Gerard McDermott QC
Year of Call:
Gerard McDermott QC practises from England and is based in London and Manchester, with associated offices in Abu Dhabi and New York.
His main areas of practice are Personal Injury and Employment Law at all levels, although he maintains a diverse practice across the Common Law and Commercial fields. Gerard acts for both Claimants and Defendants.
He represents clients with a whole range of injuries arising from medical malpractice, product defects or road traffic accidents. Much of his caseload involves catastrophic personal injury such as spinal cord injury or brain injury. He has a very busy trial practice across the United Kingdom, generally in the High Court, as well as reaching impressive out of court settlements through negotiation. An increasing number of his cases have a cross border element to them, with particular emphasis on US issues, but also with cases that have involved Europe and the Middle East.
Gerard also has experience in Inquests and Inquiries having recently (October 2009) represented an RAF Pilot during the Inquest into a 2007 Puma crash and having been Lead Counsel for the Health Authority in the high profile Inquiry into the numerous deaths of patients under the care of Dr Harold Shipman.
Gerard sits as a Deputy High Court Judge in the Queen’s Bench Division. He is also a former President of the American Counsel Association, former Leader of the European Circuit of the Bar and a long time active member of the American Bar Association and in particular the Section of Litigation. Gerard is frequently invited to lecture on his areas of specialism, both in the UK and abroad.
Most recently he has travelled overseas to give talks to the International Association of Defense Counsel on Civil Litigation Costs in the UK, in Paris in September 2009, and to the European Circuit of the Bar on the new European regulation, Rome II, in Warsaw in October 2009. He has been admitted as Attorney-at-Law in New York for nearly 20 years.
Noble v Owens
The Defendant appealed against the award of damages, seeking an order for a retrial, on the grounds that surveillance evidence demonstrated that the judgment had been obtained by fraud. The Defendant failed to prove the allegation of fraud. The expert views were accepted that improvement was multi-factorial and it was held that the Claimant did not dishonestly conceal from the court or the expert witnesses his then true state of disability or dishonestly emphasise his disability. Landmark case in insurance fraud for Claimants.
Tafa v Matsim Properties
The Claimant was rendered paraplegic when he fell through a suspended ceiling whilst working as a general labourer. Issues as to whether the Defendants were aware of his presence as a worker and whether there were instructions to carry out the work in the ceiling. Judgment entered against the second Defendant, the director personally, and the third Defendant, the clinic. They were liable for negligence and breach of statutory duty under the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996 and the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Quantum to be determined.
G v MIB
Tetraplegic Claimant badly injured in cycling accident. Liability compromised at 90% Quantum settled including periodical payment at £ 270,000pa (reduced from £ 300k by contributory negligence).
The Claimant was born in August 2004. As a result of the admitted negligence of staff at hospital, he suffered very severe brain damage which has led to cerebral palsy. The Claimant is a severely handicapped young man who will require a high degree of lifelong care and support. Case settled with a Capitalised value of over £ 6m.
This was a claim for personal injury arising out of a road traffic accident. The Claimant was injured when the Defendant collided with his motorcycle. He suffered multiple injuries, the most severe of which was a fracture of C5 which required surgical fixation at C4-5, as a result of which he was rendered tetraplegic at that level. His care needs were complex and substantial and resulted in 24 hour care – C’s valuation conceded at £8m days before trial.
The Shipman Inquiry Farraj v King’s Healthcare Trust  EWHC 1228 (QB)
Wrongful birth, economic loss, third party laboratory’s liability for DNA sample.
Allen v Burne  EWCH 1639 (QB)
Application of Bolitho rider to Bolam test.
R v Pennine Acute NHS Trust  EWCA Crim 3436
Health and safety, transfer of criminal liability.
Bacon v Nacional Suiza Seguros (2010)
Claimant spinally injured in Spain, application of Rome II Liability trial, judgment awaited.
James Pankhurst v MIB  EWHC 1117 (QB)
Quantum trial following trial on liability – cyclist on country lane hit by driver travelling round blind bend. 100% successful – client with grievous spinal injuries £6.2 million.
Eyres v Atkinson Kitchens  EWCA Civ 365
Quantum settlement following liability trial and successful appeal – company in breach of working time regulations – employee falling asleep at wheel. Paraplegia. Lost trial at first instance – Appeal successful £3.7 million.
Farraj v Kings College Hospital & CSL  EWHC 2468 (QB)
Wrongful birth claim – Jordanian clients. Issues included conflict of laws, Sharia Law, Jordanian Law, Causation and Wrongful Birth. Successful on liability; quantum recently settled.
A v B  EWHC 1639 (QB)
Court of Appeal (Settled 2008) Alleged Negligence of GP in failure to diagnose blocked shunt in child – leading to brain damage. Retrial ordered where Judge applied “Bolitho” rider to the “Bolam” test without consulting parties. Retrial ordered settled at £1.4million.
Noble v Owens  EWHC 359 (QB)
Serious pelvic injuries £3.4 million (subject to Appeal).
Davies v Bradshaw  EWHC 740 (QB)
Allegations of exaggeration defeated. Award for incomplete tetrapligia, with Brown Sequard Syndrome £1.7 million Settlements.
Mr Mohammed v Muminal Islam (2010)
Serious spinal injury in young man £11 million.
Gregory v MoD
Settlement for Doctor in Armed Forces rendered tetraplegic in Helicopter Crash £6.2 million.
Settlement at confidential figure (significant 7 figure sum) for client with stroke following accident in pub and thereafter treatment by osteopath.
Garcia v Serfilco
Advised on cross border and EU aspects froduct liability claim brought in Spain by injured party.
Trial on liability for Russian Sailor injured at sea when fell through hatch – Liability settled at 66% part way through trial (June 2005) Quantum settled 2 weeks before trial – Jan 2007 £1.7 million. Lovell Serious brain damage – settlement £3.1 million.
Serious brain damage – settlement.£9.3 million.
Paraplegia £3.1 million.
S v Portsmouth Area Health Authority
Quantum trial in Cerebal Palsy case £4.3 million.
Paraplegia with brachial plexus injury £3.1 million.
Quantum in Cerebal Palsy case £5.4 million.
Settlement for a young man following a serious head injury £4.75 million.
November 2009 Serious brain injury – settlement £2.55 million.
Settlement – £2.55 million.
Settlement – £1.8 million.
Appointments & Memberships
- American Bar Association
- American Counsel Association
- Bar European Group
- European Circuit of the Bar
- Personal Injuries Bar Association
- International Association of Defense Counsel
Areas of Law
- Business Crime
- Clinical Negligence
- Product Liability
- Employment & Discrimination
- Law In Sport
- Personal Injury
- Child & Adult Abuse
- International Illness, Injury & Travel
- Professional Negligence
“He has strong experience in cross-border cases.” Travel, Legal 500 2017
“He has a level of gravitas and knowledge that is unsurpassed.” Personal Injury, Legal 500 2017
“He has excellent interpersonal skills and takes the time to fully understand the issues in a case.” Consumer, Legal 500 2017
“Gerard has a real zeal for international law issues and a great understanding of the needs of catastrophically injured claimants.” Travel, Chambers & Partners 2017
“He is very experienced, always well prepared and excellent on his feet.” Travel, Chambers & Partners 2017
“He’s one of the top barristers for catastrophic injury; he’s very good at mediating and settling high-value cases because he knows how much money someone should get.” Travel, Chambers & Partners 2017
“He’s excellent. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better barrister on his feet.” Personal Injury, Chambers & Partners 2017
“He has the most incredible people skills, everyone loves him.” Personal Injury, Chambers & Partners 2017
“He’s a top operator. His judgement is excellent, he always makes sure he gets the best result for clients.” Personal Injury, Chambers & Partners 2017
“A master tactician, and his people skills are unparalleled.” Personal Injury, Legal 500 2016
“He has a zeal for travel law claims and is always ready to go the extra mile for his clients.” Consumer, Legal 500 2016
“His client care skills are just incomparable. He is also incredibly well connected and amazingly well respected on all sides.” Travel, Chambers & Partners 2016
“He works very hard to ensure he has a complete command of all evidence before the trial.” Travel, Chambers & Partners 2016
“He’s a great leader who has excellent overall judgement on a case.” Personal Injury, Chambers & Partners 2016
“On foreign cases, he is nothing short of excellent.” Personal Injury, Chambers & Partners 2016
“He is very approachable, has a rapier-fast intellect and is always thinking about what the judge is going to do at trial.” Personal Injury, Chambers & Partners 2016
“His client-handling skills are legendary, and he has sound judgement.” Personal Injury, Legal 500 2015
“He has a good reputation for travel claims, and is great on his feet.” Consumer, Legal 500 2015
“A very high-calibre practitioner, who fights very hard for his clients. He is very dedicated, very approachable and a real grafter.” “He is one of the best PI silks I have worked with – he lives and breathes the case, will immerse himself in it and has all the facts at his fingertips.” Personal Injury, Chambers & Partners 2015
“Incredibly clever, he’s very good with clients and a great team player.” “He is charm itself; his advocacy is disarming, and he presents everything in a succinct, simple and crisp fashion.” Travel, Chambers & Partners 2015
“He’s a fantastic advocate; he can devour large amounts of material and process them in short order, and he establishes a rapport with severely injured clients. He’s the best personal injury silk out there.” “He’s really easy to deal with, incredibly client-focused, understands what he’s doing, and has excellent insight.” Personal Injury, Chambers & Partners 2014
“He really understands trials and how judges think. He’s thorough, an extremely good advocate and imaginative in the way he approaches cases.” Travel, Chambers & Partners 2014
“Clients love him, and he has a great way with opponents and judges.” Personal Injury, Legal 500 2014
Gerard McDermott QC is “outstandingly good” and “knows how to get to the heart of a case instantly and win.” Top solicitors greatly appreciate his “excellent judgement, formidable advocacy” and “ability to look forward and move with the times.” Personal Injury, Chambers & Partners 2013