Personal injury and clinical negligence: defendant in South East

Clyde & Co

Clyde & Co recently merged with BLM, acquiring a Southampton-based practice made up of ‘top-class individuals who are well versed in catastrophic PI.’ Key names include Andrew Hibbert, Joe Wakeford and Clare Garnett, who has a niche defending equestrian and livestock cases. Other key names include Stephanie Atkinson and Gemma Parker.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Hibbert; Joe Wakeford; Clare Garnett

Other key lawyers:

Andrew West; Stephanie Atkinson; Gus Peake; Gemma Parker; Sheryl Gearing


‘Andrew Hibbert – a very well respected and collaborative lawyer who has oodles of experience in catastrophic PI. Gus Peake – an extremely able and charming operator. 

‘Joe Wakefield – intelligent, experienced and pragmatic. A keen eye for detail and fantastic soft skills.’

‘I particularly rate Clare Garnett and Andrew Hibbert. I use them all the time as they are very experienced in all matters from minor RTAs to the most serious cases, to include workplace incidents, animals act and so on.’

‘Claire Collins, Clare Garnett and Andy Hibbert. All these three in particular have consistently provided an exemplary and consistent quality of legal advice and handling of the highest value PI cases. Each have been involved in significant cases during 2021 especially leading to excellent settlements and savings.’

‘High quality defendant team, with excellent, gutsy lawyers, who show good judgement.’

‘Clare Garnett is a stoic litigator who knows when to fight cases and when to settle them. She is always prepared to go to trial on the right case and backs her counsel in their decision making. She is a real team player.’

‘A market leading team, at the top of their game. They have a very sensible approach towards catastrophic PI litigation, my area of expertise.’

‘Andrew Hibbert – the stand out partner for me. At the forefront of consensual litigation long before it became trendy. Has a deep understanding of the issues faced by claimants and what it takes to reach a deal on a complex case.’

Key clients

Direct Line Group

Allianz Plc

ERS Claims

Hastings Direct

Liverpool Victoria







Markel International



DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP reputation for healthcare is well-established and highly regarded – the practice is known as ‘an excellent firm providing a first-class service for defendants’. The Winchester-based clinical risk team is led by Heather Durston-Hillyer, who has ‘an in-depth knowledge of the sector and first-class judgement’. Anthea Lane defends clinical negligence claims on behalf of the NHS and private defence organisations.

Practice head(s):

Heather Durston-Hillyer

Other key lawyers:

Anthea Lane


‘Very strong team from top to bottom with years of experience and considerable knowledge of the complex market. This team interacts well with the national clinical negligence group within the firm increasing its skills’

‘Leaders with great judgement who train and oversee a team who reflect their attention to detail. Never flustered and always well-prepared and fastidious.’

‘An excellent firm providing a first class service for defendants.’

‘Heather Durston-Hillyer has an in-depth knowledge of the sector. She has first-class judgement. She shows good attention to detail.’

‘Consistently good clear advice. Shown flexibility in remote working in recent years.’

‘Approachable and consistently good clear legal advice’

‘DAC Beachcroft’s key strength is the knowledge of the healthcare sector. The firm’s culture is that of a friendly, approachable, professional firm who offer a very high standard of service.’

Key clients

NHS Resolution

Medical Defence Union

University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation trust

Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust

HCA International

Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust

University Hospitals Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS trust

Work highlights

  • Acted for the successful defendant, indemnified by the Dental Defence Union in the trial of a dental negligence claim involving soft tissue injuries, claims for which are low value but are rising in volume and which it was important for the client to achieve a positive judgment.
  • Represented NHS Resolution and University Hospitals Southampton NHSFT part way through trial in a high value spinal surgery claim after winning concessions from the Claimant’s expert in cross examination at trial.
  • Acted on behalf of NHS Resolution for the Defendant Trust in RXL –v- Oxford University Hospitals NHSFT in a reported judgment finding for the Defendant in relation to adverse costs following late acceptance of a Part 36 offer.

Gordons Partnership 2020 Limited

Gordons Partnership LLP‘s Guildford-based team is co-led by Charles Atkins, who advises on a range of matters including catastrophic injury, and Iain Pickering, who has worked as regulatory prosecutor. Alison Harden handles cases involving injuries including birth injuries, brain injuries and spinal injuries. They are supported by clinical negligence specialists Carla Applegate and Suzie McCluney.

Practice head(s):

Charles Atkins; Iain Pickering

Other key lawyers:

Alison Harden; Carla Applegate; Suzie McCluney


‘Very knowledgeable and organised. With good tactical awareness.’

‘Charles Atkins is particularly strong, but all at the firm are very efficient and quick on the uptake.’

‘The team at Gordons are very hardworking and always on top of their cases. It is a pleasure to work with them.’

Iain Pickering works hard to get the best result for his client but will be sensible and pragmatic to get there.’

‘A first rate team who are the very best at defending general practitioners and privately acting doctors against allegations of negligence.’

‘Iain Pickering is as tough as nails and never lets any opportunity to advantage his client slip by. Alison Harden has massive experience and good judgement with a very client friendly empathetic manner. Charles Atkins has superb judgement, communicates well and always secures a good result for his client.’

‘Their expertise in the clinical negligence field means that they they give sensible and pragmatic advice to their clients, whilst remaining extremely sensitive to the clinicians with which they deal.’

‘Charles Atkins is a very reassuring presence and has an excellent rapport with experts and treating clinicians alike. His medical understanding is vast and he is always on top of the detail.’

‘Charles Atkins is a very safe pair of hands – good judgement, good strategy and excellent client skills’

‘Iain Pickering – cool, calm and dogged in defending healthcare professionals.’

‘Charles Atkins – a first rate tactical thinker, highly personable, completely understands the nuances of this highly technical area.’


Kennedys advises on high-value, complex matters, with clients including major medical insurers, brokers, and public bodies. The team is described as ‘simply head and shoulders above all others where innovation is concerned’ and is praised for adding value for clients. Managing partner Jennifer Harris leads the Chelmsford-based practice, working alongside Richard West, who heads the liability division, while Joy Middleton handles multi-track work ranging from tetraplegia, amputation, brain injuries and fatalities. Kathryn Oldfield specialises in public sector and liability defence work.

Practice head(s):

Jennifer Harris

Other key lawyers:

Richard West; Joy Middleton; Kathryn Oldfield


‘Remaining at the top of the tree for defendant PI, Kennedys are simply head and shoulders above all others where innovation is concerned. Of course they deliver on claims handling and case resolution for their insurers. But they also add so much value. Their leaders have the vision to see what insurers need and want going forward, and routinely before their competitors.’

‘At the cutting edge of innovation, the team offers efficiency, excellent legal expertise and impressive industry knowledge.’

‘Mark Burton is a first class lawyer who displays tactical excellence and legal knowledge which makes him a “go to” lawyer for defendants.’

‘Richard West – excellent client care skills, impressive industry knowledge and a leader in legal innovation to improve the service for clients.’

‘Kennedys is an outstanding personal injury office in Chelmsford. They are extremely popular with clients, have excellent and top notch individuals.’

‘Richard West is something of a superstar in the field. Starting locally in Essex, he is now one of the key players for liability at Kennedys.’

Key clients

Gallagher Bassett

World Rugby


Stannah Lift Services

TUI Group

First Group


Brit Insurance


Sompo International


DWF specialises in catastrophic and serious injury work - the team is praised for achieving 'excellent, timely and cost-effective resolutions in litigation'. The practice is led by Stuart Giddings ('very good at seeing the bigger picture in a case'), the 'conscientious and pragmatic' Rachel Coombs, Michael Renshaw and Sarah Parker, who have particular expertise dealing with complex claims concerning severe brain injuries, fatal accidents and chronic pain. The practice includes a number of strong senior associates including Helen Champion and Elspeth Fenton.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Giddings; Rachel Coombs; Sarah Parker; Michael Renshaw

Other key lawyers:

Helen Champion; Elspeth Fenton


‘DWF are servicing the needs of some of the country’s biggest insurers. Strength in depth is now something they can boast in spades.’

‘Sarah Parker and Rachel Coombs have added another layer of experience in Southampton.’

‘Great catastrophic injury experience’

‘DWF have pulled off the trick of getting bigger without compromising. They resource their cases properly and employ lawyers who know their stuff.’

‘Steve King is extremely experienced and calm.’

‘The team are intent on achieving the best result for their insurer clients. They pay attention to detail but do not get bogged down in it and are able to keep sight on the bigger picture. They are pragmatic and achieve excellent timely and cost-effective resolutions in litigation.’

‘Rachel Coombs is technically very competent, conscientious and pragmatic. She is ably assisted by Elspeth Fenton who always has all the details of the case at her fingertips. Stuart Giddings is very good at seeing the bigger picture in a case.’

‘A brilliant team comprising some excellent legal minds and a broad range of skills and experience. One of my favorite teams to work with.’

‘Rachel Coombs is a fantastic lawyer, mixed astute legal skills with commercial decisions and a good heart.’

Key clients


Direct Line Group







Work highlights

  • Advised LV on many of their highest value motor claims involving brain or spinal injury.
  • Represented Aviva Major Bodily Injury team on their highest value cases.

Keoghs LLP

The team of ‘really expert, experienced lawyers‘ in ‘Keoghs LLP‘s Southampton office has a focus on catastrophic injury and large loss cases, handling a range of complex matters. Matthew Perkins is an ‘absolutely top-flight partner who has the trust of all the major insurers he works for’. The ‘cool and collected’ Matthew Burfield specialises in fatal and large loss liability and motor claims. Emily Eastwood was promoted to partner in 2021 – she is praised for her handling of military claims.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Perkins

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Burfield; Paul Baxter; Ben Smoker; Emily Eastwood; Laura Dunning; Andrew Williamson


‘A collection of superb individuals who I see helping and encouraging each other. Just genuinely talented lawyers.’

‘Matt Perkins – a top lawyer in dealing with the really high value claims; inspires confidence in clients and counsel.’

‘Matthew Burfield – cool and collected and great at handling experts and personalities.’

‘Outstanding defendant insurance/personal injury practice. They have a team of really expert, experienced lawyers. Associates and senior associates work closely on cases with partners (not left to their own devices like some firms) and therefore learn quickly and get great experience of the most serious work.’

‘Matthew Perkins – highly experienced and absolutely top-flight partner who has the trust of all the major insurers he works for and is skilful and astute enough to take a pragmatic, tactical and strategic view of a case early in its life.’

‘Emily Eastwood is a rising star within the team. Hard-working, sensible and very pleasant to work with. She considers the details of cases carefully, but also sees the bigger picture of cases and how they are likely to pan out. She is a very safe pairs of hands.’

‘Emily Eastwood an up and coming lawyer who is really good with military claims.’

‘Andrew Williamson – down to earth, hard working, gets the job done.’

Key clients


Motor Insurers’ Bureau






Plexus Law

Plexus Law‘s Chelmsford-based practice is led by Andrew Caplan, who specialises in representing high profile individuals, charities and organisations facing sensitive allegations. Thom Lumley is well-regarded for his client service skills, while Angela Hanmore is praised for her ‘experience in defending high profile claims in the railway sector, her close knowledge of railway legislation as well as the workings of the industry itself.’

Practice head(s):

Andrew Caplan

Other key lawyers:

Thom Lumley; Angela Hanmore


‘We have worked with Plexus for several years as they are on our insurers panel. The team we deal with always go over and above to assist and defend claims that are filed against the business’

‘Thom Lumley is always happy to assist. If Thom feels a claim has a low chance of being defended, he always sets out a clear set of options to ensure we get the best service as the client’

‘The casualty team at Plexus Chelmsford is very highly thought of by our department. There is a good balance of experience across the team. Effective supervision is clear in as much as the experienced partners have clearly passed on their own approach to complex cases to the solicitors/associates dealing with lower value matters on a day to day basis.’

‘Angela Hanmore is an astute tactician in the most sensitive and significant of cases. Her approach is highly bespoke and she can be counted on to deliver good results when it matters. Highly recommended.’

‘It is the people in the team that make them unique. I believe their strength lies in their thoroughness, honesty and how knowledgeable they are. When we appoint them to represent our interests, I always know we are in safe hands.’

‘Thom Lumley has gone above and beyond in building a good working relationship with myself and my client.’

‘Part of what makes this practice team unique is their ability to offer legal advice that is informed by deep sectoral knowledge. In our case, the team I have worked with possesses a clear understanding of the transport sector and of the legal/regulatory framework that underpins it, which is vital the defense work that has been undertaken on our behalf. In addition to being relevant to preparing our defense, this knowledge has allowed Plexus to make a number of invaluable recommendations as to counsel and expert witness.’

Work highlights

  • Represented a nationwide security services provider for alleged criminal acts, causing extensive and life-changing injuries to a customer of a pub.
  • Represented the defence of a claim for vibration induced carpal tunnel, brought following alleged historic exposure to vibration.

Trethowans LLP

Trethowans LLP deals with a wide range of claims, including animal liability cases, road traffic accidents and public liability claims. The Southampton-based practice is led by solicitor advocate Kelvin Farmaner – he is praised for his ‘ability to cut through complex cases quickly’. Bethany Blamire has a focus on defending motor claims, while also dealing with employers’ liability and public liability claims – she is known for ‘securing consistently excellent results for insurer clients‘. Ferhat Choudri is another key name in the team.

Practice head(s):

Kelvin Farmaner

Other key lawyers:

Bethany Blamire; Ferhat Chowdri


‘Any time the Trethowans team are acting on a case, there is a singular focus on getting the best result for the client, and doing so without allowing the case to get sidetracked or bogged down. Whether they are dealing with a straightforward case or complex cross-border litigation, they are laser-focussed and strategic from the very start.’

‘Kelvin Farmaner deals with a wide range of insurance backed cases, on the claimant and defendant side. He is a true pragmatist who does not suffer fools, and clients appreciate his ability to cut through complex cases quickly.’

‘The team work efficiently together. The admin support team are well briefed and knowledgable.’

‘Kelvin Farmaner has been our main point of contact for a significant number of years, and has always dealt quickly and effectively with our cases.’

‘All key members of the team have longstanding experience of a wide variety of personal injury and related litigation, including high value and catastrophic injury claims, claims with a foreign element, and costs issues. A strength which is not found in all other firms is continuity of case handling as the team is well-established with low turnover of staff. The firm has embraced the increased use of technology that has recently been precipitated by the pandemic, ensuring prompt and efficient progress of cases.’

‘Bethany Blamire is unparalleled in her organisation, planning and tactical management of cases; she sets the pace in litigation such that she is never playing catch-up.’

‘Kelvin Farmaner’s wealth of experience as a litigator and an advocate means he is unphased by a caseload comprising high value and complex High Court cases. He is quick to distinguish between battles that are worth fighting and issues which, in the client’s interests, need to be resolved by a more tactical or constructive approach.’

‘Kelvin Farmaner’s extensive expertise and knowledge of relevant law and how it impacts our business, has been invaluable.’

Key clients

Van Ameyde UK Ltd

Cornish Mutual Assurance Co Ltd

Go Ahead Group


Saint Gobain Building Distribution Ltd

Appleby Westward Group Ltd

Flyct B.V.

Jewson Ltd

Farm and General Insurance Ltd

Arch Insurance

Work highlights

  • Advised a Lithuanian insurer via their UK Claims handling agents Van Ameyde UK.
  • Acted for a Dutch insurer in relation to an accident in the Netherlands involving a vehicle colliding with a pedestrian.
  • We acted for Cornish Mutual in relation to an accident on a construction site. We worked with them in support of their member and prepared and filed a robust defence which led to the Claimant discontinuing the claim.

Mayo Wynne Baxter LLP

Mayo Wynne Baxter LLP handles personal injury claims for local authorities, emergency services and utility companies. The Brighton-based team is led by Lee Hills, who also specialises in travel-related matters; recent work has included PI claims concerning food poisoning, road traffic accidents and accidents on holiday

Practice head(s):

Lee Hills