John de Bono QC

Call 1995 | Silk 2014

John de Bono QC | Call 1995 | Silk 2014

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Overview

John is highly sought after by both claimants and defendants. He is well known as a leading practitioner in clinical negligence. He also practises in personal injury, cases of sexual abuse, police law and judicial review. Described by clients cited in The Legal 500 as a “dream to work with”, he is highly regarded for his team approach, empathy and intelligence.

John is clerked primarily by Lee Johnson, Clare Sabido and Natasha Southgate.

“A highly intelligent, considerate and astute barrister. His knowledge, experience and ability to tackle and explain complex issues with ease is invaluable.”
The Legal 500

John is speaking at the MASIC conference on Consent During Childbirth Post-Montgomery on 28th November 2019 and regularly writes on this issue in medical journals.

Experience & Expertise

John is primarily a clinical negligence specialist and is in demand for both claimants and defendants. At any one time he is normally acting in upwards of 20 cerebral palsy claims as well as many other cases involving acquired brain injury in children and adults, spinal cord injury, brachial plexus injury, amputations and Fatal Accident Act cases, particularly those involving large dependency claims.

There is a large crossover between clinical negligence and other personal injury claims and John is regularly instructed in seven figure PI claims including those arising out of road traffic accidents and accidents at work.

Cases and work of note

John is a ‘go to’ counsel for cases involving complex medical evidence. He is particularly good at working with experts to identify the key issues in a case and present the medicine clearly.

John is strong on the law. He is adept at analysing causation and has had some notable successes in cases where the claimant would have suffered some injury anyway but where there has been a material contribution to the outcome from the breach of duty.

John acts in many obstetric cases arising out of Montgomery. He is a strong advocate of the importance of consent and of patients being given all the options.  This has led to success in cerebral palsy cases and many elective spinal surgery cases. John lectures frequently to doctors on the law of consent, most recently to the Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh) at a meeting in Oxford in October 2019.

John has a particular interest in nervous shock having lectured and written widely on this issue. He represents both claimants and defendants in difficult nervous shock cases where the limits of the Alcock approach are still being tested in the light of Taylor v Novo – in particular in cases where there is a material gap between the date of breach of duty and subsequent injury to the primary victim.

Recommendations

John is consistently ranked by the legal directories as a leading silk, featuring in clinical negligence, professional discipline and police law.

The current edition of The Legal 500 comments that “it is rare to have the opportunity to work with such a talented and outstanding advocate,” while noting also that, “his commercial awareness assists in the management and running of cases.” 

Other recent directory editorial has included the following:

Reflections

I love the immense variety between cases and meeting such a huge number of different people: clients, witnesses, experts, solicitors, barristers. Clinical negligence lawyers are permitted to share other people’s deepest worries and most personal tragedies. It is not just about winning cases, it is often more about helping to find answers and understanding what has happened to clients or those they care about most. We are also privileged to work with some of the brightest medical minds and best expert witnesses in the country and to learn new things every day.

Knowing the law is important, but it is far more important to identify the core of a case and then work as a team to achieve the best possible outcome. I am a strong advocate and where cases do not settle I relish the opportunity to cross-examine experts in court. I have always received excellent feedback from my lay clients.

“It is not just about winning cases, it is often more about helping to find answers.”

The more difficult a case the more important it is for everyone to be pulling in the same direction. I encourage every solicitor I work with to phone or email me regularly as a case progresses. I am not one for sitting and waiting for formal instructions with a pretty pink ribbon.

I aim to make a difference in every case. Sometimes that might mean achieving a slightly better settlement but in others it might be the difference between winning and losing. Sometimes cases look impossible on breach or causation but by looking at the evidence differently the prospects can be turned on their head. At trial the margins between winning and losing can be very fine, the very best advocacy can make the difference.

If we haven’t worked together before then please do ring or email me to discuss any case, big or small. I understand that not everyone is right for every case and there are different ways of working but let’s give it a go.

Academic

John has a First in Philosophy and Theology from Oriel College, Oxford, graduating in 1993. He took a Law Conversion Course at De Montfort University where he was placed first in his year in 1994. He read for the Bar Finals at the ICSL in London and won a scholarship from Gray’s Inn.

Seminars/ lectures

John enjoys lecturing and contributing to seminars. He set up and runs the annual Serjeants’ Inn & Oxford Neurosurgery Medical Law Conference for clinical negligence enthusiasts which is now in its tenth year.

 

Privacy

John adopts and adheres to the provisions of the privacy notice which can be accessed here.

further information

For further details of John’s practice please click on the links to the left or contact a member of the clerking or client service team.

Bar Council Membership No: 33629
Registered Name: John Hugh de Bono
VAT Registration No: 673386406