Neil Block KC > Chambers of Charlie Cory-Wright KC and Richard Harwood KC > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Chambers of Charlie Cory-Wright KC and Richard Harwood KC
39 Essex Chambers
Neil Block photo


Joint head of Chambers. Barrister specialising in professional negligence (including clinical negligence); personal injury and disease cases (including sport), insurance (policy construction and coverage disputes, non-disclosure and misrepresentations), product liability, jurisdiction, contract and commercial. Cases include: Pike v IHCL [2013] the claims arising out of the terrorist bombing of the Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai; Stylianou v Toyoshima [2013] jurisdiction issues arising out of an accident in Australia; The Estate of Sir James Wilson Saville [2014] claims arising out of the sexual abuse of children by Jimmy Saville; Smolden v Nolan [1997] PIQR 133 (first case brought in which a referee is sued for failing to control the game resulting in injury to a player); McGregor v Prudential [1988] Lloyds LR (insurance fraud); O’Neil v Fashanu (player-on-player injury); North East, North West and Isle of Wight Shipyards litigation (multi-party asbestos related litigation); Watson v British Boxing Board of Control [2000] CA (liability of sports regulatory body); Gnitrow v Cope Plc [2000] CA (disclosability of confidential agreement); Re: ‘The Supertram Litigation’ [2003] EWCA Civ 1 (liability of highway authorities and tram operators – professional negligence of project manager); A v National Blood Authority (the Hepatitis C litigation); Skandia 4 Group Action – ergonomics of lorry cabs; Allport v Wilbrahim [2003] (successfully defended a claim by a rugby player against a referee in which the claimant alleged that catastrophic injuries sustained in a scrummage were the fault of the referee); Re Bondcare [2003] (a £20m claim alleging negligence against a project manager/quantity surveyor in relation to a hotel development); Miller & Gray v Shoreline [2003] (a claim alleging negligence of project manager and engineer in relation to a coastal protection scheme); ICF v Claims Advance (a claim involving thousands of cases in which insurance coverage issues arise); Whalley v Stoke DC [2006] CA (landmark case on withdrawal of pre-action admissions); the Northwick Park drug trial claims; Pollard v Tesco Stores [2006] EWCA Civ 393 (product liability – interaction of CPA 1987 and British Standards); Ash v Chelsea and Westminster Hospital (clinical negligence claim by well-known actress); Mughweni v Guys and St Thomas Hospital (paediatric cardiac surgery). The toxic sofa litigation: the claims arising out of the terrorist bombing of the Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai. Colchester Borough Council v Turner + Townsend (representing project managers in dispute about construction of iconic visual arts centre).


Called 1980; Gray’s Inn; QC 2002; Bencher 2008; accredited mediator.


Professional Negligence Bar Association; Personal Injury Bar Association; London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association.


1978 BA Hons; Exeter University (1979 LLM).


Tennis, golf, family.

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Insurance and reinsurance

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 5

Neil Block KC39 Essex ChambersSuper-bright, excellent judgement, authoritative, and compelling advocacy skills.

London Bar > Group litigation

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 3

Neil Block KC39 Essex Chambers ‘Wide experience in group actions.’

London Bar > Travel law (including jurisdictional issues)

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 3

Neil Block KC39 Essex Chambers ‘A fantastic advocate – great team player and fun to work with. He is one of the most outstanding in the field.’

39 Essex Chambers works internationally and stands out for its expertise in personal injury claims. Its barristers mainly focus in group litigation actions as well as individual claims involving jurisdiction and choice of law issues including historic child sexual abuse, food poisoning,  injuries suffered by private security personnel while working in politically unstable regions and skiing and other sport accidents. Neil Block KC recently took part in a case that raised complex legal and quantum issues, concerning a claim a tourist arising out of a snowmobile accident in Finland. Bernard Doherty , who has particular expertise in private international law issues, recently represented one of several defendants in a case arising from a neck fracture sustained by former Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle while attempting a ski jump during the filming of reality TV programme The Jump in Austria.

London Bar > Product liability

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 3

Neil Block KC39 Essex Chambers

London Bar > Clinical negligence

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 1

Neil Block KC39 Essex Chambers ‘His tactical nous and negotiating skills are simply second-to-none. Strategically, there are none better.’

‘Really good set for clinical negligence’ 39 Essex Chambers, described as ‘growing and ever-impressive’, has had a particularly strong year in clinical negligence. Well-versed in claimant and defendant work, Charlie Cory-Wright KC has done noteworthy work for the claimant in the complex, multi-factorial negligence case of ET v Aberstawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board wherein the 39-year-old woman is claiming in excess of £5m for serious neurological spinal damage, as well as other cases involving infant injury and secondary victims. In addition, junior Romilly Cummerson is appearing regularly as part of the NHS Resolution panel, she is often led by ‘one of the greats’ Neil Block KC, but also has ample experience acting as sole counsel opposite silks, an example of such work being JH v East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust in which she successfully reached settlement for the trust in a case brought against them for failure to diagnose meningococcal septicaemia, which led to the claimant’s need for bilateral leg amputations and hearing loss.

London Bar > Personal injury, industrial disease and insurance fraud

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 1

Neil Block KC39 Essex Chambers ‘Neil must be one of the best personal injury silks in the country. He has a great reputation within the insurance industry and his presence often puts fear into his opponents.’