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Personal injury and clinical negligence: defendant in South East


BLM has an excellent reputation in the defendant personal injury space for its track record of work on high-value cases and complex clinical negligence matters. Overseen by Joe Wakeford, who has over twenty-five years of experience, the practice is skilled in acting for clients across the healthcare sector, including insurers, healthcare defence organisations, care homes, and individual healthcare professionals. Andrew Hibbert heads up the catastrophic injury practice group which has an extensive caseload pertaining to brain and spinal injuries, amputations and fatal accidents. Elsewhere, Stephanie Castell is a key figure in the large loss team and handles liability and quantum catastrophic injury work. Associates Lucy Pragnell and Emma Palmer are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Joe Wakeford


‘BLM are a firm of strong defendant insurance lawyers who closely align themselves with their client’s needs and strategies.’

Great breadth and depth in the team. Really knowledgeable and good tactical and practical approach to litigation.’

‘Lucy Pragnell, in particular, is a formidable lawyer with an encyclopaedic knowledge of highway claims and the Animals Act 1971. She gets straight to the heart of the claim and gives the client quick and accurate advice about what they need to do and what evidence they need to obtain. She also has a fantastic ability to value claims accurately.


Brachers' well-reputed clinical negligence practice continues to be instructed on high-end defendant matters from longstanding professional health service clients. Overseen by Scott Alexander, who has over three decades of expertise in this field, the group handles high-value claims and advisory work for NHS trusts and medical insurer groups. Harriet Humphrey represents clients on inquest matters and has a specialism in delays in diagnosis and misdiagnosis matters. John Sheath remains a stand-out individual in the team. The practice has been bolstered with the addition of experienced solicitor Andrew Bate who joined from Bevan Brittan LLP.

Practice head(s):

Scott Alexander


‘From the start of my case Scott Alexander and his team were brilliant in helping me formulate a response and in their reassurance and their knowledge.’

‘Scott Alexander is a brilliant , kind , warm hearted , meticulous man.’

Key clients

The Medical Defence Union

The Dental Defence Union

Specsavers Optical Group

Medway Maritime NHS Foundation Trust

DAC Beachcroft LLP

The 'formidable' clinical negligence and personal injury practice at DAC Beachcroft LLP is known for its defence work for bluechip independent healthcare providers and social care companies. The team is led by clinical risk head Matthew McGrath, who has over twenty-five years of expertise and handles litigation-heavy mandates for clients. Heather Durston-Hillyer is also a key contact in the team, noted for her particular expertise in cerebral palsy and other birth injury claims, as well as handling complex liability and quantum issues. Anthea Lane manages birth and spinal injury claims. Over in Bristol, Nigel Montgomery is the head of health. Duncan Rutter is another pre-eminent practitioner, dealing with catastrophic injury claims.

Other key lawyers:

Duncan Rutter; Anthea Lane


‘DAC Beachcroft’s clinical negligence solicitors are among the best in the business. Solicitors are loyal to the firm and stay for a long time. That makes for extremely cohesive teamwork, a wealth of shared legal experience, swift decision making and excellent judgment.’

‘A formidable team.’

Their team members are approachable, empathetic and reassuring when supporting nervous or distressed NHS staff.

DAC has a very solid team with very good lawyers.

Key clients

NHS Resolution

Medical Defence Union

Oxford University Hospitals NHS FT

University Hospital Southampton NHS FT

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS FT

Poole Hospital NHS FT

Southern Health NHS FT

Great Western Hospitals NHS FT

Salisbury NHS FT

Isle of Wight NHS Trust

Gordons Partnership LLP

Gordons Partnership LLP's 'excellent' defendant clinical negligence practice has a proven track record of successfully acting for leading healthcare clients in high-value litigation. Jointly led by Guildford-based Charles Atkins and Iain Pickering, who specialises in malpractice litigation, the team also acts in criminal investigations and inquests for institutional and individual clients. Alison Harden handles complex medical disputes with particular expertise in cases involving acquired brain and spinal injury.  The firm's healthcare team has been bolstered by the arrival of experienced catastrophic injury solicitor Carla Applegate from Stewarts Law LLP.

Practice head(s):

Charles Atkins; Iain Pickering

Other key lawyers:

Alison Harden; Carla Applegate


‘Charles Atkins, Iain Pickering and Alison Harden are all first-rate litigation solicitors.’

The team is efficient and practical with good knowledge. Always accessible and prompt to respond with clarity of thought and delivery.’

Alison Harden has a first-class understanding of medical issues and a calm reassuring manner. Charles Atkins has an incisive ability to get to the root of the issues. Iain Pickering is very robust in the defence of healthcare professionals against weaker claims.’

‘Iain Pickering and Alison Harden are extremely hardworking and nurture/train good quality young lawyers.’

‘Alison Harden specialises in complex, high-value birth and catastrophic injuries and is well regarded and thought of. Those that work with Alison find her extremely efficient and very user-friendly.’

What stands them apart is they attract excellent staff and being outside London makes it affordable and in turn, attracts a good calibre of personnel.’

‘This department has a close, longstanding relationship with the Medical Defence Union which means that all fee earners know exactly what the MDU and its members require in terms of representation, either in civil proceedings or in disciplinary proceedings.’

‘An excellent team of healthcare lawyers who work for general practitioners. They understand the medicine extremely well and are very good at interacting sympathetically with GP defendants. All have excellent judgement and recognise which cases to defend and then do so with vigour. Very sensible and grounded medical lawyers.’

‘Gordons provide high quality legal advice. The clinical negligence team are headed by extremely experienced lawyers who are well regarded amongst their peers in this sector; they also have a strong team of associates, solicitors and legal assistants, all of whom I have found to be very capable of dealing with complex cases.’

Keoghs LLP

Keoghs LLP has an 'impressive' personal injury group that undertakes the full spectrum of work relating complex and catastrophic injuries, including brain and spine, including matters with a cross-border element. Overseen from Southampton, Michael Renshaw leads the Southampton office and has over twenty years of expertise in defendant litigation and acting for insurers. Ken Young, Matthew Perkins and Matthew Burfield are also part of the core team.

Practice head(s):

Mike Renshaw


‘The complex injury team at Keoghs is very impressive, both at the partner and associate level. I would highlight their conscientiousness, commercial awareness and sound judgement in particular.’

‘Mike Renshaw is very experienced. A tough negotiator with good judgement.’

Key clients

Direct Line Group



Work highlights

  • Instructed to handle claims brought against an English driver involved in a car accident in France, where one person was killed and seven injured.
  • Instructed by Aviva to investigate and defend a claim brought by a driver who suffered a severe brain injury when the roof of a passing van came loose in high winds and struck his vehicle.
  • Successfully appointed to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau panel in 2019.

Freeths LLP

Freeths LLP's personal injury practice handles cases 'impeccably well' and is noted for its expertise in catering to both domestic and international corporate clients on liability claims and injuries. Overseen by Paul Chadder, who is highly rated by peers and clients, the group is skilled in the full spectrum of personal injury matters including road traffic accidents, employers’ liability, public liability and product liability matters. Industrial disease cases are also a key focus, for which senior associate Matthew Bacon is recommended.

Practice head(s):

Paul Chadder

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Bacon


‘Paul Chadder is reliable, thorough, and has quite exceptional attention to detail which delivers excellent results for the client. For Matthew Bacon, I would say the same – trained well by Paul!’

‘They give a bespoke service to insurance companies, with a level of partner attention rarely seen elsewhere.’

‘Matthew Bacon and Paul Chadder are a dynamic duo. They are both experienced and intelligent, and exercise good judgement.’

‘Paul Chadder has excellent attention to detail, and good judgement. Clients like the fact he is very hands-on.’

‘Extremely conscientious team of catastrophic practitioners.’

Paul Chadder is a great tactician and master of the detail.

The team are knowledgeable, approachable and client focused.

‘Paul Chadder is a calm and steady hand at the tiller. Matt Bacon is a rising star. Both always give good sensible advice and handle cases impeccably well.’

Key clients


Faraday Underwriting Limited.

Axis Capital

JLR (Jaguar Land Rover Limited)

Armour Risk Management Ltd

Sompo International (formerly Sompo Japan Nipponkoa)

Starstone Underwriting Ltd (Part of the Enstar Group PLC)


Vesuvius UK Ltd

BMW (UK) Manufacturing Limited

Tarmac Holdings Ltd

Rolls Royce Motor Cars Limited


Kennedys' Chelmsford-based defendant personal injury practice is skilled in acting for major insurers and corporate clients on catastrophic injury, employers’ and public liability matters and industrial disease. Overseen by manager partner Jennifer Harris, the team undertakes complex advisory work and represents clients in high-profile matters of national importance. Practice head Richard West remains the 'stand-out practitioner' in the team and is the key contact for catastrophic claims. Joy Middleton has expertise in multi-track brain injury matters. The group has been strengthened with the addition of experienced partner Kathryn Oldfield, who joined from Plexus Law.

Practice head(s):

Jennifer Harris

Other key lawyers:

Richard West; Joy Middleton


‘The team is headed up by Richard West who is undoubtedly one of, if not the, preeminent practitioner in the market. They are high experienced in the range of personal injury litigation but enjoy the benefit of the cross-specialty experience that Kennedys can offer.’

‘Richard West is the stand out individual. He has almost 25 years of PI defendant experience and is immensely popular with insurers. He is dynamic and innovative which is reflected in his involvement in the new Kennedys online venture.’

‘Joy Middleton is a star. She take a calm, no-nonsense approach to cases and seems never to be flustered even in the most unexpected and difficult situations.’

‘Jennifer Harris has exceptional knowledge. From the outset, she considers what is required to move claims to settlement.’

‘They are utilising technology to enhance their offering and this even means that our claims handlers have access to their system they have developed to allow settlement of claims post-issue without the need to incur costs of a using a solicitor. They have additional services to assist the team – intel, costs and fraud to ensure that we are only paying the genuine claimants the amount that they are entitled to.’

‘A great team of experienced lawyers in heavy PI.’

Key clients

Gallagher Bassett

TUI Group

First Group


Brit Insurance

Work highlights

  • Acted in a claim relating to a road traffic accident involving defendant motorist, and claimant pedal cyclist. Liability was dealt with in advance of quantum.

Plexus Law

Plexus Law launched in Chelmsford during 2019 with the hire of a large team of lawyers and support staff from insurance rival Kennedys. The 'excellent' team handles complex and high-value matters for a host of corporate clients and leading insurers. Led by experienced litigator Andrew Caplan, the team is experienced in catastrophic claims as well as handling historical sexual abuse matters, which Kate Prestidge is the contact for. Thom Lumley is a key partner and is noted for his expertise in liability claims, particularly in the construction sector. Other core members of the team include Ron Ruston and  Angela Hanmore.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Caplan


‘Excellent service, excellent strategies and excellent value for money. This team do the right thing for their clients. They are very knowledgeable and won’t hesitate to give advice when needed. Can’t recommend them highly enough.’

‘Thom Lumley and Andrew Caplan are extremely good lawyers. Andrew has the ability to find a defence that sticks, especially on large cases when you need your lawyer to find a defence. Thom is extremely personable and is a great strategist. Together they have the competition beat.’

Key clients

Barbican Insurance Group

Munich Re

Transport for London




HDI Global

London Borough of Hackney


Activities Industry Mutual

Builders Direct

China Taiping Insurance (UK)

Ergo Versicherung AG

Virgin Holidays

Pen Underwriting

MS Amlin

Work highlights

  • Drafted the Lambeth Redress Scheme, the UK’s largest and most complex redress scheme for historical victims of abuse was designed and implemented on behalf of Lambeth Council, providing over £19m in compensation.
  • Advised the Highway Authority in the defence of a claim in excess of £250,000 brought by a motorcyclist who suffered significant injuries when he collided with an Armco barrier in an underpass. The claim was dismissed at trial.
  • Instructed to represent Hertfordshire County Council in the defence of a claim brought by a teaching assistant, following her sustaining injury as a result of an assault by a pupil.

Trethowans LLP

Trethowans LLP's personal injury group is overseen by 'robust litigator' Kelvin Farmaner. The team has experience of a wide range of claims, including road traffic accidents, employer’s liability and public liability claims, as well as some catastrophic injury matters. Bethany Blamire is the standout practitioner in the team, having decades of expertise in this area and a niche in agricultural accidents. She is recommended for both domestic and international matters. The workload also features some equine and animal cases which Sarah Wheadon is the key name for.

Practice head(s):

Kelvin Farmaner

Other key lawyers:

Bethany Blamire; Sarah Wheadon


‘Bethany Blamire is someone who constantly achieves excellent outcomes for her clients, without seeking the limelight. I have been working with/for her for many years and within that time she has proved herself to be one of the most diligent, sensible and able solicitors in this field of work.  Bethany is sensible, approachable, and as a result, she is particularly successful in establishing excellent working relationships with lay clients and witnesses.’

‘Kelvin Farmaner has got a proven track record in complex litigation backed up by the experience of representing clients in landmark cases in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. He is comfortable dealing with high-value claims requiring input from multiple medico-legal experts. His specialist interest in costs enables him to give realistic commercial advice at all stages. He is a robust, but sensible negotiator.’

‘This team is proactive, efficient and very pragmatic. They are adept at identifying the key points very early in the litigation and tailoring appropriate strategies. They have particular expertise in acting for and understanding the needs of overseas insurers.’

‘Kelvin Farmaner stands out for excellent client care and extremely sound instincts. Bethany Blamire warrants special mention for meticulous preparation and a very good grasp of the salient issues.’

‘I have worked for many years with Kelvin Farmaner. Hugely experienced, unruffled and dedicated to his clients.’

Key clients

Van Ameyde UK Ltd

Cornish Mutual Assurance Co Ltd

Go South Coast Ltd


Saint Gobain Building Distribution

Appleby Westward Group Ltd

Flyct B.V.

Jewson Ltd

Farm and General Insurance Ltd

WH Bond & Sons Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising Euroins via Van Ameyde UK Ltd on a high-value claim with multiple claimants arising from an accident in Romania.
  • Acting for the insured Cornish Mutual in a significant injury case brought by a farmworker, achieving a reduction for contributory negligence.
  • Representing a Spanish insurer; L’Equite via Van Ameyde UK Ltd in relation to an accident abroad.

BDB Pitmans

At BDB Pitmans, the insurance team is led by Ferhat Choudri and handles professional indemnity and liability claims for corporate clients and insurers. Alan Davies has over three decades of experience in the field and advises on clinical negligence, employer’s liability, public liability, and road traffic accidents.

Practice head(s):

Ferhat Choudri

Other key lawyers:

Alan Davies

Ellisons Solicitors

At Ellisons Solicitors, the personal injury practice handles complex and catastrophic injury claims led by experienced practice head Robert Jones. The group represents major insurers on all matters and is noted for its extensive litigation expertise. Senior associate Edward Weaver is a key member of the team and is recommended for multi-track personal injury claims and motor liability claims. Natalie Simpkins handles large loss claims and brain injury matters.

Practice head(s):

Robert Jones

Other key lawyers:

Edward Weaver; Natalie Simpkins

Mayo Wynne Baxter LLP

Mayo Wynne Baxter LLP's insurance group has particular expertise in the travel sector as well as acting for local authority clients. Led by Lee Hills, the practice is experienced in personal injury claims, especially employer and public liability matters, through to industrial disease claims and fatal injury cases. The team also handles inquest work. Beth Garrod is a key member of the team.

Practice head(s):

Lee Hills

Other key lawyers:

Beth Garrod


‘Lee Hills is very professional and knowledgeable.’

‘A very strong, commercially minded team which provides a good service to specialist insurers and tour operators. The team is small but specialised, giving it greater depth of knowledge than teams at larger firms.’

‘Lee Hills is a leading figure in defendant travel work. He has a strong commercial eye and is trusted by clients to provide an efficient, sensible and thorough service.’