John Bate-Williams has 35 years experience at the PI Bar in London and has been the Senior Junior in Temple Garden Chambers for the last decade, now being the longest serving member of the set. Extensive experience in catastrophic injury and fatal claims, with particular expertise in brain injury and quadriplegic claims.
His practice has for many years seen a division of instructions favouring Defendants’ insurers (75/25) until the last year, when a number of instructions acting for Claimants in a series of aviation catastrophes has seen the balance more evenly set. He was appointed as a Recorder in 2000.
Described by the solicitor who advised Balfour Beatty to instruct him in the Hatfield Rail Crash corporate manslaughter case as a “pragmatic street fighter”, JBW has acquired a reputation for sound judgment (in professional matters), realistic and practical advice and excellent advocacy. His practice involves representation of insurers and Claimants in high value claims, usually involving catastrophic head injuries or injuries of maximum severity.
He has particular experience in exposing exaggerated and dishonest claims but his objective approach has ensured that he continues to receive a significant volume of instructions on behalf of Claimants in substantial and unusual personal injury and clinical negligence claims.
Since 2014 he has been instructed in a series of claims arising out of aviation catastrophes. He represented all of the British Claimants in the fatal claims arising out of the September 2012 Nepal / Kathmandu Air Disaster, and he has advised in connection with claims arising out of the 2015 Germanwings (pilot suicide) Disaster and the 2015 Shoreham Air Show Disaster.
Inquest representation has included the family of a newborn baby who died as a result of clinical negligence, and the London Ambulance Service in relation to a fatal RTA involving one of their ambulances and a motorcycle ridden by a consultant anaesthetist. In Dufosse -v- Melbry Events  EWCA Civ John persuaded the Court of Appeal that Father Christmas and his Elf were responsible for the Claimant’s downfall in Santa’s Grotto in Selfridges, which led to The Times Award for the Courtroom Joke of the Year (The Times 29 December 2011).
The Times Courtroom Joke of the Year Award – 29 December 2011
“Veteran catastrophic personal injury and fatal accident practitioner with extensive experience handling maximum severity cases … an extremely experienced barrister.”
Chambers & Partners 2020
‘He has an uncanny knack of winning at trial as he is very good with witnesses and judges.’
Legal 500 2019
A very well-regarded senior junior, who can always be relied upon to give a pragmatic and sensible view.” “Has astonishing client skills.”
Chambers & Partners 2018
“A vastly experienced advocate who is instructed by insurers on high-value catastrophic and fatal injury claims. He also sits as a Recorder in the Crown Court.” Strengths: “He is a renowned advocate who is extremely skilled in catastrophic cases.”
Chambers & Partners 2016
“Continues to go from strength to strength and has built a formidable serious accident practice that covers head, back and psychiatric injury claims”
“A superb negotiator who displays great attention to detail and has excellent client skills.”
Chambers & Partners 2015 (London Personal Injury)
“Noted as much for his deft and sensitive handling of clients as for his technical ability in catastrophic injury claims of significant complexity. He is recognised as a specialist in brain injury work, receiving instructions from claimant and defendant solicitors, and is also highly experienced in claims involving severe spinal injuries and complex regional pain syndrome.”
Expertise: “Without doubt he has the skills to manage complex and sensitive head injury cases. He’s extraordinary – he’s incredibly talented and able to talk to clients from all backgrounds. A great team player.”
Chambers and Partners 2014
‘John Bate-Williams “consistently provides advice of the highest calibre”‘. The Legal 500 United Kingdom 2013
“The ‘talented and reliable’ John Bate-Williams earns praise from instructing solicitors for his “thorough approach” to brain injury cases and for his good sense of humour….” Chambers & Partners 2013
Recommended as a leading junior in the 2012 Legal 500 – “John Bate-Williams is ‘personable, polished and a provider of excellent, well-reasoned advice’.
Recommended in Chambers & Partners 2012: “Incredibly affable” senior junior John Bate-Williams “brings parties together with consummate ease and professionalism.” A “wonderful negotiator,” he often acts in severe brain injury cases stemming from road traffic accidents ….
Recommended in Chambers & Partners 2010: “A renowned advocate whose skil in catastrophic cases is there for all to see”. “You feel confident that if you instruct him you have an advantage from the off.”
Recommended as a senior Junior in Legal 500 (2010): “A very experienced and senior junior”
Recommended as a Leading Junior in Personal Injury work in the Legal 500 (2008): “John Bate-Williams’s loyal following praises him for ‘intimate industry knowledge’ ”
Legal Experts 2010 – Highly Recommended for Personal Injury work
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