Ben Compton QC
Year of Call:
Ben Compton QC is a specialist advocate in health and safety renowned for his extensive experience in civil and criminal courts, subsequent appeals at the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court, together with jury inquests throughout the UK.
He is recognised as one of the country’s leading health & safety law barristers, ranked in Band 1 by Chambers & Partners, and in 2015 he was awarded the accolade of “Health & Safety Silk of the Year” at the Chambers & Partners Bar Awards, having been shortlisted in 2014.
The vast majority of Ben’s health and safety practice is spent representing corporate defendants and company directors and employees in complex workplace accidents, which result in fatalities or serious injuries. His clients have included some of the country’s leading, corporations, retailers, construction companies, care homes, leisure companies and public bodies.
Ben has been involved in many of the highest profile health & safety cases of recent years, including; the Lyme Bay canoeing tragedy, the Pescado, the Copthorne legionella case, Potters Bar, the Tebay and the Hednesford rail crashes. In 2008 Ben appeared in the House of Lords in Chargot; widely viewed as the most important case on health and safety in the last decade because of its analysis of risk and what the prosecution have to prove as part of their prima facie case.
The following year he appeared in the Court of Appeal in EGS Ltd, which added further clarification to the Chargot ruling.
In 2012, Ben represented the Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Services in the Atherstone on Stour Fire tragedy, following the deaths of four fire fighters in a warehouse blaze – and the property refurbishment company in the Lakanal House Inquest, where six residents died.
Ben has been instructed in most of the major disaster/high profile cases including acting for Beko PLC at the inquest concerning fridge freezer fires in London, the Sterecycle explosion in Rotherham, the double fatality in the apple store on the Earl of Sebourne’s estate, the Linley Developments Ltd, corporate manslaughter and the death on the Woolwich ferry amongst many others.
Following the recent increased sentencing powers of magistrates, he has also represented a number of large companies (Parker Hannifin, Tarmac and others) in the magistrates court with very favourable fines and limited publicity. So far in 2017 he has successfully defended the project manager of DML, charged with gross negligence manslaughter (and section 7), following the window collapse at Hanover Square on the Blaine Gallert construction site. He is currently acting for a number of large corporations including Warburtons, Howdens & Wood Construction.
Ben has experience dealing with clinical negligence cases covering a range of areas, including: brain injury, laparoscopic surgery negligence, injuries at birth and loss of a chance.
In the Inquest of Captain Bedworth
Acting for British Airways at the Inquest following the death of one of its senior long haul pilots from a misdiagnosed pulmonary embolisms. The case raised important issues on long haul travel for both pilots and passengers.
In the Inquest of Gladys Jones
Acting for the Lewisham NHS in a complex two week inquest concerning the roles of the Trust, its PFI partner and subcontractors in a case involving repeated outbreaks of legionella in a hospital.
Inquest into the death of Doris Snook
Acting for European Health Group at both the inquest and the crown court sentencing hearing, following the death of an elderly patient suffering from dementia (scalded to death whilst being bathed by two nurses). Following the instruction of two burns experts, the defence was able to demonstrate to the Recorder of Guildford at the sentence hearing that both nurses had lied about their involvement and were highly culpable for the death. Systems were in place and the Judge in recognizing the steps taken by the company post accident to improve safety, passed a fine of 100,000 pounds under the new guidelines. Turnover 14 million.
Brocklesby v Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust
Claimant suffered severe brain damage as a result of being misdiagnosed as having lung cancer. Case settled.
Buttery v Dr Brittain
Petra Resolva v University College London Hospital – acting for Claimant following substandard appendicectomy with resultant infection. Case settled.
In the Matter of Dr Niven
Acting for neuro radiologist at Inquest stage following allegations of negligence in failing to identify false aneurysm in angiogram on four year old boy following collapse at home with substantial brain damage.
In the Matter of Vijay Harikshiva
Acting for young doctor at Inquest stage following insertion of female catheter into elderly male patient who subsequently died.
In the Matter of Lucas Starchursky
Acting for consultant paediatrician in charge of nine month old boy with Sturge Webber disease who was administered with enormous overdoses of phenytoin leading to death.
In the Matter of Rita Edith Dare
Acting for junior doctor at Inquest stage – allegation that he had failed to spot NG tube in stomach resulting in death.
In the Matter of Carmel Shellar
Acting for Tesco’s at Inquest following the incorrect prescribing of medication from a Tesco pharmacy, which led to death of patient.
Appointments & Memberships
- Health & Safety Lawyers Association
- Western Circuit
- Recorder (2005)
- Health & Safety Silk of the Year (2015)
Areas of Law
- Business Crime
- Clinical Negligence
- Disciplinary & Regulatory
- Health, Safety & Environment
- Marine & Fisheries
- Law In Sport
- Personal Injury
- International Illness, Injury & Travel
“He has a way with the jury and builds instant rapport with clients.” Health & Safety, Legal 500 2017
“He is the genuine article. He is very, very polished, highly professional and an absolute pleasure to work with.” Health & Safety, Chambers & Partners 2017
“One of the best jury advocates” and “without a doubt fantastic for corporate manslaughter cases.” Health & Safety, Chambers & Partners 2017
“His advocacy skills are superb and his preparation meticulous.” Health and Safety, Legal 500 2016
“He understands health & Safety and is an excellent advocate. When he addresses a judge he has real authority. Juries love him.” Health & Safety, Chambers & Partners 2016
“He is someone that people listen to – including judges – and as a result is extremely persuasive in his arguments.” Health & Safety, Chambers & Partners 2016
“Great with the lawyer, great with the judge, and great at cross-examination.” “He’s very good with clients, as he’s keen to engage and be inclusive.” Health & Safety, Chambers & Partners 2015
“A leading-quality silk who gives you complete assurance.” Health & Safety, Legal 500 2015
“Very approachable, he offers sound advice and has a good client manner.” “He is meticulous in his preparation and good with clients. He’s also very good on his feet in front of a judge.” Health & Safety, Chambers & Partners 2014
“One source described him as “a most beautiful courtroom performer, who is very laid-back but in a way that makes him very effective as an advocate. He is highly cerebral, which is why opponents have to be on their mettle with him.” Health & Safety, Chambers & Partners 2013
“Hugely industrious and commands the respect and trust of clients immediately.” Health & Safety, Chambers & Partners 2012
“Extremely professional and communicates well with clients.” Health & Safety, Legal 500 2011
“A true health & Safety specialist, who is a highly thoughtful advocate with a good manner before juries.” “Absolutely brilliant with clients, from directors down to the man who drives the truck.” Health & Safety, Chambers & Partners 2011