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George Pulman QC

QC: 1989

Year of call: 1971

George Pulman QC
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George Pulman QC specialises in all areas of insurance law and has expert knowledge of the complex issues involved. He has also argued at the highest level on all issues relating to family law and mental health.

In addition to his extensive knowledge of these subject areas, George also has particular experience in cases concerning:

  • Churches
  • Costs sharing orders (multi-party actions)
  • Costs limiting orders (CPR)
  • Firemen and fires
  • Horticultural machinery (e.g. mowers, cultivators etc.)
  • Part 36 offers (claimant/defendant)
  • Railway accidents
  • Schools
  • TV and film
  • Tyres (e.g. blow outs) and seat belts.

George was formerly junior counsel to the Crown (common law), defending judicial review and damages claims for the Crown. Another area of interest for George is the ecclesiastical Canon Law of the Church of England.

George has established himself as an extremely capable legal advisor and has been involved with the following organisations:

  • Hong Kong Government Legal Aid Study Group (legal advisor)
  • Legal Aid Green Paper (member of consultative group)
  • PIBA (in their review of Froom v Butcher)

George also lecturers for the following bodies:

  • Judicial Studies Board
  • University of Kent – French Judges Seminar
  • Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (USA)

Clinical Negligence

George’s practice includes advising and representing doctors and consultants on their liability, often in cases with complex clinical dimensions. He is also equally experienced in bringing cases against negligent medical practitioners by patients, local authorities and the NHS. George has also acted in relation to doctors’ contractual entitlements and related employment issues.

Relevant work

  • Brain damage at/before birth
  • Drug related conditions (e.g. Opren, Benzodiazepine etc)
  • Government clinical negligence cases, especially armed forces
  • Head injuries
  • Paraplegia

Case examples:

  • Toth v Jarman [2006] EWCA Civ 1028
    Court of Appeal case where George represented the appellant in a complex case involving nervous shock and psychiatric injury that was alleged to have been caused by the defendant general practitioner.
  • Linstead v East Sussex, Brighton and Hove HA [2001] P.I.Q.R. P25
    Complex case concerning disclosure of statements from a midwife in a clinical negligence case.

Medical Malpractice

George’s medical malpractice work naturally operates in conjunction with his clinical negligence subject area. He is highly experienced and capable prosecuting dangerous medical staff as well as defending others from misplaced litigation.

Mental Health

George’s work in this subject area naturally overlaps with his work in medical negligence and public liability. His range of experience includes not only negligent surgeons but also issues of abuse, psychiatric injury, disability and court procedures.

Case examples:

  • Re M (A Child) (Care Proceedings: Witness Summons) [2007] EWCA Civ 9
    Child appealing against an order made for (L) to give evidence via video link regarding allegations of physical abuse
  • Toth v Jarman [2006] EWCA Civ 1028 Court of Appeal case where George represented the appellant in a complex case involving nervous shock and psychiatric injury that was alleged to have been caused by the defendant general practitioner.

Personal Injury

George is a leading silk in the personal injury field and has gained significant recognition for his appearances in court. His personal injury work overlaps with his medical malpractice work as well as employers liability. He has decades of experience in both employment and personal injury law and has acted in many multi-party and test cases. He has particular expertise in high value personal injury claims in both the civil and employment tribunal jurisdictions and has been instructed by some of the leading cases in the field.

Case examples:

  • Croft v Broadstairs & St Peter’s Town Council [2003] EWCA Civ 676
    George represented the claimant. Case concerned whether the local was liable to a former employee, for damages for personal injuries caused by the local authority’s negligence or breach of contract.
  • McDonnell v Woodhouse & Jones, Times, May 25, 1995
    Claimant’s payment-in. Concerned complications arising in hospital and issues relating to the quantum of damages.
  • Davies (Joseph Owen) v Eli Lilly & Co (No.1) (‘The Opren Litigation’) [1987] 1 W.L.R. 1136
    Important historic case. Hirst J requested the appointment of an amicus to help the court; George Pulman was instructed and he, together with the assistance of counsel for other parties, drafted a form of order which provided for all plaintiffs to bear costs proportionately among themselves. This resolved an important practical difficulty that, if there was to be one or more legal actions, the claimants in those lead actions would otherwise have had to bear all the costs themselves. Even if such claimants won, the burden of irrecoverable costs would be too great for any claimant, who did not have legal aid, to bear them; moreover, even any legally aided claimant would be liable to find his damages wiped out by the Law Society’s charge for costs. The Court of Appeal later upheld the order.

Product Liability

George is a leading expert on product liability and regulatory compliance. He advises and represents clients who have been injured by dangerous products, and in the defence of HSE and corporate manslaughter prosecutions.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

George is a highly capable practitioner whose expertise includes issues such as:

  • Dual retainer
  • Conflicting duties
  • Declining cover
  • Reservation of rights

Case Example:

Somasundaram v M Julius Melchior & Co [1988] 1 W.L.R. 1394
George has sat as amicus curiae in a case concerning solicitors and professional negligence

Insurance Coverage

George Pulman QC is an experienced insurance lawyer and has been instrumental in building Hardwicke’s formidable reputation in commercial circles.

George accepts instructions from clients on all sides of the insurance arena, including Lloyd’s underwriters, insurers and mutual insurance associations, brokers and assureds. His clients have come to rely on both his advisory and practical skills in every aspect of insurance law, including but not limited to:

  • Breaches of warranties and other policy terms
  • Coverage and avoidance issues
  • Jurisdiction and applicable law
  • Misrepresentation and non-disclosure
  • Public liability policy issues

Employers Liability

George has appeared regularly in the employment tribunal, appeal tribunal and the High Court as well as several appearances in higher appellate courts. His practice spans all areas of employment law, and he has also acted on related issues such as disability discrimination, public interest disclosure and insurance claims. He has been instructed on behalf of employers and employees in a wide range of industrial, medical and professional contexts.

Case examples:

  • Croft v Broadstairs & St Peter’s Town Council [2003] EWCA Civ 676
    George represented the claimant. Case concerned whether the local was liable to a former employee, for damages for personal injuries caused by the local authority’s negligence or breach of contract.
  • British Coal Corp v Cheesbrough [1988] I.C.R. 769
    Case concerning redundancy payments and overtime.

Public Liability

Many of George’s clients are public authorities or are those whom exercise public functions. As such George has become extremely well versed in all issues arising from these cases, including all aspects of statutory duties and judicial review. He has also unequalled experience in personal injury issues relating to the armed forces and the public liability issues arising from them.

Relevant Cases:

  • R. v Criminal Injuries Compensation Board Ex p. Cummins (1992) 4 Admin. L.R. 747
    A judicial review concerning the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board and whether the proper basis of assessment was employed by the Board.
  • Pearce v Secretary of State for Defence [1988] A.C. 755
    Concerned nuclear weapon testing and the crown’s immunity from prosecution
  • Dear v Newham LBC (1988) 20 H.L.R. 348
    Court of Appeal case concerning statutory duties of local government.

Road Traffic

Due to George’s wide range of experience in personal injury and clinical malpractice, he has developed an equally strong expertise in all aspects of road traffic, including but not limited to firemen and fires, tyres (blow outs etc.) and seat belts

Case examples:

  • Tompkins v Royal Mail Group Plc [2005] EWHC 1902 (QB)
    George successfully represented the claimant in a difficult High Court case concerning a road traffic accident which rendered the George’s client tetraplegic. The court agreed that the defendant company owed a duty of care to all road users in the vicinity to run its business and ensure its vehicles were parked so as to avoid reasonably foreseeable accident and injury.
  • Rugg v Marriott 1999 WL 1457245
    Case concerning vehicles causing an obstruction, reasonable foreseeability and the duty of drivers to avoid endangering other road users.

Family Breakdown & Finance

He has been involved in leading cases concerned with the relationship of separating couples as well as issues relating to abuse within the family.

Case examples:

  • Re M (A Child) (Care Proceedings: Witness Summons) [2007] EWCA Civ 9
    Child appealing against an order made for (L) to give evidence via video link regarding allegations of physical abuse.
  • S (David Vincent) v S (now M) (Susan Ann) [2006] EWHC 2892 (Fam) Case concerning an applicant former husband applying to enforce against his former wife an order granting him a share in their former matrimonial home.

Professional associations

  • Fellow of The Royal Society of Medicine
  • Personal Injury Bar Association

Qualifications

  • MA (Cantab)
  • Board Member, Legal Aid Board
    Member: ACLEC (Lord Chancellor’s Advisory
  • Recorder (Civil, Family, Crime)
  • Chairman – Mental Health Review Tribunals (Restricted Cases)
  • Legal Assessor: General Medical Council
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