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 particular interest in equine cases and including catastrophic brain and spinal injury cases. He has been involved in numerous contested hearings, mainly for insurers in cases involving equine accidents and the Animals Act 1971.
Defending in Motoring accidents of the utmost severity.
R v Matthew Gordon
Defending the owner of the runaway lorry charged with four counts of manslaughter, that killed four people in Bath and injured others when its brakes failed whilst travelling in a width restricted area. Convicted after a five week trial in front of Mr Justice Langstaff. A difficult and high profile case which required skilful tactics to attempt to reflect mitigation during the trial and to reduce sentence on conviction. Tactics which succeeded. (anticipated sentence 10-12 reduced to 7.5 years)
R v John Green
A death by careless following the death of a cyclist at the interchange at Ludgate Circus with a large lorry. The case went to trial at the Old Bailey and turned on expert evidence as to lines of vision. Following conviction the defendant received a community service order.
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