implant litigation. James has advised on numerous cases in relation to limitation, liability and quantum, including cases falling outside of the Group Litigation Order. He also regularly advises potential claimants on case strategy and tactics where uninsured or insolvent clinic defendants are involved.

Memberships


  • APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers)
  • PIBA (Personal Injuries Bar Association)
  • AvMA (Action Against Medical Accidents)
  • IBA (International Bar Association)

Product Liability Cases


  • Re: JH: Advising in relation to a claim for damages arising out of the insertion of TVT mesh, and the interplay with any potential claim in clinical negligence.
  • Re: WB: Providing tactical advice on a case involving Pinnacle metal on metal hip implants brought outside of a Group Litigation Order against DePuy International Limited.
  • Advising on a number of cases based on the insertion of PIP breast implants; particularly those cases involving insolvent defendant clinics and/or so-called rogue surgeons. James’ advice enabled at least one claimant to recover damages from a third-party defendant under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
  • Re: GR: Advising on evidence and quantum in a claim involving the sale of a defective bicycle. The claimant was thrown from the bicycle whilst riding it as a result of the defect, and suffered significant injuries.
Public Law

Public Law


James’ experience of Crown Court advocacy coupled with his expertise in Fatal Accidents Act and clinical negligence claims have led to a growing practice in inquest law. James has a particular interest in inquests arising out of instances of alleged clinical negligence. He has both advised on, and appeared at, numerous inquests representing the families of the deceased, including Article 2 inquests. He is known for his compassionate approach to client care in this context.

In addition, in 2017 James was appointed to the junior counsel team to the Undercover Policing (Pitchford/Mitting) Inquiry: a major, statutory, public inquiry into undercover policing in England and Wales from 1968 to 2008.

Memberships


  • AvMA (Action Against Medical Accidents)

Public Law Cases


  • Re: PR (deceased): case involving the allegedly negligent decision to allow unescorted leave to an informally detained psychiatric patient at a private mental health institution. The patient committed suicide whilst on leave. Represented the patient’s family: successfully argued that the senior coroner’s initial decision that ECHR, Article 2 was not engaged should be reversed, as per the Supreme Court decision in Rabone; secured finding of very serious failing in the patient’s care which was causally related to her death. [Press coverage]
  • Re: SC (deceased): case in which the deceased had suffered a brain haemorrhage, attended hospital, but was triaged and dealt with as a patient under the influence of alcohol. As a result, the deceased was kept in an observation room under the watch of a police officer who observed serious deterioration in his consciousness levels, including a fall to the floor and decline in Glasgow coma score, but did not raise alarm. Represented the deceased’s family at the subsequent inquest into his death and dealt with submissions of neglect, consideration of a separate IPCC investigation and allegations of negligence in relation to the hospital nursing staff.
  • Re: MM (deceased): another case involving the allegedly negligent decision to allow unescorted leave to an informally detained psychiatric patient at a private mental health institution. The patient committed suicide whilst on leave. Represented the patient’s family at the Article 2, jury inquest into her death, and then advised on civil proceedings in clinical negligence, and under the Human Rights Act 1998, the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 and the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934. Oversaw court approval of a six-figure settlement for the deceased patient’s dependants.
  • Re: DB (deceased): represented the family of an elderly gentleman who had suffered with leg ulcers. His treatment by the local district nursing staff was such that his ulcers deteriorated and he required hospital treatment. Whilst in hospital, he was unable to mobilise and developed fatal pneumonia. Questioned nursing staff on the care provided, in particular in relation to poor record-keeping and made submissions on neglect and Regulation 28, despite complex causation issues.
  • Pro bono representation of the deceased’s family at an inquest concerning the appropriate implementation of the Liverpool Care Pathway for very elderly patients.
Offshore & International

Offshore & International


James’ work in both criminal law and aspects of product liability litigation has led to him developing an increasing, specialised practice in specific aspects of offshore and international law.

In particular, James is currently instructed by the Attorney General of Jersey as junior counsel in a multi-million pound, criminal, complex fraud case. His work there has involved considering and advising on jurisdictional disputes, non-UK law and co-operation between national criminal investigatory authorities.

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