Robert Lazarus

Year of call:
2004
Email:
robert.lazarus@39essex.com

Clerks:
+44 (0)20 7832 1111

“An absolute pleasure to work with; he’s analytical, precise, extremely knowledgeable and fantastic with clients.”

Chambers & Partners 2017

Robert Lazarus practices in the areas of professional discipline, personal injury, clinical negligence, professional negligence, inquests, property damage, product liability and insurance law. He is instructed by both claimants and defendants and has experience of a wide range of cases including high value, multimillion pound disputes in respect of both liability and quantum.

In respect of his professional disciplinary practice, Robert is regularly instructed by a range of healthcare and other professionals including psychologists, therapists, doctors and architects. He has appeared before a number of regulatory bodies including the Health and Care Professions Council, the General Medical Council, The UK Council for Psychotherapy, the British Association for Counseling & Psychotherapy and The Architects Registration Board.

He has recently been appointed as a Chairman of the Police Appeals Tribunal.

Prior to being called to the Bar, Robert practiced medicine up to the level of an NHS Consultant. He also worked for the Medical Protection Society.

 

Regulatory & Disciplinary


Robert is regularly instructed to appear before a number of disciplinary tribunals, including the HCPC, GMC, GCC, UKCP, BACP and ARB.

Cases include:

  • Clinical psychologist facing multiple allegations including false claims for fees, refusal to disclose clinical records, false representations about patients’ mental health, misrepresenting qualifications and inadequate treatment. This is probably the longest and most complex case heard before the HCPC to date
  • A university academic facing allegations regarding consent, confidentiality, lack of peer review, study methodology and involvement of the national media in a research project
  • Architect accused of making a false claim for fees and alleged dishonesty in a subsequent arbitration
  • Advising a solicitors’ firm on conflict of interests issues
  • Psychologist accused of lack of competence and inappropriate language critical of other professionals in assessments of a child for adoption proceedings
  • Consultant psychologist who had used his NHS Trust computer to view pornographic images
  • Doctor who had allegedly sexually assaulted a patient
  • GP convicted of benefit fraud
  • Hospital consultant accused of carrying out private practice during hours when he was contracted to the NHS Board
  • Counsellor and psychologist who had provided her own prescription medication to a client despite having no prescribing powers
  • GP accused of inappropriate prescribing of opioids to a drug addict
  • Consultant psychologist who was alleged to have pursued an improper relationship with a client
  • Counsellor who had removed property from the consulting rooms and money from the practice bank account without prior agreement in the context of a partnership split

Personal Injury


Robert is regularly instructed in multi-track personal injury trials and frequently advises on both liability and quantum, including in high value catastrophic loss claims. He has been instructed in a number of workplace claims, including work-related stress, industrial deafness, VWF/HAVS, asbestos related disease and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Robert is instructed in a number of claims with a cross-border element.

Cases include:

  • Claim against the Police and the MIB by a police officer who was injured when a suspect he was escorting escaped and ran over his leg with a car he had stolen
  • Claim against the owners of a secure psychiatric facility in which the Claimant nurse had been seriously injured in an assault by one of the patients
  • Claim involving a care worker in a children’s home who contracted tuberculosis, allegedly from one of the residents of the home
  • Employer’s liability fatal accident act claim involving a care worker who was murdered by her client’s boyfriend
  • Public liability personal injury claim against a local authority in which it was argued that the debts the claimant owed the local authority as a result of housing benefit fraud could be set off against her damages
  • Claim against a GP surgery by a patient who sustained a fractured femur when she fell from an examination couch

Inquests

Robert is regularly instructed in inquests by families of the deceased and other interested persons. Often these cases have complex issues or a high public profile. Robert has experience of Article 2 inquests and appearing before juries.

Cases include:

  • A high profile jury inquest into the death of a government scientist involved in secret trials at a Ministry of Defence research facility
  • Inquests raising issues of clinical negligence, including hospital deaths and deaths in care and nursing homes
  • Deaths arising from workplace accidents
  • Death of a child in care by hanging
  • Death following an injury sustained during a rugby match

Clinical Negligence


Robert is regularly instructed by both claimants and defendants in clinical negligence claims involving a variety of healthcare professionals including general practitioners, hospital doctors, dentists, psychologists and therapists.

Cases include:

  • Cerebral palsy claims arising from negligent management of labour and delivery
  • Negligent advice and surgery by an orthopaedic surgeon in respect of a longstanding leg deformity
  • Negligent performance of laparoscopic surgery result in extensive blood loss
  • Allegedly negligently performed ‘labiaplasty’ with allegations that the surgery was unlawful contrary to the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003
  • Incorrect diagnosis of malignant melanoma resulting in unnecessary extensive head and neck surgery
  • Neonatal brain injury allegedly as a result of infected intravenous feeding line
  • Fatal accident claim arising from a missed diagnosis of septicaemia following an appendicectomy
  • Inappropriate and negligently performed surgical treatment of a scaphoid fracture resulting in significant loss of function in the arm
  • Rupture of the oesophagus and upper airway as a result of negligently performed intubation during general anaesthesia

Civil Liability


Property Damage / Material Loss

Robert’s property damage practice involves the full range of claims including fire, flood and impact damage, subsidence, fraud, and subrogated recoveries on both first and third party claims. He is instructed on behalf of homeowners, contractors and sub-contractors, energy firms and construction professionals.

Cases include:

  • Claims involving the liability of statutory undertakers for escapes of water and sewerage
  • Claims for property damage as a result of negligently performed building, plumbing and heating works
  • Claims in relation to alleged arson and issues of fraud
  • Claim for damages and injunctive relief alleging that dry rot in the claimant’s premises arises from the defendant’s premises
  • Claim for damage to an electrical cable as a result of an escape of water from a high pressure ‘fire’ water main

Product Liability

Robert’s product liability practice involves both property damage and personal injury claims as well as advisory work, such as product recalls. Robert’s cases have involved a range of issues including recall of defective toys, fire damage claims from defective electrical equipment and claims involving medicines and medical devices. He is instructed on behalf of end users such as owners of damaged domestic and commercial premises; distributors; and, in respect of medical devices, healthcare professionals.

Cases include:

  • Acting for various groups of surgeons in the PIP Breast Implant Group Litigation
  • Claims for fire damage relating to defective products including the use of an indoor ‘flea bomb’; a defective motorcycle; defective air-conditioning unit and other defective commercial appliances
  • Advising on the recall of a defective toy and the potential claim by the distributor against the producer
  • Acting in the enforcement of judgment against a producer domiciled outside the jurisdiction

Insurance & Reinsurance

Robert is instructed by both policyholders and insurers in respect of actions to enforce (or avoid) contracts of insurance and to advise generally on the construction of policies. Cases have involved permanent health, motor, life, personal accident and contractors’ all-risks policies.

Cases include:

  • Advising a deceased’s spouse in respect of a life insurance policy when the deceased had cancelled payments to the insurer shortly prior to his death
  • Advising on whether professional indemnity cover for surgeons extends to cover for product liability claims in respect of the supply of defective implantable medical devices
  • Advising in respect of the rights of insured employees under policies of permanent health insurance, where the policyholder is the employer
  • Advising whether negligent works which failed to correct and may have aggravated subsidence were within the scope of an contractors’ all-risks policy
  • Claim voiding a policy of motor insurance on the grounds of material non-disclosure
  • Acted in a claim relating to whether a prolapsed disc fell within the scope of a policy of personal accident insurance

Professional Negligence

Robert has acted for both claimants and defendants in a number of high value professional negligence claims against solicitors.

Cases include:

  • The Accident Group and CLE litigation claims. Large group action professional negligence claims by the insurers of ATE policies against several hundreds of firms of solicitors
  • Claim against a solicitor for missing the two year limitation period for claims arising from injuries sustained on aircraft, pursuant to the Montreal Convention
  • Claim against solicitors in relation to the failure to serve proceedings in a personal injury claim. The underlying claim involved allegations of sexual assault of the claimant whilst in the Army
  • Claim against solicitors alleging that they pursued the wrong defendants in a clinical negligence claim relating to the use of excessive peri-ocular steroids resulting in glaucoma and blindness

Recommendations


Robert is recommended by the Legal 500 for Personal Injury and by the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners for Professional Discipline.

Quotes

“An absolute pleasure to work with; he’s analytical, precise, extremely knowledgeable and fantastic with clients.” “He has a significant background knowledge of the healthcare world which is extremely helpful.” Chambers & Partners 2017
“Highly thought-of advocate”…Chambers & Partners 2017
“His medical background allows him to deliver helpful knowledge” The Legal 500 2016
“He has an excellent knowledge of cases involving psychologists and counsellors.” Legal 500 2015
“Engaging and confident.’ Legal 500 2014
“He understands both the law and the industry that the clients work in. He is exceptionally talented when it comes to advocacy and attention to detail.” Chambers & Partners 2014
“style of advocacy strikes the right tone with the regulators” Legal 500 2012
“excellent medical knowledge and a sound legal brain”  Legal 500 2010

Related Cases


Personal Injury

Wilson v (1) The Official Receiver; (2) The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills; Goudie v same (2014)

Successfully acted for the Defendants in this long running claim alleging, amongst other things, malicious prosecution and misfeasance in public office.

Ward v Allies and Morrison Architects [2012] EWCA Civ 1287; [2013] PIQR Q1; [2012] All ER (D) 95 (Oct)

A judge was entitled to find that there were too many imponderables as to the appellant’s likely pattern of future earnings and that in the circumstances a lump sum award for future loss of earnings (on the basis set out in  Blamire v South Cumbria HA [1993] PIQR Q1) was appropriate rather than the conventional multiplier/multiplicand approach. The issue of whether the appellant was to be regarded as disabled was not the determining factor on whether or not the Ogden tables were to be used to calculate loss of future earnings.

Tedder v Nalco Limited and anr (2012)

Difficulties in obtaining ATE insurance did not amount to a good reason for extending the time for servicing of a claim form

Hall v Eman & anr (2011)

Claim for damages of £2.9m as a result of significant brain injury following a road traffic accident

Sadler v Filipiak [2011] EWCA Civ 1728; [2011] All ER (D) 89 (Oct)

The Court of Appeal gave guidance on the assessment of general damages in cases of multiple injuries

Clinical Negligence

Dewar v Day (2011)

Clinical negligence claim against a psychologist alleging failure to diagnose multiple personality disorder

Canning-Kishver v Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust (2010)

Claim for damages of £7.1m for a serious brain injury following negligent neonatal care

Professional Negligence

Standen v Dettlaff Limited (2012)

Acted for the Defendant in a multi-million pound claim against the Claimant’s former solicitors. The Claimant developed glaucoma and subsequent blindness, in her late twenties, as a result of excessive use of steroids. The Defendant was instructed to pursue clinical negligence claims against the Claimant’s doctors and optician. It was alleged that the Defendant solicitor issued claims against the wrong defendants.

AXA Insurance Limited v Various Firms of Solicitors (2010)

Professional negligence group litigation brought by insurers to the Composite Legal Expenses scheme (CLE), against various panel solicitors

Winterthur Swiss Insurance Co v AG (Manchester) Ltd & ors (‘The Accident Group Litigation’) (2007)

Professional negligence action on a grand scale, brought by insurers to The Accident Group (TAG), against TAG Panel Solicitors

Inquests & Inquiries

Re Rebecca Watkins (2014)

The deceased was a 16 year old girl who killed herself by hanging whilst resident in a children’s home. Robert acted for the managers of the home.

Re Maria de Jesus (2013)

Acted for the family of the deceased in this high profile inquest. The deceased was heavily pregnant and admitted to hospital with acute appendicitis. The surgery was delegated to trainee surgeons who erroneously removed the ovary. She later died of severe sepsis and multiple organ failure.

Re Ian Probyn (2012)

The deceased died following the insertion of a feeding tube. The tube was subsequently found to have been placed in the peritoneal cavity and not the stomach. Robert acted for the nursing home.

Re Christopher Tickle (2011)

Acted for the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and the local rugby club in an inquest relating to the death of a rugby player following a collapsed scrum

Re Terrence Jupp (2010)

The inquest investigated the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr Jupp, a scientist employed by an agency of the Ministry of Defence. Mr Jupp was engaged in research into explosives as part of a joint US/UK initiative. During the course of one of the research trials, a mixture of chemicals Mr Jupp was handling spontaneously combusted, causing extensive burns. Much of the inquest was conducted in closed session in the interests of national security due to the sensitive nature of the evidence being heard.

Re Carolyn Loak (2009)

Inquest into the death of a patient subject to artificial ventilation who suffered a cardiac arrest as a result of the accidental disconnection of the oxygen supply.

Product Liability

XYZ v Various (‘The PIP Breast Implant Group Litigation’) (2014)

Large group action regarding defective breast implants manufactured by Poly Implant Prosthèse. Implants were manufactured using non-medical grade silicone and were prone to a higher risk of rupture. The manufacturer being insolvent, claims are pursued primarily against clinics (some of which are also insolvent) as ‘supplier’ of the implants. Claims are also pursued against surgeons, either as supplier or alleging negligence in advice/selection of implants.

Insurance & Reinsurance

Bickell v Unum Ltd & ors (2010)

Claim relating to refusal of benefits under a permanent health insurance policy

Torrance-Nesbitt v UnumProvident Corporation & ors (2009)

Claim for in excess of US$5m relating to refusal of benefits under a permanent health insurance policy

Administrative & Public Law

Smith v North Eastern Derbyshire Primary Care Trust [2006] EWCA Civ 1291; [2006] 1 WLR 3315; (2006) 9 CCL Rep 663; [2007] LS Law Medical 188; (2006) 150 SJLB 1152

Complaint to a patients’ forum was not a suitable alternative remedy to judicial review proceedings of the PCT’s failure to comply with its statutory duty to consult patients.

Smith v North Eastern Derbyshire Primary Care Trust [2006] EWHC 1338 (Admin); [2006] Lloyd’s Rep Med 425; (2006) 90 BMLR 139; [2006} ACD 75

The first case to consider the duties of a health authority to consult patients and the public under section 11 of the Health & Social Care Act 2001

 

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