BLM is regarded by clients from across a wide spectrum of sectors as a 'premier team in the defendant personal injury market'. The firm is known for its 'great collaborative approach to strategy and case preparation', and comprises a multitude of dedicated departments and specialists, all of whom have a wealth of experience in their core fields. In London, Michelle Penn leads the disease group, while Matthew Ford heads up the casualty offering. Michael Pether and Paula Jefferson oversee work relating to abuse and neglect. Widely recognised practitioners Claire Collins and Caroline Craigie are the names to note for catastrophic injury claims, including those with an international element. The team's strength at senior level was recently elevated further by the promotion of Thomas Dixon, Ben Jones and Diana Goldstein to partner.
Personal injury: defendant in London
Michelle Penn; Matthew Ford
Other key lawyers:
Claire Collins; Michael Pether; Nick Pargeter; Nigel Lock; Paula Jefferson; Diana Goldstein; Thomas Dixon; Ben Jones; Caroline Craigie; Ian Walker; Sharon MacArthur-Powell
‘Their experience and reputation is second to none.’
‘They are a genuine heavyweight personal injury firm, capable of dealing proficiently with the full range of claims.’
‘A premier team in the defendant personal injury market.’
‘Caroline Craigie is an excellent partner: astute, insightful, good team player.’
‘Paula Jefferson is a lawyer you want on your side. She is measured and knows her subject inside out.’
‘Great collaborative approach to strategy and case preparation.’
‘Claire Collins is a tough and determined litigator who brooks no nonsense en route to getting a just outcome for her clients.’
‘Well-established firm in the field with particular strength in abuse and complex injury cases. The firm is particularly good at looking at the bigger picture.’
British Car Auctions
The Davies Group
European Risk Insurance Company hf.
Grosvenor Casinos Limited
Hamilton Managing Agency Ltd
InterContinental Hotels Group
Kentucky Fried Chicken
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Liverpool Victoria Insurance
Lloyds Banking Group
Marshall of Cambridge
Mecca Bingo Limited
New India Assurance
Royal Opera House
The Rank Group
Willis Towers Watson
Whitbread (Premier Inn, Brewers Fayre, Beefeater)
Woodgate & Clark
Barry Nilsson Lawyers
Red Sea Holidays
DAC Beachcroft LLP
DAC Beachcroft LLP fields a highly specialised team of seasoned practitioners. Andrew Parker advises major and niche insurers on a range of emerging issues affecting personal injury cases. Tania Sless has a wealth of experience handling high-value or strategically important liability claims, as well as motor accidents. Public sector bodies form a core segment of the firm's client base, and are quick to instruct recognised experts David Knapp, Andrew Sheppard and Tom Walshaw and John Goodman. For catastrophic injury work, Michelle Traxler and Adrian Cottam are some of the key contacts; both are well versed in severe brain and spinal injuries, and amputations.
Other key lawyers:
Andrew Parker; Tania Sless; David Knapp; John Goodman; Tom Walshaw; Michelle Traxler; Adrian Cottam; Andrew Sheppard
‘They are absolutely first-rate on high value PI work and have a very good reputation amongst insurers.’
The 'first class' offering at DWF 'has the depth of experience that makes it one of the leading firms in this competitive market'. The department is well placed to handle complex cross-border litigation and defend claims arising out of motor, employers', public and products liability. The 'talented' team comprises specialised practitioners with 'extensive knowledge in their respective fields'. Steven King heads up the London catastrophic injury and large loss group, focusing particularly on brain injuries, tetraplegia, paraplegia and amputations; other key contacts for maximum severity cases include Rhys Sanchez and Graham Dickinson. Claire Bowler and Sara-Jane Eaton oversee the international claims department, which is noted for its 'unparalleled language skills and understanding of the EU insurer market'. John Lezemore and Daniel Jordan take the lead on chronic pain and subtle brain injury work, respectively. Mark Whittaker heads a practice that handles a wide range of contentious cases for county councils and London boroughs.
Steven King; Mark Whittaker
Other key lawyers:
Claire Bowler; Graham Dickinson; John Lezemore; Paul Greaves; Rhys Sanchez; Daniel Jordan; Seema Bains; Daniel Mitchell; Sara-Jane Eaton; Gurbir Tethy
‘DWF is a leading insurance defence team. It has experienced partners and fee earners and is training its up and coming lawyers well, such that they retain their skills as they progress. It has the depth of experience that makes it one of the leading firms in this competitive market.’
‘DWF are truly a top tier defendant personal injury outfit.’
‘I think many insurers would regard Graham Dickinson to be one of the best defendant personal injury solicitors in the country – a brilliant solicitor, litigator and tactician who I regard as being amongst the very best. Graham has a very loyal following and handles the heaviest cases. Steven King is another superb solicitor and litigator.’
‘The individuals with whom I work are dedicated to providing a first class service and have extensive experience and extensive knowledge in their respective fields.’
‘DWF lead the field in their handling of chronic pain and subtle brain injury claims under the management of John Lezemore and Daniel Jordan respectively. Both combine technical excellence with creative, problem solving skills to produce good results. Their passion for the work is obvious and their enthusiasm and drive infectious.’
‘Technical excellence, attracting talented technical and commercially minded lawyers with undeniable understanding of the insurance market.’
‘Graham Dickinson, Claire Bowler and Gurbir Tethy are excellent both in their preparation and tactical awareness. Graham is regarded as the doyen of the insurance sector with his many years of experience.’
‘Unparalleled language skills and understanding of the EU insurer market and comparative law enables practical and time sensitive advice to be given. Very reliable team with strength in depth.’
The Markerstudy Group
Direct Line Group
Tokio Marine Kiln
Van Ameyde (UK)
Mannheimer Versicherung AG
Wuerttemburgische Versicherung AG
Zurich Rechtschutzversicherung AG
Kennedys' reputation as a 'go-to outfit for the best insurers' has been further solidified by the department's recent expansion; seasoned partners Anthony Rawlins, Anthony French and Deidre Burgess joined the group from BLM in May 2021. Clients generally instruct the firm to defend their highest value and most reputationally sensitive cases, which often consist of employers’ and public liability accidents, many of which have international elements. Team lead Mark Burton is identified by one client as the 'leading light for the practice'; under his guidance the offering continues its 'commitment to producing new and exciting technology-based solutions'. Other key contacts include 'class act' Joe McManus, highly regarded catastrophic injury lawyer Charles Martin and recently promoted partner Stephen Foster. For fraudulent claims, especially those concerning the fast-developing areas of social media screening and fundamental dishonesty, Joanne Kelly is the name to note.
Other key lawyers:
Charles Martin; Joe McManus; Joanne Kelly; Stephen Foster; Stephanie Rogerson; Anthony French; Anthony Rawlins; Deidre Burgess; Ben Appleton
‘Deserved tenacious reputation in insurance litigation. Pro-active approach to innovative areas.’
‘Mark Burton is exceptional as to his technical and legal knowledge but also has a pragmatic approach and a real strong know-your-opponent presence. He is also at the forefront of trying to introduce technology to mitigate the ever-spiralling cost of care claims.’
‘Efficient, well resourced, excellent understanding of the sector.’
‘Joe McManus is a class act. Hugely respected for his insight and legal knowledge; he is friendly and down to earth, and commands admiration from his clients and fear in his opponents.’
‘What really marks Kennedys out as different is their commitment to producing new and exciting technology-based solutions. The technological solutions represent a real point of difference between them and their competitors.’
‘Charles Martin combines a strongly pragmatic, client-focused approach with a high level of attention to detail. Joe McManus has a good feel for the potential of a case, with a good eye for practicalities.’
‘The team provides an outstanding blend of legal know-how combined with commercial awareness, which means that they are the invariable go-to outfit for the best insurers. The skill in blending their PI practice with regulatory and dedicated insurance law teams means that their overall service is outstanding.’
‘Mark Burton is the leading light for the practice. He is highly sought after by a range of national and international insurers to handle their catastrophic claims. He combines a strategic eye for the best way to progress and resolve a claim with a collaborative – but no nonsense – approach to dealing with his opponents. It is a heady mix which gets real results.’
PSV Claims Bureau/Stagecoach
- Involved with the claim by a group of nine former international rugby players who are suing the governing bodies for failing to take adequate steps to prevent permanent brain damage from concussive and sub-concussive injuries.
- Instructed by the Four Seasons Hotel Group in defence of a lead case in personal injury jurisdiction law.
- Represented Aspen Insurance in the case of a demolition worker who lied about accident circumstances, and was found to be fundamentally dishonest and sentenced to 16 months’ imprisonment.
Clyde & Co LLP is marked out by its notable client portfolio, which features the biggest names in the UK and European insurance markets, as well as a number of FTSE-listed corporates; the 'highly regarded' team is able to handle a broad range of matters on behalf of these clients, including employers' and public liability claims, road traffic accidents, class actions and high-value, technically complex personal injuries. The offering is complemented by the presence of in-house costs, regulatory and forensic accounting groups, enabling the firm to provide coverage across the full span of civil and criminal casualty work. The department is also known for its capability in relation to international cases, which is facilitated by its extensive global footprint. Tony Cawley, Leanne Conisbee, Jennette Newman and Paul Smith are the core practitioners.
Jennette Newman; Tony Cawley
Other key lawyers:
Leanne Conisbee; Paul Smith
‘Clyde & Co excel at maintaining the perfect balance between impressive fee earners fighting high profile cases and always maintaining great client relations. Highly regarded in the insurance industry, as well as by large private clients. Great people to work with and for.’
‘An energetic and pro-active team who have adapted to the practical/IT challenges of the Covid era with aplomb.’
‘Paul Smith is an exceptionally thorough lawyer with excellent client management skills and good tactical sense.’
‘Tony Cawley handles large and complex cases with poise and a calming manner that puts clients at ease whilst confidently guiding the case to the right conclusion.’
Insurance companies, corporates, self-insureds and local authorities regularly instruct Plexus Law, which they value for its 'impressively collaborative approach' to personal injury work of the 'very highest calibre'. The firm has a very specialised approach, and fields numerous expert practitioners; 'particularly impressive solicitor' Michael Gwilliam heads up the national travel group; Mark Dyson leads a dedicated large loss team for composite insurers; Paul de la Porte is the name to note for property-related issues; Joanne Pizzala, whom a client picks out as 'one of the leading minds in the defendant personal injury sector', is known for representing major UK motor insurers in catastrophic injury cases; Philip Tracey is a core contact for employers’ and public liability claims; and Steve Phillips is noted for his occupational disease work.
Philip Tracey; Paul de la Porte; Steve Phillips; Joanne Pizzala; Mark Dyson; Michael Gwilliam
Other key lawyers:
Paul Phillips; Robert Harris
‘Joanne Pizzala is excellent at handling large loss claims.’
‘Michael Gwilliam is a particularly impressive solicitor. He is meticulous and achieves great results on the most complex of cases.’
‘Impressively collaborative approach with a real desire to understand the needs of individual clients and adapt internal firm processes to fit.’
‘Excellent large loss handling/litigation team.’
‘They have diverse knowledge across the company and you will find the right expertise to suit your individual needs.’
‘My main point of contact at Plexus is Joanne Pizzala – she continues to be one of the leading minds in the defendant personal injury sector. She leads a department consistently providing legal services to clients of the very highest calibre. I have worked closely with various of the Plexus insurance clients over the past year and, without exception, they have applauded the services that they have received from Jo Pizzala’s team throughout the pandemic.’
Rugby Football Union (RFU)
Insure the Box
- Acting for the RFU in a class action being brought against World Rugby and Wales Rugby.
- Representing Insure the Box in a claim worth over £3m, following an RTA where the claimant alleged the force of impact had resulted in a prolapsed disc six weeks post-accident and subsequently failed back surgery syndrome with high-level mobility issues.
- Representing a UK safari tour operator in a claim regarding an incident in which a Canadian citizen resident in the US was allegedly charged and trampled by an elephant at a luxury tented camp.
Weightmans LLP specialises in handling catastrophic personal injury cases on behalf of international composite insurers, as well as London market insurers, run off agents, local authorities and major commercial entities. Casualty, motor, disease and abuse matters all make up part of the team's regular workload; the group is becoming increasingly adept at identifying fraud strategies in all of these areas and consequently defeating claims by establishing dishonesty on the part of the claimant. The firm's recent involvement with the landmark Swift v Carpenter case was illustrative of its ability to take important and high-profile work to the appellate courts. Practice head Elaine Chapman, an expert in large loss and technical issues, is ably supported by recommended associate Phillip Bratt. Nick Richards is the name to note for cross-border litigation.
Other key lawyers:
Nick Richards; Seva Singh; Phillip Bratt; Patricia Williams; Catherine Kearney
Zurich Insurance Plc
Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB)
Armour Risk Management
Direct Commercial Limited
Horizon (formally Octagon) Insurance
Tradex Insurance Company Ltd
Enterprise Rent A Car
Swiss Re Commercial Solutions
- Represented the Motor Insurers’ Bureau in a £28m innocent-party traumatic brain injury claim arising out of a serious road traffic accident where liability is disputed between the co-defendants, involving technical issues arising out of the MIB’s uninsured driver’s agreement.
- Represented Armour Risk Management and Tradex Insurance in a £15m cross-border RTA claim concerning a traumatic brain injury involving a very high earner in his 20s.
- Represented Horizon Insurance in a £16m paraplegic claim arising from an RTA.
The offering at Browne Jacobson LLP is best known for its skilful handling of novel and complex employers' and public liability claims. Local government bodies are a key source of instruction for core practitioner David Maggs, while James Fawcett is noted for his work in the education sector. For social care providers, Sarah Erwin-Jones and Cynthia Watts are the names to note. The group is also noted for its significant 'expertise in the area of abuse claims defence'.
Other key lawyers:
James Fawcett; Sarah Erwin-Jones; Cynthia Watts
‘Browne Jacobson’s knowledge and experience in dealing with personal injury claims against local authorities is of great help and comfort in these litigious times.’
‘We use this firm solely for the investigation and handling of non-recent abuse claims. The firm has been involved in such cases for over 30 years and has developed a vast knowledge and experience in this field.’
‘The firm works well and has a good balance of personalities within it. They make decisions early on. Their guidance notes and literature are very well presented, along with their website.’
‘The individuals undertaking our work have a considerable knowledge base and support to work from. Sarah Erwin-Jones is very experienced, knowledgeable and efficient in dealing with these very sensitive cases. The firm operates a system of support to staff enabling more time consuming work to be allocated to lower fee earners when possible, thereby saving costs spend, without compromising quality.’
‘Strengths are expertise in the area of abuse claims defence. Regular updates and availability of solicitors to respond to queries.’
‘Sarah Erwin-Jones is able to reassure and explain the legal process to witnesses.’
Markel (UK) Ltd
Municipal Mutual Insurance Ltd
London borough of Lambeth Insurance team
Department for Education (RPA)
Gallagher Bassett International Ltd
TopMark Claims Management Ltd
London borough of Enfield Insurance team
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
High-value stress at work claims and group litigation comprise a core part of the workload at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP. Major corporates such as Chevron and Diageo regularly instruct the 'highly recognised' group to act on their most sensitive and notable cases, in the UK as well as internationally. A key strength of the team is its ability to handle both the civil personal injury claim and any criminal prosecution arising from the same incident. Recognised practitioner Howard Watson is singled out by one client as 'a master of his art', and senior associate David Bennett is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘Very strong team, highly recognised in insurance circles. Impressive knowledge of the market and attentive to clients’ needs.’
‘Howard Watson is a master of his art. An excellent practitioner with masses of experience and a very good collaborative approach.’
‘Howard and his team ensure that their advice doesn’t assume a level of knowledge and provide me with sufficient information to enable me to provide informed instructions and also provide meaningful feedback to internal stakeholders. They do so in the most respectful and subtle manner. They have a very pragmatic and practical approach to their advice and litigation strategy. I do truly appreciate their support and expertise.’
‘Howard Watson, as a partner, takes the time to listen to his client and the issue as well as desired outcome and provides advice that is aligned to these objectives, balanced appropriately with any legal risk. His carefully considered position is of great value, as I have dealt with many partners that aren’t in the detail and often don’t listen as closely as Howard does. David Bennett is an extremely competent senior associate and is fantastic at keeping clients up to date – even with the most minor of developments – in a succinct and effective manner. Very personable and lovely to deal with.’
‘Highly detailed, easy to work with, good at knowing the trees but only to have sight of the forest. Managed a few high profile matters with good success.’
‘Howard Watson is keenly attuned to the pace and flow of a matter and understanding what needs doing and when. Very good with flagging concerns and further investigative needs. Extremely good command of cases he works. Manages associates productively.’
- Acting on behalf of Diageo in relation to claims for injuries arising from the alleged ingestion of thalidomide by the claimant’s mother during pregnancy.
- Acting on behalf of Chevron following the explosion at their refinery, which resulted in four fatalities, a serious personal injury and a number of stress and related claims.
- Acting for the Post Office in relation to personal injury issues raised by former sub-postmasters and -postmistresses who are bringing claims against the client in connection with their internal computer system.
Horwich Farrelly is known as one of the leading providers of legal and handling services to the UK general insurance claims sector, with significant expertise in fraud, motor and catastrophic injury cases. The firm's expertise in handling matters at the intersection of these areas is exemplified by Malcolm Henké, who has over 25 years’ experience of dealing with large loss claims arising from motor accidents (primarily those relating to spinal cord or brain injury), and heads up the large and complex injury group.
Direct Commercial Limited
At RPC, 'totally unflappable' practice head Gavin Reese's expertise in general and product liability, as well as health and safety investigations, illustrates the firm's commitment to offering an expert service at the intersection of these issues. Reese takes on a broad range of claims, focusing particularly on stress, catastrophic injury and chronic pain matters. Another key member of the team is legal director Mamata Dutta, who is regularly instructed to act on high-value and complex personal injury cases; she has particular expertise in issues relating to psychiatric injury and somatoform disorders.
Other key lawyers:
‘Excellent client base of public and employers’ liability insurers.’
‘RPC’s insurance team stands out for its attention to detail and its pragmatic approach to the litigation process. Their cases are excellently researched and prepared. They never lose sight of the commercial view, making early offers of settlement where appropriate in order to protect their clients’ positions.’
‘There is a relatively small team but they are all absolutely first rate.’
‘Gavin Reese is totally unflappable – a seasoned pro.’
- Defending a claim brought by a claimant who allegedly sustained a traumatic brain injury when he hit his head at work, leaving him unable to continue working as an IT consultant.
- Defending a claim brought by a claimant who suffered a traumatic amputation of his right dominant forearm when he reached into machinery, on behalf of a waste and recycling company.
- Representing the manufacturers of a sprinkler system against a claim in which the claimant sustained catastrophic injuries which rendered him paraplegic on a construction site when a large, heavy sprinkler manifold fell onto him.
Hill Dickinson LLP stands out as a firm of choice for personal injury work in the marine sector; the team receives praise from clients for its 'multi-dimensional approach to dealing with a wide variety of shipping-related issues'. Under the leadership of 'technical and authoritative' John Caddies, the group handles the full gamut of crew and passenger injury and fatality claims, as well as acting on industrial disease cases.
Other key lawyers:
Tony McDonach; Laura Wilson; Sarah Barnes
‘We have always found the personal injury team at Hill Dickinson to be collaborative, as well as being extremely experienced in handling crew, passenger and third party marine claims.’
‘Their strengths are the combined knowledge and experience within the team and the manner in which they conduct their business, which is constructive and pragmatic.’
‘I have worked mostly with John Caddies and it is always a pleasure to work with him. He is calm yet responsive and clear in his communications. I find John has a quiet non-overtly aggressive yet very technical and authoritative approach and can work well with both insurers and insureds. I have also worked with Sarah Barnes who is very keen and confident and provides very effective communications on ongoing cases. The whole team are very efficient, knowledgeable and friendly.’
‘From a shipping industry perspective, this firm not only provides specialist shipping lawyers but also advisers with actual shipping industry experience. This provides a multi-dimensional approach to dealing with a wide variety of shipping-related issues. Also, due to the long standing relationship my company has with this firm in terms of occupational disease claims, we benefit from the firm’s in-depth knowledge of our company’s history and practices.’
‘For many years I have been dealing mostly with John Caddies but also, to a lesser extent, Tony McDonach and Laura Wilson, in the handling of occupational disease and crew illness and injury claims. I find them all to be extremely knowledgeable and thorough.’
‘John Caddies is readily available, extremely skilful and professional. Sarah Barnes is a standout individual coming through the ranks.’
‘There is trust and understanding between them. They have the knowledge to assist under pressure which is very positive. They know very well our company and our systems/procedures – something which is very important when defending cases.’
‘John Caddies has been excellent all the way through our dealings with him. We have very much valued his straightforward, practical approach and he is incredibly knowledgeable.’
Associated British Ports
BP Shipping Limited
Royal Caribbean Cruises
UK P&I Club
West of England P&I Club
Maersk Shipping Company
Viking Ocean Cruises
Shipowners Mutual P&I Club
Gard P&I Club
Steamship P&I Club
London P&I Club
Fred Olsen Cruise Line
The North of England P&I Association and Seatruck Ferries
American Steamship Owners Mutual Protection & Indemnity Association, Inc
- Obtained a court order on behalf of a defendant refusing the claimant’s application for either a periodical payments order or a personal injury trust in order to pay for the claimant’s non-NHS funded immunotherapy and associated treatments for his mesothelioma.
Ince's commitment to the growth of its personal injury offering was recently demonstrated by the lateral hire of Rachel Butlin and William Chetwood from Bentleys, Stokes and Lowless. The former arrived to assume leadership of the team, and her wealth of experience handling maritime accidents further enhances the already strong reputation of the firm in this area. John McGowan remains a key contact.
Other key lawyers:
William Chetwood; John McGowan
‘Client focused and straightforward.’
‘I work with John McGowan who is very conscious of insurers’ needs and priorities and has a strong customer focus towards our clients too. He is easy to deal with, cost aware and is proactive towards resolving cases in a pragmatic way as opposed to going through the procedural motions with no vision of the end result.’
‘Strong superyacht team with strong litigation expertise.’
‘Rachel Butlin stands out as a specialist who understands the ins and outs and dynamics of the superyacht industry.’
Major vessel and yacht insurers
Various P&I Clubs
- Settled a claim involving a large motor yacht for less than 10% of the sum sought, on behalf of the owner.
- Represented the insurers in a sensitive case concerning an unexplained engine room death.
- Instructed by the insurers to represent the offshore assured (one of several defendants) in relation to asbestos-related disease (a living mesothelioma).
The team at Keystone Law acts on behalf of a wide range of clients, from notable insurers to self-insured organisations and income protection providers. Local authorities are another key source of work, and regularly instruct recommended practitioner Steven Conway. Also noted is 'preferred legal counsel' Cordelia Rushby, who has developed a successful practice defending employers and their insurers against substantial claims for psychiatric loss.
Other key lawyers:
Cordelia Rushby; Steven Conway
‘I have the pleasure of working closely with Cordelia Rushby, who is the widely recommended and preferred legal counsel of insurance carriers due to her impeccable tailored approach to each matter. She is dedicated to providing detailed and timely analyses in a clear and concise manner. She stands out with her unique ability to engage with our clients from the outset, build trust and rapport which are paramount for the favourable completion of claims. I can wholeheartedly recommend Cordelia to anyone who requires expert legal assistance in the personal injury field.’
HDI Gerling SE
Ipswich Borough Council
Top Mark Claims Management Limited
- Successfully defended a £200,000 highways tripping claim brought by the senior partner of a GP practice in the High Court.
- Successfully applied to strike out a claim brought by a pedestrian who sustained serious injuries when she was hit by a London bus crossing a pedestrian crossing.
- Secured the discontinuance of a claim for stress at work, bullying and harassment brought by a manager in a London borough’s housing department.