Next Generation Partners

Rising Stars

Firms To Watch: Personal injury and clinical negligence: defendant

As a specialist healthcare and clinical negligence defence practice and as a new entrant to the NHS Resolution panel, DWF makes an entrance into the North with directors Caroline Calder and Rachel Thompson heading up the team in Newcastle.

Personal injury and clinical negligence: defendant in North

DAC Beachcroft LLP

Praised by clients as a ‘first rate team’, DAC Beachcroft LLP’s Newcastle team is a leading provider of clinical negligence defence services in the region. Stellar trio Neil Rowe, Dawn McIntosh and David Weatherburn continues to jointly head the practice that secured a significant number of NHS Trusts, including the Resolution, panel positions this year. By consolidating their NHS panel positions, the team is currently handling the NHS’s group action involving over 1000 pelvic mesh claims. The group is also noted for its niche specialisms in mental health, dental and prison health where McIntosh is a leading name.

Practice head(s):

Neil Rowe; Dawn McIntosh; David Weatherburn

Other key lawyers:

Suzanne Landels


‘The team at DACB has strong and longstanding relationships in the north east with a number of NHS trusts, medical defence organisations and private hospital groups. The team specialises in medical liability and regulatory cases involving all types of health professionals. It provides, I believe, an excellent service to each. Typical of the claims that I have handled for them, as Leading Counsel, are cases involving birth trauma or serious spinal injuries. The team has good experience and expertise of the medical issues underlying such claims and prides itself on giving its clients early, sensible and realistic advice. This helps to reduce the cost of claims and enables the client to fix a sensible reserve at an early stage.’

‘Neil Rowe (Partner, Team Leader, NHSR Nominated Partner) is a very able lawyer. He is extremely hard working and has good judgment. He also has excellent client care skills. This is probably why the team that he leads has established such good relationships with its NHS and other healthcare clients all of whom are highly demanding. It is, I think, a measure of NR’s exceptional leadership skills that the team act for more clients in this sector than any other firm in the north east. NR is himself a very experienced litigator. He is excellent in disputes involving several different parties. In one particular case involving complicated contribution proceedings, I was consistently impressed by his strategic and tactical skills and overall command of the claim. NR achieves excellent results for his clients through his clear sighted identification of the key issues and his success in patiently but firmly negotiating a good outcome with other parties.

‘Dawn Mcintosh (Partner) is very experienced and dedicated. She too has good judgment and client care skills. She is very focused on the client but is not afraid to call a halt to the defence of a claim which is likely to fail. She is a good and determined negotiator. However, her excellent client care skills do not prevent her giving difficult advice when it is necessary. Clients have commented to me on her experience and professionalism. They clearly trust her absolutely.’

Key clients

NHS Resolution


Allied World

Practice Plus Group

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS FT

Zurich Global Corporate



MS Amlin


Neon Underwriting Ltd

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS FT

Northumbria Healthcare NHS FT

Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS FT

Cumbria Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS FT

Care UK

South Tees Hospitals NHS FT

Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS FT

Dale Underwriting

Everest Re


Circle BMI

States of Jersey

London Clinic


Care Fertility Group




Bupa-inc Bupa Dental

Bourne Hall Fertility

Work highlights

  • Acting exclusively for NHS Resolution and its member Trusts on the high-profile pelvic mesh group claims, currently the largest group action against the NHS.
  • Acting for NHS Resolution and its member Trusts in some of the highest value claims for birth injury where damages claimed are up to £30m.
  • Advising independent sector medical malpractice clients on a range of cutting-edge legal issues such as vicarious liability and non-delegable duty.

Keoghs LLP

Keoghs LLP’s Newcastle-based team stands out for its specialty in exclusively defending the most complex and sensitive catastrophic injury claims as well as a core practice of RTA claims. The team is also frequently relied upon to advise insurers on policy issues. Practice head Jamie McCabe ‘has an encyclopedic knowledge of defending catastrophic injury cases and has nurtured a team that shares his approach dealing with cases in a forensic and innovative way.’ Key partner Chris Patton heads up the large loss team and has particular expertise in brain, spinal and amputation injuries. Alongside him, senior associates James Fisher, Joanna Grieve, and James Knox are praised by clients as ‘leaders in their own right’ by providing ‘a rare depth of expertise’.

Practice head(s):

Jamie McCabe

Other key lawyers:

James Knox, James Fisher, Chris Patton; Joanne Grieve


‘The team at Keoghs are highly specialised and incredibly experienced in dealing with cases of maximum severity and in particular serious brain injury, tetraplegia and amputation cases. Simply the best at getting to grips with really complex and challenging cases. What we really like is that they put us and our needs at the centre of the process. Nothing is ever too much in terms of supporting our business in technical claims handling, development of our people and keeping ahead of important market developments.’

‘The team work to one voice, they are all technically experienced and whilst individual in their handling you believe that the benchmark they set themselves is set from the top down, you get the same level of proactive handling, advice and strong sense of commerciality in decision making.’

‘James Fisher (Senior Associate) for his knowledge and ability to untangle very complex issues and provide explanations / give advice in a straightforward and easy to understand way.’

Key clients

Somerset Bridge Group


Collingwood Insurance

Noble Claims Services

Tesco Underwriting

Insure the Box


Zurich Insurance

Sompo International

Tokio Marine Kiln

Munich Re

Great Lakes Insurance

Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd

Clyde & Co

Clyde & Co‘s Newcastle practice is most notably known for acting in the majority of industrial disease test cases in recent years. The team led by Toby Scott, is adept in handling both long-tail and short-tail claims for its regional and national clients ranging from insurers to corporate clients. His industrial disease team includes senior associates Roberta Pyle who draws on experience in both claimant and defendant industrial disease, and Anthony Patterson who deals with short-tail liability claims including care home and neglect casts.

Practice head(s):

Toby Scott

Other key lawyers:

Roberta Pyle; Anthony Patterson


Following its merger with RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP in June 2022, Weightmans entered the North East with a strong Newcastle-based partner-led team handling highly sensitive, complex and high-value claims, including catastrophic injuries, fatalities, brain injury, chronic pain and psychiatric injuries. Angela Kirtley, who has particular expertise in high value birth injuries, Robert Rushton, both joining from Ward Hadaway LLP in May 2022, Jasmine Armstrong and Paul Hughes now jointly head the team which is currently acting as the NHS Resolution legal panel. The group is involved in myriad inquiries and the infected blood investigation, as well as medical malpractice claims for insurers.

Practice head(s):

Angela Kirtley; Jasmine Armstrong; Robert Rushton; Paul Hughes


‘Experienced, good relations with both barristers and clients. Good choices of experts and always instructed well. Unlike some Defendant firms they are always on top of the papers and considering them themselves rather than simply acting as a post box.’

‘Rob Rushton is dedicated, and works very hard. Really gets into the detail of cases.’

‘The Trust’s relationship with Weightman’s is relatively new and still developing. However, the team have taken on quality solicitors from other panel firms to build a strong, experienced team who can efficiently deal with inquests, claims and court of protection matters.’

‘The firm have held some very useful and relevant training sessions and webinars, specifically a well organised and insightful Court of Protection session.’

‘A determined, well resourced and highly experienced team of dedicated professionals.’

‘Angela Kirtley is a supremely able practitioner in this field. She unites profound technical expertise and determination to get the best results with an innate capacity to see things for what they are and to get to the heart of an issue. She succeeds in being both humane and tough at the same time.’

Key clients

NHS Resolution

Newcastle upon Tyne NHS FT

County Durham and Darlington NHS FT

Gateshead Health NHS FT

Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS F

North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

Wye Valley NHS Trust

University Hospitals of Birmingham NHS FT

University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS FT

Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHST

Weight to Go Ltd

Work highlights

  • Resolution of liability in a complex case concerning factual and expert disputes as to the nature of the claimant’s heart attack and whether he could have survived without hypoxic brain injury if he had stayed in hospital after his first heart attack.
  • Representing a patient in a claim relating to delay in treating meningitis and the consequences of post operative problems following brain surgery to remove a tumour.