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39 Essex Chambers

Chambers of Neil Block QC and Alison Foster QC

Work 020 7832 1111
Fax 020 7353 3978
Kuala Lumpur, London, Manchester, Singapore

Neil Block QC

Work 020 7832 1111
39 Essex Chambers (Chambers of Neil Block QC and Alison Foster QC)


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.

London Bar

Clinical negligence

Within: Clinical negligence – Leading silks

Neil Block QC - 39 Essex ChambersHe is a great tactician who understands the real issues and how to resolve them.

Within: Clinical negligence

39 Essex Chambers is ‘a fantastic set’ that offers ‘wide range of excellent leading junior counsel skilled in healthcare litigation’ and ‘very knowledgeable silks’, such as Neil Block QC and Charles Cory-Wright QC. The set deals with full range of claims: minor injuries, catastrophic injury and death, and group litigation; Block and Judith Ayling represented disgraced surgeon Ian Paterson against claims brought by numerous ex-patients and which concerned the liability of the NHS for surgeons providing treatment in the private sector.

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Insurance and reinsurance

Within: Insurance and reinsurance - Leading silks

Neil Block QC - 39 Essex ChambersAn excellent all-rounder he can always see the wood for the trees.

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Personal injury, industrial disease and insurance fraud

Within: Personal injury – Leading silks

Neil Block QC - 39 Essex ChambersA go-to when in need of a heavyweight silk with gravitas; nothing seems to ruffle him.

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Product liability

Within: Product liability – Leading silks

Neil Block QC - 39 Essex ChambersActed in many of the recent high-profile group actions.

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Professional negligence

Within: Professional negligence – Leading silks

Neil Block QC - 39 Essex ChambersHighly regarded.

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Travel law (including jurisdictional issues)

Within: Travel law (including jurisdictional issues) – Leading silks

Neil Block QC - 39 Essex ChambersHe quickly grasps the issues and provides solutions to problems.

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