She’s superb; she’s brilliant with clients and understands issues quickly“, “She displays an excellent legal knowledge and takes a pragmatic approach” (Legal 500, 2016).  “Calm under fire, confident, and knowledgeable”, “a very effective and tenacious advocate” (Legal 500, 2015).  “Described as a dogged opponent by impressed peers who note her skill in managing large-scale litigation“ (Chambers UK, 2015).

Kathleen undertakes a wide range of civil work and specialises in Commercial, Health, Safety & Environment, and Employment Law.

Kathleen’s high profile cases include the OCENSA pipeline group action, the Stirling Mortimer fraud litigation, the Potters Bar Rail inquest, the Buncefield Oil Depot litigation, Autoclenz and Westwood (employee and worker status), JB v African Development Bank (legitimate expectations in the international civil service), Back Office v Percival (corporate liability for contempt), and WXY v Burby (privacy harassment and injunctive relief).

Kathleen studied law at Oriel College, Oxford and has a postgraduate law degree from Queens’ College, Cambridge.  She joined Henderson Chambers in 2006.

Commercial and Insurance

Kathleen advises, drafts and represents clients in all matters of commercial law and insurance work, including sale of goods, professional negligence and product liability. Kathleen has experience across a wide range of market sectors, and her current cases include work relating to tax and film finance, inventor compensation schemes and multiple contractual disputes.  She is currently acting for an off-shore property company in claims relating to fraud and professional negligence concerning the misappropriation of €59 million.

Representative Cases

  • Stirling Mortimer Fund fraud and professional negligence litigation(2014 – ongoing).
  • Tipper v Back Office, claim relating to directors loan account (and related proceedings under s994, contempt, and restrictive covenants).  2012-2014.
  • Hunt v Burt Boulton & Haywood. 2010-11.  Commercial litigation arising from collapse of a boat mast in high winds.  Acting for purchaser of wooden pole allegedly rotten on delivery.  (Mediated settlement prior to Court of Appeal).
  • Bloomer v Kennedys. 2011. Acting for solicitors firm in dispute over liability to pay recruitment agency fees.
  • Baldwins v Maidstone. 2011. Acting for accountancy firm in case arising from breach of covenants in sale purchase agreement.
  • NatWest v Kingan. 2010-11. Acting for individual in claim under deed of guarantee defended on grounds of alleged negligent misstatement and advice.

Health, Safety & Environment

Kathleen is recognised by the Legal 500 as a leading junior in this field.  Kathleen represents companies and individuals in civil claims and prosecutions, including where fatalities have occurred.  In 2014-2015 she acted in the OCENSA pipeline group action concerning alleged environmental damage caused by the construction of an oil pipeline across Colombia in the 1990s.  It is said to be the first international case concerning environmental damage against an oil company in the English courts.  She has previously  appeared in a high profile HSE prosecution arising out of a fatal accident at a UK coal mine, and also acted for a major industry party in the inquest into the Potters Bar Derailment.  Kathleen acted for defendant insurers in the long running Powertrain litigation arising out of an alleged outbreak of disease at the Longbridge car manufacturing plant.  Kathleen was also instructed in respect of the Buncefield Oil Depot Explosion.  Kathleen has experience of appeals from Prohibition Notices as well as Environmental Protection Act matters, including escape of commercial waste and water contamination.

Representative Cases

  • OCENSA pipeline group action, Technology and Construction Court, trial October 2014 – March 2015.
  • Appeal from abatement notice concerning pigeon roosting, acting for major railway company (notice quashed), April 2014.
  • HSE v Meridian Lightweight Technologies, HSWA prosecution, July 2012.
  • Inquest into death of Jane Okhiku, South London Coroner’s Court, May 2012. Acting for housing association.
  • HSE v UK Coal, Alstead and Davison.  Sheffield Crown Court trial, May – June 2014.  Prosecution arising from a fatal accident at Daw Mill Colliery.  Acting for an individual defendant, led by Prashant Popat QC.
  • Powertrain litigation, 2009-10. Long running litigation arising from alleged outbreak of respiratory disease at Longbridge car manufacturing plant (settled in late 2010).
  • Inquest into Potters Bar derailment, June – July 2010.  Acting for major industry party in 8 week inquest, led by Prashant Popat QC.
  • Buncefield Oil Depot explosion.  Acting for a group of local residents suffering property damage and personal injuries by reason of the explosion.

Employment

Kathleen is an experienced employment lawyer and regularly represents both claimants and employers in a range of tribunal, EAT and high court work. She has particular expertise in discrimination, whistle blowing and employee status cases as well as those concerning restrictive covenants.   She works across a wide range of market sectors, including financial, IT, telecoms, health and education, and has acted in international claims.  Kathleen is recognised by both the Legal 500 and Chambers UK as a leading junior in this field.

Representative Cases

  • Acting for a senior employee in a whistleblowing claim against a construction company (parties names confidential).   April 2014.
  • Donaghy v Kings College.  March 2014.  Acting for Kings College in an ET claim, now on appeal to EAT.
  • Fabrizi v London Borough of Hackney.  January 2014.  Acting for a claimant in a complex discrimination claim.
  • Back Office v Tipper.  2012-2014, High Court.  Acting for a payroll company against departing employees who set up a competitor company.  Departing employees in breach of undertakings found liable for contempt of court.
  • Crown Talk v Dandy.  December 2013.  Acting for a telecoms company against salesmen who secretly incorporated a competitor company during their employment.
  • The Hospital Medical Group Ltd v Westwood [2012] EWCA Civ 1005. Acting for appellant in EAT, and in Court of Appeal (led by Patrick Green QC), in case concerning worker status and the limb(b) exception.
  • Bungay v Chandel [2011] EqLR 1130.  Acting for director in appeal concerning joint and several liability, and awards of aggravated damages for events post termination of employment.
  • Westwood v The Hospital Group 2011, EAT.  Acting for plastic surgery company in appeal concerning approach to worker status.
  • Baldwins v Maidstone.  2011, High Court.  Acting for accountancy firm in case concerning breach of restrictive covenants in sale purchase agreement.
  • Rowan Dartington v Davis and others.  2011, High Court.  Acting for a stockbroking company against former employees for alleged breach of restrictive covenants, confidentiality and database rights.
  • Autoclenz v Belcher [2009] EWCA Civ 1046, [2010] IRLR 70. Acting for appellant in Court of Appeal (led by Patrick Green QC) in case concerning employee/worker status and sham contracts.

Public, Administrative and Local Government

Kathleen has appeared in a number of applications for judicial review, including in the Court of Appeal in R (Hertfordshire County Council v London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham [2011] EWCA Civ 77. She advised the Official Solicitor in an important case establishing breach of HMRC’s duties under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (Haworth v Cartmel [2011] EWHC 36 (Ch)). In 2013 she acted in an internal UKAS appeal relating to the accreditation of an assessment agency.  She has in-house public law experience, having previously worked on secondment to Hertfordshire County Council’s Corporate Law Department, and provided litigation assistance to the Treasury Solicitor.

Representative Cases

Personal Injury

Kathleen acts and advises in all types of claims for personal injury, including fatal accidents.  Her representative cases include product liability claims, industrial disease claims, accidents at work, tripping and highway claims.  Kathleen’s personal injury practice overlaps to a significant extent with her health and safety work.   Further examples of Kathleen’s work in this area include:

  • Advising in a claim concerning allegedly defective playground equipment.
  • Advising in respect of multiple claims for defective car brakes and bonnets.
  • Advising in respect of a claim for adverse reaction to cosmetic products.
  • Acting for defendant insurer in long running litigation arising from alleged outbreak of respiratory disease at Longbridge car manufacturing plant.
  • Acting in various fast and multi-track claims arising out of road traffic accidents and tripping claims.

Representative Cases

  • Stirling Mortimer Fund fraud and professional negligence litigation2014 – ongoing.
  • OCENSA pipeline group action, Technology and Construction Court, October 2014 – March 2015.
  • Acting for a senior employee in a whistleblowing claim against a construction company (confidential).   April 2014.
  • Back Office v Tipper.  2012-2014, High Court.  Acting for a payroll company against departing employees who set up a competitor company.  Departing employees in breach of undertakings found liable for contempt of court.
  • Appeal from abatement notice concerning pigeon roosting, acting for major railway company (notice quashed), April 2014.
  • Donaghy v Kings College.  March 2014.  Acting for Kings College in an ET claim, now on appeal to EAT.
  • Fabrizi v London Borough of Hackney.  January 2014.  Acting for a claimant in a complex discrimination claim.
  • HSE v Meridian Lightweight Technologies, HSWA prosecution, July 2012.
  • The Hospital Medical Group Ltd v Westwood [2012] EWCA Civ 1005. Acting for appellant in EAT, and in Court of Appeal (led by Patrick Green QC), in case concerning worker status and the limb(b) exception.
  • HSE v UK Coal, Alstead and Davison.  Sheffield Crown Court, May – June 2011.  Prosecution arising from a fatal accident at Daw Mill Colliery.  Acting for an individual defendant, led by Prashant Popat QC.
  • Powertrain litigation. 2009-10.  Long running litigation arising from alleged outbreak of respiratory disease at Longbridge car manufacturing plant (settled in late 2010).
  • Inquest into Potters Bar derailment. June – July 2010.  Acting for major industry party in 8 week inquest, led by Prashant Popat QC.
  • Buncefield Oil Depot explosion.  Acting for a group of local residents suffering property damage and personal injuries by reason of the explosion.  Hunt v Burt Boulton & Haywood. 2010-11.  Commercial litigation arising from collapse of a boat mast in high winds.  Acting for purchaser of wooden pole allegedly rotten on delivery.  (Mediated settlement prior to Court of Appeal).
  • Bloomer v Kennedys. 2011. Acting for solicitors firm in dispute over liability to pay recruitment agency fees.
  • Baldwins v Maidstone. 2011.  Acting for accountancy firm in case arising from breach of covenants in sale purchase agreement.
  • Natwest v Kingan. 2010-11.  Acting for individual in claim under deed of guarantee defended on grounds of alleged negligent misstatement and advice.
  • Bungay v Chandel 2011 EAT.  Acting for director in appeal concerning joint and several liability, and awards of aggravated damages for events post termination of employment.
  • Rowan Dartington v Davis and others. 2011, High Court.  Acting for stockbroking company against former employees for alleged breach of restrictive covenants, confidentiality and database rights.
  • Crown Talk Communications v Dandy. 2011, High Court. Acting for telecoms company against former employees for alleged breach of restrictive covenants, confidentiality and database rights.
  • Autoclenz v Belcher [2009] EWCA Civ 1046. Acting for appellant in Court of Appeal (led by Patrick Green QC).
  • R (Hertfordshire County Council v London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham [2011] EWCA Civ 77.  Acting for local authority re: meaning of “is resident“ within s117(3) MHA 1983, and application of “ordinary residence” test.
  • Haworth v Cartmel [2011] EWHC 36 (Ch).  Advising the Official Solicitor in case concerning breach of HMRC’s duties under the DDA 1995.
  • The Hospital Medical Group Ltd v Westwood [2012] EWCA Civ 1005. Acting for appellant in EAT, and in Court of Appeal (led by Patrick Greenv QC), in case concerning worker status and the limb(b) exception.
  • WXY v Gewanter & Ors [2012] EWHC 1601 (QB).  Acting for defendant in claim for injunctive relief on grounds of harassment, use confidential information, and harassment.
  • Inquest into death of Jane Okhiku, South London Coroner’s Court, May 2012. Acting for housing association.
More about Kathleen Donnelly

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