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

Chambers of Charlie Cory-Wright QC and Richard Harwood QC
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 > Personal injury, industrial disease and insurance fraud

(Personal injury - Leading Silks) Ranked: Tier 1

Neil Block QC39 Essex ChambersHe is a great strategist and his ability to manage and control joint settlement meetings is second to none.

Undoubtedly one of the leaders in the personal injury arena‘, defendant-oriented set 39 Essex Chambers is ‘an ever-growing set with a huge range of experience‘. Members ‘offer a first-class service at all levels‘ and have extensive expertise in high-value catastrophic injury cases, fielding a growing caseload for historical abuse claims. Neil Block QC was instructed by the Foreign and Colonial Office in the Kenyan Emergency Group Litigation, the largest and most complex personal injury claim brought against the UK government. Derek O’Sullivan QC is highlighted for acting in high-value, severe injury cases; Sadie Crapper often acts as sole in catastrophic injury claims, such as those involving brain and spinal injuries. Also of note, James Todd QC took silk in 2019.

London Bar > Clinical negligence

(Leading Silks) Ranked: Tier 1

Neil Block QC39 Essex ChambersAn excellent barrister who understands the real issues and negotiates hard for a fair result.

London Bar > Travel law (including jurisdictional issues)

(Leading Silks) Ranked: Tier 2

Neil Block QC39 Essex ChambersHe is always very calm and thoughtful in his approach to cases.

39 Essex Chambers is ‘one of the leading sets in personal injury work‘ and it is ‘extremely well-regarded for international claims‘. Neil Block QC successfully defended the government in Kimathi and others v Foreign and Commonwealth Office, a significant claim brought by 40,000 Kenyans relating to the alleged actions of the British colonial administration in Kenya during the state of emergency in 1952. The travel practice was recently bolstered by the arrival of Michael McParland QC , who joined the set in November 2018 from Quadrant Chambers.

London Bar > Insurance and reinsurance

(Leading Silks) Ranked: Tier 4

Neil Block QC39 Essex ChambersHe is very experienced in cases involving coverage issues.

London Bar > Product liability

(Leading Silks) Ranked: Tier 3

Neil Block QC39 Essex ChambersTalented, able and approachable, he provides excellent advice.

London Bar > Professional negligence

(Leading Silks) Ranked: Tier 4

Neil Block QC39 Essex ChambersAn experienced silk.