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Chambers of Marc Willems QC

19 QUAY STREET, MANCHESTER, M3 3HN, ENGLAND
Tel:
Work 0161 833 6000
Fax:
Fax 0161 833 6001
DX:
14327 MANCHESTER-3
Email:
Web:
www.cobden.co.uk

Abigail Holt

Cobden House Chambers (Chambers of Marc Willems QC)

Work Department

Personal Injury / Clinical Negligence Team

Position

Barrister 

Career

Abigail specialises in all aspects of personal injury litigation, industrial disease (mainly asbestos, lung disease and VWF/HAVS) and fatal accident/disease litigation.

All other areas of law with medical issues including clinical negligence. Abigail has experience of cases involving regulation of healthcare professionals. NMC, GMC, Care Standards Tribunal and HCPC.

She has acted as Court Examiner (with permission of the Court) and taken evidence on commission in a number of living mesothelioma and lung cancer cases. She has also acted as advocate for claimants when evidence on commission has been taken.

Abigail has a particular interest in Brexit, European law-related issues and human rights. In March 2018 she undertook an extended visit to the European Court of Justice, where she worked in the Cabinet of Advocate-General Eleanor Sharpston. She worked on a number of issues including: employment rights and discrimination; trademarks; competition (satellite TV services) harmonisation of VAT and rules pertaining to "turnover" taxes.

Abigail has good spoken and written knowledge of Spanish and French ( Nivel Avanzado / B2- Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). 

 

Industrial Disease 

Abigail’s case load includes living and deceased mesothelioma cases; asbestosis and pleural thickening cases, including where there are issues of low exposure; and lung cancer cases. Abigail frequently deals successfully with “Show Cause” hearings before the High Court. She is experienced in advising in relation medical and engineering evidence supporting asbestos claims. Abigail has considerable experience in advising in several hundred British Coal Respiratory (Chronic Bronchitis,COPD and pneumoconiosis) cases. Abigail also has experience of asthma and allergy-related respiratory and skin cases and upper limb disorder cases arising out of overuse-type injuries.

 

Clinical Negligence & Medical Knowledge

Abigail has excellent medical knowledge, as acknowledged in the Legal 500, which forms the foundation of successful conduct of clinical negligence cases at all levels of seriousness and value, including fatalities. Cases have included: Herpes simplex encephalitis in a 9-month old baby; failure to diagnose breast cancer, ovarian cancer, DVT, Crohn’s disease, perforated bowel, slipped femoral epiphysis, scaphoid fractures and macular degeneration. Abigail has a particular interest in orthopaedic cases, including hip replacement, neglect and clinical negligence in relation to elderly individuals in care homes suffering from dementia. In May 2017 Abigail lectured and assisted in a training day for around 60 palliative care health care professionals (including consultants, GPs and specialist registered nurses) on the legal implications for advance care planning and the Mental Capacity Act 2005

 

Inquests

Abigail has a good knowledge of Inquest law and has appeared in Inquests, mainly in relation to industrial disease deaths, workplace fatalities and deaths in hospital and health care settings.

 

Professional Discipline

Abigail undertakes professional regulatory work and has acted for healthcare professionals before their professional bodies, including the GMC, NMC, HCPC and local NHS Trusts on disciplinary matters. 

 

CICA 

The CICA cases Abigail has been involved in have included a number of sensitive cases for local authorities on behalf of children (now in care) who have been sexually abused, including where it has been inappropriate to call them as witnesses. Also police officers, a nurse subject to assault at work.

 

Other General Common Law

 

Abigail has an interest in insurance law. Particularly interesting cases have included: challenging a government procurement policy; Assault by a serving police officer on their partner; malicious prosecution; and commercial lease. 

 

Accredited Mediator and Mediation Advocacy

 

Abigail has been a fully trained mediator since 2011.Most recent mediation work has been in relation to a number of complex PI cases which were not amenable to settlement by joint settlement meeting. All such cases have resulted in successful resolution of all issues, including linked Employment Tribunal cases and including costs. 

July 2017 Abigail has successfully completed the world famous and prestigious intensive course "Alternative Dispute Resolution - A course in skills for successful mediation" at Regents University, London (School of Psychotherapy and Psychology)  

 

Appointment

Abigail sits as a Part-time (fee paid) First Tier Tribunal Judge in the Immigration and Asylum Chamber.

 

Personal

Keeping fit (to counter the hours in front of the WP!) swimming, horse-riding, yoga, gym, hiking. Also food/cooking (have worked as chef in “Good Food Guide” restaurants in France and Manchester in the past), learning Spanish  “arthouse” films and travel (e.g. South America, India & Malaysia). Renovating a Catalan farmhouse in Priorat. Failing to keep grip on family.

Member

  • APIL 
  • PIBA
  • UK Association of Women Judges 
  • PEOPIL
  • AvMA
  • Abigail is the incoming Treasurer of the European Circuit of the Bar and is instrumental in organising the forthcoming annual conference to be held in Stockholm on 20 and 21 September 2018. 

Education

Oxford University – MA Jurisprudence 1989-92

Manchester University – MA in Healthcare Ethics and Law (part-time 2000-2)
Inns of Court School of Law 1992/3 
Bury Grammar School 1989-92

 

June 2017 – Kings College London, The Centre of European Law, Summer School in Advanced European Law

May 2017 – Academy of European Law (ERA) two-day Seminar for judges in Bucharest, “Applying the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union."  

July 2017 -  Regents University London course in mediation skills to become an accredited mediator

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