Theo Huckle QC

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Profile
Theo Huckle QC is the Counsel General for Wales.

He maintains his busy complex PI/Clinical, Public and common law practice with the agreement of the First Minister of Wales. 

He is a Bencher of Lincoln's Inn and general editor of Division I of Butterworths' Personal Injury Litigation Service and contributor to Munkman on Employer's Liability and Occupational Illness Litigation.  He wrote Butterworths' original practice manual on the new system for Periodical Payments.

Theo has a particular and broad ranging Appellate advocacy specialisation ranging from Personal Injury to Constitutional and Devolution law.  In this he brings to bear very broad common law experience dating back to his early days as an advocate undertaking the range of common law work from Crime to Family to PI/Clinical to general Civil work.  He was probably the last of the traditional senior junior heavy Defence crime/Plaintiff civil practitioners based in Cardiff, where he has always been based until his move to Doughty Street.  From 2000 he concentrated on civil work, and increasingly PI/Clinical cases, where alongside a growing profile in Disease work culminating in the Baker v Quantum litigation, he also maintained a higher value Catastrophic Injuries and Clinical practice.

What the Directories Say
Shortlisted for PI Silk of the Year, Legal 500 Awards 2014

Shortlisted for Barrister of the Year, PI Awards 2011, 2012, 2013

Chambers and partner 2015
Personal Injury Band 1; Clinical Negligence Band 1

"He very much represents the client's interests at all times, never losing focus on that. He doesn't mind arguing points that need to be argued robustly."

“… expertise spanning complex catastrophic injury claims as well as clinical and medical negligence matters...”

“… maintains a broad practice that encompasses clinical negligence matters. He is well versed in complex spinal and brain injury cases.”

Chambers and Partners 2014
Personal Injury Band 1; Clinical Negligence Band 1

“He is very committed, excellent and diligent”.

“He’s excellent – he enjoys working with figures, which in big cases is really important, and he has a very pleasant way with client. He’s very technically able and covers all the bases.”

“...has a broad and highly regarded personal injury practice, and has developed a similarly strong practice in clinical negligence... He is extremely bright and absurdly industrious...

“... is highly acclaimed for his handling of catastrophic injury cases, particularly those relating to brain and spinal injuries.”

“... is recognised throughout the circuit and nationally for his expertise in industrial disease claims, particularly those relating to noise-induced hearing loss.”

Appellate Advocacy

He has made five recent appearances in the Supreme Court, leading on four of those occasions:

  • Baker v Quantum [2011] (the first Noise-induced Hearing Loss case to reach the highest court, led by John Hendy QC and leading Robert O'Leary of Civitas Law);
  • Axa v Lord Advocate [2011](Asbestos:Pleural Plaques and Constitutional/Devolution law, leading Clive Lewis QC);
  • Byelaws Bill (Wales) Reference [2012](Constitutional/Devolution law, leading Clive Lewis QC);
  • Agricultural Sector (Wales) Bill Reference [2014] Constitutional/Devolution law, leading Elisabeth Laing QC);
  • Recovery of Medical Costs for Asbestos Diseases (Wales) Bill [2014] (Human Rights/Constitutional/Devolutiion law, leading Richard Gordon QC). To view the videos for the 14th May 2014 session's see here and here; To view the videos for the 15th of May 2014 session's see here and here.
  • The three References under s112 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 are acknowledged as the first UK "constitutional cases" to be heard by the Supreme Court.

Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury

Theo is in demand for his appellate advocacy generally across a broad spread of case types. See the “Appellate Advocacy” tab above.  Apart from his Supreme Court appearances, he was recently brought in post trial to conduct an appeal in a Package Travel Regulations case concerning evidence as to “local standards” of health and safety in hotels in Spain: Lougheed v On The Beach Ltd [2014] EWCA Civ 1538.  During 2013 Theo successfully mounted a second case management appeal to the Court of Appeal concerning technical issues as to the basis of grant of Pre Action Disclosure: Smith v Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change [2013] EWCA Civ 1585; [2014] 1 W.L.R. 2283.


In silk, Theo has further developed his particular specialisation in spreadsheet analytical scheduling of higher value and complex quantums, including loss of chance claims, pension loss claims and periodical payments claims, to maximise recovery by enabling detailed ongoing analysis of the many variables inevitable in complex injury cases, particularly as a case develops and new evidence/material comes to light.


Theo has considerable and wide ranging experience of professional negligence matters generally, but in particular of clinical disputes, especially those involving multiple medical specialities and psychiatric affect. He acted for one of the worst injured children in the Bristol Paediatric Cardiac Surgery cases, securing an award of £1.35m plus periodical payments with overall lump sum value in excess of £6m.  His higher value PI practice ranges from cerebral palsy clinical claims to catastrophic brain and spinal injuries.   He is recommended counsel for the SIA.


Theo appeared in the much discussed Ward v Allies & Morrison [2012] EWCA Civ 1287 where the Court of Appeal considered future earnings computation (Ogden) and the Blamire alternative, probably one or the 2 or 3 most significant PI cases in the year.
He has also regularly advised on cross-border claims in serious injury cases:

  • within the UK, eg England/Scotland: Coleman v Geo. Birchall & Barr Construction (2011-13) in which a late claim was successfully resurrected against the Scottish major contractor having been advised against by the former English solicitors who advised the claim could only be brought in Scotland and would require Scottish solicitors; this led also to successful professional negligence claim against the former solicitors;
  • across European borders, eg. Slawomir Lech v Jimmy Construction Limited and Katarzyna Swirzynska V UKR Limited, claims for Polish nationals' dependants killed in separate incidents working on Spanish construction sites.

Theo is very familiar with the interpretation and application of the Rome II regulations.


Theo is also regularly instructed to conduct test litigation and has particular experience of leading large scale and group litigation, especially through his work on the Parkes v Meridian and Baker v Quantum litigation during 2003-2011;most recently he led in test trials against British Telecoms Plc in Cardiff (Noise Induced Hearing Loss claims re test tone sets including issues of application of Ogden computation to deafness disability cases) and Boots Plc in Nottingham (Work Related Upper Limb Disorder; carpal tunnel syndrome).  Theo recently conducted a further test case management appeal in the BT tone set cases concerning the Sheffield County Court’s practice of using Fast Track allocation and restriction of expert evidence in low value Noise Induced Hearing Loss cases: Offermanns & Aspinall v BT [2015].  Further appeal is being pursued with the prospect of detailed guidance being given by the Court of Appeal on critical practice issues for solicitors in group low to mid-value disease claims.


The following is a selection of other significant cases demonstrating the breadth of Theo's recent experience and expertise in disease and high value injury claims:

 

  • Mazo v Boyle (Westbourne Hotel) [2015] £4.2m claim for complex non-dominant wrist injury sustained by successful female HR consultant operating in the lucrative self-employed interim management market.
  • Caine v MOD [2014] Occupational exposure to solvents causing neurological damage (Parkinson's Disease).
  • Warner v Boots [2013] Test claims for WRULD by picker in logistics division of Boots Plc; fully contested through 9 days of trial as first successful claim against that division of Boots.
  • Sutton v BT [2013] Test claims for Ogden computation loss of earnings causing handicap by way of partial hearing loss.
  • Hallett v Blood [2013] Permanent brain injury.  Burden of proof, evidential requirements for and assessment of contributory fault in RTA seatbelt cases. The case settled for £3.2m after Theo obtained permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal.
  • Lovering v Joyner [2011] 
Serious multiple fractures to pelvis and right leg/thigh/hip suffered by successful building contractor in road traffic accident. Settled following JSM at just short of £1m.
  • Vincent Cook [2011] CICA. Complete incapacity case. CICA claim (original CICB scheme) for a child brain-damaged as a baby in an assault by his mother. Instructed as leading junior. Highest reported award for PSLA (£210,000) obtained in 2005. Further interim order in 2007 for payment of £350,000 for immediate re-housing costs. Final order of £5.3m 2011.
  • Evans & Hindmarch v Virgin Atlantic Airways [2011] HHJ McKenna as Deputy HCJ. Complex claims for WRULD by beauty therapists required to carry out Shiatsu massage upon flight passengers. Follows from King & Rimmer v Virgin Atlantic Airways (2005) below. Full Ogden 6 future loss awarded to Mrs Evans. Judgment sums of £225,000 and £70,500 respectively. Theo was also instructed in the linked professional negligence action of Hindom v Lyons Davidson [2013].
  • Colvin v Manx Energy Authority [2011] First claim for noise induced hearing loss on the Isle of Man. Test litigation representing many potential claims. Breach of duty by the MEA established.
  • Bedford v Rockwool [2010-11] 
Complex occupational asthma claim for worker in insulation factory exposed to formaldehyde and isocyanates. Trial 2010. Settled prior to Appeal listed for December 2011.
  • Baker v Quantum Clothing Group [2011] UKSC 17 on appeal from [2009] EWCA Civ 499; [2009] P.I.Q.R. P19; (2009) 153(21) S.J.L.B. 29; Times, June 17, 2009 (Sedley, Smith & Jacob LJJ); [2009] EWCA Civ 566; [2007] EWCA Civ 750; [2008] EWCA Civ 823 - Appeals to Court of Appeal and Supreme Court from decision in Parkes & Ors. v Meridian & Ors. [2007] EWHC B1 (QB) “NDDL” (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Textiles Deafness Test Claims) Theo represented the group Claimants throughout and Miss Baker in both appeals. The Claimants were mainly female sewing machinists employed in Midlands textiles factories from 1960s.  The Defendants were the major textiles groups Courtaulds, Coats and Pretty Polly. Major issues of liability for occupational noise exposure below 90 dB(A)L8 prior to 1990. Costs put at c. £10m. Court of Appeal interlocutory hearings with respect to costs of additional appeal respondents and ATE indemnity information reported [2007] EWCA Civ 750 and [2008] EWCA Civ 823. The Supreme Court gave important guidance on levels of noise attracting employer's liability and on the meaning of “safe” for the purposes of the Factories Act 1961 and hence for similar successor provisions.
  • Bevan v Burton [2010-11] 
Brain injury; Claimant knocked down by speeding car as he crossed road on way home after evening socialising. Contentious issues as to contributory fault and quantum > Settled for £400,000.
  • Smith v St Regis Paper [2007-10]
 Young male factory worker in paper mill crushed by industrial paper roll. Very seriously disabled. Claim value > £4m.
  • Wilson v Gloucester CC [2010-11] 
Fatal accident caused by drainage problems on major A road leading to ice formation. After initial resistance primary liability  admitted and case resolved  upon disputed contributory fault and quantum issues.

Public/Constitutional

  • Axa v Lord Advocate [2011](Asbestos:Pleural Plaques and Constitutional/Devolution law, leading Clive Lewis QC); 
  • Byelaws Bill (Wales) Reference [2012](Constitutional/Devolution law, leading Clive Lewis QC); 
  • Agricultural Sector (Wales) Bill Reference [2014] Constitutional/Devolution law, leading Elisabeth Laing QC); 
  • Recovery of Medical Costs for Asbestos Diseases (Wales) Bill [2014] (Human Rights/Constitutional/Devolutiion law, leading Richard Gordon QC). To view the videos for the 14th May 2014 session's please see here and here; To view the videos for the 15th of May 2014 session's  please see here and here.

Professional Negligence

As well as his Medical Claims and Clin. Neg. practice generally, Theo recently conducted two interesting high value Prof. Neg claims against solicitors.

The first is for a project engineer who lost his leg after a construction site accident in Scotland, was advised by his English solicitor that he had to issue in Scotland, and the solicitor withdrew without protecting client's position and with limitation period expiring; Theo agreed to act instructed by Nigel Cook of Cooks and the claim was brought successfully in England against the contractors but settled for 60% because of that limitation risk; the Prof. Neg claim against the first solicitor for the balance of 40% was likewise successfully settled.  

The second case was a claim against the claimant's first solicitor, who allowed the limitation period to expire in one of the Virgin Atlantic beauty therapist cases, of which Theo has handled 6 or 7 to successful conclusions including in 2 High Court trials in 2005: King & Rimmer v Virgin Atlantic [2005]; Evans & Hindmarch v Virgin Atlantic [2011]; Robert Peach of Coffin Mew now instructed as he has done in the rest of that seies of cases and the case was successfully settled at mediation.

Appointments

  • Counsel General for Wales 2011
  • Bencher of Lincoln's Inn 2012
  • Member of the Bar Council 1990-2007
  • Lecturer Member of the Bar Council Human Rights Education Team 1999-2000
  • Wales & Chester Circuit Junior 2005
  • National Assembly for Wales Civil Panel 2000-2006
  • Welsh Assembly Government Clinical Negligence Speedy Resolution Scheme Panel
  • Treasury Panel 1994-2004
  • Serious Fraud Office Panel 1999-2004

Memberships

  • Personal Injury Bar Association Executive Committee Member
  • Wales Personal Injury Lawyers' Association
  • Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
  • Human Rights Bar Association
  • Wales Public Law & Human Rights Association
  • Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA)