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William Norris KC

“A class act”.
Chambers and Partners

“Excellent advocacy and sector knowledge.........he leaves no stone unturned and is one of the outstanding advocates of his generation”.
The Legal 500 

William has a broad, common law, practice, specialising in major personal injury and product liability litigation. He also has expertise in such disparate areas as wind farm/environmental litigation (including the Conservation/Habitats Regulations, bloodstock disputes (and Animals Act cases) and sexual abuse claims.
William also acts as an arbitrator and disciplinary tribunal chairman and is one of the panel chairs of Sport Resolutions, National Anti-Doping, World Athletics and the FA (including Rule K arbitrations) and in other sports including polo.

He is a former Chair of the Personal Injuries Bar Association and an experienced Mediator and Arbitrator in Personal Injury cases as well as being General editor of Kemp and Kemp ; The Quantum of Damages’, Consultant Editor of ‘Personal Injury Practice and Procedure’ and a contributor to ‘Brain Injury Claims’. Away from the law, he is chairman of the Injured Jockeys Fund.

Areas of expertise

Personal Injury

William’s expertise in this area has long been recognised in the directories. He acts for claimants and defendants as well as editing the leading textbook (Kemp & Kemp) on personal injury damages.

Cases of note:

  • Atmani & Others v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (ongoing) - Acting for the London Fire Commissioner on all civil claims (public and employer’s liability) claims arising out of the Grenfell Tower fire.
  • JL v Archbishop Bowen [2017] EWCA Civ 82 - Claimant alleged sex abuse over 15-year period: issues of consent, vicarious liability and limitation in particular.
  • Summers v Fairclough Homes [2012] UKSC 26] - A landmark personal injury case in which the central issue was whether a claimant’s fraud in relation to one part of the claim was fatal to the whole of the claim.
  • Poppleton v Trustees of Portsmouth Youth AC [2008] EWCA Civ 646 - Leading case on the extent to which an activity centre owed a common law/supervisory duty to an adult visitor.
  • Murray v Devenish [2018] EWHC 1895 (QB) - Claim by former schoolboy alleging sexual abuse at Catholic seminary in the 1970s raising issues of limitation
  • Yates v National Trust [2014] EWHC 222 (QB) - Claimant, a self-employed tree surgeon, suffered catastrophic injuries when falling from a tree while working for an uninsured contractor: claim brought against owner of land which had engaged the contractor.
  • Ford v Seymour-Williams [2021] EWCA Civ 1848 - Animals Act claim (claimant badly injured when rising defendant’s horse which reared as a result of an unforeseeable medical event.

Product Liability

William’s experience is general in this field but with a particular focus on motor manufacturers.

Cases of note:

  • Crossley (and others) v Various Defendants (ongoing) - Motor manufacturers alleged to have diesel cars with defeat devices for purposes of emissions testing/controls.
  • Moult v Land Rover UK [TCC – October 2005] - Claim alleging fault in computer management systems of Discovery 2.
  • Klopper v JLR [2013] - Claim in relation to computer management systems of Discovery 3 (heard in Pretoria jn March 2013 and withdrawn during course of trial).
  • Bufton v Hereford Council 2011 - A case which settled shortly before trial involving an allegation against a housing authority/landlord in respect of formaldehyde poisoning claimed to be attributable to the cavity wall insulation.

Civil Liability

As a general practitioner, William has had to deal with a wide variety of different categories of claim.

Cases of note:

  • Albright & Wilson v Biachem [2002] UKHL 37 - A remarkable case involving the supply of different chemicals by different suppliers who used the same haulier to make deliveries on the same day and they were mixed by mistake causing a very big bang. But it was not clear which supplier was in breach of contract, or whether both were.
  • Allen v BREL [2001] EWCA Civ 242 - A case about divisible/indivisible harm and joint/several tortfeasors where claimants had suffered VWF.
  • Manchester Ship Canal Co v Vauxhall Motors [2019] UKSC 46 - Claim for relief from forfeiture in relation to a licence for drainage and historic rights under statute.
  •  Morris v Network Rail [2004] EWCA Civ 172 - A claim in private nuisance arising out of electrical interference with a recording studio caused by the railway’s new signalling circuits.
  • Davies v Tinley & Others [2012] - A claim in private nuisance (noise) arising out of the construction and operation of the Deeping St Nicholas wind farm (settled during the course of Queen’s Bench trial)
  • Hales v Bourton Vale [2021 QBD] - Negligence claim by racehorse owner against veterinary surgeon.

Wind Farm Inquiries and Judicial Review

William has acted for and advised developers (and some others) in a wide-ranging series of wind farm inquiries and judicial reviews and in offshore consenting challenges and particularly where the Conservation/Habitats Regulations are involved.


In addition to acting as one of the Chairs of Sport Resolutions’ General Panel, the National Anti-Doping Panel, World Athletics, the FA Independent Judicial Panel, and The Hurlingham Polo Association Appeal Panel, William’s particular areas of experience include

  • Racing and Bloodstock: as advocate acting for leading owners, trainers over many years in cases heard by the Jockey Club and (more recently) the BHA. Later one of the chairs of the BHA Judicial Panel (resigned 2021). Litigation on behalf or owners, trainers and veterinarians as acting as advocate and as arbitrator and mediator.
  • Football: advising or acting as arbitrator/disciplinary panel chair/member of football cases involving
    - Disciplinary matters generally including Doping
    - Financial Fair Play and Points Deductions/Penalties for Clubs entering administration
    - Transfer rules and obligations
    - Disputes between Agents and players/clubs/governing bodies
    - Betting
  • Selection and Funding disputes (including arguments over venue) involving many  sports and individual athletes as well as sporting/national bodies
  • Issues as to the proper and fair regulation of sport including
    -  Exclusion of competitors (such as those with links to Russia
    -  Relationship of Clubs with their governing bodies (going back to disputes between the professional clubs and the Welsh Rugby Union in the late 1990s)