Henry Witcomb has a practice specialising in clinical negligence, personal injury, public authority liability and inquest representation. In clinical negligence, he has particular expertise in dealing with cases involving wrongful death and birth-related catastrophic injury. His personal injury work has focused on catastrophic spinal and brain injuries. In addition he has been involved in several multi-party actions.
Primary Areas of Practice
- Clinical Negligence, in particular those involving wrongful death and birth-related, catastrophic injury.
- Personal Injury with a particular emphasis on catastrophic spinal and brain injury claims. Frequently instructed to act on behalf of the Official Solicitor to represent the interests of claimants who lack capacity. This work has increasingly involved exploration of the overlapping obligations of tortfeasors and state bodies, health, social services and education authorities, to claimants. Wide-ranging experience in other sub-fields including many years’ experience of employer’s liability cases, in particular those involving occupational disease; and of criminal injuries work.
- Public Authority Liability and Child Abuse Compensation Law. Representation of claimants in several multi-party actions suing, principally, public authorities in relation to the abuse and care of children, and those with learning disabilities. The claims have involved exploring the boundaries of vicarious liability of public authorities; and also the direct liability of public authorities in both management and regulatory capacities.
- Inquest Representation. Extensive experience representing families and other interested parties, including health professionals, in medico-legal and personal injury context.
- Multi-Party Actions. Principally actions involving the abuse and care of children but also involving other classes of personal injury claimants.
Recommended as a leading junior (band 1) in the clinical negligence and personal injury fields by the most recent edition of Chambers Directory UK.
"the best senior junior for clinical negligence." "A very bright advocate" who "demonstrates a detailed knowledge of medical and legal knowledge beyond the norm," (Chambers UK, 2013)
often forms part of an "unbeatable" duo with Elizabeth-Anne Gumbel QC and shares her insightful appreciation of child abuse issues. His personal injury practice is primarily focused on catastrophic brain and spinal injury claims, and he has handled a number of group litigation cases. (Chambers UK, 2013)
He is “exceptionally good” as he is both “clever and fantastic with clients.” (Chambers UK, 2012)
Sources shower the “highly compassionate and intelligent” Henry Whitcomb with praise for his “attention to detail” and handling of tough and sensitive cases. (Chambers UK, 2012)
“a very rare mix of empathetic client skills and extremely good legal knowledge.” He is known for his “strong tactical nous.” (Chambers UK, 2011)
Acting with aplomb when handling the most significant matters in the field. Interviewees were deeply enthusiastic about his work, commenting on his “really nice blend of intellect and good client care skills,” and saying he is “always worth choosing as he works incredibly hard and thinks creatively about cases.” (Chambers UK, 2011)
"I think that the absolute best junior is Henry Witcomb," opined one solicitor. He often works with Elizabeth-Anne Gumbel QC and together they are thought to be "beyond compare on difficult cases." He is like many of the 1 Crown Office Row tenants who are praised for their "exceptional client skills." (Chambers UK, 2010)
Henry Witcomb often works with Gumbel and the two are thought to be "a formidable team." Sources note that "he thinks outside the box, which is enormously important, as there is no easy solution to these cases." (Chambers UK, 2010)
Also recommended as a leading junior in both the clinical negligence and personal injury fields by the most recent edition of the UK Legal 500.
Formerly a co-opted member of the Bar Council's Legal Services Committee (civil justice specialist)
Former member of Lord Woolf's Enquiry team
Law Commission pre-publication consultee (personal injury law reform programme)
Significant cases include the following
Please click on the printable version of the CV for a more detailed list
Ndiki Mutua & others v The Foreign and Commonwealth Office  EWHC 2678 (QB)
XYZ v Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust  EWHC 243 (QB)
X, Y & Z v UK  ECHR 1199
X and Y v London Borough of Hounslow  EWCA Civ 286.
A v Iorworth Hoare  UKHL 6.
Rowe v Dolman  EWCA Civ 1040.
H v Thomson Holidays Ltd  EWHC 850 (QBD).
A (by C) v B  EWHC 1178 (QB)
Kotke v Saffarini  EWCA Civ 221.
Sowden v Lodge and Crookdake v Drury  EWCA Civ 1320.
Slater v Buckinghamshire County Council and anr  EWCA Civ 1478.
McDonnell v Congregation of Christian Brothers Trustees (Formerly Irish Christian Brothers) & Anor  1 A.C. 1101.
Royal Victoria Infirmary & Associated Hospitals NHS Trust v B (A child)  Lloyd’s Rep Med 282.
R v Criminal Injuries Compensation Panel ex parte Soper, Lawtel 12.12.02.
Heil v Rankin  2 W.L.R. 1173.
Britland v East Midland Motor Services Ltd 01.04.98 unreported C.A.
- JMC/Airtours litigation (acted on behalf of 3 groups of claimants numbering 764 in total, who have suffered injury whilst on holiday abroad).
- Forde Park School (80 cases).
- Barlavington Manor (15 cases).
- South Wales NCH litigation (35 cases).
- Ivydale Children's Home (15 cases).
- Badgeworth Court School (14 cases).
- St Leonard's Children's Home (25 cases).
- Sunderland Homes Group litigation (56 cases).
- Longcare Homes Litigation (55 cases).
- Staffordshire Homes Litigation (150 cases).
- Birmingham Homes Group Litigation (101 cases).
- Pitt House Litigation (15 cases).
- Olands Litigation (10 cases).
- Wessington School (30 cases).
- Green Field House School (9 cases).
VAT Registration No: 605 8476 27