News & Resources

Important new safety improvements for hockey identified following the death of 14 year old player

8th October 2020

Nicholas Moss instructed by Freshfields Bruckhaus Derringer (both pro bono) represented the family of Luke Hobson, in the inquest into Luke’s death. Luke sustained multiple skull fractures and impact brain apnoea on 28 March 2019 when hit by another player’s stick during a training session at his local club.

The incident occurred about ten minutes into the planned session time and about 40 minutes after sunset, when some of the junior players were informally warming up; the coaches were not immediately supervising the session as they were focussed on turning on the pitch flood lights which had been taken off the normal automatic timer as it was the end of the season. Another boy (granted anonymity) was attempting to flick up and volley shots at the empty goal when he hit Luke forcefully, but entirely unintentionally, on his backswing.

The Coroner concluded that the lighting and lack of supervision may have contributed to the death but could not be said probably to have done so. Those issues were nevertheless recorded in box 3 as part of how Luke came by his death, with a conclusion of accidental death.

After Luke’s death, the club introduced new procedures to prohibit junior players going onto the pitch before the coaches are present and to ensure that no hockey activity takes place until the flood lights are on.

Recognising the important wider lessons to be learnt, in particular over mandatory coach-supervision of all junior hockey activity using sticks or balls, England Hockey has been liaising with the family and the club over significant new safety guidance. That guidance is being finalised taking into account the further evidence heard at the Inquest. The key change will be absolute clarity that, given the head injury risks, junior players must not warm up informally at the start of a session using sticks or balls unless qualified coaches are on the pitch supervising.

As well as the new guidance, injury reporting to England Hockey will be strengthened to better monitor head injury risks and coach education is to be amended. Recognising the action already planned, the Coroner will be making a preventing future deaths report to England Hockey in these areas. The Coroner has reserved a decision on concerns raised by the family about the inadequacy of investigations by the police and Local Authority.

England Hockey’s new safety guidance is be dedicated to Luke’s memory.



View External Link



Related Barristers

Nicholas Moss

Nicholas Moss
Year of Call: 1995


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 clerks@tgchambers.com. 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 dnorton@tgchambers.com.

To learn more visit our Covid-19 Information page.