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Colm Nugent
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A highly persuasive advocate

Legal 500

Colm is a specialist barrister in the fields of personal injury and related insurance issues. He is also instructed in a variety of disputes outside these core fields including difficult interlocutory applications, having lectured extensively on the CPR and related costs issues.

Colm acts for both Claimants and Defendants in all aspects of injury and related disputes with a particular focus on lower limb injuries, subtle brain injury (especially those leading to an increased risk of dementia), complex loss of earnings claims, hand injuries and long-term loss claims as well as fatalities.  He is an acknowledged specialist in claims concerning the application of the Defective Premises Act, which has taken him to the Court of Appeal this year.

He is sought after by insurers for cases where fraud and exaggeration are suspected and has had success at striking out a number of such claims. Colm lectures regularly on the CPR, litigation tactics, defending fraud claims, bringing complex loss claims and issues arising from disability and interpretation of the Ogden reduction factors. Colm is also an accredited ADR Group Mediator.

Colm regularly speaks at training events and seminars, and also gives webinars for Practical Law, LexisNexis and others (full details within Colm’s webinar tab).

Personal Injury

Solicitors and insurers recognise Colm’s extensive experience in dealing with high value injury and complex injury claims particularly where exaggeration or credibility issues arise or where fraud is suspected.

Recommended by Legal 500 as a leading junior in this area, he is also regularly instructed in cases with technical aspects on liability (e.g. construction site accidents or product liability) or quantum (e.g.self-employed/business losses claimed, complex medical history and causation issues, life expectancy and cost of care arguments).

Colm has specific expertise in catastrophic injury claims, employers’ & public liability (including disease), multi-party actions, product liability, sports/leisure related claims, RTAs and costs issues. He is a successful appellate advocate: in the County Court, High Court and Court of Appeal. He advises on a range of insurance law and costs issues arising out of, principally, employer’s liability, public and product liability claims. Colm’s professional clients value his attention to detail, client-handling skills and compelling arguments in court.

Colm has appeared in Inquests and in the criminal courts on HSE Prosecutions to represent and defend clients interests ahead of anticipated civil proceedings. These include medical implant complaints, deaths at work as a consequence of allegedly defective equipment, and deaths in motor accidents; as well as advisory work concerning the approach to these types of proceedings in circumstances where the findings may well be used to support Fatal Accident claims at a later stage.

He is regularly instructed for round-table settlement meetings and mediations negotiating favourable compromises in high value claims.

He is presently instructed as sole Counsel in a range of catastrophic injury claims for brain injury, psychiatric harm, and serious limb injury claims exceeding £1 million.

Recent cases

  • Hannon v LBH (2012) – Lawtel: DPA claim by tradesman who suffered major injury when bannister removed a san aesthetic feature by tenant.  Succeeded on liability in QBD and thereafter negotiated substantial damages in settlement meeting.
  • Gill v Hassan (2012) – Lawtel: Successful Ward v Tesco claim at first instance and in the Court of Appeal.  Written submissions requested in the Supreme Court led to the matter being dismissed on paper.
  • Sharma v Noon (2011) – Lawtel: EL claim involving machine injury to hand.  Succeeded on liability and thereafter on Ogden 7 Award before the QBD.
  • Dodd v Raebarn Estates (2013): Acting for leaseholder in multi-party fatal accident claim were deceased was killed by (allegedly) defective stairwell.
  • Yeomans v Technopali (2012): Acting for major industrial manufacturer in complex claim where specialist  repair operative severely injured during the course of the repair itself.  Arguments centred on applicability of PUWER in such cases.
  • Oddy v C.C. (2013): Acting for major drinks manufacturer in EL claim based on psychiatric injury occasioned by release of caustic solution.
  • Tewes v Osborne (2013): Acting for national building contractor in substantial claim brought for genuine injury.  As a consequence of Colm’s involvement due to concerns about exaggeration, the entire claim was abandoned.
  • Nuttal (2013): Successfully obtained admission of liability in substantial personal injury claim arising out of Zorbing activity.
  • Littlejohn (2013): Moderate brain injury claim to minor resulting in lifetime loss claim.  Colm is instructed as lead counsel against a QC.
  • Mohammed v CIS (2013) – Lawtel: Successful strike out of multi-party RTA claim at interlocutory stage following defence of fraudulent conduct.
  • Walsh (2013): Acting for would-be trainee solicitor who suffered a moderate right-sided stroke a week after a low velocity whiplash claim.  Causation disputed.  Claim settled for precisely £1m.
  • Simeone v Weekes (2013): Successfully secured finding of 100% liability against boat owner when new employee fell through the hatch and very seriously injured leg/ankle.  Quantum claim transferred to High Court when damaged claimed reached £3m.  Later settled on confidential terms.
  • Peverill v LBH (2011) – Lawtel: Successful liability claim in contested highways claim.  Issue was whether the HWA frequency of inspection was appropriate, and the proper classification of the section of highway concerned, it being a crossover.
  • Brennan (2013): Complex injury claim in which claimant is involved in multi-jurisdictional  maintenance with on-going shoulder injury.  Liability for injury as cyclist disputed.
  • Barling v Dye (2013): Head injury following cycle accident resulting in subtle brain injury.  Issue is whether the court should make any reduction for C now wearing a cycle helmet.
  • Andrews v RAC (2013): C was an official taking part in a semi-amateur race meeting when a car left the track and seriously injured him.  Issue was the layout of the track (the angle of the corner) and the adequacy of the safety measures.  Liability determined in C’s favour, quantum yet to be determined.
  • Da Silva (2012): Chronic pain case in which experts were at loggerheads over whether client had CP and allegations of fraudulent exaggeration.  Settlement figure confidential but substantial. 

Employers’ Liability

Colm is recognised for his expertise in employers’ liability cases. He is regularly instructed in claims arising principally out of serious injury accidents and fatalities.

He is instructed both to bring and defend high value claims for EL insurers (especially in claims where exaggeration and/or fraud is suspected), and to bring and defend contribution proceedings and recovery actions arising out of EL claims.

Colm has also appeared to defend and represent companies (and occasionally individuals) facing Health and Safety Prosecutions and/or criminal charges relating to use of machinery or vehicles as a precursor to an injury claim.

Relevant cases

  • Sharma v Noon (2011) – Lawtel: EL claim involving machine injury to hand. Succeeded on liability and thereafter on Ogden 7 Award before the QBD.
  • Yeomans v Technopali (2012): Acting for major industrial manufacturer in complex claim where specialist repair operative severely injured during the course of the repair itself. Arguments centred on applicability of PUWER in such cases.
  • Oddy v C.C. (2013): Acting for major drinks manufacturer in EL claim based on psychiatric injury occasioned by release of caustic solution.
  • Tewes v Osborne (2013): Acting for national building contractor in substantial claim brought for genuine injury.  As a consequence of Colm’s involvement due to concerns about exaggeration, the entire claim was abandoned.
  • Simeone v Weekes (2013): Successfully secured finding of 100% liability against boat owner when new employee fell through the hatch and very seriously injured leg/ankle. Quantum claim transferred to High Court when damaged claimed reached £3m. Later settled on confidential terms.

Public Liability

Colm has extensive experience in public liability cases arising out of fatalities and serious injuries for both insurers and Claimants.

Relevant cases and work

  • Gill v Hassan (2012) – Lawtel: Successful Ward v Tesco claim at first instance and in the Court of Appeal. Written submissions requested in the Supreme Court led to the matter being dismissed on paper.
  • Hannon v LBH (2012) – Lawtel: DPA claim by tradesman who suffered major injury when bannister removed a san aesthetic feature by tenant. Succeeded on liability in QBD and thereafter negotiated substantial damages in settlement meeting.
  • Dodd v Raebarn Estates (2013): Acting for leaseholder in multi-party fatal accident claim where deceased was killed by (allegedly) a defective stairwell.
  • Nuttal (2013): Successfully obtained admission of liability in substantial personal injury claim arising out of Zorbing activity.
  • Peverill v LBH (2011) – Lawtel: Successful liability claim in contested highways claim.  Issue was whether the HWA frequency of inspection was appropriate, and the proper classification of the section of highway concerned, it being a crossover.
  • Andrews v RAC (2013): C was an official taking part in a semi-amateur race meeting when a car left the track and seriously injured him.  Issue was the layout of the track (the angle of the corner) and the adequacy of the safety measures. Liability determined in C’s favour, quantum yet to be determined.
  • Da Silva – (2012): Chronic pain case following fall outside an hotel in which experts were at loggerheads over whether client had CP and allegations of fraudulent exaggeration. Settlement figure confidential but substantial.

Road Traffic

Colm regularly acts in road traffic cases both for insurers and Claimants and has enormous experience of such cases at trial.

Relevant cases

  • Littlejohn (2013): Moderate brain injury claim to minor arising from a car accident resulting in lifetime loss claim. Colm is instructed as lead counsel against a QC.
  • Walsh (2013): Acting for would-be trainee solicitor who suffered a moderate right-sided stroke a week after a low-velocity whiplash accident. Causation disputed. Claim settled for precisely £1m.
  • Brennan (2013): Car accident involving cyclist. Complex injury claim in which claimant is involved in multi-jurisdictional  maintenance with an on-going shoulder injury.
  • Barling v Dye (2013): Head injury following cycle accident resulting in subtle brain injury.  Issue is whether the court should make any reduction for C now wearing a cycle helmet.

Occupiers’ Liability

Colm has extensive experience in occupiers’ liability cases arising out of fatalities and serious injuries for both insurers and Claimants. Colm has written articles and lectured on the duties of occupiers in open spaces.

Product Liability

Colm has extensive experience in product liability cases arising out of serious injuries and property damage for both insurers and Claimants.

He is regularly instructed by major appliance manufacturers to defend product liability claims.

Colm has been instructed in claims involving all manner of consumer goods causing injury or potential damage.

Insurance Funded Disputes

Colm regularly acts in personal injury and negligence claims involving insurers.  You can see details of his experience in the Personal Injury and Professional Liability sections of his profile.

Directory recommendations

Colm is recommended by Chambers UK and Legal 500 for Personal Injury.

  • His preparation for court hearings is meticulous and he is a highly persuasive advocate” (Chambers UK)
  • His speed in understanding and assimilating the issues in any case is always impressive” (Legal 500)

Professional associations

  • Personal Injury Bar Association
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association
  • British Insurance Law Association
  • Employment Law Bar Association
  • London Common Law Bar Association

Publications

Contributor to Paul Reed QC’s Construction All Risks Insurance, Sweet & Maxwell, 2014.

Qualifications

  • B.A. (Kent)
  • Colm came to the Bar from employment at Smithkline Beecham (now Glaxo Smithkline)

Webinars

Colm regularly provides webinars for various organisations including Practical Law and MBL.  If you have access to Practical Law and/or LexisNexis, you will be able to watch his latest ones:

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