• AvMA
  • PIBA

Instructing Hugh Preston KC

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

Hugh Preston KC (ranked as a “Star Individual” by Chambers & Partners 2023) is a leading silk in the fields of Clinical Negligence, Personal Injury, Consumer Law and Product Liability. He has particular expertise in all aspects of group litigation.

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 Group Litigation (Tier 1), Clinical Negligence (Tier 2) and Product Liability (“Star Individual”) by Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500.

Hugh’s clinical negligence practice involves complex and maximum severity claims on behalf of claimants. He is currently instructed in over 20 ongoing obstetric and/or neonatal brain damage claims and 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 the TVT/TOT/TVM Mesh Implant (Consent) litigation arising from allegations of inadequate advice when obtaining consent to vaginal mesh implantations.

Hugh’s product liability practice includes instructions 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 a large group of vaccine damage claims arising from thrombosis related injuries following administration of the Astra Zeneca Covid-19 vaccine, and by Leigh Day in a group of claims arising from BIA-ALCL cancer caused by textured breast implants (the lead cases were settled in 2022). He is also instructed in infected blood products claims and personal injury and/or property damage following major fire damage incidents (including Grenfell Tower), and for claimants in a group litigation arising from defeat devices used in VW, Audi, SEAT, Skoda and Mercedes motor cars.

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. More recently he has been consulted in respect of claims arising from the administration of Covid-19 vaccines to vulnerable persons/children.

Hugh is also instructed in a wide variety of commercial and consumer law disputes including consumer credit, sale of goods, supply of services and claims under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPUTR). He is currently instructed in a number of representative actions under CPR 19.6, following the 2021 Supreme Court decision in Lloyd v Google, and has particular expertise in all aspects of group litigation including opt-out consumer law class actions in this rapidly emerging field.

He is currently instructed by Kennedys in a number of Covid-19 related multi-party claims including wedding cancellation claims and a variety of Covid-19 related consumer and Human Rights Law group actions.

Hugh is qualified to accept instructions directly from clients and is registered under the Bar Council’s Public Access Scheme, meaning 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 more information please visit our Direct Access page here.

Legal Expertise

Clinical Negligence

Hugh is ranked as a leading silk in Clinical Negligence by Chambers and Partners 2023 (Tier 2) and Legal 500 2023 (Tier 2). He is described in the Legal 500 as having a “Massive intellect and phenomenal work ethic. Will always come up with a genius point… Hugh is fantastic to work with. He is creative, approaches issues laterally and does so with an eye for detail combined with masterly strategic oversight…. An excellent, absolutely outstanding silk”. In Chambers & Partners he is described as “A fantastic advocate. He is ambitious and very good at lateral thinking – he sees connections that aren’t obvious to others and is not afraid of taking novel arguments forward. He is a really approachable and affable barrister … A brilliantly nice man … He has the ear of the court whenever he makes a submission because he is so eminently reasonable. His submissions are always pitched at just the right level.”

He is currently instructed in over 20 ongoing obstetric and/or neonatal brain damage claims and 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 is 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]). More recently he has been consulted in respect of claims arising from the administration of Covid 19 vaccines to vulnerable persons/children.

He has particular expertise in clinical negligence claims involving medical devices and is currently instructed in the TVT/TOT/TVM Mesh Implant (Consent) litigation, a large group 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 ease and explaining the issues arising throughout the case, at a pace and in terms that are appropriate to the client.

Notable Clinical Negligence cases

XYZ v The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (ongoing)

Instructed by Irwin Mitchell in very severe brain damage claim arising from inappropriate use if Syntocinon leading to hyperstimulation, fetal distress and a period of acute hypoxia.

ABC v Ministry of Defence (ongoing)

Instructed by Switalskis in very severe brain damage claim arising from delayed delivery in Army hospital in Germany. Complex claim proceeding in England under German law. Dystonic athetoid cerebral palsy, no independent mobility, double incontinence.

SXM v North West Anglia Healthcare NHS Trust (2022)

Instructed by Bolt Burdon Kemp in £25m damages claim. Failure to diagnose significant placenta previa leading to vaginal delivery of brain damaged claimant following acute hypoxic insult, the precise timing of which was unknown. Issue as to whether competent management of placenta previa issue would have led to earlier delivery and if so whether brain damage would have been avoided. Instructed by Bolt Burdon Kemp. Claim settled in 2022.

Nupponen v North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust (ongoing)

Alleged sonographer negligence in failing to identify abnormalities in fetal anomaly scanning resulting in birth of child with multiple abnormalities including severe micrognathia and atrial septal defect gastro-oesophageal reflux, requiring tracheostomy, gastrostomy, jaw distraction surgery, and long-term ventilation.

ABC v Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (ongoing)

Instructed by Irwin Mitchell in a case involving very severe brain damage as a consequence of an admitted breach of duty. Dyskinetic cerebral palsy, fully tube fed and cannot lift head from prone. Unable to crawl, walk or speak. Loss of control of micturition reflex and requires intermittent catheterisation and will require indwelling catheter. Significant gastroenterological and neurological complications requiring interventions and prolonged periods of hospitalisation. Severe uncontrollable involuntary muscle spasms.

TVT/TOT Mesh Implant (Consent) Litigation (2021)

Large number of claims managed by Master Cook alleging failure to give appropriate advice as to risks of vaginal mesh implant surgery for treatment of stress urinary incontinence/pelvic organ prolapse.

Pace v Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Foundation Trust (2022)

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. Claim settled in 2022.

PQR v Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (2021)

Acute profound hypoxic ischaemic injury in perinatal period requiring nasogastric feeding. Cerebral palsy and epilepsy with ongoing seizures. Generalised dystonic movement disorder and right sided spasticity. Settled 2021.

IS v North Bristol NHS Trust (2020)

Claimant suffered IVH during first few days of life as a consequence of negligent management leading to ventricular dilatation and long-term neurological damage. Complex causation issues. Instructed by Thompsons.

Sanderson v Guy’s and Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (2019)

Claim arising from delay in delivery following fetal bradycardia leading to severe long term brain damage. Trial in November 2019. Instructed by Simpson Millar.

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.


Personal Injury

Hugh is ranked as a leading silk by Chambers and Partners 2023 and Legal 500 2023 (Tier 1 leading silk in Group Litigation). He is described in the Legal 500 as having a “Massive intellect and phenomenal work ethic. Will always come up with a genius point… Hugh is fantastic to work with. He is creative, approaches issues laterally and does so with an eye for detail combined with masterly strategic oversight… An excellent, absolutely outstanding silk”. In Chambers & Partners he is described as “A fantastic advocate. He is ambitious and very good at lateral thinking – he sees connections that aren’t obvious to others and is not afraid of taking novel arguments forward. He is a really approachable and affable barrister… A brilliantly nice man… He has the ear of the court whenever he makes a submission because he is so eminently reasonable. His submissions are always pitched at just the right level.”

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 resulting from industrial accidents including fatal accidents and complex amputation injury claims.

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 specialist interest and practice in claims against the Ministry of Defence and against private security companies.  This includes Non-Freezing Cold Injury claims against the MOD and litigation resulting from accidents abroad in the private security industry operating in international conflict zones e.g. Iraq/Afghanistan.

He has recently been consulted in respect of claims arising from the administration of Covid-19 vaccines to vulnerable persons/children.

Notable 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.

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.

Kenyan Emergency Group Litigation

Instructed on behalf of a cohort of Kenyan Claimants claiming damages for personal injury suffered in Kenya in the 1950s.

Wilson v CRS Fire Protection Ltd (ongoing)

Severe injuries following industrial accident. Amputation claim.

Gundry v White (2021)

Severe multiple injuries including severe traumatic brain injury resulting from road accident. Claimant lacks capacity. £7m claim. Settled in 2021.

Williamson v Armorgroup (2014)

Claim against private security company following psychiatric injuries sustained during mortar attack in Iraq.

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

Hugh has been ranked as a “Star Individual” in Product Liability by Chambers and Partners 2023 (for the third consecutive year), and as a Tier 1 Leading Silk by Legal 500 2022. He has also been ranked as a Tier 1 Leading Silk in Group Litigation. He is described in the Legal 500 as having a “Massive intellect and phenomenal work ethic. Will always come up with a genius point… Hugh is fantastic to work with. He is creative, approaches issues laterally and does so with an eye for detail combined with masterly strategic oversight. An excellent, absolutely outstanding silk”. In Chambers & Partners he is described as “A fantastic advocate. He is ambitious and very good at lateral thinking – he sees connections that aren’t obvious to others and is not afraid of taking novel arguments forward. He is a really approachable and affable barrister… A brilliantly nice man… He has the ear of the court whenever he makes a submission because he is so eminently reasonable. His submissions are always pitched at just the right level.”

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 (concluded in Supreme Court 2019), 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 a large group of vaccine damage claims arising from thrombosis related injuries following administration of the Astra Zeneca Covid-19 vaccine, and by Leigh Day in a group of claims arising from BIA-ALCL cancer caused by textured breast implants (lead claims settled in 2022). He is also instructed in claims arising from fire damage causing personal injury and/or property damage (including Grenfell Tower), and for claimants in group litigation arising from defeat devices used in VW, Audi, SEAT, Skoda and Mercedes motor cars. 

He is regularly instructed in 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.

Notable Product Liability cases

BIA-ALCL textured breast implant litigation (ongoing)

Group of claims involving BIA-ALCL cancer injuries following supply and implantation of textured breast implants by clinics in England & Wales. Lead cases settled in 2022.

NOx emissions claims against VW, Audi, Skoda and SEAT (ongoing)

Instructed by Bond Turner and LGWP for a large group of claimants bringing claims arising from the supply of VW, Audi, SEAT and Skoda motorcars containing defeat devices.

PIP Breast Implant Litigation (2019)

Major Product Liability group action concerning defective breast implants. Ongoing costs issues were the subject of a Supreme Court ruling in 2019 following settlements/judgments in 2016 and Court of Appeal ruling in 2018. Instructed by GLO Lead Solicitor Hugh James.

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.

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.

Birmingham Hip Resurfacing group litigation (2018)

Instructed for the claimants in multiple claims alleging defective hip implants.

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.

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.

Biomet AES Ankle Litigation (2016)

Multiple claims alleging defective ankle prostheses.

Allen & 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 & 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.


Consumer Contract

Hugh is ranked as a leading silk by Chambers and Partners 2023 and Legal 500 2023 (Tier 1 leading silk for Group Litigation). He is described in the Legal 500 as having a “Massive intellect and phenomenal work ethic. Will always come up with a genius point… Hugh is fantastic to work with. He is creative, approaches issues laterally and does so with an eye for detail combined with masterly strategic oversight… An excellent, absolutely outstanding silk”. In Chambers & Partners he is described as “A fantastic advocate. He is ambitious and very good at lateral thinking – he sees connections that aren’t obvious to others and is not afraid of taking novel arguments forward. He is a really approachable and affable barrister …A brilliantly nice man… He has the ear of the court whenever he makes a submission because he is so eminently reasonable. His submissions are always pitched at just the right level.”

Hugh has longstanding expertise in all aspects of consumer contract law and has been involved in some of the highest profile actions in this field. He represented the claimants in the PIP Breast Implant Litigation (concluded in Supreme Court 2019) in which claims were made for damages in breach of contract relying upon statutory implied terms. He is currently instructed by Leigh Day in a large group of claims arising from BIA-ALCL cancer caused by textured breast implants, claiming damages in breach of contract relying upon statutory rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

He is currently instructed by Kennedys in a number of Covid-19 related multi-party claims including wedding cancellation claims and a number of Covid-19 related group actions. He is also involved in litigation involving cancelled goods and services as a result of industrial strike action by university lecturers and whether a right to a partial refund arises.  He is currently instructed in a number of consumer law representative actions under CPR 19.6 under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPUTR) and other statutory and contractual causes of action, following the 2021 Supreme Court decision in Lloyd v Google.

Hugh is able to give urgent advice by telephone or by video either to solicitors or to non-lawyer clients directly.

Notable Consumer Contract cases

Covid 19 Wedding cancellation claims (ongoing)

Instructed by Kennedys in subrogated insurance claims seeking refund of sums paid for wedding reception events cancelled during 2020 lockdown. Settled in 2022.

BIA-ALCL textured breast implant litigation (ongoing)

Large group of claims involving BIA-ALCL cancer injuries following supply and implantation of textured breast implants. Claims in breach of contract under Consumer Rights Act 2015. Lead claims settled in 2022.

University Strikes / Industrial Action Refund Litigation (ongoing)

Issue as to whether entitlement to a refund arises following cancellation of tuition services as a result of academic staff industrial action.

PIP Breast Implant Litigation (2019)

Large group action arising from the supply of defective silicone breast implants manufactured by PIP in France. Damages claimed in breach of contract from various private cosmetic surgery clinics. Supreme Court hearing June 2019.

Baybut and others v Eccle Riggs County Park Ltd (Ch D) (2006)

Large group action concluding with trial of test cases at Liverpool District Registry in breach of contract claims by holiday caravan owners against holiday park relying upon contractual implied terms, and challenges to park standard terms under Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.


Commercial

Hugh is ranked as a leading silk by Chambers and Partners 2023 and Legal 500 2023. He is described in the Legal 500 as having a “Massive intellect and phenomenal work ethic. Will always come up with a genius point… Hugh is fantastic to work with. He is creative, approaches issues laterally and does so with an eye for detail combined with masterly strategic oversight… An excellent, absolutely outstanding silk”. In Chambers & Partners he is described as “A fantastic advocate. He is ambitious and very good at lateral thinking – he sees connections that aren’t obvious to others and is not afraid of taking novel arguments forward. He is a really approachable and affable barrister… A brilliantly nice man… He has the ear of the court whenever he makes a submission because he is so eminently reasonable. His submissions are always pitched at just the right level.”

Hugh has longstanding expertise in all aspects of commercial litigation.

He is currently advising both commercial and consumer clients as to contractual disputes and statutory and legal rights and claims for refunds as a result of cancelled goods and services caused by the Covid-19 / Coronavirus national emergency (e.g. Force Majeure clauses and corporate events cancellations). Hugh is able to give urgent advice by telephone or by video either to solicitors or to non-lawyer clients directly.

Hugh has particular experience of civil fraud and commercial contract disputes including construction disputes.

Notable Commercial cases

Re. STU (2020)

Urgent advice to commercial events organiser concerning Force Majeure contractual clauses and rights and remedies under commercial events contract as a result of Covid-19 / Coronavirus national emergency / pandemic.

Polypearl Ltd v BRE Scotland (ongoing).

£5m contract / breach of confidence dispute.

Ranby-Gorwood v Chattertons (2022)

Professional Negligence claim against solicitor – alleged failure to ensure sufficient ATE cover and to ensure compliance with ATE terms and conditions, resulting in substantial losses for claimant acting as trustee of bankrupt’s estate. Settled in 2022.

Polypearl Ltd v E.ON Energy Solutions Ltd (2017)

£9m commercial contract dispute.

Muthana v Yafai (2012)

Trial at Leeds DR and Court of Appeal. £5m+ partnership dispute on behalf of Yemeni client involving allegations of dishonesty.


Mental Health Claims

Hugh specialises in complex cases involving all aspects of healthcare, including controversial mental health issues. He has a particular interest in decisions involving clinical treatment and welfare decisions on behalf of individuals who lack capacity by reason of mental capacity, thus involving the Mental Capacity Act 2005, and on behalf of children, having regard to the Children Act 1989 and the inherent jurisdiction. This includes end of life decisions and decisions regarding withdrawal of treatment. His wider practice includes the most complex brain injury cases including birth injury claims and adult brain damage cases.


Data Protection

Hugh is ranked as a leading silk by Chambers and Partners 2023 and Legal 500 2023 (Tier 1 leading silk for Group Litigation). He is described in the Legal 500 as having a “Massive intellect and phenomenal work ethic. Will always come up with a genius point… Hugh is fantastic to work with. He is creative, approaches issues laterally and does so with an eye for detail combined with masterly strategic oversight… An excellent, absolutely outstanding silk”. In Chambers & Partners he is described as “A fantastic advocate. He is ambitious and very good at lateral thinking – he sees connections that aren’t obvious to others and is not afraid of taking novel arguments forward. He is a really approachable and affable barrister… A brilliantly nice man… He has the ear of the court whenever he makes a submission because he is so eminently reasonable. His submissions are always pitched at just the right level.”

Hugh has longstanding expertise in all aspects of consumer contract law and has been involved in some of the highest profile actions in this field. He represented the claimants in the PIP Breast Implant Litigation (concluded in Supreme Court 2019) in which claims were made for damages in breach of contract relying upon statutory implied terms. He is currently instructed by Leigh Day in a large group of claims arising from BIA-ALCL cancer caused by textured breast implants, claiming damages in breach of contract relying upon statutory rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

He is currently instructed by Kennedys in a number of Covid-19 related multi-party claims including wedding cancellation claims and a number of Covid-19 related group actions. He is also involved in litigation involving cancelled goods and services as a result of industrial strike action by university lecturers and whether a right to a partial refund arises. He is currently instructed in a number of consumer law representative actions under CPR 19.6 under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPUTR) and other statutory and contractual causes of action, following the 2021 Supreme Court decision in Lloyd v Google.

Hugh is able to give urgent advice by telephone or by video either to solicitors or to non-lawyer clients directly.

Notable Data Protection cases

Covid 19 Wedding cancellation claims (ongoing)

Instructed by Kennedys in subrogated insurance claims seeking refund of sums paid for wedding reception events cancelled during 2020 lockdown.

BIA-ALCL textured breast implant litigation (ongoing)

Large group of claims involving BIA-ALCL cancer injuries following supply and implantation of textured breast implants. Claims in breach of contract under Consumer Rights Act 2015.

University Strikes / Industrial Action Refund Litigation (ongoing)

Issue as to whether entitlement to a refund arises under Consumer Rights Act 2015 following cancellation of tuition services as a result of academic staff industrial action.

PIP Breast Implant Litigation (2019)

Large group action arising from the supply of defective silicone breast implants manufactured by PIP in France. Damages claimed in breach of contract from various private cosmetic surgery clinics. Supreme Court hearing June 2019.

Baybut and others v Eccle Riggs County Park Ltd (Ch D) (2006)

Large group action concluding with trial of test cases at Liverpool District Registry in breach of contract claims by holiday caravan owners against holiday park relying upon contractual implied terms, and challenges to park standard terms under Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.


Offshore & International Disputes

Hugh Preston KC (ranked as a “Star Individual” by Chambers & Partners 2023) is a leading silk in multiple disciplines and has particular expertise in cross-border litigation, jurisdiction disputes, civil fraud and all aspects of group litigation and class actions.

He is described in the Legal 500 as having a “Massive intellect and phenomenal work ethic. Will always come up with a genius point… Hugh is fantastic to work with. He is creative, approaches issues laterally and does so with an eye for detail combined with masterly strategic oversight… An excellent, absolutely outstanding silk”. In Chambers & Partners 2022 he is described as “A fantastic advocate. He is ambitious and very good at lateral thinking – he sees connections that aren’t obvious to others and is not afraid of taking novel arguments forward. He is a really approachable and affable barrister… A brilliantly nice man… He has the ear of the court whenever he makes a submission because he is so eminently reasonable. His submissions are always pitched at just the right level.”

Cross border litigation

Hugh has appeared in some of the most significant cross border product liability cases in recent years and has longstanding expertise in all aspects of jurisdiction and applicable law disputes arising in general civil litigation. In 2012-2015 Hugh was instructed in major group litigation involving metal on metal hip implants instructed by overseas attorneys in New Zealand, South Africa and various European and other jurisdictions in London-based litigation, leading to some of the leading private international law decisions in recent years.

Civil Fraud & Commercial Litigation

Hugh has longstanding experience in all aspects of commercial litigation including with and without notice injunctive relief/freezing order applications. He also has substantial experience in civil fraud litigation including very large cross-border multi-party actions and individual complex fraud cases. Hugh’s group litigation practice includes misleading action claims under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPUTR) and common law deceit claims, for example, the recent VW dieselgate group actions in London against overseas defendants including deceit claims for exemplary damages.

Class Actions & consumer law

Hugh is ranked as a leading silk for Group Litigation by Chambers & Partners and has vast experience in all aspects of group litigation having appeared in some of the highest-profile group actions in recent years including product liability medical device litigation, historic child abuse litigation, human rights group litigation involving interference with business possessions and civil fraud group actions. Hugh has a special interest in the emerging field of opt-out class actions extending beyond competition law into broader consumer law claims and is currently instructed in a number of ground-breaking new consumer law opt-out class actions pursued under the representative action rules common to the English Civil Procedure Rules and equivalent regimes further afield e.g. Rule 20.35 of the RDC 2014 in Dubai, further to the landmark Supreme Court decision in Lloyd v Google [2021] UKSC 50.

Notable Offshore & International Disputes cases

Allen and others v Depuy International Ltd [2014] EWHC 753 (QB)

Determination as to applicability of Rome II Regulation, and applicable law under the Private International Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995 in group action involving claims for personal injury by overseas claimants arising from medical devices manufactured in England following jurisdiction dispute under Brussels I Regulation.

Allen and others v Depuy International Ltd [2015] EWHC 926 (QB)

Determination as to whether New Zealand law statutory bar on proceedings for personal injury was substantive or procedural, and whether proceedings in England barred as result.

Stuart v Airbus Helicopters and Schaeffler UK Ltd [2020]

Group of claims arising from a helicopter crash involving various claimants on behalf of the deceased each residing in different European jurisdictions following a helicopter crash in Scotland, bring claims against producers of component parts in France, England and elsewhere.

Skelton and others v Volkswagen AG and others (ongoing)

Instructed by the claimants in multi-party action against VW and others arising from the sale of vehicles incorporating emissions defeat devices. Claims arising in deceit and consumer protection legislation for compensation including exemplary damages.

Chawla v Global Property Solutions Ltd and others [2021]

Freezing order to restrain assets in civil fraud/property dispute.

Redline Aviation Security Ltd v Pudwell [2010]

Ex parte injunction to restrain the release of confidential information concerning airport security procedures, heard in private on the grounds of national security.

XYZ v others v The Hospital Medical Group Ltd. [2012]

Ex parte injunction to restrain the release of confidential insurance information in multi-party group litigation.

Gonul & another v Kent & Sussex Properties Ltd & others [2016]

Freezing order in connection with civil fraud complex commercial property dispute.

Dexter v Vlieland-Boddy [2000]

Civil Fraud proceedings brought by liquidators. Trial in Chancery Division. Series of very high-value bank loans secured by chattels mortgage over Rolls Royce engines.

Polypearl Ltd v BRE (Scotland) (ongoing)

£5m breach of confidence dispute.

Polypearl Ltd v E.ON Energy Solutions Ltd (ongoing)

£9m commercial contract dispute.

Muthana v Yafai (2012)

£5m civil fraud/property dispute between Yemeni resident and UK resident. Trial in Leeds District Registry, appeal to CA.


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Instructing Hugh Preston KC

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