Gerard McDermott KC

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Gerard McDermott KC practises from England and is based in London and Manchester.

His main areas of practice are Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice 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 vast range of injuries arising from negligence, including medical malpractice and road traffic accidents. The majority of his caseload involves catastrophic personal injury such as spinal cord injury and brain injury, and he has over thirty years’ experience of the same.

He was ranked as a Star Individual in Chambers and Partners 2021, described as a “pre-eminent silk who is one of the finest personal injury barristers on the circuit.”

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, and in mediations. 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.

He has a real understanding of the legal systems of a number of different countries, reflecting his interest and experience in numerous cross border cases. It also reflects his long-standing interest in and knowledge of comparative as well as private international and European law. In Legal 500 2022, he is noted for his travel law expertise and described as “the go-to silk in serious travel claims.” Gerard was involved in one of the first cases relating to the implementation of Rome II (EC) No 864/2007 (Bacon v Nacional Suiza [2010] EWHC 2017 (QB)). He also has significant expertise in the implementation of the insurance directive to domestic case law.

Gerard has significant experience in Inquests and Inquiries. Gerard was Lead Counsel for the Health Authority in the high profile Inquiry into the deaths of patients under the care of Dr Harold Shipman. He also represented an RAF Pilot during the Inquest of a Puma helicopter crash. He has experience of a number of aviation claims, both fixed-wing and helicopters.

Gerard sits as a Deputy High Court Judge in the King’s Bench Division. He is also a former President of the American Counsel Association and former Leader of the European Circuit of the Bar.

In addition, and in recognition of his long time involvement with the American Bar Association, Gerard was the first recipient of a Presidential Citation in 2015 and currently co-chairs the International Litigation Committee of the same.

He has an unrivalled network of legal contacts in states across America.

Gerard has frequently travelled overseas to provide talks and training including presentations on Civil Litigation Costs in the UK, Rome II, managing catastrophic personal injury cases and most recently on Brexit Negotiations.


Gerard has experience of a wide range of personal injury cases, acting on behalf of both Claimants and Defendants and their insurers.

Notable Personal Injury cases

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.


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 [2008] EWHC 1228 (QB)

Wrongful birth, economic loss, third party laboratory’s liability for DNA sample.

Allen v Burne [2007] EWCH 1639 (QB)

Application of Bolitho rider to Bolam test.

R v Pennine Acute NHS Trust [2003] 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 [2009] 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 [2007] 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 [2008] 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 [2007] 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 [2008] EWHC 359 (QB)

Serious pelvic injuries £3.4 million (subject to Appeal).

Davies v Bradshaw [2008] 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.

Notable Travel Law cases

Johnson v Berentzen

Serious accident in Scotland – left client an incomplete tetraplegic. Subject to Scottish Law under Rome II. An issue arose about Limitation and whether Scottish Law should be applied to “commencement of proceedings”.  Preliminary trial before Mrs Justice Stacey in March 2021 found that it did, and the claim was out of time but used the discretion available to her to extend time so action could proceed.   

BB v Municipality of Amsterdam  

UK citizen suffered complete SCI (T4) as a result of an RTA in the Netherlands. Case pursued in England under Dutch law. Complexities include quantification of accommodation claim and applicable discount rates under Dutch law and availability of PPs – security of funding (Defendant is the Municipality of Amsterdam) and Brexit issues. Settled for in excess of £5m shortly before trial in January 2021.  

Related updates

Gerard McDermott KC is regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and holds a current practising certificate. If you are not satisfied with the service provided, please click here.

"He is very approachable and a terrific advocate. He is so experienced, a reassuring figure and a great team player."; "He has a huge amount of experience and is one of the go-to silks in the field of international injury. He's fearless and has a phenomenal down-to-earth approach when meeting clients."

Travel: International Personal Injury, Chambers & Partners 2024

"Gerard is absolutely first class, the complete package. He is excellent with clients and experts, brilliant in terms of seeing the big picture, and a fantastic negotiator."; "Gerard is highly experienced and always willing to discuss tricky issues."; "His knowledge of spinal injury and brain injury claims is such a brilliant resource. The way he puts clients at ease in terms of strategy and experience in dealing with catastrophic claims is really reassuring."

Personal Injury, Chambers & Partners 2024

‘Gerard is one of the leading PI silks. His client skills are second-to-none. He has a phenomenal ability to distil complex cases into manageable material, putting clients at ease, but also at the centre of the process.’

Personal Injury, Legal 500, 2024

“Gerard is a very strong advocate.”

Travel: International Personal Injury, Chambers and Partners 2023

“His understanding of client injuries enables him to be a really effective advocate.”

Personal Injury, Chambers and Partners 2023

“Gerard's client skills are simply the best. He is able to connect with clients at all levels and build relationships at the most challenging times.”

Personal Injury, Chambers and Partners 2023

“He is approachable, thoughtful and wise in his approach to litigation.”

Personal Injury, Chambers and Partners 2023

"Very charming and has an attractive style of presentation. Experienced, easy to work with and against."

Travel Law, Legal 500 2023

"One of the go-to silks on high-value catastrophic injury matters – a delight to work with."

Personal Injury, Industrial Disease and Insurance Fraud, Legal 500 2023

"He has built up a knowledge of how the insurance industry works and has a great rapport with clients. He truly understands the impact of catastrophic injures and is excellent at managing experts and testing their evidence."

Travel: International Personal Injury, Chambers & Partners 2022

"He's really delightful to work with and has a remarkable magic touch with clients."

Travel: International Personal Injury, Chambers & Partners 2022

"He is an exceptional barrister. His handling of clients is so impressive, he is empathetic and shows real understanding for the concern of the clients. He is always thinking ahead to what a judge will say and his strategic overview and input is invaluable."

Personal Injury, Chambers & Partners 2022

"He is the go-to silk in serious travel claims."

Travel Law, Legal 500 2022

"Gerard is skilled in the art of negotiation whilst also being able to form a rapid and lasting bond with clients, who have absolute faith in his advice and judgement."

Personal Injury, Legal 500 2022

"An experienced QC and an excellent trial lawyer."

Travel, Chambers and Partners 2021

"Pre-eminent silk who is one of the finest personal injury barristers on the circuit."

Personal Injury, Chambers and Partners 2021

"His instinct and insight on complex matters is very impressive."

Personal Injury, Chambers and Partners 2021

He is fantastic with clients, quick with decisive advice, and unsurpassed in his ability to work as a team with solicitors and paralegals.

Personal Injury, Chambers and Partners 2021

Able to put the client completely at ease, while addressing difficult issues and showing exceptional skill and aplomb in negotiation.

Personal Injury, Legal 500 2021

A great team leader who fully understands the implications of catastrophic injuries upon every aspect of clients’ lives.

Travel Law, Legal 500 2021

Pre-eminent silk who is one of the finest personal injury barristers on the circuit. He focuses on the largest catastrophic injury cases and routinely acts in precedent-setting, cross-border litigation. He is widely praised for his fantastic track record in unpromising or challenging cases.

Personal Injury, Chambers and Partners 2020

He is outstanding on his feet and is just an all-around excellent silk.

Personal Injury, Chambers and Partners 2020

He is a highly skilled advocate who invariably succeeds in securing the best outcome for clients.

Travel, Legal 500 2020

He's excellent with seriously injured clients; he puts them at ease, explains things in a clear language they will understand and is very reassuring." "He is excellent on his feet and really insightful.

Travel, Chambers & Partners 2019

Gerard is the epitome of an excellent barrister: he’s a good advocate, good on paper, excellent with clients and very accessible." "He is exceptionally strong in his handling of foreign claims.

Personal Injury, Chambers & Partners 2019

His client handling skills are second to none and is the go-to leader for travel law claims.

Travel, Legal 500 2019

"He is first class, superb on his feet, great at analysing problems."

Personal Injury, Legal 500 2019

"A master with difficult cases. He has good judgement and good delivery."

Personal Injury, Chambers & Partners 2018

"One of the best advocates for catastrophically injured clients. Extremely down-to-earth and approachable with an incredible, sharp brain. He is a no-nonsense silk who cuts right to the key issues."

Personal Injury, Chambers & Partners 2018

To find out more, contact Paul Barton on +44 (0)20 7427 4907 for a confidential discussion.

Our dedicated practice management team can help you identify the right barrister for your case.

  • Recommended in Legal 500 for Personal Injury and Travel Law.
  • Recommended in Chambers & Partners for Personal Injury and Travel Law (International Personal Injury).

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