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Hendersons - Barristers' Chambers

Charles Gibson QC

"Experienced, calm, knowledgeable and easy to work with." "A very intelligent and practical leader whose advice is clear, succinct and commercial." "He's a fantastic leader and a courageous advocate, who is a great man to be in the trenches with."

Chambers UK 2018


Call
1984
Silk
2001

Head of Chambers, Charles Gibson QC, is identified in the Legal 500 and Chambers UK as a leading silk in commercial litigation, product liability, health & safety, environmental law and consumer law. He was a Lawyer magazine Barrister of the Year finalist in 2008 and 2010 and was runner up Barrister of the Year 2012.

He is a leading expert in commercial law, product liability (contract and tort claims and related insurance and regulatory issues) and has acted in many major domestic and international group actions for over 25 years. He has represented numerous multinationals defending claims against parent companies and subsidiaries operating around the world.

He has recently represented:

  • BP in the Colombian Pipeline Litigation
  • VW in the Diesel Emissions Litigation
  • Unilever in claims arising out of election violence in Kenya
  • Shell in the Bomu-Bonny Pipeline Litigation
  • Vedanta in environmental claims arising out of a Copper mine in Zambia
  • Glaxo in the Seroxat Litigation
  • The Ministry of Defence in the Atomic Veterans Litigation from the first instance to the Supreme Court
  • Trafigura in the Abidjan Personal Injury Litigation
  • Glaxo in the MMR litigation
  • Sanofi in the Sabril litigation
  • The MPS in the Hip Litigation
  • Johnson & Johnson in the Mesh Litigation

He practices primarily as an advocate and is comfortable leading large teams and working with experts in a wide range of scientific, technical and financial disciplines.  He has considerable experience conducting lengthy trials with large numbers of factual and expert witnesses.  He has also acted in many appeals in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

Through his international work he has developed a good understanding of jurisdiction, private international law and conflict of laws issues and has a working knowledge of various foreign laws and legal systems e.g. US, Colombia, Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, and Peru.

 

Expertise


Commercial & Insurance, International Group Actions

Charles has represented corporate Defendants in the successful defence of many domestic and international group actions over the last 25 years. As a result, he has worked extensively with experts in a variety of scientific, technical and industrial disciplines and with accountants dealing with business losses. Most recently, he represented BP and Shell in substantial trials involving large numbers of factual and expert witnesses. He has also acted on behalf of Glaxo, the MOD, the MPS and various pharmaceutical companies in substantial group actions.

He is currently representing a number of multinationals facing claims against parent companies and subsidiaries in various African countries.

His general commercial and insurance law experience covers cases involving the construction of contracts (including insurance and energy service contracts) and sale of goods/products and services contracts. He has conducted cases involving claims arising out of the manufacture and distribution of industrial components scientific instruments, food, drink, chemicals, cosmetics and consumer and agricultural products.

His general insurance work includes policy disputes, Lloyds insurance disputes and fire, building/plant damage claims and contamination claims causing business losses.

He has also acted on behalf of local authorities, the fire brigade, the NFU and other organisations in cases arising from factory explosions, fires, negligent auditing, local government fraud and negligent advice.

Representative cases

grid list
  • AB and others v Vedanta 2016-2018

    International group action- parent company/subsidiary, jurisdiction.

  • AB and others v Unilever 2016-2018

    International group action- parent company/subsidiary, jurisdiction.

  • The Colombian Pipeline Litigation

    Costs/Group Action/Indemnity.

  • The Bomu-Bonny Pipeline Litigation 2014/2015

    Group Action – Private International Law – nuisance – conflict of law – damages – statutory construction.

  • Various claimants v Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust 2014

    Successfully opposed Group Litigation Order application by 34 claimants who alleged clinical negligence and Human Rights Act breaches by NHS Trust.

  • Kessabo and others v Afrcan Barrick Gold Plc QB 2014

    Rules governing extensions of time and pleadings- anti suit injunction.

Product Liability

Charles has acted in many leading product liability claims over the last 25 years. As a result he has developed expertise in many product areas (from pharmaceuticals to medical devices and consumer goods) and worked with experts in many scientific and industrial fields. Many of the product claims have been substantial group actions with international dimensions.

Representative cases

grid list
  • The Metal on Metal Hip Litigation 2016-2018

    Various group directions.

  • The Mesh Litigation 2016-2017

    Various group directions.

  • The Seroxat Litigation (QB 2010) 2017-2018

    Product liability – pharmaceuticals – group action.

  • The Sabril Litigation (QB 2008)
  • The Sudan Red Litigation (QB 2008)
  • The MMR Litigation (QB 2005)

    Service – interrogation of witnesses – delivery up of documents from out of the jurisdiction.

International Commercial Claims & Jurisdictional Disputes

He has also acted and advised in a number of cases involving jurisdiction disputes, private international law and practice and the potential liability of parent companies in respect of torts committed by subsidiaries.

International law and jurisdiction cases have involved South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Namibia, Colombia, Peru, Ivory Coast and various US states.

Representative cases

grid list
  • AB and others v Vedanta 2016-2018

    International group action- parent company/subsidiary, jurisdiction.

  • AB and others v Unilever 2016-2018

    International group action- parent company/subsidiary, jurisdiction.

  • The Bomu-Bonny Pipeline Litigation 2014/2015

    Group Action – Private International Law – nuisance – conflict of law – damages – statutory construction.

  • The Colombian Pipeline Litigation

    Costs/Group Action/Indemnity.

  • Kessabo and others v Afrcan Barrick Gold Plc QB 2014

    Rules governing extensions of time and pleadings- anti suit injunction.

  • The Abidjan (Ivory Coast) Personal Injury Litigation (QB/C of A 2011)

    Costs – group action.

Commercial

He has been instructed in a large number of major commercial cases – some of which are commercial disputes arising out of products and installations – but many of which are not product related. In recent years his Commercial Court cases have concerned explosions and catastrophic failures, power plants, ship propellers, sale of goods disputes, product-related claims, business losses and related insurance issues. These cases also often involve international contracts and conflict of law issues.

Representative cases

grid list
  • AB and others v Vedanta 2016-2018

    International group action- parent company/subsidiary, jurisdiction.

  • AB and others v Unilever 2016-2018

    International group action- parent company/subsidiary, jurisdiction.

  • Columbian Pipeline Litigation 2014/2016

    International Group Action, conflict of laws, environmental damage, construction, contract and tort.

  • The Colombian Pipeline Litigation

    Costs/Group Action/Indemnity.

  • The Bomu-Bonny Pipeline Litigation 2014/2015

    Group Action – Private International Law – nuisance – conflict of law – damages – statutory construction.

  • Arroya v BP TCC 2013

    Measure of loss for damage to land- Wrotham Park Damages.

Life Sciences, Healthcare, Pharmaceutical Medicines & Devices

Through his general product liability, pharmaceutical, personal injury and clinical negligence work he has developed a sound knowledge and understanding of scientific and medical issues. He has worked extensively with leading scientists and clinicians in numerous fields including nuclear physics, ophthalmology, immunology, virology, genetics, microbiology, pharmacology, gastroenterology, respiratory diseases, cancer research, psychiatry, toxicology, epidemiology and general medicine.

He is currently instructed on behalf of the MPS and various consultants in the Metal on Metal Hip Litigation. He has also acted on behalf of Johnson & Johnson in the Mesh Group Litigation.

Representative cases

grid list
  • The Metal on Metal Hip Litigation 2016-2018

    Various group directions.

  • The Mesh Litigation 2016-2017

    Various group directions.

  • The Seroxat Litigation (QB 2010) 2017-2018

    Product liability – pharmaceuticals – group action.

  • The Sabril Litigation (QB 2008)
  • The MMR Litigation (QB 2005)

    Service – interrogation of witnesses – delivery up of documents from out of the jurisdiction.

  • The Norplant contraceptive implant litigation (QB)

    Costs sharing and general directions in group actions.

Environmental

Recent cases within this field include representing mining and factory owners alleged to have polluted surrounding areas, defending a multinational (Trafigura) being sued by Ivory Coast nationals claiming injuries caused by oil waste, and defending a multinational (BP) sued by Colombian farmers in respect of oil pipeline damage and Peruvian nationals in respect of a mining development.

He has acted on behalf of waste management/disposal authorities, mining corporations facing claims in respect of injuries to employees and residents concerning exposure to pollutants including radiation/asbestos/silicon dust.

He is currently acting in group action (Vedanta) in which local residents in Zambia are claiming damages in respect of alleged pollution to their waterways by a Copper Mine.

Representative cases

grid list
  • Columbian Pipeline Litigation 2014/2016

    International Group Action, conflict of laws, environmental damage, construction, contract and tort.

  • Colombian Pipeline Litigation (various decisions relating to group directions/procedures) QB 2012/2013

    Group action – conflict of laws – commercial contracts – jurisdiction and environmental damage.

  • The Bomu-Bonny Pipeline Litigation (various decisions relating to group actions and costs) QB 2012/2013

    Group action – conflict of laws – environmental damage – private international law – jurisdiction.

  • Austin and others v Miller Argent Group (QB/C of A 2011)

    Group action – nuisance – environmental regulation.

  • AB and others v Vedanta 2016-2018

    International group action- parent company/subsidiary, jurisdiction.

  • Guerrero and others v Monterrico Metals PLC (QB 2011)

    Parent company liability – negligence – conflict of laws – human rights.

Health & Safety

Health Safety work represents a substantial part of his practice and he is listed in the Legal 500 and the Chambers Directory as a leading silk in the field. He has particular experience in health and safety matters affecting the railway and power industry. He has also acted on behalf of commercial entities in many different sectors including manufacturing, building, leisure, food and beverage, sports and the car industry in health, safety and personal injury matters (both civil and criminal).

He advises and acts on behalf of major corporate and public bodies on health and safety related issues (e.g. corporate manslaughter, risk assessments, product safety issues, the work place, the asbestos regulations etc).

He also conducts civil claims involving diseases caused by exposure to dangerous substances and dust and work-place accidents.

He has most recently defended:

  • A major film and entertainment company in respect of an accident on a film set
  • An energy company following a fatal accident
  • A telecommunications company following a fatal accident
  • Various companies in the leisure and entertainment industry following fatal accident.
  • A construction company following an accident which involved serious injuries
  • He has also been advising on the health and safety issues arising at a substantial car park servicing a large number of retail outlets and advising a leading corporation supplying electricity.

He has also been advising on the health and safety issues arising at a substantial car park servicing a large number of retail outlets and advising a leading corporation supplying electricity.

Representative cases

grid list
  • R v Foodles (2017)

    Sentencing Guidelines.

  • R v UK Power (2013)
  • R v Mitchells and Butlers (2012)
  • R v UK Power (2011)
  • The Potters Bar Inquest (2007/08)

Consumer Law

Charles is recognised in the Directories as an expert in consumer law. He has wide experience in consumer related litigation particularly in the commercial and product liability fields. He has also acted in many of the major group actions brought in the UK by consumers against commercial entities for over 25 years. Throughout his career he has been heavily involved in the development and application of the law in relation to group actions.

The consumer claims in which he has acted have covered a range of products (from pharmaceutical to food and drink to industrial plant) and financial and other services (eg involving valuers, share-holders, building societies and financial advisers).

Representative cases

grid list
  • The Metal on Metal Hip Litigation 2016-2018

    Various group directions.

  • The Mesh Litigation 2016-2017

    Various group directions.

  • The Seroxat Litigation (QB 2010) 2017-2018

    Product liability – pharmaceuticals – group action.

  • The Sabril Litigation (QB 2008)
  • The Sudan Red Litigation (QB 2008)
  • The MMR Litigation (QB 2005)

    Service – interrogation of witnesses – delivery up of documents from out of the jurisdiction.

Inquests/Tribunals

He has significant experience of major inquiries, namely:

  • the Grenfell Tower Inquiry
  • the Kings Cross Underground Fire Inquiry
  • the Clapham Rail Accident Inquiry
  • the Severn Tunnel Rail Accident Inquiry

He assisted the inspectors with the Inquiry conducted by DTI Inspectors into London Underwriters Limited (Lloyds).
He has also appeared before many employment, disciplinary and regulatory tribunals (including the HFEA) and has gained experience of Judicial Review in the course of his commercial and disciplinary/regulatory work and on behalf of HM Customs and Excise.

Mediation

He is a CEDR Accredited Mediator and he advises on, and acts in, mediations.  He has successfully mediated a number of multi-party commercial disputes. He is currently mediating a multi-handed commercial dispute.

 

What the directories say


"A very smooth operator. It's difficult to think of anyone who knows more and is more respected." "He is fantastic at stepping back and seeing the bigger picture. Charles knows where clients want to get to and he finds a way of taking them there."
Chambers UK 2018

"A very good leader of a big team of people, he sees the wider strategic issues but also gets thoroughly into the details." "He's an effective operator with a very good courtroom manner." "A formidable leader who gives his heart and soul to any case, he is enthusiastic and committed, and clients really love him."
Chambers UK 2017

"A very poised advocate with enormous experience who is very good with clients."
Chambers UK 2017

"If you had a major product liability case, you'd want him leading it. He really sees the big picture in terms of where you want to get to." "One of the most charismatic barristers that I've ever come across. He is very energetic and will fight your corner to the end."
Chambers UK 2017

"He's the best in the business. He seems to have been involved in everything. He can summarise a claim in five minutes and you understand everything."
Chambers UK 2016

Instructing Charles Gibson QC

If you require help or advice please contact our clerking team

Call +44 (0)20 7583 9020
or email

Appointments
  • Recorder (2001)
  • Queen’s Counsel (2001)
  • CEDR Accredited Mediator
  • Bencher of Inner Temple
Publications
  • Group Action in Product Liability Law and Insurance
  • Product Liability in the Commercial Context
  • Product Liability for Medical Products
Memberships
  • London Commercial & Common Law Bar Association
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association
  • CEDR (Accredited Mediator)
  • COMBAR
Education
  • BA Hons (Dunelm) Classics
  • Dip. Law
Regulatory Information

All members of Chambers are registered with the Bar Standards Board of England and Wales. For our standard contractual terms click here.

Bar Council Number: 20457

VAT Registration Number: 397216817

Legal Status: QC

Professional Insurance: All members of Chambers have professional liability insurance provided by the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Ltd. Territorial coverage is world-wide and subject to the term of the Bar Mutual. Click here for details.

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