Barrister Derek Sweeting

Derek Sweeting QC

Year of call: 1983  Silk: 2001


“He is a very measured, sensible and intelligent barrister.”

Legal 500 2019



Derek Sweeting QC’s practice is focused on contentious civil litigation, and advisory work in the High Court and the Court of Appeal as well as arbitration. It includes cases relating to maximum severity personal injury and clinical negligence work, commercial contracts, product liability, insurance, construction, information technology, professional negligence and civil fraud. He is regularly instructed by the Attorney General; in recent years, in particular, in relation claims arising from the Iraq war.

Derek is listed as a leading silk in Clinical Negligence, Personal Injury and Information Technology in The Legal 500. Derek is a regular and popular lecturer on his areas of practice. He is a co-author of the chapter in Fraud: Law, Practice and Procedure dealing with the overlap between civil and criminal claims. Derek has a keen interest in sports law. He has advised in relation to contractual and negligence issues in disputes relating to individuals, agents, sports organisations and venues.

Derek is described as “fantastic with clients, very effective at explaining matters. Concise in court where he can turn the evidence well”. He is also a Bencher of Middle Temple and Chairman of the Legal Services Committee of the Bar Council.

Public Access:

Derek is qualified to accept instructions direct from clients under the Bar Council’s Public Access Scheme. This means that members of the public who seek specialist advice can come direct to him. 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

Derek undertakes clinical negligence cases involving difficult issues of causation and consent, maximum severity injuries, injuries at birth, medical product liability (including vaccine damage) and fatal accident claims. Although he generally appears for claimants, he is instructed by the Attorney General in claims against the Ministry of Defence. He appeared in the leading causation case of Bailey v The MOD.


  • AVMA
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association

Clinical Negligence Cases

  • Border v Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust [2015] EWCA Civ 8 Bolam test; Breach of duty of care; Clinical negligence; Consent to treatment.
  • Kadir v Mistry and Others [2014] All ER (D) 247 (Mar):  Proper approach to damages for mental suffering under the Administration of Justice Act 1982 s.1(1)(b).
  • Thomas v Curley [2013] EWCA Civ 117:  The role of res ipsa loquitur in clinical negligence claim.
  • Popple v Birmingham Women’s NHS Trust [2012] EWCA Civ 1628:  Cerebral palsy, negligent failure to spot the signs of foetal distress.
  • Collis v Welsh Ambulance Service [2012] – Negligence in transportation in presence of a prolapsed cord.
  • Spradbury v Humber NHS Foundation Trust (2011):  Negligence by a consultant psychiatrist and nurses at a psychiatric unit leading to patient’s escape and suicide.


Derek’s commercial work is principally focused on contractual disputes but also involve claims arising from fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation, economic torts and civil fraud. He often advises in relation to breach of duty claims against company directors (and officers) and increasingly in those areas involving an overlap with regulatory and criminal obligations.

Asset Recovery Commercial Fraud Construction International Arbitration Insurance Law Partnership Pre-emptive Remedies Professional Negligence

Asset Recovery

He is regularly instructed in cases involving freezing and search injunctions and the enforcement of judgments abroad.

Commercial Fraud

He has been involved in many contested cases involving allegations of fraud. He is a co-author of the chapter in Fraud: Law, Practice and Procedure dealing with the overlap between civil and criminal claims.


His experience includes a wide variety of construction projects including, power stations, hotels, hospitals, cinemas, factories, government buildings, tunnels, airports and retail and residential developments. He has advised and represented contractors, employers and construction professionals in a variety of disputes involving quality and standard of workmanship and materials as well as delay and disruption and project management and supervision claims. He is well known for his work in technology cases both for contractors, customers and project managers. Typically these cases have involved large scale implementation and system migration projects in the areas of human resources, accounts, banking, Epos, industrial and environmental control systems, cartography and payroll.

International Arbitration

Derek is experienced in international arbitrations.

Insurance Law

He has wide experience of dealing with complex litigation and arbitration in relation to claims for material damage, business interruption and consequential loss and regularly advises on policy interpretation and declinature of cover.

He has advised insurers in relation to claims by a foreign government on insurance backed bonds. He represented the insurers in the litigation arising from the major fire at Heathrow Terminal 1 and arising out of a mine collapse (Scottish Coal v Royal Sun Alliance & Ors [2008] EWHC 880 (Comm)) and is involved in arbitration in relation to policy coverage on behalf of After the Event Litigation Insurers. He is presently instructed by Scandanavian insurers in relation to claims against agents within the UK.


He has advised in a number of partnership disputes and appeared in contested cases, the most recent of which was Yafai v Muthana [2012] EWCA Civ 289, involving the Construction of joint venture partnership deed.

Pre-emptive Remedies

Derek is regularly instructed to obtain freezing and search injunctions.

Professional Negligence

Derek has a wide experience of professional negligence claims, often arising from contentious contract, construction, product liability and insurance cases. He has extensive background knowledge of claims involving solicitors, clinicians architects, engineers, construction and technology professionals and legal advisers.

He advised and represented local authorities in some of the first dyslexia negligence claims to come to Court after the decision of the House of Lords in Phelps v Hillingdon. He was instructed by the Treasury Solicitor in a number of professional negligence claims against the MOD. He appeared for the Claimant in the Chancery Division in a claim against company accountants and former directors. He advised on claims against architects for the negligent specification of an industrial development. He acted in relation to a negligence claim against loss adjusters arising from the construction project at Angel Square Islington, and represented the main contractor in negligence/nuisance claims in the Chancery Division arising from redevelopment in Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

Commercial Cases

Financial Crime

Financial Crime

Derek is well known for work involving allegations of civil fraud. He recently represented the Claimant in obtaining summary judgment (Glen Dimplex v Smith [2011] EWHC 3392 (Comm)) in dishonest assistance and knowing receipt claims against the husband of a woman who had defrauded her employer of £2.8 million. He represented the insurer in Templeton v Motorcare [2010] EWHC 3113 (Comm) (miss-selling and failure to account). He is a co-author of the chapter in Fraud: Law, Practice and Procedure, dealing with the overlap between civil and criminal claims.

Offshore & International

Offshore & International

Derek has been instructed in international arbitrations in a number of areas.

Personal Injury

Personal Injury

Derek has wide experience of acting in fatal accident and personal injury cases involving maximum severity claims for both claimants and defendants as well cases involving allied issues of vicarious and employers’ liability, insurance policy points and statutory liability. He has been instructed in some of the largest group litigation in this area.


  • Personal Injury Bar Association

Abuse Claims Involving The Military


Since 2010 Derek has been instructed by the Attorney General in relation to ongoing abuse claims brought by Iraqi civilians arising out of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Claims Involving The Military

Derek has many years of experience acting both for and against the Ministry of Defence in relation to claims brought by military personnel. In Secretary of State for Defence v Duncan [2009] EWCA Civ 1043, in which the Court of Appeal gave guidance on the interpretation of the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme, he was instructed by the Royal British Legion on behalf of the Appellants.

He was retained in 2010 to act on instructions of the Attorney General in relation to the many hundreds of claims being brought in the aftermath of the Iraq war.

Personal Injury Cases

  • Iraqi Civilian Litigation v Ministry of Defence [2015] EWHC 116 (QB); Foreign proceedings; Iraq; Lawfulness of detention; Limitation periods.
  • Rahmatullah v Ministry of Defence [2014] EWHC 3846 (QB); Torts; Conflict of laws; Human rights.
  • Iraqi Civilians v Ministry of Defence [2014] EWHC 3686 (QB); International law; Damages; Armed forces; Human rights; Conflict of laws.
  • Ali Zaki Mousa v Secretary of State for Defence [2014] EWHC 783: Stay of civil personal injury claims arising from the deaths of Iraqi civilians.
  • Robert Lee Uren v (1) Corporate Leisure (2) Ministry of Defence [2013] EWHC 353 (QB), [2011] EWCA Civ 66: Risk assessment liability for personal injury where a failure to assess; application of the social utility test.
  • West Sussex County Council v Russell [2010] EWCA Civ 71: Ambit of the obligation of a highway authority to maintain verge and carriageway.
Product Liability

Product Liability

He has been involved in a wide variety of claims in this area, usually (although not exclusively) for manufacturers or importers. His work has ranged from toxic paint on imported toys to automotive control systems. He represented a vehicle manufacturer in claims by the London Fire Brigade in respect of bursting vehicle door locks (London Fire & Emergency Planning Authority v Meritor Light Vehicle Systems [2003] EWHC 2411 (TCC)). He has been instructed in litigation on behalf of the German motor manufacturer Audi/ Volkswagen and in relation to the catastrophic lift failure at the Broadgate Centre. He is presently involved in vaccine damage litigation.

Regulatory & Professional Discipline

Regulatory & Professional Discipline

Derek is regularly instructed in financial services litigation. He has been instructed in recent years relation to a market abuse/manipulation claim involving the London Stock Exchange, investment fraud actions in Cayman and claims a large European insurer in relation to miss-selling and its relationship with regulators.

Derek appeared in the Tribunal against the FSA representing Wills & Co (as well as in associated Judicial Review proceedings) and most recently in Financial Conduct Authority (A Company Limited By Guarantee) v Capital Alternatives Ltd & 15 Ors [2014] EWHC 144 (Ch) (appeal pending) – concerning the correct test for deciding whether property was “managed as a whole” for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

Sports Law

Sports Law

Derek has advised in relation to contractual and negligence issues in disputes relating to individuals, agents, sports organisations and venues.


  • BASL
  • The FA’s list of Authorised Agents

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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Privacy Notice

Derek is committed to protecting and respecting the privacy of individuals. In order to provide legal services, including advice and representation services, Derek needs to process personal data. This will include client’s personal data and the personal data of others who feature in the course of any matter upon which he is instructed.

Derek will process personal data in accordance with his Privacy Policy.

Please click here to see how Derek will, absent any other arrangement with those instructing him, fulfil any Joint Controller responsibilities he may have under relevant data protection legislation.

Judicial Appointments

  • Deputy High Court Judge in the Queen’s Bench Division (2008)
  • Recorder in the Crown and County Courts (2001)
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