R v NMC Surfacing Limited & Others


Practice Areas

Health & Safety

Dominic Adamson QC, together with Kizzy Augustin (Partner) and Jenny Boyden (Senior Associate) of Russell Cooke, secured the acquittal of a roofing company (X) following a two week trial at Southwark Crown Court (sitting in the Nightingale Court at Prospero House).  The jury reached their decision unanimously.  The Health & Safety Executive alleged that the roofing company X failed to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employees during the course of a construction project in Bromley and had thus breached section 2 of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974.  A worker was struck by a piece of redundant plant which fell whilst it was being lowered from the roof of a building on Bromley High Street using a ginny wheel.

The defence team argued that there could be no breach of section 2 because the workforce supplied to the project by X was made up of self-employed subcontractors (i.e. not employees).  Therefore, the section 2 duty was not engaged.  Further and alternatively, X also contended that it had taken all reasonably practicable steps to ensure safety because it was acting as a supplier of labour only.  X contended that the duty to plan, manage and monitor the construction work to ensure safety rested with the principal contractor (Y) and another roofing contractor (Z) to whom X supplied labour.  X contended that it was not expected by either Y or Z to produce the risk assessments and method statements for the work because the obligation to produce that material was on Z (the contractor) subject to the approval of Y (the principal contractor).

Y & Z were also prosecuted for breaches of the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015.  The principal contractor Y was convicted at trial of a breach of regulation 13 of the CDM Regulations 2015 (the duty on the principal contractor to plan, manage and monitor the construction phase so as to ensure safety so far as reasonably practicable).  Y argued that it was not the principal contractor because it had not been appointed in writing by the client.  This argument was rejected unanimously by the jury.  X had previously pleaded guilty to a breach of regulation 15 of the Construction Design & Management (CDM) Regulations 2015 (the duty on a contractor to plan manage and monitor the construction work so as to ensure safety so far as was reasonably practicable).  Y and Z will be sentenced at a hearing in May 2021.

Related Barristers

Dominic Adamson QC

Dominic Adamson QC
Year of Call: 1997
Year of Silk: 2020

Close X

Coronavirus Update

TGC continues proactively to safeguard against the risks posed by the spread of Coronavirus. We have a Covid-19 Committee who continue to monitor the situation and follow advice issued by the Government and Public Health England. We will be updating this page as and when new information becomes available. As of 6 July 2020, our London premises, 1 Harcourt Buildings, will be operating with a reduced clerking team in attendance. The remaining staff members and barristers will continue working remotely. We wish to reassure everyone that our contingency plans enable us to continue to provide our services.

Telephoning us

When calling our switchboard number, it will be diverted to a member of the clerking team who will be able to assist in the usual way. All direct dials in Chambers are diverted to be answered remotely.

Emailing us & Sending Instructions

Please send all instructions via email directly to We would be grateful if this could be sent in an orderly fashion to enable working from a screen manageable. We are able to receive hard copy instructions via DX or Post, if necessary. However, we have a preference for electronic documents wherever possible.

Please continue to communicate with barristers directly via phone or email.

Conferences, Joint Settlement Meetings & Mediations

Conferences, meetings and mediations will take place remotely, either by telephone or video until further notice. Group Telephone calls and video calls can be easily arranged. If an in-person meeting is felt necessary please see our Covid-19 Information page for full criteria.

Court Hearings

We are following the Government’s advice closely, which is changing daily. In keeping with that advice, we will continue to service hearings remotely, where possible and as instructed by the hosting Court. In-Person hearings will be accommodated by members of TGC. We will continue to monitor this situation.

Making a payment

If you do not already pay us by BACS, going forward please make arrangements to do so. Please contact the clerks who can supply you with the relevant BACS details.

If you wish to discuss our policy and procedure relating to coronavirus, please do not hesitate to contact our senior clerk Dean Norton on 07535 753098 or

To learn more visit our Covid-19 Information page.