Lionel has a High Court and multi-track practice specialising in personal injury, clinical negligence and health & safety with complementary expertise in product liability (particularly in the context of aviation and light aircraft accidents), inquests, costs, insurance contracts and civil fraud. He combines robust advocacy where required with a focused ‘team’ approach to litigation, tactical insight for JSMs and mediations and the ability to manage clients in challenging cases or where difficult messages need to be delivered.
Personal Injury, Clinical Negligence and Health & Safety
Lionel acts for claimants and defendants in all areas of personal injury, clinical negligence and health & safety, including inquests following hospital and workplace deaths; and representing duty-holders in prosecutions under the HSWA 1974 following both fatal and non-fatal accidents in the workplace.
He is regularly instructed in seven figure fatal and catastrophic injury cases, as well as those involving serious brain or head injuries, paraplegia/tetraplegia, loss of limbs/limb amputations, fusion surgery, hip replacement surgery and/or resulting in other significant disability. His general practice encompasses injury arising out of defective products; and he has developed a niche practice in aviation-related claims, including those arising out of serious bodily injury following domestic or international aviation accidents, as well as fatal and serious injury claims arising out of light aircraft accidents. Recent work has also included representing families in claims arising out of the Shoreham Air Disaster (and advising on generic issues relating to potential group litigation); representing dependents of relatives killed in the Germanwings disaster in which there were significant disputes as to the applicable law, jurisdiction and quantification; and the High Court case of Labbadia, which clarifies the scope of the Court of Appeal decision in Barclay v British Airways PLC  EWCA Civ 1419. In addition, as part of his cross-over health and safety/personal injury practice, Lionel is currently advising and representing a cohort of families in group litigation arising out of the Grenfell Fire; and he regularly acts on behalf of companies facing prosecution or civil claims arising out of breaches of health & safety legislation on construction sites and/or in other work environments. More generally, Lionel’s regular practice extends to cases involving complex issues of causation arising from the aggravation or acceleration of pre-existing rheumatological conditions and non-organic pain (including complex regional pain syndrome, chronic pain, post-traumatic fibromyalgia and somataform/somatic symptom disorders).
Lionel similarly has a High Court clinical negligence practice that incorporates factually complicated claims arising out of obstetric and gynaecological injuries, including those resulting in maximum disability, diagnostic failures (such as compartment syndrome, as well as cancer and MCL cases), negligent treatment of post-surgical infections leading to kidney failure, negligent eye and laser surgery, failure to diagnose retinal detachment, failure to convey to hospital, surgical negligence (with particular expertise in cases that have resulted in permanent colorectal injury), general practitioner negligence in failing to refer or diagnose (such as meningitis, sepsis, encephalitis and suspected pulmonary embolism (resulting in death), negligent nursing care of vulnerable patients in hospital, failure correctly to advise of surgical risks or alternative treatment (application of Montgomery), and diagnostic and treatment failures following urgent admissions to hospital. Lionel regularly represents both individuals and the NHS/private practices at JSMs and Mediations. Recent trials include the case of D v NSH CB & R (six-day ophthalmological case before HHJ Walden-Smith (DCJ)).
Costs and Professional Liability
Lionel undertakes costs work in all areas of commercial and common law litigation. He has extensive expertise in costs management conferences, detailed assessments, appeals, enforceability challenges to CFAS, solicitor-own client assessments and drafting general points of dispute. He can also advise on costs budgeting, compliance and the application of, and exceptions to, QOCS (including where there are pre- and post- April 2013 funding arrangements in place). This work has in turn led to regular instructions in professional negligence claims against solicitors and barristers, including those arising out of negligent advice and omissions that have led to significant under-settlement of claims (for example failing to investigate or consider the effect of rheumatological or other chronic conditions, such as fibromyalgia).
Insurance and Civil Fraud
In addition to his main practice areas, Lionel specialises in insurance advisory work (contracts, coverage and indemnity, incorporating discrete issues such as material non-disclosure, fraudulent misrepresentation, wrongful repudiation, declarations, waivers and the meaning and effect of warranties and conditions) and receives regular instructions in claims involving suspected insurance fraud. Acting predominantly for insurers, his experience covers the full spectrum of insurance fraud from exaggerated personal injury claims of significant value to staged/contrived accidents and phantom passenger claims. He has successfully defended numerous fraudulent claims through to awards of exemplary damages and costs sanctions against individuals and/or firms of solicitors.