Barrister Jonathan Bertram

Jonathan Bertram

Year of call: 2003  

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“An objective, level-headed barrister that you are grateful to have in your corner.”

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Overview


Jonathan’s practice focuses upon clinical negligence, personal injury, employment and general commercial litigation, with the latter having a particular focus on the field of professional negligence.

He is often instructed at an early stage in potential proceedings because his practical tactical advice is highly valued by instructing solicitors who are keen to ensure that their client’s positions are fully protected in any subsequent litigation. He prides himself on his approachability and he particularly enjoys working closely with his instructing solicitors to obtain the best results for their clients.

The financial value of Jonathan’s cases has significantly increased in line with his seniority and he is frequently instructed in cases of very significant value as sole junior. He has appeared in trials against opposing parties who have instructed silks.

Jonathan has a nationwide practice and he lives in Birmingham, which makes him particularly well placed for conferences with instructing solicitors situated close to the midlands.

Clinical Negligence Commercial Employment Personal Injury Product Liability

Clinical Negligence


Jonathan primarily acts for Claimants in clinical negligence cases. He has acted in cases concerning failure to diagnose spinal injuries, cancer, liver disease, kidney disease and other similar conditions. In his failure to perform competent surgery cases he has litigated many cases concerning orthopaedic procedures (shoulders, knees, ankles, wrists, and hips), failure to properly treat cancer, including incompetently performed mastectomy procedures, and negligently performed bariatric and other similar weight loss / reduction procedure claims. He has successfully pursued claims advanced on the basis of systemic failures by Trusts that have then led to injuries to patients, e.g. by failing to adequately staff maternity units. He has pursued secondary victim claims for bereaved family members. As he has gained in experience he has seen an increase in instructions relating to brain and birth injury cases.

He has pursued claims against dentists and against optometrists and ophthalmologists.

He has appeared at numerous inquests where he has frequently, though not exclusively, acted for bereaved families and as a result he has had to cross-examine a wide variety of medical experts. He has appeared at inquests involving Article 2 issues and cases where Coroners have decided to sit with juries.

The value of his cases range from relatively small sums to cases pleaded well in excess of £500,000.

Jonathan will be included in the 2015 edition of Chambers and Partners as a recommended junior in the field of clinical negligence.

Memberships


  • Association of Personal Injury Lawyers

Inquest & Judicial Review Disciplinary Tribunals

Inquest & Judicial Review


Jonathan has developed a significant inquest practice within the healthcare field. He is frequently instructed in ‘difficult’ cases where the outcome of the inquest is thought to be likely to make a material difference to whether or not a clinical negligence claim can be successfully pursued.

His recent cases have included inquests concerning the management of patients in A&E departments, treatment that has gone ‘wrong’ during routine procedures such as cholecystectomies, concerns over the prioritisation of resources in cases of gravely ill children, and cases where GPs have declined to refer patients for treatment who have subsequently died. He is also experienced in dealing with mental health cases and he has recently dealt with inquests concerning the appropriate management and risk assessment of metal health patients.

Jonathan has always been committed to representing families within this field and he is prepared to consider occasionally acting entirely pro-bono in cases where there is no realistic prospect of a clinical negligence claim being pursued.

Disciplinary Tribunals


Jonathan has a growing practice within the healthcare disciplinary field. He has represented doctors before the G.M.C. and he is keen to continue to develop this aspect of his practice in the future.

Clinical Negligence Cases


  • R.O. v University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (2013): Settled claim for damages arising from extremely difficult labour contributed to by failure to adequately staff maternity unit.
  • E.M. (deceased) v University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (2012-2014): On-going claim for damages arising from failure to continue to administer clexane to E.M. after major surgery for cancer treatment. Represented the family at the inquest where the coroner made a finding of neglect.
  • L.C v Dr N.M (2014): Settled claim against G.P. for negligent failure to stop prescribing nephrotoxic drugs to L.C. causing him to enter avoidable end stage renal failure.
  • J.M. v Dr D.L (2013-2014): Settled claim after exchange of expert evidence in case where Dr D.L failed to refer J.M. for investigations for breast cancer. The claim concerned interesting questions of causation and the course of probable treatment with earlier referral.

Commercial


Jonathan is instructed in a broad range of commercial disputes, including sale of goods, insurance, consumer contract disputes, guarantee claims, agency claims, claims in professional negligence, and general contractual litigation.

In recent years his professional negligence practice has increased significantly and he has been regularly instructed in cases concerning allegations over the conduct of litigation by solicitors and other legal professionals. He has also conducted cases concerning architects, surveyors and medical professionals.

Jonathan has advised in a number of disputes concerning financial products; primarily in relation to interest rate swap claims.

Commercial Cases


  • Beechcrest Properties Ltd v Luminis Real Estate Limited & Another (2010-2013): Central London County Court, Chancery, claims and counterclaims arising from a property investment Joint Venture c. £300,000.
  • Acting for a gold mining company based in a Central Asian country (and other Claimants) who were the victims of a £500 million alleged fraud. Obtained a freezing and disclosure order in Jersey.
  • Advising a bank on its obligations to report potential sanction breaches to the Office of Foreign Assets Control, US Department of Treasury (OFAC). This case concerned an interesting question of the extent to which the US can lawfully assert extra-territorial jurisdiction over foreign entities dealing in US dollars.
  • UCC v Bender & Ors: A US$ 97 million claim in relation to the profits of a hedge fund.
  • Acting for a Jersey Hotel in a multi-million Euro, multi-party construction dispute, which was subject to Arbitration in Zurich under the I.C.C. rules. The case eventually settled at mediation.

Employment


Jonathan has a wide-ranging employment practice. He acts for Claimants and Respondents, but with a 60:40 split in favour of the latter. He has undertaken numerous multi-day hearings all over the country. He has appeared in the EAT on a number of occasions, both in cases where he conducted the original proceedings and in cases where he was instructed solely to deal with the appeal. His cases have concerned all types of dismissals, ancillary breach of contract claims, claims for non-payment of bonuses, claims arising from mass redundancies, working time claims, equal pay claims, TUPE claims and claims concerning all forms of discrimination. He has conducted cases where employment matters fell to be litigated in the Employment Tribunal and the County/High Court.

Memberships


  • Employment Lawyers’ Association

Employment Cases


  • Ridge v Land Registry [2014] UKEAT/0382/09: Respondent’s appeal against first instance ruling in his favour. Decision reserved.
  • Takavarasha v London Borough of Newham [2013] UKEAT/0077/12/MC: T’s appeal dismissed with costs.
  • Badhan v London Borough of Ealing (2012): Four day hearing of allegations of unfair dismissal, race discrimination and pay related claims, all allegations dismissed.
  • Ridge v Her Majesty’s Land Registry (2012): Six day hearing of allegations of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination, all claims dismissed, £7,000 costs awarded.
  • Kaluza v London Borough of Ealing (2012): Six day hearing of allegations of sexual harassment and associated discrimination, all claims dismissed, £10,000 costs awarded.
  • Bogdan v Compass Group & )thers (2011): EAT, instructed to deal with the Claimant’s appeal, which was dismissed after a full hearing.
  • Takavarasha v London Borough of Newham (2011): Eight day tribunal acting for LBN, alleged unfair dismissal, race and disability discrimination, all allegations dismissed with costs order.
  • Jain v Teachers 2 Parents (2011): Acted for J and proved direct race discrimination and unfair dismissal. Case received national press coverage in the UK and had significant press attention in India.

Personal Injury


Jonathan has advised upon and conducted numerous claims in the personal injury field from straightforward fast track road traffic accidents to much more complex multi-day multi-track claims. He frequently deals with employers’ liability allegations (“6 pack cases”), stress at work claims, road traffic accidents (including cases involving the MIB), Highway Act claims and Occupiers’ Liability Act claims.  He has conducted multi-track limitation trials. He is regularly instructed to plead schedules in substantial personal injury and fatal accident act claims.  He has conducted claims involving chronic pain disorders, occupational stress, upper limb disorders, noise induced hearing loss and exposure to noxious substances at work. He has a particular interest in product liability claims, where he has a growing practice in claims arising from defective hips. The value of his claims range from a few thousand pounds for ‘whiplash‘ injuries to substantial claims sounding in 6 figure sums for life changing accidents.

Jonathan is particularly experienced in dealing with claims where fraud is alleged both in road traffic cases and in employer’s liability claims e.g. staged accidents etc.

Jonathan has extensive experience of appearing at inquests, where he has frequently, though not exclusively, acted for the deceased’s family. He has appeared at inquests involving both Coroners sitting alone and sitting with juries. He has undertaken ‘Article 2’ inquests.

Memberships


  • Association of Personal Injury Lawyers

Actions Involving The Police Inquests Fraudulent Claims

Actions Involving The Police


Jonathan has litigated a variety of claims against the police, usually for claims based on wrongful arrest, unlawful imprisonment and other associated claims. Whilst he predominantly acts for Claimants, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has instructed him on several cases, including at trial.

Inquests


Jonathan is a very experienced inquest practitioner. He has appeared in Article 2 and jury inquests. He primarily acts in healthcare cases, but he has also acted in cases which have involved deaths in the workplace, usually large construction sites, lifting operations going wrong etc and deaths due to fires.

Fraudulent Claims


Jonathan is very familiar with dealing with cases where allegations of fraud have been pleaded. He is adept at identifying the strongest and weakest points in these cases and he is very experienced with advising upon the appropriate tactics to pursue to obtain the best resolution for clients. His primary experience has come from road traffic cases, but he has also dealt with fraud in the context of EL claims and in relation to Highways claims as well.

Personal Injury Cases


  • Bagci v Louca (2014): Acted for C in this multi-track RTA case where fraud allegations were withdrawn at the conclusion of C’s evidence and the claim subsequently succeeded in full.
  • Taylor v London Borough of Lambeth and another (2013): Acted for Lambeth in the successful defence of a claim by a social worker for damages arising from a stabbing by a service user.
  • M v Clark (2012): Acted for M in a fatal accident claim which settled for £275,000.
  • Warnsby v Wolverhampton City Council (2012): Acted for WCC in the successful defence at trial of a claim for c. £170,000 arising from a fall on the steps of Wolverhampton Civic Hall.
  • W v Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust and another (2012): Acted for Ipswich in a claim involving a complicated shoulder injury, which eventually settled for c. £300,000.

Product Liability


Jonathan has acquired significant experience of litigating claims concerning allegations of breach of the Consumer Protection Act or the Product Liability Directive.

He is presently instructed by a range of firms to advise upon the conduct of claims arising from defective metal on metal hip products. Some of the claimants involved in these cases are resident outside of England and Wales and as such he is familiar with the conflict of laws challenges that these cases can present.

In addition to metal on metal cases Jonathan has also recently been involved in pursuing claims arising from defective medical devices, defective bicycles and defective balloons.

Memberships


  • Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
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