Duncan Fairgrieve’s work encompasses public law, European law, and commercial litigation. He has particular expertise in product liability litigation and mass torts, and has been involved in many of the iconic products cases in England and France (including in the pharmaceutical and medical device sector, chemicals, yachts, automobiles, and tobacco).

He has appeared as a junior before the English Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. Duncan was instructed as junior counsel in the landmark Supreme Court cases of Michael v South Wales Police [2015] UKSC 2 and Robinson v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire [2018] UKSC 4 (led by Nicholas Bowen QC) on the tort of negligence as applied to public authorities. He is currently instructed as junior counsel on another significant case on the tort of negligence before the Supreme Court, to be heard during 2018.

He has also been instructed in significant cases on human rights issues, such as Cheshire West and Chester Council v P [2014] UKSC 19 (Supreme Court case on Article 5 ECHR) and A v Essex CC [2010] UKSC 33 (Supreme Court case on the meaning of Article 2 Protocol 1 right of access to effective education under the ECHR).

Duncan regularly provides expert evidence on English, French and Comparative Law issues in domestic and foreign proceedings, including before the English Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, before the courts in Europe and the United States, as well as many other jurisdictions. Duncan also has experience of offshore litigation, with expertise regarding offshore contract and commercial law, in particular the jurisdiction of Jersey, Channel Islands, where he has taught Jersey and comparative contract law for many years at the Institute of law, Saint Helier.

Since 2001, Duncan has held a post as a Senior Fellow in Comparative Law at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, London, where he is also responsible for the Product Liability Forum.  As an academic, he has published widely, and his work has been cited extensively by the Courts, including the Court of Appeal, House of Lords and the French Conseil d’Etat. Duncan Fairgrieve is also Professeur Associé at Université de Paris Dauphine in France, and a Visiting Professor at the Institute of law, Jersey.

Duncan was called to the Paris Bar in 2002 and also practises as a French avocat before the Paris Bar, from 49 boulevard de Courcelles, Paris, specialising in civil and commercial litigation.

Duncan has published many books and articles in leading journals worldwide, in both English and French, including 18 authored, co-authored or edited books and numerous articles on comparative law topics. He edited the festschrifts for Lord Slynn, and Lord Bingham; the latter was entitled Tom Bingham and the Transformation of the Law and published by OUP in both hardback and paperback, including over fifty essays from distinguished jurists around the world. His work has been cited by the courts, including judges of the Court of Appeal and House of Lords / Supreme Court as well as Rapporteur Public Seban before the French Conseil d’Etat.

Significant cases:

  • CN & GN v Poole BC [2019] UKSC 25: UK Supreme Court considered the extent to which local authorities and their employees owe a common law duty to protect children from harm caused by third parties.
  • Robinson v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire [2018] UKSC 4: Led by Nicholas Bowen QC in landmark judgment on the tort of negligence.
  • Michael v South Wales Police [2015] UKSC 2 (led by Nicholas Bowen QC) : Landmark judgment on the tort of negligence before specially-convened seven-judge panel of the Supreme Court concerning the negligence of police and Article 2 ECHR.
  • Cheshire West and Chester Council v P [2014] UKSC 19 (with Elizabeth-Anne Gumbel QC, and Henry Witcomb: Supreme Court case on Article 5 ECHR.
  • A v Essex CC [2010] UKSC 33 (with Nicholas Bowen QC): Supreme Court case on the meaning of Article 2 Protocol 1 right of access to effective education under the ECHR.
  • Mobilx Ltd & Calltel Telecom Ltd v HMRC [2010] EWCA Civ 517 (with Michael Patchett-Joyce): Court of Appeal test case on ECJ Kittel test – knowledge of connection with VAT fraud.
  • X and Y v London Borough of Hounslow [2009] EWCA Civ 286 (with Elizabeth-Anne Gumbel QC, and Henry Witcomb QC) : Court of Appeal case regarding public authority liability.
  • Neil Martin Limited v HMRC [2007] EWCA Civ 1041:(with Nicholas Bowen QC) : Court of Appeal test case on whether the tax authorities owe a duty of care in tort to the taxpayer.
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