Iain O’Donnell has a common law and specialist criminal practice that encompasses child abuse compensation law, clinical negligence, general high-value personal injury, animal welfare, animal and medical related crime, judicial review / human rights, sports law and police law.
He is recommended by Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 as a leading junior.Child Abuse Compensation Law
Iain acts in complex, historic abuse claims of every type. He has acted and is currently acting in high profile litigation, involving the following parties:
- Rolf Harris
- Cyril Smith
- Lord Greville Janner
- Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) (Iain is instructed by the principal survivor group in the Janner module and also in the Residential Schools module)
- Aston Villa Football Club
- Chelsea Football Club
- Leicester City Football Club
- Queens Park Rangers Football Club
- The estate of Khyra Ishaq, deceased
Iain acts for claimant groups in complex historic abuse claims of all types. He has acted and is currently acting for the following groups:
- Shirley Oaks Survivors group
- Medomsley Detention Centre group
- Rosminian Boys group (as detailed in the BBC documentary: ‘Abused –Breaking the Silence’)
- Beechwood Children’s Home group
- Beecholme Survivors group
He has brought successful claims against local authorities, private schools, the church, the scouts, the boys brigade and other defendant organisations as well as against abusers in person. Iain has given various lectures and seminars in the many legal issues that arise in child abuse claims, and has appeared in a number of the cases that have come to define this area of the law, the most recent of which is CN & GN v Poole Borough Council in which Iain acted for the Claimants, and in which the issue of whether private law claims in negligence can be brought against local authorities for the failures of their social services departments was addressed by the Supreme Court.
- IICSA: Iain is acting currently for the main groups of Core Participants in the IICSA modules examining historic child abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church and by the late Greville Janner. He is also instructed in the Child Sex Abuse in Residential Schools module, in addition to the Janner module.
- CN & GN v Poole BC UKSC 25.
- JXL & SXC v Winston Britton  EWHC 2571 (QB).
Iain is instructed by a number of the main groups of Core Participants in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA).
He is acting currently for the principal groups of core participant survivors in the following IICSA modules:
- Child Sexual Abuse in the Roman Catholic Church
- Child Sexual Abuse in the Anglican Church
- The investigation into institutional responses to allegations of Child Sexual Abuse involving the late Lord Janner of Braunstone QC.
- Child Sexual Abuse in Residential Schools
Iain acts for claimants in clinical negligence and serious personal injury claims of all types, as well as in related inquests. He is instructed in high-value and multi-party actions, and has considerable experience of Article 2 inquests and CICA claims.
Iain acts frequently in inquests, usually for families in Article 2 inquests involving a jury. He acted for the MDU in the high-profile inquest touching the death of Boris Berezovsky, in which the distinction between the standard of proof required for the conclusion of suicide was considered in some detail.
Iain has taken numerous CICA appeals to the First-Tier Tribunal and has regularly obtained maximum available compensation for his clients (i.e. he has beaten the CICA ‘cap’ of £500,000) on appeal.
Iain has maintained a sports law practice throughout his time at the Bar. His sports law practice is principally claimant-based, and has tended to involve serious injuries sustained during competitive football matches. Iain won a recent claim that involved a very serious injury resulting from an excessive challenge sustained during a competitive football match, notwithstanding the fact that the claim was brought without the benefit of a supportive report from the match referee. He has also settled a sports claim involving a serious leg injury, notwithstanding the fact that the injury was sustained during a non-competitive polo match in unusual circumstances.
Iain has maintained a niche specialism in animal welfare law; he acts frequently for the RSPCA in criminal, public and civil matters, almost all of which involve an element of veterinary law and the close consideration of the often-convoluted body of animal welfare legislation. Iain’s specialist criminal practice includes prosecuting offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 for the RSPCA in animal cruelty cases. Iain increasingly undertakes prosecutions involving multiple defendants and the organised criminal activity of animal fighting.
He represented the RSPCA at all stages of the largest ever prosecution brought by the Society, RSPCA v Gray and others, which case resulted in multiple judicial reviews that set out the ambit and applicability of numerous sections of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
Iain has advised the RSPCA on various areas of policy in the past, including advising on its status as a charity and the extent of its powers as a private prosecutor.
- Represented RSPCA in landmark animal welfare case in Solihull (details here).
- RSPCA v McCormick & Ors  EWHC 928.
- John Kent & Anor v Arun District Council & Fontwell Racecourse  EWHC 2295 (Admin).
- Gray & Ors v Aylesbury Crown Court ex parte RSPCA  EWHC 500; LTL (06/05/2010).
- Ward v RSPCA  EWHC 347.
- RSPCA v Chester Crown Court ex parte Foster & Foster  EWHC 1273 (Admin).
Iain acts in environmental law matters, both in public and private law proceedings, as well as undertaking environmental law work in the criminal jurisdiction within his specialist criminal practice.
Iain has acted in various types of environmental cases including the following:
- International environmental cases – most notably acting for Amnesty International as an interested party in the Trafigura litigation (involving the conspiracy behind the illegal dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast);
- Environment Agency prosecutions – principally involving allegations of waste disposal and leakage under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, both for the prosecution and the defence;
- Environmental regulatory cases – Iain acted most recently in a regulatory matter involving the misuse of agricultural land brought by Natural England;
- EC Regulations-related private law actions – often involving EU Energy Provisions and Energy Directives.
Iain O’Donnell joins roundtable on the Enforcement of Animal Welfare Legislation - Nov 2020
‘See’ you at the Bar Council Pupillage Fair 2020 - Oct 2020
IICSA Report into the Anglican Church released - Oct 2020
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse investigates the abuse of children in the care of Lambeth Council - Jul 2020
Latest Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse report into The Roman Catholic Church Case Study published - Oct 2019
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse hears evidence regarding child sexual abuse in the Anglican Church - Jul 2019
Justin Levinson and Iain O’Donnell to provide a legal update APIL Abuse Conference 2019 - Jul 2019
Protecting children from harm: CN & GN v Poole Borough Council - Jun 2019
Iain O’Donnell, Matthew Donmall and Emma-Louise Fenelon act in important recent Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) hearing - Feb 2019
Seven 1COR members in landmark Supreme Court case - Jul 2018
The Supreme Court has granted permission to the Appellants to appeal in the case of CN (1) & GN (2) v Poole Borough Council - Mar 2018
Iain O’Donnell succeeds in landmark Animal Welfare case in Solihull - Feb 2017
Iain O’Donnell in appeal on the definition of ‘animal fighting’ - May 2016
Iain O’Donnell wins in the Court of Appeal on a case involving causation, risk assessments and the interpretation of workplace regulations - Mar 2015
London and Brighton Members and clerks take part in the London to Brighton Bike ride - May 2014
Iain O’Donnell obtains compensation on appeal for tetraplegic child at the CICA maximum of £500,000 - May 2014
Iain O’Donnell has been instructed in the Inquest into the death of Boris Berezovsky - Mar 2014
Iain O’Donnell wins in a historic child abuse claim brought against a convicted paedophile - Feb 2014
Iain O’Donnell wins in Court of Appeal in test case on occupier’s duty owed to pupils by schools – the “water fountain case” - Oct 2013
Iain O’Donnell in Court of Appeal in test case on occupier’s duty owed to pupils by schools - Oct 2013
1COR team in the London Bikeathon supporting Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research - Sep 2013
1COR appears in inquest on death of 13-year old schoolboy run over outside his school - Jul 2013
Iain O’Donnell prosecutes RSPCA case where horses and dogs were kept in the worst conditions vets had ever witnessed - Jun 2013
Iain O’Donnell succeeds in claim by former choir boy against the Church for abuse by a priest - Apr 2013
Robert Seabrook QC and Iain O’Donnell secure landmark win for the RSPCA on interpretation of the Animal Welfare Act 2006′ - Mar 2013
Iain O’Donnell secures lifetime disqualification orders against two prolific and well-established cock-fighters - Oct 2012
New Appointments to the Attorney General’s A, B and C Panels – February 2012 - Feb 2012
Iain O’Donnell, acting for the RSPCA, prosecutes woman who microwaved neighbour’s kitten to death - Dec 2011
Iain O’Donnell prosecutes one of the largest ever dog-fighting cases for the RSPCA - Oct 2011
Iain O’Donnell transfers his practice from Brighton to London - Mar 2011
Robert Seabrook QC and Iain O’Donnell in appeal of biggest ever animal welfare prosecution - May 2010